‘The Unquiet Dead’ (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

Victorian Cardiff

‘The Unquiet Dead’ is a very scary ghost story by Mark Gatiss. It’s set in Victorian Cardiff, 1869. The Doctor and Rose meet Charles Dickens and fight against aliens made out of gas called the Gelth.

It was nice to watch a ‘Doctor Who’ episode set in Victorian times and in Cardiff. The actual episode was filmed in Swansea. The atmosphere, the period costumes and the set designs are very good.

The episode is also set at Christmas time when the Doctor and Rose visit Victorian Cardiff. This was a nice touch and it fits well when Mr. Dickens performs ‘A Christmas Carol’ to a theatre audience.

Mark Gatiss (best known for ‘The League of Gentlemen’ TV series) wrote a story aimed to scare the living daylights out of you. It’s also a sweet story of how the Doctor inspired Charles Dickens.

Simon Callow delivers a wonderful performance as Charles Dickens. I love the scene where the Doctor meets and realises it’s Mr. Charles Dickens. He’s thrilled to bits about it and is a big fan of his.

Eve Myles guest stars as Gwyneth, the house maid. Eve delivers a lovely performance as Gwyneth and she went on to play her descendant, Gwen Cooper, in the spin-off series ‘Torchwood’.

Gwyneth is a sweet Welsh girl in Victorian Cardiff who is sensitive to her ghost surroundings. She can see into the future and has the ability to make contact with the Gelth when they come.

Alan David guest stars as Mr. Sneed, who runs the funeral parlour where Gwyneth works. He and Gwyneth cover the ‘dead bodies walking about’ situation since he doesn’t want anyone to know.

The monsters are the Gelth, voiced by Zoe Thorne. They are aliens made of gas that take over the departed at a funeral parlour in Cardiff. The corpses become zombies and it’s pretty creepy.

Christopher Eccleston is excellent as the Doctor in this episode. He clearly relishes showing the wonders of Victorian Cardiff to Rose, even though it wasn’t the right time and destination he wanted.

I liked it when the Doctor has scenes with Charles Dickens and how he encourages him to see more of the world than he already knows. His views on the Gelth and with Gwyneth were interesting.

Billie Piper is wonderful as Rose. She gets to dress up in a nice Victorian dress for the occasion on Christmas in Victorian Cardiff. I liked Rose’s scenes with Gwyneth and how she connects to her.

It was interesting when Rose objected to the idea of the Gelth using the corpses at the funeral parlour to walk about in. The Doctor seems to accept it as necessary, but Rose disagrees on this.

I like how Rose and the Doctor have developed in terms of their relationship together. I also liked it when it seemed like they were going to die at the end but they were glad to have met each other.

In this episode, Cardiff has a rift in time and space that becomes important to the ‘Torchwood’ spin-off series. Gwyneth closes the rift to prevent the Gelth causing trouble at the cost of her own life.

‘The Unquiet Dead’ by Mark Gattis is a very creepy episode to watch indeed. Simon Callow is brilliant as Charles Dickens and I do like it that the Doctor and Rose work well together as a TARDIS duo.

The DVD/Blu-ray special features for this episode are as follows. There’s ‘Waking the Dead’ and ‘Laying Ghosts – The Origins of ‘The Unquiet Dead’. There’s also an audio commentary on the episode with Simon Callow, director Euros Lyn and writer Mark Gattis. There’s a BBC Breakfast interview with Christopher Eccleston that I found very interesting and there’s ‘Making ‘Doctor Who’ with Russell T. Davies. There’s also the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘TARDIS Tales’.

The first three episodes of the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ are very good with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor and Billie Piper as Rose Tyler. For those who haven’t met the Doctor and Rose before in ‘Doctor Who’, I recommend the complete DVD box set of Series 1 as the best place to start.

‘The Unquiet Dead’ rating – 7/10

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2 thoughts on “‘The Unquiet Dead’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Brilliantly reviewed Tim, this is another of my favourite episodes from season 1, i like that the Doctor & Rose clash over his idea to use dead bodies as vessels for the aliens & Rose reaction it showcases the alien aspects of the Ninth Doctor although i couldn’t see the Tenth or Eleventh consider this idea.

    Tense, scary, Simon Callow brilliant performance as Charles Dickens walking corspes equals my type of Doctor Who episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘The Unquiet Dead’. I guessed this is another one of your favourite episodes from Series 1.

      That scene between the Doctor and Rose clashing over the idea of dead bodies used as vessels for the Gelth clearly highlights how different the two are with the Doctor being Time Lord and Rose being human. I enjoyed how Chris Eccleston plays out that scene as the Doctor with Billie Piper as Rose. Yeah, I guess the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor would be against this idea especially in how Rose has made the Ninth Doctor ‘better’ during his healing process. I would like to write a short story featuring the Ninth Doctor and Rose to explore more of their relationship.

      Yes Simon Callow is brilliant as Charles Dicken and the episode does feel tense and scary throughout. I know how much you like your gothic horror and I’m sure dead walking corpses in this episode fit the bill. 😀

      Many thanks.

      Tim. 🙂



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