Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode

It was billed as a ‘run from the monsters’ episode but turned out to be something deeper and more touching

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The Independent Culture

Scare master Steven Moffat was on true form this week with a psychologically terrifying episode. With nods to Poltergeist, Alien and even Event Horizon, it probably left a good chunk of viewers quavering.

Forget about the clockwork droid popping out from under the bed in 'The Girl in the Fireplace', this was a thousand times more frightening. It was such a simple and beautiful idea that took its cue from the most innate of childhood fears.

Watch new trailer for 'Time Heist'

‘Listen’ could so easily have been a reverse of the Weeping Angels, where you must not look at your fear to make it go away, but that would have been too easy and predictable. Instead more questions were thrown up than answered.


Again Clara was back on top of her game. She was feisty yet gentle throughout, challenging both the Doctor and Danny Pink. This is the Clara that we love and want to see more of.

But there was also a maternal side that emerged when she spoke to a slumbering boy who will become the Doctor. The Impossible Girl is still looking after her Doctor.

The return to the barn in Gallifrey and the connection to 'The Day of the Doctor' was a nice little touch. Moffat always said he was a 'box set man' and the barn scene created a sense of completeness with 'The Impossible Girl' and the destruction of Gallifrey story arcs.           

Aside from the ghosts and the time travelling, a blossoming romance between Danny and Clara was slotted in.

The date scenes added maturity to the episode and again showed the new direction Doctor Who is taking, becoming grounded in reality rather than being completely fantastical.

‘Listen’ is the most powerful episode of Doctor Who from Moffat to date. It was a moving piece of drama as well as a terrifying piece of Saturday night television. At least that’s one thing Strictly and X Factor can’t match. 

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Next week on Doctor Who… It’s all getting a bit Ocean’s Eleven in the high octane ‘Time Heist’. Clara and the Doctor have to rob a bank if they want to save their lives and finally we see Ms Delphox played by Keeley Hawes.