The creature materialises
The Fear
Writer: Steven Moffat
Story number: 5.4
Enemy: Fear
Setting: 16th Century Earth
Format: 1x45 minute format
Previous Story: Trial By Fire
Following Story: His Return

"The Fear" is the fourth episode of the fifth series of Doctor Who. It first aired on 31st July 2010.


"When you hear your name in the darkness, you're already dead!" - McIntyre

A remote village in Scotland is under attack from 'what hides in the moors'. The Doctor and co. investigate a series of deaths and disappearances that happen during the night. The villagers cower as the creature begins taking on human form. So who can be trusted... and who is the Fear?


Scotland 1704. In a village at night, a young woman, Moira, looks out her window and sees the pitch blackness of the moors. She looks away but darts her head back to the moors when she faintly hears her name. She hesitantly goes out to see who is there. The voice calls out again, this time louder and asks her to come closer. She is almost hypnotised by the voice. She then stops, as if she had woken up... or realised something. She could no longer see the light from her house. She was in total darkness. The voice whispers again, almost in glee, 'Goodbye.' Suddenly she screams. The villagers, including Moira's father, James run outside and see her footsteps leading to the moors. One of the villagers, McIntyre, darkly announces, 'it's taken her now.'

The TARDIS materialises into a mansion. The Doctor, Martha and Kale exit and are impressed by the turnout. As they are observing, a man, Sir Daniel Cunningham arrives and accuses them of trespassing. The Doctor convinces him through his psychic paper that they are here from Queen Anne on 'business'. Cunningham guesses it must be about the disappearances. The Doctor asks what he means. Cunningham explains that the village has been experiencing strange events over the past month, which the villagers have ruled to be because of someone or 'something' in the moors.

The Doctor, Martha and Kale look around the village which seems normal and speak to McIntyre and his son, Arthur. They say that at night, people have been lured into the moors, most have either stayed missing or turned up dead. However, McIntyre explains that just last night, a girl, Moira, was led to the moors but turned up the next day, but she was either insane or terribly sick. They all go see her at the Campbells.

Moira's father, James, asks if the Doctor knows what is wrong with his daughter, who is locked inside her bedroom because she tried to kill him. He says that he has had Sir Cunningham have several doctors look at her but state that she 'has an ailment unlike any other'. An old woman, Carline Isobel, tells them that she is 'possessed'. Everyone comes and see the Doctor, Martha and Kale inspect Moira (all of them are, more or less, qualified enough to be doctors). Moira is speaking in some form of alien language but because of the TARDIS's translations, her speech becomes clear. She is preaching about the 'death of the world' and how the 'humans fear the unseen'. The Doctor demands that the entity within Moira reveal itself. The entity refuses but states that it will leave Moira's body at sundown.

Night comes and Moira begins to scream, with black smoke rising from her mouth. The Doctor attempted to talk to the smoke which was forming into a featureless, humanoid shape. The villagers mistake it for some demon and try to attack it. The creature becomes violent and kills two villagers before disappearing into the pitch black moors. The Doctor, Martha and Kale give chase.

When they enter the moors and saw that the creature has some ability of illusion, trapping all three of them individually in some sort of dream world. The Doctor is trapped in a large metal box that is brightly lit and is slowly getting smaller. Martha is stranded on a floating platform in the middle of an infinite white void. And Kale is trapped in a maze, which is where the creature is. The Doctor attempts to speak with the creature, but it only shouts at him, speaking in doggerel phrases and prophecies, repeating 'Fear' over and over again. Soon, the platform Martha is standing on begins to shrink. Kale tries to camly get through the maze but he begins to lose his nerve when he keeps hearing the creature's movements.

The Doctor then realises that fear is what is maintaining these realities and begins to deconstruct his own by proclaiming logical equations and philosophy. The creature then changes the enviroment to a barren planet. The Doctor then realises that this landscape is Gallifrey, seeing the ruins of the Citadel. However, the Doctor responds more angrily than afraid which causes the creature to disconnect itself with the Doctor's mind - but warns him that it still has his companions.

Martha's platform is almost too small for her two feet. The Doctor manages to communicate with her by shouting in the darkness. Martha hears that it is playing on fear and therefore will not kill her because she is not truly in an alternate universe. Martha utilizes this and she herself is then released and they also see Kale, but Kale is shown to be extremely pale, shaking and hyperventilating.

Back at the village, Kale is strapped to a bed and soon becomes violent, screaming and then pleading for someone to kill him to 'get it out'. They realise that Kale has now been possessed. The entity then begins to morph Kale's body, spouting mechanical tendrils and turning his eyes red. His voice becomes robotic and distorted. It then became more audible, calling itself 'the Fear'.

The Fear then tears the bed apart and begins to drain a villager's cells into its body using the many tendrils that inject themselves into him. After he is finished, he chases Martha and the Doctor into Cunningham's mansion. Cunningham holds them at gunpoint, saying that when the Fear first came here, it gave Cunningham so much knowledge about past, present and future. It claimed that it was trapped in a capsule after human scientists from the far future discarded after seeing its violence and instability (especially its violent reaction to sunlight), so it could not be used as a weapon. It was launched into a 'time hole', which sent it to a random part of the Universe's timeline - landing where it is now. Cunningham agreed to help the Fear if it spared him and gave him all knowledge to conquer any planet he wanted.

The Fear managed to break in. Cunningham offered them to it but the Fear stated that it wanted him first. Cunningham angrily asked why as they had a deal, and the Fear replied that it wanted all humans. It absorbed Cunningham instantly and moved on to the Doctor and Martha. However, the Fear began to lose control of Kale when Kale started to release angry moments in his life and proclaiming his many triumphs that show he has 'no fear'. The Fear was forcibly released from Kale, returning him to normal. Now, as a mindless mass of darkness, it was destroyed by the sunlight after it failed to lunge itself at everyone.

The Doctor, Martha and Kale return to the TARDIS, commenting on how every planet has ghost stories and stange superstitions - and how they have to come from somehwere.



  • The Doctor's 'cube nightmare' borrows heavily from Cube 2: Hypercube.
  • Moira's possession was influenced by The Exorcist.
  • The working title for this episode was 'Fear Of The Dark'.

See Also

Phoenix Saga - Series 5
Red Scar  • Prime  • Trial By Fire  • The Fear  • His Return  • Pentagram  • The Lonely Heart  • Sand Devil  • Time Slip  • Ripples In The Lake  • Ragnarok  • Tree Of Life  • Vengeance Sevenfold