‘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 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, period costumes and set design 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 ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’) 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 loved the scene when the Doctor meets and realises that it’s Charles Mr. Dicken. He’s thrilled to bits and is a big fan of his.

Eve Myles guest stars as Gwyneth, the house maid. Eve delivers a lovely performance as Gwyneth and 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 the 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.

doctor unquiet dead

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 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 of Christmas in Victorian Cardiff. I liked Rose’s scenes with Gwyneth and how she connects to her.

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

In this episode, Cardiff has a rift in time and space that becomes important to ‘Torchwood’.

‘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 as a TARDIS duo.

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 1 of ‘The Complete Series 1’, there’s ‘Waking the Dead’ and ‘Laying Ghosts – The Origins of ‘The Unquiet Dead’. There’s also a commentary with Simon Callow; director Euros Lyn and writer Mark Gattis.

There’s also a BBC Breakfast interview with Christopher Eccleston that I found very interesting. There’s also ‘Making ‘Doctor Who’ with Russell T. Davies; some BBC Launch Trailers and a storyboard for one of the BBC Launch Trailers.

On Disc 5, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘TARDIS Tales’.

The first three episodes of new series ‘Doctor Who’ are very good with Christopher Eccleston as the 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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