The Master's brood
Night of the Empty
Writer: Cameron Robertson
Story number: 6.4
Enemy: The Seventh Master
Setting: Washington DC, 1964
Format: 1x45 minute format
Previous Story: The Picture
Following Story: Dawn of the Shadows

Night of the Empty is the fourth episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who. It is also the first half of the first two-parter in the series.


"Everyone in the city must hear God's message." - 'Brother Kreios'

Tension between the Soviet Union and America is mounting. Nuclear war could be emminent, and someone is determined to make sure it happens. Someone who is more dangerous than any nuclear bomb or warhead. And he is not wanting to negotiate.


In the United States, the year is 1964. China has also joined the ranks of the Cold War as the fifth greatest nuclear power. Tensions between the main global superpowers are mounting. Fears of nuclear attack are only rising and humanity lies in constant fear and vigilance over what could be their final hour. All over America, the deluded, the histrionic and the malicious have gathered in using the threat of obliteration to spread their absurdities and flawed views to the baying masses like a virus. Their influence was cause for concern, but in the end - minimal. No one knew how very wrong they were when one group nearly brought the end of humanity from within. The harbinger of this possible disaster came in the form of an old man with a young face.


Behind the scenes

  • The Master's influence on people and his facade as a Christian healer mirrors many aspects of the amplified American interest in contemporary cults during the 60's and 70s, mostly 'doomsday cults', who often had 'charismatic authority figures'. Also, the Master's 'hypnotic' effect on people could be a reference to Charles Manson, who also created a sort of commune and engaged in often murderous behaviour and conspired to arm themselves for some 'global war'.
  • The Master's disguise also mirrors Charles Manson's mugshot in 1969, with wild hair, tired eyes and wearing loose, unbranded clothing.
  • The cult that he created, who constantly speak of how 'the world will glow', reference doomsday cults such as The Summit Lighthouse, or Order of the Solar Temple, who were often violent and delusioned into believing in some utopia that they would go to if they followed their leader.
  • This may be one of the darker episodes of the series. As it refers to nuclear war, fanatical cults, political conspiracy and the Cold War. All these elements seem more real than other Doctor Who episodes - as the threat may be alien, but the weapon is humanity itself.

See Also

Phoenix Saga - Series 6

Xmas Special - Joyeux Noel

Swan Pond  • The Man From The Stars  • The Picture  • Night of the Empty  • Dawn of the Shadows  • The Death of Hope  • Rise of Atlantis  • Necropolis  • Sphinx's Wrath  • War of the Cybermen  • The Third Man  • Ex Nihilo  • Son of Perdition

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