The Unquiet Dead
9 April 2005
Alan David (Gabriel Sneed), Huw Rhys (Redpath), Jennifer Hill (Mrs Peace), Eve Myles (Gwyneth), Simon Callow (Charles Dickens), Wayne Cater (Stage Manager), Meic Povey (Driver), Zoe Thorne (The Gelth).
|Written by||Mark Gattis|
|Directed by||Euros Lyn|
|Produced by||Julie Garner and Phil Colinson|
The Doctor takes Rose back through time to 1869. But in Victorian Cardiff, the dead are walking, and creatures made of gas are on the loose. The time-travellers team up with Charles Dickens to investigate Mr Sneed, the local Undertaker. Can they halt the plans of the ethereal Gelth?
- The Doctor gives Rose some very complicated directions to the TARDIS wardrobe: "First left, second right, third on the left, go straight ahead, under the stairs, past the bins, fifth door on your left."
- This establishes that the interior corridors of the TARDIS beyond the console room still exist despite the redesign, and echoes a similar conversation between Romana and Chris Parsons in the uncompleted serial, Shada, about where to find the TARDIS medical kit.
- The presence of such mundane items as rubbish bins recalls The Invasion of Time, where the TARDIS interiors resembled an Earth-style building (complete with a swimming pool). In The Eleventh Hour the Eleventh Doctor would reveal that this incarnation of the TARDIS retained the swimming pool, "in the library."
- When looking into Rose‘s mind, Gwyneth is frightened and breaks off contact when she sees "the things you’ve seen the darkness. the Big Bad Wolf!" The phrase "bad wolf" recurred in all of the stories in this season, culminating in the episode "Bad Wolf" and finally explained in "The Parting of the Ways".
- The events in this episode are alluded to in the 2008 episode The Unicorn and the Wasp
- When The Doctor saves Rose from one of the possessed dead, it is one of the rare cases when he opens a door without use of his sonic screwdriver, most likely because he didn’t have the time.
- The Gelth light up the door-knocker as Dickens rushes out of the undertakers – a reference to Jacob Marley in Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol.
- The Gelth mention that their current state is a result of the Time War. After the emotional scene with Jabe in The End of the World the inference is that the Doctor helps them out of guilt for his actions.
- This is the episode that first mentions the Rift in time and space which runs through Cardiff. It is used again as part of the plot in a later episode of this series, Boom Town, and is also central to the Dr Who spin-off series Torchwood.
- When the Doctor sends Rose to the wardrobe, "First left, second right, third on the left, go straight ahead, under the stairs, past the bins, fifth door on your left." it is the first confirmation in the series that there is more than one room in the TARDIS.
- This is the first episode of ‘new Who’ to open with a scene which doesn’t feature either of the stars.
- The Doctor advises Rose to change her clothes as to be less conspicuous in the 1860’s, yet he himself did not change his clothing. Does the Doctor need to change his clothing, or does he make people perceive that his outfit is nothing out of the ordinary for the society that he visits?
- Dickens says he is going off to catch a mail coach. Mail coaches were no longer used some 30 years earlier in 1830. This may however be an in-joke since Dickens himself wrote in Pickwick Papers about how mail coaches’ had gone out of service, replaced by the railway.
- When Rose is locked in the room and the bodies come toward her, you can see a modern-day electric light-switch to the side of the door she’s trying to get through. As the Doctor runs down the hall toward her, you can see a central heating radiator. Both are wildly anachronistic for the time period.
- Dickens uses the phrase "On with the motley" which is anachronistically incorrect. The phrase translates from vesti la giubba, a line of dialogue from the opera I Pagliacci. The opera wasn’t written until 1892, and wasn’t translated into English until 1902 (by Enrico Caruso).
- Historically, Dickens had abandoned his "farewell tour" and other charitable performances on doctor’s orders in the spring of 1869, six months prior to the timeframe of this episode. (December 1869).
- In this episode, Christopher Eccleston is credited as ‘Doctor Who’, not ‘The Doctor’.
- Dickens did indeed die in 1870 leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood unfinished, but he died on June 8th 1870, not in the winter as implied. He’d have had several months to write about "blue ghosts".
- Eve Myles went on to play Gwen in Torchwood.