Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E03 – The Unquiet Dead

In the third episode of the first series of Doctor Who, the Doctor misses his mark in time and drops himself and Rose in Cardiff in 1869. There, they run into a funeral parlor home to zombies, beings killed in the Time War, and Charles Dickens. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

It’s very easy to see already why so many people adore this show. It’s ordered chaos every week, first of all. The fact that we’re dealing with time travel in such a unique way opens up the show to such unimaginable possibilities. It’s now obvious how this show has been able to sustain itself for nearly 50 years. When you’re able to travel as far back or forward into future, the writers have the entire realm of possibility to focus each episode or arc on.

I figured that after the leap to the future, we’d have an episode dealing with the past. Like every episode so far, the Doctor and Rose deal with another bizarre, supernatural event that is tied to the larger mythology of the show. Here, we get more information (not much, though) on this infamous Time War that is referenced multiple times.

Shooting for Naples in 1860, the Doctor actually misses his mark by a few years and a few thousand miles and nine years. (Is this something that happens? I didn’t know that the TARDIS could make a mistake like that. You can answer that, FYI.) They end up in Cardiff in 1869 and the Doctor’s disappointment and disgust is rather funny. This is not the first time I’ve heard someone make fun of Cardiff, so if someone could explain why I should also be weary of the place, that would be awesome. JUST KIDDING i want to go everywhere in the UK 🙁

“The Unquiet Dead” at first seems to be some sort of spectral zombie affliction that causes the dead to reanimate and either kill people or…go see public readings from Charles Dickens. Personally, I’d rather see Dickens than kill someone, but what do I know? I’m not a zombie. Yet.

We’re introduced to Gabriel Sneed and Gwyneth, who work in a funeral parlor where the dead seem to keep coming back to life, screaming as a blue vapor leaves their mouths. The worlds of them, Dickens, and our main heroes collide when one woman, AFTER MURDERING HER GRANDSON, decides to fulfill her final wish of seeing Charles Dickens. There, in the crowd, the blue vapor escapes from her mouth and, understandably, frightens the entire audience away. I mean….LOOK, WOULD YOU STAY AROUND IF THAT HAPPENED? Of course not.

“The Unquiet Dead” also helps answer some lingering questions I have had about the mechanics of how all of this work. Can Rose die in the “past” if she is not born yet? Aren’t they changing history by going back in time? How does history account for Dickens’s actions and the things he’s seen while the Doctor and Rose are with him?

The show never seems bogged down my the theoretical physics that might normally govern the conversation about time travel and I’m thankful for that. I have other shows or movies that deal with this in much more excruciating detail and I think the science might have overwhelmed the absurd and (sometimes) silly nature of these episodes. We get brief explanations about how time isn’t linear for the Doctor and Rose, about how Dickens’ dies before he can ever relate the tale of what happens here, and how the Rift affects temporal space.

Thankfully, the writer, Mark Gatiss, doesn’t make Dickens an instant believer when he witness the blue vapor, nor when he first sees a reanimated corpse. Honestly, it would have been too convenient for me if he had just jumped into the action without question. In a way, I think it also would have sullied the Doctor’s first conversation with Dickens where he gushed about what a fan he is of him. That conversation, while undoubtedly hilarious, builds the foreground for the Doctor convincing Dickens that he is one of the great minds of history and he should take the chance to explore things that are foreign to him. It’s a great way for the Doctor to tell Dickens to stop his denial of reality without being condescending. The Doctor genuinely loves Dickens’s work.

Rose gets the change to reverse her role as the stunned disbeliever/newcomer when she makes friendly with Gwyneth. Gwyneth, from her many years living in the funeral parlor, is actually clairvoyant, explaining her strange connection to the dead specters and how she’s able to “read” the people around her. Gatiss also uses this chance to contrast modern London society with life in Cardiff in 1869, especially as Rose gradually begins to frighten Gwyneth more and more with her “modern” life.

“The things you’ve seen…the darkness…the Big Bad Wolf!”

Yeah, this is what….the third time we’ve heard this phrase? I don’t get it and I don’t understand what this is talking about.

