Doctor Who

Season 4 Episode 8

Silence in the Library (1)

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM May 31, 2008 on BBC America
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Episode Summary

Location: The Library
Date: 51st century
Enemies: Vashta Nerada

The Doctor and Donna land in a frightening position in the far future. While investigating a derelict library, the duo come face to face with the disembodied mind of a little girl, an archaeological team led by a woman from the Doctor's future, and swarms of flesh-eating creatures that are seen only as shadows. Surrounded by every book ever written, the Doctor takes control to keep everyone alive and in the light. But the darkness is moving too fast for him, and the key to their survival could be in the nightmares of a little girl...moreless

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Alex Kingston

Alex Kingston

Professor River Song

Guest Star

Colin Salmon

Colin Salmon

Dr. Moon

Guest Star

Steve Pemberton

Steve Pemberton

Strackman Lux

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The symbol on which the word "CAL" appears on the computer screen when the Doctor is trying to access the mainframe is the same symbol on the carpet in the little girl's living room floor.

    • The sonic device (a squareness gun) which Professor River Song uses to make a hole in the wall is identical to the device which Jack used in the series one episode The Doctor Dances. According to the Doctor Who Confidential Steven Moffat stated that River Song picked it up from the TARDIS in The Doctor's future, after Jack had left it behind at the end of The Parting of the Ways.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • River Song: (to the Doctor) Pretty boy, with me, I said.
      (the Doctor looks around)
      The Doctor: ... Oh, I'm pretty boy!
      Donna: Yes!

    • (The Doctor and the archeologists appear in The Girl's television)
      The Doctor: Hello.
      The Girl: Hello. Are you in my television?
      The Doctor: Well… No, I'm... I'm… sort of in space. Um, I was trying to call up the data core triple-grid security processor.
      The Girl: Would you like to speak to my dad?
      The Doctor: Dad or your Mum. That'd be lovely.
      The Girl: I know you. You were in my library.
      The Doctor: Your library?
      The Girl: The library's never been on television before. What have you done?
      The Doctor: Um, well, um… I just… rerouted the interface…
      (The channel suddenly changes)
      Cartoon Face: Aaah!
      (The Doctor's monitor connection is broken)

    • Donna: (referring to Miss Evangelista) Couldn't she help?
      Other Dave: Trust me, I just spent four days on a ship with that woman. She's, uh …
      Anita: Couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod and the bathroom. We had to go back for her. Twice.

    • The Doctor: The Library. So big it doesn't need a name, just a great big "The".
      Donna: It's like a city!
      The Doctor: It's a world. Literally; a world. The whole core of the planet is the index computer; biggest hard-drive ever, and up here, every book ever written. Whole continents of Jeffrey Archer, Bridget Jones, Monty Python's Big Red Book. Brand new editions, specially printed.

    • The Doctor: Ah! I'm thick! Look at me, I'm old and thick, head's too full of stuff. I need a bigger head!

    • The Doctor: That's not darkness down those tunnels. This is not a shadow. It's a swarm. A man-eating swarm. (He throws a chicken leg into the shadows which is stripped bare in less than a second) The piranhas of the air. The Vashta Nerada. Literally, the shadows that melt the flesh. Most planets have them but usually in small clusters. I've never seen an infestation on this scale or this aggressive.
      Donna: What d'you mean, most planets? Not Earth?
      The Doctor: Oh yeah, and a billion other worlds. Where there's meat, there's Vashta Nerada. You can see them sometimes if you look. The dust in sunbeams.
      Donna: If they were on Earth, we'd know.
      The Doctor: Nah. Normally they live on roadkill. But sometimes people go missing. Not everyone comes back out of the dark.
      Professor River Song: Every shadow?
      The Doctor: No. But any shadow.
      Professor River Song: So what do we do?
      The Doctor: Daleks, aim for the eye stalk. Sontarans, back of the neck. Vashta Nerada… run.

