Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead

“Christmas 1860. It happened once. Just once, and it’s gone, it’s finished. It’ll never happen again. Except for you. You can go back and see days that are dead and gone, a hundred thousand sunsets ago. No wonder you never stay still.”

Doctor Who

Today’s post features another of our periodic visits to the TARDIS. Hurrah!

The Unquiet Dead is one of the 9th Doctor’s (Christopher Ecclestone) episodes, featuring Simon Callow as Charles Dickens, that Welsh girl from Torchwood playing a hugely unconvincing Welsh Protestant servant-girl, and zombies.

Don’t you just love Doctor Who? Where else would you find all those things in the same place?

An undertaker in Cardiff is having difficulty with the corpses in his establishment. They keep coming alive. What are the mysterious blue creatures floating around the corpses? How does the Welsh servant-girl know so much about the Doctor and Rose? And where did the Doctor study physics? Because “filling the room with gas” will not “suck the Gelth from the bodies like poison from a wound.” At least, not in any universe I’ve ever heard of.

I have to admit, this episode isn’t the best of Doctor Who. The acting from Eve Myles (Welsh servant-girl) and Alan David (Welsh undertaker) is dire and the plot makes little sense once you strip away the deeply dodgy science. But it has a very Whoish, bittersweet ending (the Doctor actually seems to care! Wow!) and some poignant touches: Dickens asks, “How long do my books last?” “Forever,” replies the Doctor. Goosebumps.

Plus, the theme music alone makes this better than most of Eleven’s episodes. It’s a better theme, that’s why. There’s so much more going on in it than in that horrible flat one Eleven has. And, more importantly, when I hear it I think immediately, “Doctor Who – epicness – ALIENS!” whereas when I hear the Eleven’s theme tune I basically go “meh”.

So. The lesson for the day is: Nine is better than Eleven. Unless, that is, you’re taking books on holiday, in which case eleven is probably better than nine.

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