The seance scene, led by Gwyneth, gives us more insight into what these blue spectre/soul things are: they are called “Gelth” and their physical bodies were destroyed during the Time War. (Where did they live? What was destroyed in the Time War? WHAT ON EARTH IS THE TIME WAR?)

Expanding on the Doctor’s revelation to Rose about how his planet was destroyed during this mysterious war, he’s sympathetic to the Gelth’s plight and agrees to allow them to occupy the dead bodies in the funeral parlor, using Gwyneth as the bridge between worlds. I was surprised to see the Doctor make a wrong decision so early on in the series, but it turns out the Gelth merely acted on the Doctor’s sympathies in order to make an attempt to take over as many bodies as possible. We don’t get an explanation for what the Gelth actually are, but I’m ok with that. That’s for another time. Here, the affects of the Doctor’s decision are fatal: Gabriel is murdered, first of all, and when Dickens figures out that gas is the key to destroying the Gelth, it’s Gwyneth who decides to ignite the match that sacrifices herself for everyone else. Well, sort of; turns out she was actually dead already, as the process to make herself the bridge for the Gelth killed her.

I can’t imagine it was an easy moment for the Doctor. His weakness here was his empathy for beings destroyed in this unexplained war, and I think we’ll see more of this in the future. But his actions had a positive effect on Dickins, who’s life was reignited with a spark of imagination by the strange night. I like the idea of the show filling in the gap of the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood and suggesting that he actually had figured out the ending before he died. For the Doctor, inspiring that sort of lively appreciation for the world seems to be his one real goal for all of this. We’ve seen him do that with Rose twice now in the past previous two episodes, and he does it here again with one of his favorite authors. The Doctor has seen virtually everything and it seems his universal mantra of appreciating life is the one thing that consumes him and motivates his actions. And that’s a pretty awesome mantra to live by.


  • OH MY GOD I LOVE SIMON CALLOW. Best Dickens ever, y/y/y/y/y
  • “You can’t let ’em run around inside of dead people!” “Why not? It’s just like recycling.” BEST EVER oh my god i love the dialogue on this show so much.
  • “Perhaps I’ve thought everything I’ll ever think.” OH MY SAD. Depressing. 🙁
  • “Now, don’t antagonize her–I love a happy medium!” “I can’t believe you just said that.”
  • Can we all start saying, “What the Shakespeare???” from now on?

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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288 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E03 – The Unquiet Dead

  1. Steve says:

    I've just realised if you keep at this pace you're gonna get one hell of a Christmas present…

    Always thought this ep gets unfairly overlooked, creative and interesting. Oh, and the TARDIS tends to be somewhat hit and miss in terms of accuracy, part of it's charm!

  2. Lisbry says:

    "What the Shakespeare???" is definitely something we should all start saying from now on.

    And I'm surprised you picked up on the Bad Wolf thing earlier. I didn't before this episode (first time watching that is).

    I have little to say about this episode, apparently, and YES, SIMON CALLOW IS AN AWESOME DICKENS.

  3. arctic_hare says:

    i want to go everywhere in the UK 🙁

    ME TOO 🙁

    I agree re: Simon Callow as Dickens. I was like "EEEE!" when I recognized him, because he's in one of my favorite movies of all time (A Room with a View).

  4. kaybee42 says:

    Is this something that happens? I didn’t know that the TARDIS could make a mistake like that. You can answer that, FYI
    -I can't say TOO much, but basically 'yes'. The TARDIS is ollllllllllllld man!
    Also, regarding the Cardiff thing, basically it's just the juxtaposition of Naples with CARDIFF… Cardiff/Wales is basically the buttmonkey of the UK in the same way that the US makes fun of Canada 🙂 But we do like Wales, really! ("They shag sheep!")

    EDIT: I should add that, quite ironically, this episode WASN'T shot in Cardiff like most of Doctor Who, cause they couldn't find anywhere that would look like Cardiff in 1809.

    • hassibah says:

      psst! The US makes fun of Europe too.

      • kaybee42 says:

        What does the US (you?) say?? What are the European stereotypes? What are the jokes about? This is mental and ridiculously interesting!

