Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Now that Doctor Who in his present incarnation is well and truly established in the Saturday evening schedules (this story would be the equivelent to a Visitation or (dare I say it) Genesis of the Daleks in the running order) we can begin to accept the characters and have fun watching them reacte to certain situations.

With Mark Gatiss we know we are getting very faithful Doctor Who - one presumes he was held back a bit from over-continuity in the first instance by RTD - and not a little dark and scary humour for which his books and, more paricularly, The League of Gentlemen is famous for, and he doesn't disappoint. 

Without meaning to deride the story in anyway The Unquiet Dead is Doctor Who by numbers. Scary Aliens, check. Wonky TARDIS, check. Famous person from the past, check. Victoriana, check. It's all there, but, in Gatiss's tale takes on a much more adult and chilling tale. Shades of Horror of Fang Rock abound with possessed humans and blustering Victorian gentlemen allowed Gatiss to push the boundaries of Saturday tea-time telly to the max, and some of the scenes would, surely, have had children scurrying behind their parents in fear. 

As the main guest star, Simon Callow was wonderful as Dickens, and, in what could have been a twee character (HG Wells, anyone?) brought a gravitas, realism and gravitas to the character. 

Again, Billie Piper was spellbinding ... you could turn down the volume and just watch her reactions .. the missed beat and then the accepting "OK" echoing her elder cousin, Sarah Jane Smith. Eccleston is well in his stride here as the Doctor, firing ahead with the power of Tom Baker, but with, sometimes, the dialogue of his namesake Colin, giving him a desperate edge. What are these Time Wars? How is the Doctor responsible? How far will he go to make amends? 

For the first time we get the feeling that this story didn't follow directly on from The End of The World, and that the Doctor and Rose have had at least one adventure in between them. I hope so, because soon, gaps in Eccleston's time are tragically going to be premium real estate. 

For continuity buffs the clues are there... the Time Wars, Rose's comments to the Doctor, and, for the second time the reference to The Bad Wolf. 

Whatever RTD has in store for the Doctor, I for one am salivating like Pavlov's dog in anticipation. Mark Gatiss claims to have waited all his life for THIS moment. He did himself proud.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television