4.8. Silence In The Library / Forest Of The Dead

Series 4 - 2008

Writer: Stephen Moffat
Produced by: Phil Collinson
Director: Euros Lyn
Music: Murray Gold


At home with her dad and a psychologist - Doctor Moon - a little girl sees an empty library when she closes her eyes. But two people have got inside - a man and a woman...

The TARDIS materialises in an empty library in the 51st century. The whole plant is a library - THE library - holding a copy of every book ever written. The TARDIS has materialised in the biography department. Using the computer system the Doctor cannot detect any people. But if the scan is widened then 1,000,000,000,000 lifeforms are detected.

Courtesy droid 71-0/aqua welcomes the Doctor and Donna to the library. The face of the droid looks real, and when Donna mentions this the Doctor says it is fine, and ignores her comments. The droid relays an automated message: Run. For God's sake, run. Nowhere is safe. The library has sealed itself. The message is followed by the message recorder's attack. There is another messages that the Doctor plays: Count the shadows.

The Doctor reveals to Donna that they are not there by mistake, and shows a message he received on the psychic paper: The Library; Come as soon as you can. Followed by a kiss.

As they are wandering through the library they enter a corridor, and soon afterwards lights start to go. The Doctor and Donna enter a room and see a floating security camera, which deactivates and falls to the ground. The camera is relaying pictures back to the little girl, and when the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to examine the device, the girls hears the sound in her head. When the Doctor re-activates the camera the girl collapses. The Doctor realises the camera is alive and leaves it alone, and the girl warns that others are coming. The message is shown on a small LED screen on the camera, making Donna anxious.

Donna asks one of the droids what others are coming, and learns the truth about the face: it's a donated face from a deceased person. The Doctor stops her as she nearly stumbles into a shadow; a shadow that is not being cast by anything.

The doors to the room are blown open, and six space suited figures enter the room. A woman - Professor River Song - greets the Doctor with 'Hello, sweety'. They are from an archaeological expedition. The Doctor tries to get them to leave and quarantine the planet. River Song reveals the planet died 100 years ago, and has been empty since.

The Doctor realises they are dealing with the Vashta Nerada that live in the dark and warns everyone not to let their paths cross. As they try to find out what has happened River Song calls the Doctor over to one side, and thanks him for coming when she called. She is upset that the Doctor doesn't know who she is.

One of the people - proper Dave - sets of an alarm that sounds like a telephone, and at the same time a telephone rings in the little girl's house. Only the girl can hear the telephone, but it stops when she tries to answer it. On the TV the girl can see the Doctor and the expedition, and she can talk to them through the television. When the television returns to the original programme the girl changes channel to get them back, and in the library books start jumping off the shelves.

The Doctor wants to know more about CAL - the central computer core - and asks the expedition financier - Mr Lux - about it. As River Song tells the Doctor about an explosion 100 years ago that no-one knows the cause of Miss Evangalista sees a hidden door that the little girl has opened, and goes to investigate.

Her scream alerts the rest of the people who rush to find her. All they find is a skeleton, and when River Song tries to contact her on the communicator she finds it around the neck of the skeleton. They can hear Miss Evengalista, who is ghosting. A neural communicator can hold the impression of the wearers consciousess for a while after death. Green lights slowly go out as the consciousness drifts away.

In her home Doctor Moon tells the little girl that the real world is a lie, and that her nightmares are real, and that in her library people are trapped.

In the library the Doctor uses a packed lunch to draw out the Vashta Nerada. The Doctor explains that the shadows are in fact swarms, and describes the Vashta Nerada as the piranhas of the air. When the throws in a piece of chicken a bone bounces on the ground and the meat instantly disappears.

The expedition all have suits that can increase density to make it harder for the Vahsta Nerada. To save Donna the Doctor teleports her to the TARDIS, but on arrival there is interference. Proper Dave cannot see, and he starts ghosting as the Vshta Nerada attack inside the suit.

The Doctor realises that he has not had a signal from the TARDIS that Donna has arrived. When he asks a droid about her, it has her face.

Inside her house the little girl can see is watching the Doctor and the remaining team escaping on her television. She changes the channel and watches an ambulance pull up to a stately home. Paramedics pull out a trolly which Donna is lying on. Donna is visited by Doctor Moon. Donna doesn't know him, until he mentions his name, then she remembers.

Down by the river Donna is introduced to Lee Macavoy by Doctor Moon. Events seem to happen instantly, and in the next moment it is the next day and she is fishing with Lee. The next moment is their wedding day, followed by a moment seven years later; when Doctor Moon visits Donna she has several children. As Doctor Moon is about to leave he flickers, and is replaced by the Doctor, for a moment.

The Doctor and River Song's party enter a dimly lit room. The only light is a coming from an overhead window. The Doctor immediately begins checking for Vashta Nerada, and finds some. The Doctor's sonic screwdriver is playing up, and River Song gives him hers - which is a future Doctor's upgraded sonic screwdriver. The Doctor wants to know why, in the future, he gives her his sonic screwdriver. River Song tells the Doctor that she is someone he will trust, but that she can't wait for him to find out, so whispers in his ear.

The Doctor thinks that something new must be interfering with his screwdriver - something that wasn't there before. It is getting dark outside, and the moon is appearing. Mr Lux explains it is a doctor moon - a virus checker for the main computer core. The signal is coming from the moon.

