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Who's scariest monster yet?

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coverage of series 3, 2007

  1. Labour of love (7 April)
  2. Cat and Doc (14 April)
  3. The Thinking Man's Dalek (21 April)
  4. Enemy of the States (28 April)
  5. Who's scariest monster yet? (5 May)
  6. Burn, baby, burn (19 May)
  7. We're coming to get you! (26 May)
  8. Loving the Alien (2 June)
  9. Hell's Angels (9 June)
  10. And then there were three (16 June)
  11. Master mind (23 June)
  12. On set with... Freema Agyeman (30 June)
  13. Who's on board? (22 December)

coverage of other series
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  • Publication: Radio Times
  • Date: 2007-05-05
  • Author: Nick Griffiths and Barry McIlheney
  • Page: 12
  • Language: English

Doctor Who creatures have long been the stuff of nightmares, but this week's monster could just top the lot ...

Scariest monster yet?

How often do you get the opportunity to create a monster?" says Stephen Greenhorn, writer of this week's story, The Lazarus Experiment. The first thing Who regenerator Russell T Davies said to Greenhorn was: "Mad scientist". "It was a bit confusing," says Greenhorn, "because I thought he was interviewing me for the writing job, not giving me it!"

So the two started trading reference points: comic-book heroes and villains and superhero movies. "We talked about tone and style," says Greenhorn (who wrote Glasgow Kiss and Wide Sargasso Sea), "and I started thinking about themes and what experiment we wanted to go wrong. I homed in on this notion of a rejuvenating machine."

The machine's owner is Professor Lazarus (Mark Gatiss). The monster (left) is a CGI creation from The Mill, based on Greenhorn's notes, but what they dreamt up astonished the writer. "I'd written a bit about the scientific theory behind where this monster comes from, and a vague idea of how I thought it might look," says Greenhorn. "The guys at The Mill say that and thought, 'We can do better than that!' They regard themselves as the torch-holders of 'behind-the-sofa moments — and they reckon this is one of the scariest things they've done."

As for letting RT readers have a sneak preview of the monster, Davies says: "It's the Hollywood model, really. When Spider-Man 3 comes out you can guarantee ITV will have one of those documentaries on the making of the film. I love then and I think if Hollywood believe it's wise as part of their publicity, then we must think the same.

"When I was a kid I didn't wonder how the Sontarans were made, or whether there was anyone inside a Dalek, but now the young audience especially is more media-savvy, they expect those articles. It's a balancing act. I'll never know if we get it right


I'm a doctor!" exclaims Mark Gatiss. "A Doctor of Letters from Huddersfield University, admittedly, but a doctor nonetheless." Bizarrely, Gatiss isn't making this up, having recently received this prestigious award, given to him and his fellow League of Gentlemen cohorts for their "outstanding contribution to comedy".

Now, though, Gatiss is set to face a very different kind of doctor, in the form of David Tennant's timeless Time Lord. Having already written an episode for each of the first two series (the Dickens-and-ghosts story The Unquiet Dead, and the evil-50s-TV-set caper The Idiot's Lantern), and with one in the pipeline for the fourth series next year, the tall multi-tasker is now set to become only the third man ever to both write and appear in the programme with his guest role as a certain Professor Lazarus.

"It's a dream come true," enthuses Gatiss. "I've always been a massive fan since I was a child, and to now write for it and appear in it is just incredible. I can't give too much away, obviously, but let's just say that I start off being 76 years old and then I invent a machine that makes me young again and ... and of course it all goes horribly wrong."

The butterflies must surely have been flapping, then, when it actually came time to make his debut appearance.

"Well, it's funny because I've known David [Tennant] for years now — he's one of my oldest friends - and I also know quite a lot of the crew, so in some ways it was just like any other shoot, you know: there's your caravan, business as usual."

And yet ... "And yet there were a couple of moments when I just became totally overwhelmed with the whole thing. At one point I was crouched inside my machine, and every time the door opens all this smoke billows out, and there's me in my tuxedo and the smoke starts rising over my head and I just sort of burst out through the door and it was like, 'Bloody hell! I'm in Doctor Who! Yes!"' Interviews by Nick Griffiths and Barry McIlheney

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES The Doctor and Martha (Freema Agyeman, centre) run into her brother Leo and sister Tish (Reggie Yates and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, left) and mum (Adjoa Andoh). "You get to know the family more and explore the dynamics between them," says writer Stephen Greenhorn. "Tish plays quite a big role — she works for Lazarus"


Creepier than the Carrionites? More jaw-dropping than the Judoon Image of The Lazarus Experiment monster created exclusively for RT by special effects experts The Mill

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to

  • APA 6th ed.: McIlheney, Nick Griffiths and Barry (2007-05-05). Who's scariest monster yet?. Radio Times p. 12.
  • MLA 7th ed.: McIlheney, Nick Griffiths and Barry. "Who's scariest monster yet?." Radio Times [add city] 2007-05-05, 12. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: McIlheney, Nick Griffiths and Barry. "Who's scariest monster yet?." Radio Times, edition, sec., 2007-05-05
  • Turabian: McIlheney, Nick Griffiths and Barry. "Who's scariest monster yet?." Radio Times, 2007-05-05, section, 12 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who's scariest monster yet? | url= | work=Radio Times | pages=12 | date=2007-05-05 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=5 March 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Who's scariest monster yet? | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=5 March 2024}}</ref>