Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror is the fourth episode of Doctor Who Series 12, and engineer Nikola Tesla (E.R.‘s Goran Visnjic – above) thinks he’s getting signals from Mars, which leads to an energy kerfuffle, someone unnamed kicks the bucket, the Doctor turns up with the Scooby Doo gang, and so does an alien, shooting at them all, and just as they’ve all been teleported onto the Orient Express and in full period dress.
Up pops an Orb of Thassor, from an ancient race, who builts these to share their information and legacy long after they’ve gone. Tesla’s rival, Thomas Edison (Robert Glenister), wants one because all he can see is dollar signs.
But in the end, it was a simple case of alien invasionm – led by Queen Skithra (Anjli Mohindra – Wild Bill) – whose happy to bump everyone off on Earth, from a race who need Tesla to help repair their spaceship, even though any sensible alien would go forward in time to the 39th Century when mankind wised up, ignored religion and people who waffle about “man-made global warming” – that just held the planet back for centuries – and actually got on with scientific invention and thus, the spaceship was born. Time travel was another two centuries away at that point… oh, I’ve said too much…
There was a typical case of accidentally revealing modern information back to the past, when Yaz spilled the beans about what radar is, causing Tesla to admit he’d been working on the same theory.
At one point, the Doctor managed to decouple her train carriage from the one carrying the alien, but while that may be possible when the train is stationary, it’s very unlikely when it’s moving, as the tensions put upon the coupling will resist any attempt to decouple them.
Overall, Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror made for a moderately amusing 45 minutes of entertainment – including Graham’s electrical referencing into the band AC/DC, but it had a threadbare plot.
It does also make you think that since Tesla was still left behind in history, and since The Doctor hasn’t performed a ‘memory wipe’ on anyone, why is everyone still so calm about the fact they’ve just seen off an alien invasion?
Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror is available on the BBC iPlayer.
Out the same day, is the Limited Edition Blu-ray Steelbook.
Director: Nida Manzoor
Producer: Nikki Wilson
Writer: Nina Metivier
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker
Graham O’Brien: Bradley Walsh
Ryan Sinclair: Tosin Cole
Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
Nikola Tesla: Goran Visnjic
Thomas Edison: Robert Glenister
Queen Skithra: Anjli Mohindra
Dorothy Skerritt: Haley McGee
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.