|First UK Transmission Date (BBC1)||Scheduled TX||Viewers|
|9th April 2005||19:00||8.86m|
Charles Dickens (Simon Callow), Gabriel Sneed (Alan David), Gwyneth (Eve Myles),
Redpath (Huw Rhys), Mrs. Peace (Jennifer Hill), Driver (Meic Povey)
Writer: Mark Gatiss, Script Editor: Elwen Rowlands,
Director: Euros Lyn
Synopsis: The Doctor and Rose meet Charles
Dickens and in a Cardiff funeral parlour they encounter the mysterious Gelth,
a creature which lives within the gas pipes and has deadly plans for humanity.
'The Unquiet Dead' Background and Summary:
This story was another 'first' in the history of the revival of Doctor
Who: It was the first story of the new series not be to written by executive
producer and head-writer Russell T Davies, and as such was extremely important.
It demonstrated two very significant things: Firstly that the pace and unfamiliar
style of Rose and The End of the World were purely down to the writing
of Russell T Davies and secondly, that this more 'traditional' Doctor Who story
was generally more appealing and more popular than the opening two stories.
Drawing strongly on the atmosphere of The
Talons of Weng-Chiang and general themes of The Image of the Fenhal,
the writer Mark Gatiss took the brief outline provided by Russell T Davies and
created a wonderful story which felt more like 'classic' Doctor Who than anything
produced after the 1970s. Whist the first two stories of this season were comparable
to very little seen before in Doctor Who, the idea of an alien apparition
in a historical setting is a successful format in Doctor Who as seen in
The Time Meddler, The Time Warrior and The Talons of Weng Chiang.
Tthe general feel of The Unquiet Dead owes as much to the Big Finish Audio
dramas as it draws on ideas from Winter for the Adept, Storm Warning,
Medicinal Purposes and of course Mark Gatiss' own Phantasmagoria
- a title which is referenced by Dickens early in the story.
What Gatiss' story shows is that Doctor Who
can remain very close to its roots and still appeal to a large audience. Whereas
Russell T Davies opening two stories were fast, frivolous and occasionally immature,
The Unquiet Dead is gentler, darker and altogether more mature and the
audience appreciation was extremely positive. The BBC noted on its website that
feedback was full of praise from parents who were delighted that their children
were scared by the same programme that they had been. Whilst Rose and The
End of the World are each filled with great one-liners, excellent scenes and
stunning set pieces, they don't somehow become more than the sum of their parts.
The Unquiet Dead on the other hand is not packed so extensively with quips
and 'moments' but succeeds because it satisfies every person who was beginning
to wonder if the new series of Doctor Who could produce a story that would
have sat comfortably in the heart of any successful season from the past.
Classic Series Influences and References:
- Dickens asks "What is this Phantasmagoria?" which is the title of
Mark Gatiss' first Big Finish Audio story.
- The Doctor refers to witnessing
the siege of Troy which he did in The Myth Makers.
- The Doctor mentioned
World War V. In The Talons of Weng-Chaing, to which this story owes a lot,
the Doctor mentions the near-start of World War VI.
- Living from childhood
near a rift in the space/time continuum as a cause of 'psychic' ability in humans
is also explored in Image Of The Fendahl.
- The Doctor's directions
for Rose to find the wardrobe are an echo of the Fourth Doctor giving Leela directions
to the VIP suite in The Invasion of Time.
the Complete First Series
is an absolutely must for anyone who remotely enjoyed the new series of Doctor
Who. Unlikely the previous individual releases of episodes, the box set has extras
coming out of its ears. And whereas some box sets just have extras on the final
disc, this brilliant package has a selection of extras on each disk, plus the
entire set of Doctor Who confidential (cut down) on another disk.
much needs saying about the episodes themselves but commentaries on certain episodes
are almost worth the price alone. The commentaries of Rose, The Unquiet
Dead and Dalek are of particular note and the video diaries of certain
members of the team are very interesting and fun. The TARDIS container is a nice
package and overall, believe me this set of DVDs is well worth the asking price,
or probably more!