    • Professor River Song: Donna. You're Donna. Donna Noble.
      Donna: Yeah. Why?
      Professor River Song: I do know the Doctor. But in the future. His personal future.
      Donna: So why don't you know me? Where am I in the future?
      (River doesn't answer)

    • Doctor Moon: Now, listen. This is important. There's the real world and there's the world of nightmares. That's right, isn't it? You understand that.
      The Girl: Yes, I know, Doctor Moon.
      Doctor Moon: What I want you to remember is this- and I know it's hard. The real world is a lie and your nightmares are real. The Library is real. There are people trapped in there. People who need to be saved. The shadows are moving again. Those people are depending on you. Only you can save them. Only you.

    • Miss Evangelista: Is that the nice woman?
      Donna: Hello. I'm… I'm… I'm here. Are you OK?
      Miss Evangelista: What I said before… about being stupid… don't tell the others, they'll only laugh.
      Donna: Of course I won't. Of course I won't tell them.
      Miss Evangelista: Don't tell the others, they'll only laugh.
      Donna: I won't tell them. I said I won't.
      Miss Evangelista: Don't tell the others, they'll only laugh.
      Donna: (getting more upset) I'm not going to tell them.

    • The Doctor: (about Miss Evangelista, who is ghosting) She's a footprint in the sand and the tide's coming in.

    • Professor River Song: This is the data extract that came with the message.
      The Doctor: 'Four thousand and twenty-two saved. No survivors.'
      Professor River Song: Four thousand and twenty-two. That's the exact number of people who were in the Library when the planet was sealed.
      Donna: But how can four thousand and twenty-two people have been saved if there were no survivors?
      Professor River Song: That's what we're here to find out.
      Strackman Lux: And so far, what we haven't found are any bodies.

    • Professor River Song: There was a message from the Library. Just one. 'The lights are going out'. Then the computer sealed the planet and there was nothing for a hundred years.
      Strackman Lux: It's taken three generations of my family just to decode the seals and get back here.

    • The Doctor: What's CAL?
      Professor River Song: Ask Mr Lux.
      The Doctor: CAL. What is it?
      Strackman Lux: Sorry, you didn't sign your Personal Experience contracts.
      The Doctor: Mr Lux… right now, you're in more danger than you've ever been in your whole life, and you're protecting a patent?
      Strackman Lux: I'm protecting my family's pride.
      The Doctor: Well, funny thing, Mr Lux, I don't want to see everyone in this room dead because some idiot thinks his pride is more important.

    • Professor River Song: Look at you. You're young.
      The Doctor: I'm really not, you know.
      Professor River Song: No, but you are! Your eyes. You're younger than I've ever seen you.
      The Doctor: You've seen me before then?
      Professor River Song: Doctor… please tell me you know who I am.
      The Doctor: Who are you?

    • The Doctor: Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark. But they're wrong, 'cause it's not irrational. It's Vashta Nerada.
      Donna: What's Vashta Nerada?
      The Doctor: It's what's in the dark. It's what's always in the dark.

    • Professor River Song: You think there's danger here?
      The Doctor: (sarcastically) Something came to this library and killed everything in it. Killed a whole world. Danger? Could be.

    • Miss Evangelista: I'm Mr Lux's personal… everything. You need to sign these contracts agreeing your individual experiences within the Library are the intellectual property of the Thelman Lux Corporation.
      The Doctor: Right, give it here.
      Donna: Yeah, lovely, thanks.
      (The Doctor and Donna tear the contracts up)

    • Professor River Song: (to the Doctor) Hello, sweetie.
      The Doctor: Get out.
      Donna: Doctor…
      The Doctor: All of you, turn around, get back on your rocket and fly away. Tell your grandchildren you came to the Library and lived. They won't believe you.

    • (The security camera has told the Doctor and Donna 'others are coming')
      Donna: (to a Node) Excuse me, what does it mean, 'others'?
      The Doctor: That's barely more than a speak your weight machine. He can't help you.
      Donna: So why's it got a face?
      Node 2: This flesh aspect was donated by Mark Chambers on the occasion of his death.
      Donna: It's a real face?
      Node 2: It has been actualized individually for you from the many facial aspects saved in our extensive flesh banks. Please enjoy.
      Donna: It chose me a dead face it thought I'd like? That statue's got a real dead person's face on it!
      The Doctor: It's the fifty-first century. That's... basically like donating a park bench.
      Donna: It's donating a face!

