Doctor Who (2005) S01E01: "The Unquiet Dead"

The Doctor and Rose join forces with Charles Dickens to investigate a mysterious zombie plague.

TV Episode details

"The Unquiet Dead" is the third episode of the first series of Doctor Who, which premiered on BBC One on April 9, 2005. It was written by Mark Gatiss and directed by Euros Lyn.

The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and his companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) travel to Victorian Cardiff on Christmas Eve, 1869, where there have been sightings of strange gas-like creatures. The Doctor and Rose join forces with Charles Dickens (Simon Callow) to investigate Mr. Sneed (Alan David), a man who runs a funeral parlor where corpses appear to come to life. It is revealed that the gaseous Gelth (voiced by Zoe Thorne) have entered Cardiff through a Rift and wish to survive by taking over the corpses.

"The Unquiet Dead" is the first episode of the revival to be set in the past, and it was intended to demonstrate the show's possibilities. The original brief and script focused on mediums with a darker tone, but it evolved into a story about zombies and became more of a "romp." Callow, who had researched Dickens and played him multiple times, accepted the guest-starring role in "The Unquiet Dead" because he believed the historical figure was accurately depicted. The Cardiff Rift was also introduced in the episode. The episode also features a guest appearance by actress Eve Myles, who went on to play Gwen Cooper in the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood in 2006. Because contemporary Cardiff, the location of the Doctor Who production, lacked sufficient Victorian architecture, location work for the episode was shot in Swansea and Monmouth in September 2004, and Penarth in September and October. However, one location scene was shot in Cardiff in September. Studio work was recorded at Newport's Unit Q2 warehouse in September and October.

The Gelth's main visual effect was computer-generated imagery (CGI). On its initial broadcast, "The Unquiet Dead" was seen by 8.86 million people in the United Kingdom. It generally received positive reviews, though some critics criticized some plot points and the lack of a moral quandary.

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Doctor Who (2005) S01E01: "The Unquiet Dead"

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