Sshhh! There’s a library full of dark horrors in this week’s Doctor Who, as guest star Alex Kingston gets a creepy introduction to the show…

This article originally appeared in Radio Times for the week 31 May-6 June 2008.

Outside Swansea Library, it’s February 2008 and the sun is bright in a crystal blue sky. But inside Swansea Library… it’s the 51st century; it’s dark, dusty and crawling with shadows. It’s a city made of books. Every book ever written is in here. (Except The DaVinci Code – that’s illegal in the 51st century.) Amidst this Terry Gilliam-esque nightmare stands ER’s Alex Kingston – effortlessly hip in a slim-fitting astronaut’s suit – playing Professor River Song. If Clint Eastwood were a woman, this would be her.

She’s the guest star in Silence in the Library, the first instalment of a two-parter written by Steven Moffat. He recently won a BAFTA for last year’s terrifying episode Blink, in which statues came to life. This time, it’s shadows that bite. “It’s scary stuff,” says Kingston, “but quite esoteric in places. Grown-ups will be scared, too!”

For this scene, David Tennant is on all fours. The Doctor is temping a shadow out from under a desk… with a chicken leg. “Not sure how long I can hold this position,” says Tennant, flinching. “Bit uncomfortable.”

“Try wearing a spacesuit!” teases Kingston. For the close-ups, though, she’s removed her boots. “Why wear boots when your legs aren’t in shot?” she reasons. “After a while, you want to tear the whole suit off. Some days we’ve had our helmets on in every scene. That’s claustrophobic.”

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