        • Hypatia_ says:

          The US mostly makes fun of Canada. Sometimes France, Ireland and Scotland. But mostly Canada. I'm American, but I live in Canada. I've heard it all.

          • hassibah says:

            Personally I never thought Canada jokes were that much more common than jokes about Europeans or anyone other place…of course the French are the most popular ones. They pick on Brits, Germans and Eastern Europe to a lesser extent but Ireland and Scotland not so much-Americans seem to love Ireland and like over romanticize like everything about it.

            /Canadian living in Canada who watched USTV for 20+ years

            • mag11 says:

              I'm an American in the US and there are definitely more jokes about Canada than anywhere else. Obviously nearly every country has stereotypes for nearly every other country, but some you just hear about more than others.

        • hassibah says:

          It depends a lot on the country a lot of course but the trend I see in pop culture is that they are snobs…and also some stuff about hygiene…Americans (which I am not) must think their bathing practices are amazing for some reason.
          Yeah but generally, the french are rude and snobby, british people are uptight and not very manly, eastern europeans are kind of sttoic and not very trustworthy. If it's a tiny country nobody knows anything about they might make it look kind of backwards and ignant. I think they like the Irish.

    • Tasneemoo says:

      I for one <3 Wales – their accent is AMAZING. I want to go to university there just so i can pick it up. or bristol, that's the next best thing 🙂
      But I swear wales is the place where there are more sheep than humans! 2:1 ratio guys.


  5. Hanah says:

    I really, really adore this episode. It's one of my favourites from the first series and I don't even know why, something about Simon Callow and the snow and Cardiff (it's in Wales. The English have a friendly disgust of Wales – it's all sheep and people from the valleys with silly accents in our magnificently stereotypical view of it. I have a friend from Newport – little place in Wales – and whenever she goes home I always tell her how sorry I am. Also, Cardiff vs. Naples? I know which I would pick for sheer excitement!) and also I love the historical episodes of Who. They really ground the show for me, because this is stuff I've possibly been learning about since I was a kid and seeing someone like Rose meeting Charles Dickens is AWESOME because it's like if *I* got to go back and meet Charles Dickens. (Or any other awesome person from history.) IDK, it's like wish-fulfillment on screen and I love it. <3

    And yes, missing the right time/place happens a LOT. Usually so they can land somewhere interesting for plot purposes. 😛 The idea is basically that the Doctor's a bit rubbish at actually flying the TARDIS. I once worked out how many times in the new series he'd actually taken it where he meant to go – it wasn't that many! (And it's definitely the Doctor's fault, not the TARDIS's. Although I do like to the think that the TARDIS senses where in time and space the Doctor might be needed and takes him there. There is no canon to back this up btw, I just like the idea.)


  6. randomisjen says:

    Aren’t they changing history by going back in time?

    How do you know that because they do what they do, is the reason that things are the way they are??? LOL

    • Openattheclose says:

      It's like when Harry heard the pebbles being thrown at Hagrid's hut before he went back in time and threw them.

      • bookling says:

        EXACTLY. Although I think there are at least a few times where history is actually. changed.

        • notemily says:

          I always assumed that Doctor Who operated on the "multiple possible universes" theory–that if you go back in time and change something, you're in essence creating a new universe in which things are different. But I've only been a Who fan for like five minutes, so don't take my word on it.

  7. Jessica says:

    Is this something that happens? I didn’t know that the TARDIS could make a mistake like that.

    The Doctor's TARDIS isn't exactly in optimal condition, so yes, mistakes like that can happen.

    • randomisjen says:

      I keep wanting to type a quote from a newer companion in reply to the age of the Tardis, but I shall refrain.

  8. John Small Berries says:

    The Doctor always seems to be able to direct the TARDIS to exactly the right place and time when he really needs to (for example, in crisis situations).

    The disparaging remarks about Cardiff were probably an in-joke; Cardiff is where they film the new series (and where they filmed its spinoff, Torchwood).

