|'For Tonight We Might Die'
by Patrick Ness
Night at Coal Hill Academy: a student is on the run from fiery, shadowy aliens pouring out of a dimensional rift that hangs in mid-air in a corridor; the boy hides in a classroom and meets one of his teachers – then a creature slides under the door and a scream sounds… The next day, the students of Coal Hill return for another day at school. Sixth former April is organising the Autumn Prom, and disappointed that the odd but good-looking new boy, Charlie, won’t be her date; genius fourteen-year-old Tanya feels alienated from being academically moved up two years; promising footballer Ram just wants to be left alone. After the four of them attend Science Class with the cynical and unorthodox Miss Quill, Ram plays football and sees another player’s shadow move strangely, a distraction that earns him field laps from the coach. On her way home Tanya is chased by a huge shadow that flows across walls, which she evades by hiding in a corner shop. April learns that Charlie has asked a boy to the Prom instead; she starts decorating the school hall, unaware a shadow is moving towards her too. Charlie gets home to find Miss Quill waiting; she bemoans her punishment of keeping him safe, and refuses to say if she killed the missing boy – in truth he took the gun she gave him, but when he shot the shadow monster, the weapon killed him too. Tanya video chats with Ram from her bedroom, but is interrupted when a shadow creature attacks her; Ram can only watch as Tanya holds it off with a standard lamp. April is rescued from a shadow’s grip by a gun-toting Miss Quill; as the creature transforms into a huge, fiery humanoid figure, the Shadow King, the woman hands her weapon to April and tells her to shoot – but then Charlie appears and knocks April’s arm so that her shot only glances the shadow creature. After explaining that the displacement gun is the only thing that can kill the Shadow Kin, but which kills the wielder as well as the target, Miss Quill scans April and finds that the girl’s heart is now linked to the Shadow King. When Charlie refuses to kill the king because it will kill April too, the creature vanishes, along with the Shadow Kin menacing Tanya. While Miss Quill makes a phone call, Charlie reveals that they are both aliens from the same planet: he is the prince of the Rhodia, a learned society that was at war with another race called the Quill; after the Rhodia won, the leader of the freedom fighters, Miss Quill, was punished by becoming the prince’s protector, with a creature implanted in her brain that prevents her from using any weapons. However, the Shadow Kin took advantage of the civil war by destroying everyone on the planet: three billion Rhodia and Quill were killed in a day, and only Charlie and Miss Quill were able to escape when they were rescued by a figure of legend: the Doctor. The Time Lord left them at Coal Hill for safety, but now the Shadow Kin have found them… In class the next day, April warns Tanya and Ram about shadows, and ends up explaining the events of the previous night. The prom still goes ahead that evening, but while everyone tries to enjoy themselves with their dates they still check the shadows. The celebrations go well – until April collapses from a vision of the Shadow Kin emerging from the rift, and the Shadow King murders Ram’s date and then cuts off the boy’s leg. With the teachers preoccupied with some drunk kids outside, it falls to April to grab the band’s mic and order everyone to get to safety – a warning given weight when Charlie and Miss Quill arrive with the Shadow Kin in pursuit. In the ensuing mass panic Charlie confronts the Shadow King, but he is unable to kill the creature without harming April, and the monster just grabs and crushes the weapon. Just then a blue police telephone box materialises out of thin air – the Doctor has answered Miss Quill’s call for help. The Doctor face off against the Shadow King, knowing that he has come for the Cabinet of Souls, the centre of Rhodian religion, which can also be used as a great weapon; but when the Doctor points out the folly of avenging genocide with genocide, Charlie reveals that the cabinet is empty, he only brought it with him in memory of has lost people. Grabbing a fire extinguisher, April threatens to freeze her heart unless the Shadow King leaves. Then Tanya turns on the hall lights to banish the monsters, so the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to boost every light in the building, which forces the Shadow Kin back into the rift. The Shadow King grabs April to take her with him, but Ram hobbles up and hits the creature with a chair, knocking it into the rift, which the Doctor then closes with his sonic. Later, after the fire brigade have arrived and the Doctor has given Ram a new prosthetic leg from the TARDIS, the unlikely band of friends recover from their experience. The Doctor explains that the rift opened due to the excessive amount of arton energy around Coal Hill Academy. With the entrance only scrambled, not sealed, the Doctor entrusts the group with guarding the rift from further threats; Miss Quill objects, but the Doctor has faith in their resourcefulness and bravery. The Time Lord departs in the TARDIS, leaving everyone to get used to their new life living on a knife edge… That night, Charlie sneaks a look into the Cabinet of Souls, which isn’t empty after all…
Katherine Kelly (Miss Quill), Greg Austin (Charlie), Fady Elsayed (Ram Singh), Sophie Hopkins (April MacClean), Vivian Oparah (Tanya), Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jordan Renzo (Matteusz), Ben Peel (Coach Dawson), Shannon Murray (Jackie MacClean), Aaron Neil (Varun Singh), Natasha Gordon (Vivian Adeola), Anna Shaffer (Rachel), Paul Marc Davis ( Corakinus), Nigel Betts (Mr. Armitage), Pooja Shah (Miss Shah), Alex Leak (Kevin), Laura Jane Hudson (Mrs Linderhof), Satnam Bhogal (Counter Clerk), Ellie James (Student 1), Moses Adejimi (Student 2), Assay Haggs (Student 3), Shalisha James-Daws (Student 4)
Directed by Ed Bazalgette
Produced by Derek Ritchie
Executive Producers Brian Minchin, Steven Moffat and Patrick Ness
A BBC Wales production
TX (BBC Three):
22nd October 2016 @ 10.00
*Introducing Miss Quill, Charlie, April, Ram, Tanya and Matteusz, and featuring the Twelfth Doctor
*This episode and episode 2, 'The Coach with the Dragon Tattoo', were both released on BBC Three at the same time
*Working title: 'The Prom'
*This episode was later shown on BBC 1 on 9th January 2017 @ 10.45 pm