    • Node 1: (speaking in a flat emotionless voice) There follows a brief message from the Head Librarian for your urgent attention. It has been edited for tone and content by The lman Lux Automated Decency Filter. Message follows. Run. For God sake, run. Nowhere is safe. The Library has sealed itself. We can't… oh… they're here. Arg. Snarg. Snich. Message ends. Please switch off your mobile com units for the comfort of other readers.

    • The Girl: (upset) Someone's here! Someone's got in! No-one's supposed to get in!
      Father: She's never mentioned anyone else. She's always been alone.
      The Girl: Someone's in my library!

    • Node: (to the Doctor and Donna): Message follows. Count the shadows. For God's sake remember if you want to live, count the shadows. Message ends.

    • Professor River Song: I trust this man with my life, with everything.
      Strackman Lux: But you've only just met him.
      Professor River Song: Nope, he's only just met me.

    • The Doctor: We're near the equator, so this must be biographies. I love biographies.
      Donna: Yeah, very you. Always a death at the end.
      The Doctor: You need a good death. Without death there'd only be comedies. Dying gives us signs (stops Donna from reading a book) whey, spoilers.
      Donna: What?
      The Doctor: These books are from your future. You wanna read all ahead, spoil the surprises, not peeking at the end.
      Donna: Isn't travelling with you one big spoiler?
      The Doctor: I try to keep you away from major plot developments.

    • (The Doctor spots River's book and tries to take a look but River takes the book off him).
      Professor River Song: Sorry you are not allowed to see inside the book. It's against the rules.
      The Doctor: What rules?
      Professor River Song: Your rules.

    • Professor River Song: Whatever came here's long dead
      The Doctor: Bet your life?
      Professor River Song: Always.

    • Donna: You know him, don't you?
      Professor River Song: Oh God do I know that man. We go way back that man and me. Just not this far back.
      Donna: I'm sorry, what?
      Professor River Song: He hasn't met me yet. I sent him a message but it went wrong, it's arrived too early. This is the Doctor in the days before he knew me, and he looks at me, he looks right through me and it shouldn't kill me but it does.
      Donna: What're you talking about? Are you just talking rubbish? Do you know him or don't you?
      The Doctor: Donna! Quiet. I'm working.
      Donna: Sorry.

    • The Doctor: Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark, but they're wrong... because it's not irrational.

    • The Doctor: You're not archaeologists, are you? Tell me you're not archaeologists.
      River Song: Do you have a problem with archaeologists?
      The Doctor: I'm a time traveller. I point and laugh at archaeologists.
      River Song: Ah... (Shakes The Doctor's hand) Professor River Song; archaeologist.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Overnight UK viewing figures for this episode were 5.4 million, with the final viewing figure at 6.27 million.

    • When Eve Newton (The Girl) filmed the scene where she talks to the Doctor through the television, David Tennant was on set reading her the responses.

    • Regular monster performer Ruari Mears is uncredited as the Vashta-Nerada-possessed Proper Dave.

    • As part of the preview for this episode on the BBC Doctor Who website, there are shown a number of books in the library that either feature in previous episodes or were written by Doctor Who writers. They include; Origins of the Universe (Destiny of the Daleks), The French Revolution (An Unearthly Child), Everest in Easy Stages (The Creature from the Pit), Black Orchid (Black Orchid), The Journal of Impossible Things (Human Nature/The Family of Blood) and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (written by Douglas Adams, former Doctor Who script editor).

    • International Airdates:
      United States: 20 June 2008
      Australia: 24 August 2008
      Turkey: 27 March 2011

    • Scenes in The Library were filmed in Swansea Metropolitan University's Welsh School of Architectural Glass. The building formerly housed the city's central library.


    • Cartoon

      Just before CAL starts flipping through the television channels she is watching an episode of 'Pedro and Frankensheep', a CBBC production.

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