    • John Small Berries says:

      Whoops, accidentally dropped a couple of sentences there. Since he can drive it with precision at need, I suspect his “misses” are intentional. Whether he’s deliberately going to the “wrong” time, or just going places randomly to see what kind of trouble he can turn up, I’m still undecided.

      • Hypatia_ says:

        I get the impression that he can fly it accurately when he really, really has to, but mostly he just doesn't give a shit.

  9. Annemette N says:

    I really liked this episode, Gwen was so cute. And I eagerly await these reviews everyday. They are a perfect way to end my day (it’s 10pm here) 😀

  10. psycicflower says:

    Rule number one: Never trust seemingly innocent children of mysterious origin.

    I like how practical Sneed and Gwyneth are about the whole thing. From the start it's clear this has been going on for a while and they just roll with it. Phantasmagoria is also one of my favourite words.

    ‘And now I’m going to die in a dungeon. In Cardiff.’ I love how the show pokes fun at Cardiff because it only does it out of love because the show is made there.

    I like how it continues to show the danger involved in travelling with the Doctor. Yes there’s the wonder of seeing the past and meeting Charles Dickens but it isn’t all historical figures and the time vortex, there’s also death and fear.
    I also love how it slowly builds up the audiences knowledge with the Rift, the scope of the Time War and slowly introducing the rules of time travel.

    In closing What in Shakespeare is going on?

    (I can’t take someone being chloroformed seriously since Community. My whole brain is crying.)

    • Openattheclose says:

      You mean this? 🙂

      <img src=>

      • psycicflower says:

        Yes! 😀 I would one up you forever if I could.

        (I'm sad they still haven't released series 1 on DVD in region 2 yet)

  11. knut says:

    I'm so glad you're enjoying Doctor Who! I don't know if you already know this/if this is helpful at all, but apparently Doctor Who is supposed to be a children's show (or so I've heard)? If I was a child and saw this I probably would have died.

    • psycicflower says:

      Yeah, Doctor Who is considered to be a family show but it's also known for its history of scaring generations of children (and in some cases their parents too). It's where the phrase 'hiding behind the sofa' comes from.

    • Time Cat says:

      I'm gonna quote from TVTropes, but I just love this description of Doctor Who:

      'One of the most controversial discussions in fandom is whether Doctor Who is … "the children's own program that adults adore", a "family show" or a "dark and edgy show like Battlestar Galactica meets the X-Files, at midnight in an unlit cellar! Constant death and misery! Pain! Lots of pain!"'

  12. Pseudonymph says:

    So, Torchwood fans, Eve Myles as Gwyneth!

    • Thennary Nak says:

      And she begins the recycling of actors within the program itself for NuWho.

      • Cinthya says:

        I especially love the recycling of Peter Capaldi and Karen Gillan:) You really get to see Peter's range and I love that we got to see Karen become a main character.

      • Danielle says:

        Begins? That trend was started waaaay back, including the Sixth Doctor himself. This is because there are only twenty actors in the UK.

        • Hypatia_ says:

          Kind of like how Harry Potter has, at one time or another, used 95% of all British actors. And then a bunch of them have been on Doctor Who. It must make crossover fics way too easy.

      • forthejokes says:

        I absolutely love all the recycling of actors within and between the shows, the ones that have since been given main roles have all been amazing.

    • Hypatia_ says:

      I know, I kept expecting her to pull out a gun and start yelling threats at the Gelph.

  13. monkeybutter says:

    I love the Doctor telling Rose how to find the costumes. The TARDIS is huuuuuge. And you're right as always, the dialogue is the best part. I like the alternation between rewriting the past and absurd adventures in the future. It's silly fun.

    I know fuck-all about the UK, but I think Wales is the equivalent of West Virginia in terms of being the national whipping-boy. It's pretty rainy there, right? And I think it was industrial, like the North, but went into decline like the Rust Belt in the US. Whatever, I'll just assume Thatcher is to blame.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Oh, and BBC Wales produces the show and its HQ is in Cardiff, so there's that.

    • Kaci says:

      I was totally about to make the Wales/WV comparison because I live in WV and that's always the impression I've gotten. Beaten to the punch!

