Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Count me among the very few who have never read, heard nor seen any of Mark Gatiss's previous work. Yes, I know – I'm a heathen. But on the basis of this episode alone, you can be sure I'll be borrowing past episodes of League of Gentleman from my local video store. The Unquiet Dead is a return to the gaslight-powered horror-tinged atmosphere that worked so well in the Talons of Weng Chiang. 

A story like the Unquiet Dead is going to fail or succeed based on the performance of its actors. So it's a foregone conclusion that Simon Callow's performance as Charles Dickens was absolutely brilliant. Charles Dickens easily equals Jago, Litefoot and Duggan as one of my favourite supporting characters. I'd never met Charles Dickens, but if I had, I do believe he would look like Simon Callow.

The biggest completely out-of-left field surprise performance came from Eve Myles (Gwyneth). Along with Charles Dickens, the character of Gwyneth is the true heroine of this story. She willingly sacrifices her own life to stop the Gelth from passing through the rift. Equally as important, she forces Rose to question her own class prejudices.Her performance is subtle, beautiful and deeply heartfelt. That's three for three in the "great supporting actors" stakes (Yasmin Bannerman being the other). 

Murray Gold's incidental music (both here and in EOTW) is a humongous improvement over that heard in Rose. It's extremely subtle, and at times deeply moving, particularly towards the end during Gwyneth's final scenes. What it shows is that Gold can write very good music for the serious dramatic scenes, but he does tend to go over the top (not to mention have the subtlety of a sledgehammer) when a little levity and silliness is required.

Once again, we have an extremely strong and powerful ending:

"My books they last?"

"Oh yes."

"For how long?"


Only three episodes in, and they've already produced an episode which I now absolutely must place on my "All Time Favourites List". It remains to be seen whether this wonderful and entertaining story can be topped. Time will tell.

Filters: Series 1/27 Ninth Doctor Television