Press and Publicity Articles for The Unquiet Dead
Simon Callow will play Charles Dickens in the new series.
We can confirm that Callow, famous for his role in Four Weddings and a Funeral, will play the famous writer in an episode written by Mark Gatiss.
The news was reported in today's issue of The Independent.
"To be honest, when they sent me the script, my heart sank," he told the newspaper. "As I know all about Dickens, I can say with authority that most attempts to put him on screen are awful - and there are a lot of them. But this script is fantastic."
Speaking about the casting, Russell T Davies said, "It's wonderful to welcome an actor of Simon Callow's calibre on board the TARDIS. As soon as the words 'Charles Dickens' first appeared in Mark Gatiss's clever, scary, inventive script, then we knew there was only one actor we wanted to approach.
"We're genuinely honoured that Simon has accepted, and I know that Chris and Billie are delighted too. This sets the standard for a Doctor Who with wonderful casts, exciting scripts and the highest production values."
What was that dreadful smell at just after seven o'clock on Saturday night? Why, it was the nation's under-12s reacting as under-12s will to the opening scene of Doctor Who (BBC1), which was almost enough to make me react with them. A dead old lady sat bolt upright on a mortuary slab, her eyes went all funny, she throttled her grieving grandson then set off screaming through the streets of Cardiff. All this was before the diddly-bong of the theme music, which isn't bad going.
Mark "League of Gentlemen" Gatiss's first stab at writing for the Doctor was a rich stew of genuine horror and gleeful cliché, with a big dollop of Eng Lit chucked in for good measure. Dumbing down? Hah! We discussed the finer points of Charles Dickens's oeuvre and Einstein's theory of relativity while chasing around in horse and cab. Billie Piper looked more than usually lovely in a Victorian off-the-shoulder number (for the dads) while Zombie Gran was there to terrorise the kiddies. We even got Simon Callow doing his Dickens turn ("What the Shakespeare is going on?"). Doctor, you're spoiling us.
With all this on the plus side, it seems churlish to nit-pick, but that's what I'm paid for - so, am I the only one to find Christopher Eccleston's grinning a bit tiresome? It was all well and good to establish him as a matey, northern Doctor in the first episode, but frankly I'm hoping for a bit of depth at this point. He does look nice in a leather coat, though, which 99% of the sci-fi loving population does not.
Episode three of Doctor Who was too scary to broadcast at 7pm
The BBC's response
Doctor Who is famously remembered by adults as being the family teatime programme which they watched from behind the sofa as children. The series has always been shown in the early evening and, while the monsters may be scary, the content is carefully considered for a pre-watershed audience.
The programme sets out to balance the right amount of humour, drama and suspense in each episode. In The Unquiet Dead broadcast April 9th, the comic character of the Welsh undertaker and a larger than life Charles Dickens together with the laughter and bravery shown by the Doctor and Rose in the face of danger were, we believe, vital elements in putting this "ghost story" into the right context for a family audience. This is a balance we will strive week by week to maintain and remain vigilant about.
We leave it to the discretion of parents to ultimately decide what is suitable for their children to watch. The programme is well trailed giving a clear indication of its content.