    • NB2000 says:

      You're pretty much correct about the attitude to Wales.

    • calimie says:

      Blaming Thatcher is always the right answer.

      In any case, RTD is from Wales (I think) and the show is filmed in Cardiff (except the exteriors of this ep., ironically)

    • kytten says:

      The TARDIS is MASSIVE. We're watching old who a lot at the moment and at one point it shows a swimming pool that is never mentioned again.
      And they actually get lost in it at some point.

      • kaleidoscoptics says:

        Hopefully this isn't a spoiler, but the pool is mentioned in a one-off line in New!Who.

      • amandajane5 says:

        "Because you know that here at Hogwarts, we've got a hidden swimming pool!"

        /A Very Potter Musical

        I just couldn't resist!

    • Fuchsia says:

      I want to see more of the inside of the TARDIS!

    • Megan says:

      That’s something I wish they would do in the new one. The TARDIS entrance feels like the whole thing and not just the bridge. Over and over I think when they mean “bigger on the inside” they’re just talking about that room. They very much needed to explore the extent of thr TARDIS at some point in this new show.

      • NB2000 says:

        This is kind of one of the things I dislike about the set design (at least the one for Nine/Ten), the characters talk about going off to other parts of the TARDIS but there doesn't actually appear to be anywhere for them to go. There's a ladder in the background but that only goes up to a little balcony thing. The only part leading off from the console is the part leading down to the entrance.

  14. barnswallowkate says:

    I think they shoot the show in Cardiff, so it's kind of an in-joke for them, I guess.

    Edit: I see a few people beat me to this, sorry to repeat 😉

  15. Sal Davis says:

    As a very veteran Dr Who watcher [i watched the first ever episode of the first ever series, with William Hartnell as the Doctor, the first time it was aired] I'm loving your take on this.

    The Tardis has always been damaged and frequently ends up in random places.

    They make fun of Cardiff because that's where Dr Who [and Torchwood] is filmed. It's a lot cheaper than London to block off a shopping mall or cover a main street in fake snow. It was fun to go shopping there and try to spot the actors [while not interfering with them].

  16. Kevin says:

    The reason the TARDIS can overshoot things is partly 'cause the Doctor is trying to control something that's built for a crew of six, partly 'cause it's an old bit of technology and has always been wonky (for example, the reason it's a blue police box is 'cause it got stuck like that and the Doctor liked it so he never bothered to fix it), and partly 'cause the Doctor loves chaos and honestly doesn't care if he overshoots his goal because wherever/whenever he lands will be interesting anyway.

  17. Randomcheeses says:

    The Tardis, while being the most fantastical piece of machinery imaginable, was also nicked by the Doctor (in the Classic Series) just as it was about to be shipped off to the Time Lord's junk yard. So it's also an old and unreliable clunker. Hence the hit and miss nature of the Doctor's travels.

  18. Kaci says:

    I love that you love this show. And wow, you picked up on Bad Wolf way sooner than I did! Good for you!

    As someone said above, Wales basically = the UK equivalent of West Virginia, as far as the stereotypes. I'll just go back to grumbling about WV stereotypes in a quiet corner and ignoring the fact that I own and proudly wear a "WV: It's all relative!" shirt whenever I travel outside the state.

    • Megan says:

      I actually know someone who is watching this at the same time as Mark (but not a visitor to this site) who has yet to notice that.

  19. SiobhanC says:

    "This is not the first time Ive heard someone make fun of Cardiff, so if someone could explain why I should also be weary of the place, that would be awesome."

    Cardiff looks awesome. (I go to University in Wales and have never been, FAIL)
    English people in particular make fun of Wales a lot, not me because I love Wales. 😀 Also Russell T Davies is also from Swansea so I think there is a sort of rivalry there. (there definitely is in Football)

  20. kytten says:

    In this series the episodes just keep getting better and better.

    Shooting for Naples in 1860, the Doctor actually misses his mark by a few years and a few thousand miles and nine years. (Is this something that happens? I didn’t know that the TARDIS could make a mistake like that. You can answer that, FYI.)

