Nightshade Mark Gatiss
#8 August 1992 ISBN 0-426-20376-3 231 pages
cover art © byPeter Elson

The recursive elements of this painting — actor Edmund Trevithick being attacked by the same creature that is threatening his character of Professor Nightshade on the television screen — ingeniously reinforces the novel's central theme of being overwhelmed and trapped by one's own memories.

The inhabitants of the village of Crook Marsham find themselves falling victim to memories from their past. An ancient entity known as the Sentience has awakened...


This story of regret, nostalgia, and painful memories is among the most haunting and atmospheric ever told in Doctor Who. Gatiss' depth of understanding of such themes — themes best understood by the elderly — is particularly remarkable since he was only in his mid-twenties when he wrote it.

  • Full Novel (PDF) — Includes a special Introduction and a chapter-by-chapter commentary by author Mark Gatiss, as well as new artwork by Daryl Joyce. This PDF originally appeared on the BBC's Doctor Who website, but for some strange reason was taken down in late 2010.
  • Prelude — from Doctor Who Magazine #190

illustrations © by Phil Bevan

  • Starting with this novel, Doctor Who Magazine began to publish the Prelude series, short teasers for each New Adventure. These were short-short stories, usually taking up a two-page spread, and almost all of them were illustrated with black-and-white drawings by Phil Bevan. Rather than merely being an excerpt from the novel, each of these were in fact extra material specially written for the magazine by each book's author. These continued to appear until Human Nature, after which they were discontinued. But by then they had long since accomplished their goal — by providing readers of DWM with free samples, they drew in more regular readers to the novel range than they would have otherwise.
  • Actor and novelist Mark Gatiss has a longstanding association with Doctor Who. Most notably, he has written various episodes for the new series starting in 2005, as well as appearing as Dr. Lazarus in the episode The Lazarus Experiment.
  • Gatiss is a great admirer of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass serials and films, which is evident in much of his work. In this novel, he based the character of Professor Nightshade on Bernard Quatermass. The straight-to-video P.R.O.B.E. series of films, written by Gatiss in the mid-'90s, drew many of their themes from Quatermass. And from 2005-2008 Gatiss starred in Graham Duff's SF radio comedy series Nebulous, which drew heavily from Kneale's work (as well as Doctor Who, Doomwatch, and a slew of other British SF shows).
  • It's been theorized by some that the Sentience in this work is in fact the Sou(ou)shi from Venusian Lullaby, billions of years after their imprisonment by the First Doctor.