In Donna's she is in the bedroom with Lee when a letter is pushed through the letterbox. Lee goes to investigate; when Donna looks out of the window she sees a cloaked figure. Lee returns with a note that says 'The world is wrong. Meet me at the usual play park.' In the next instant she is in the play area, and sees the figure on a bench. The figure confirms Donna's thoughts about how time is progressing.

The Doctor tries to talk to the Vashta Nerada who are animating one of the dead crew's suits. The Doctor learns that the Vashta Nerada come from the planet the library is build on. They live in forests - which in turn have been made into books.

Back in the park Donna is still talking to what was Miss Evangalista. Donna is told to look at the children in the park; all the girls and all the boys are the same girl and boy. When Donna pulls the veil of Miss Evangalista she sees a twisted face.

After talking to Anita, who is close to being taken by the Vashta Nerada, the Doctor realises what the computer said. It said '4,022 people saved' - whereas most people would say safe. The computer, when the Vashta Nerada attacked, tried to teleport all 4,022 people. As the people had nowhere to go it saved all the people - to the hard drive in the centre of the planet.

In her house the little girl is stll watching Miss Evangalista and Donna. When Miss Evangalista mentions CAL to Donna she throws the television remote in anger. Back in the library alarms start ringing, and a self destruct is activated - timed to go off in twenty minutes. Mr Lux is insistrent they save CAL - which is at the centre of the planet. River Song activates a gravity platform that takes them all there.

Inside the central core they can hear the little girl crying out for help. Mr Lux flips a switch, and the little girl appears on a droid. Mr Lux says in a way she isn't just in the computer, she is the computer. CAL - Charlotee Abigail Lux - is Mr Lux's grandfather's youngest daughter. She was dying, so a library was build to hold her, and she could live in any ear, and have access to any book, with a moon to watch over her. It was the child who saved everyone and took them into her dream world.

The Doctor plans to release everyone, but the computer does not have enough memory space, and the Doctor plans to wire himself in so she can use his memory space. River Song is angry as this will mean the Doctor's death meaning she will never meet him.

Anita has been taken by the Vashta Nerada, and when it threatens the Doctor he tells them they are in the biggest library in the Universe, and that they should look him up. When the do they stop advancing. They give the Doctor one day to complete what he wants to dfo. River returns and knocks the Doctor out. When he recovers he handcuffed to a support and River is wiring herself into the system. She makes the final connection as the countdown reaches zero.

Everyone in the library, over 4,000 people, return. The Doctor is still thinking about River Song, and why he gave her his screwdriver. He realises it is because he has had so much time to think about it, and inside is neural communicator. He rushes back to the central core, and is able to save her in CAL's dream world - along with the other dead crew.

Regular Cast

  • Donna Noble: Catherine Tate

Guest Cast

  • Professor River Song: Alex Kingston
  • Doctor Moon: Colin Salmon
  • The Girl: Eve Newton
  • Dad: Mark Dexter
  • Node 1: Sarah Niles (8)
  • Node 2: Joshua Dallas (8)
  • Anita: Jessika Williams
  • Strackman Lux: Steve Pemberton
  • Miss Evangelista: Talulah Riley
  • Other Dave: O-T Fagbenle
  • Proper Dave: Harry Peacock
  • Lee: Jason Pitt (9)
  • Ella: Eloise Rakic-Platt (9)
  • Joshua: Alex Midwood (9)
  • Man: Jonathan Reuben (9)
  • Double for The Girl: Megan Langford
  • Double for Donna: Marianne Hemming
  • Proper Dave Suit: Rauri Mears
  • Patient: Adam Chilvers
  • Nurse: Mariam Nundy
  • Paramedics: Alex Gardener, Gerry Swift
  • Doubles for Joshua: Harry Lewis, Joseff Nichols Defreitas
  • Doubles for Ella: Annabel Williams, Aiden Phillips
  • Other Dave Suit: Sean Saye
  • Anita Suite: Ellen Thomas
  • Anita Shadow: Louise Harrison
  • Library People: Daphne Evans, Tomos Evans, Kelly Davis, Sarah Richards, Elan Richards, Sukhi Kaur, Darpan Kaur, Sophia Al Janabi, Abigail Creel, Jade Lewis, Gemma Thomas, Emma Powell, Maria Vujinovic, Clare Brice, Jeremy Harvey, David Martin, Max Rodziewicz Wilson, Ian Wilson, Eddie Martin, John Grayson, Sousilla Pillay, Deborah Beeson, Bobby Kaye, Sonal Mamta, Caro Zaliskyj, Rachael Fagan, Philippa Burt, Sian Anderson, Natalie Edmonds, Ben Nash, Joe Tiltman, Alan Medcorft, Junior Ford, Matthew Rohman, Jorja Welch, Michelle Short, Peter Small, Jimmy Mack, Brian Taher, Susanna Jon

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 8. Silence In The Library Saturday, May 31, 2008 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM 6.3M 89
BBC 1 9. Forest Of The Dead Saturday, June 7, 2008 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM 7.8M 89

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  • Upper Boat Studios, Treforrest

Outside Locations

  • Alcoa Emp Swansea, Waunarlwydd Works, Titanium Road, Swansea
  • Brangwyn Hall, The Guildhall, Guildhall Road, Swansea
  • Crwys Medical Centre, Wedal Road, Heath, Cardiff
  • Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas, Vale Of Glamorgan
  • Hensol Castle, Hensol, Vale Of Glamorgan
  • Palace Road, Llandaff, Cardiff
  • St Mary's Of Angels, Kings Road, Canton
  • Swansea Library, Alexandra Road, Swansea
  • Victoria Park, Victoria Park Road West, Cardiff