    Yes, it happens ALL THE TIME. I can't get too into it, without spoiling, but some time ago the TARDIS was… controlled. It went where the people controlling it wanted to go, and the Doctor was forced to go with it. After that, it ran a little funny.
    Also, th TARDIS is old, and is supposed to be crewed by 6 people, so it's not a surprise it screws up.

    My personaly theory is that the TARDIS itself decides where it goes sometimes. It goes to the important places, the places the Doctor is needed.

  21. who cares says:

    I love Eve Myles. Yay for more Torchwood.

  22. Time Cat says:

    I love how the Doctor fanboys over historical figures quite as much as we fanboy over him. And I don't know about other people, but I learn a surprising amount from the pseudo-historicals, if only by looking on Wikipedia to see what they got wrong. 🙂

    Also, I love how everyone already calls her Gwen. This starts the new series tradition of Whoniverse actor cameos before the actors were actually cast as someone important. (Um… is this a spoiler? Other people seem to have already made it pretty clear, though…)

    • Hypatia_ says:

      And then they like to throw in quick explanations of why this new important character looks exactly like the one-off character who died two seasons back…

  23. SiobhanC says:

    I have to admit I have never really liked this epsidoe as much as most of S1, it's good but I always found it kind of boring, I couldn't tell you why.

    However, I do adore Eve Myles (Gwyneth) so I still watch it plenty.

    • PJG says:

      I agree with you 100% on this! I love the idea of meeting of Dickens, but other than the great job done by Eve Myles, I always felt very meh… Dickens is great, but its not like he's the humanest human, ever. I did appreciate the vestige of A Christmas Carol, with the doorknocker being Marley-esque, however. Shy of that….still meh.

      • Openattheclose says:

        I usually love these types of episodes, but I felt like there was no real need for Dickens to be in this plot. It's done better in later series IMO.

  24. buyn says:


    "I changed my jumper" Oh doctor, you don't change for anytime, and yet no one blinks an eye.

  25. who cares says:

    Poor Doctor he's going to die in a dungeon in Cardiff.

  26. Internet User 027 says:

    This is one of my very favourite Doctor Who episodes EVER. It's so wonderful and it has EVE MYLES with her adorable gap and her WELSH ACCENT AND SDGSGFSDFSDF. I want to live in Cardiff FOREVER.

  27. azurefalls says:

    Mark, JSYK, I was so happy when you said you were watching DW, but I was also absolutely terrified that you might not like it. So I am SUPER PSYCHED that you're loving it so much. Best show ever.

    With the inaccuracy of the TARDIS, it's kind of a running joke throughout the series'. It's attributed nowadays to the fact that the Doctor is a shit flier.


    Also, fun fact: did you know that Harry Lloyd (who the Whovians will know as one Jeremy Baines) is Charles Dickens' great-great-great-great-grandson?
    <img src=""&gt;

    • Openattheclose says:

      Thanks for the trivia! For the longest time I thought that the Jeremy Baines actor played young Tom Riddle in the Half Blood Prince, and was sad when I realized that he did not. BUT he was in David Copperfield (that is so cute) with a baby Daniel Radcliffe, McGonagall, Umbridge, and Zoe Wannamaker (Cassandra/Madame Hooch)

      • azurefalls says:

        Gah, I've always said he would be my PERFECT Tom Riddle. Love Harry Lloyd, he's brilliant. He was also in the BBC's Robin Hood 🙂

      • MowerOfLorn says:

        That kid is gifted, man! Was he just born to play creepy, evil children?

        Well, I guess if he's descended from Dickens, he could have the gifted bit…

    • grlgoddess says:

      Mind. Blown.

  28. StarGirlAlice says:

    You don't want to visit everywhere in the UK, Reading's full of chavs (if that doesn't translate well, google it, and then you'll never want to come to Reading!)

    However, some places are pretty nice. And yes we can start saying 'What the Shakespeare', I'm starting it RIGHT NOW!

    Also, I genuinely love that you are watching Dr Who and that I get to read these reviews before I go to bed (it's 9.36pm here, yes I go to bed early). All in all, a very happy Alice here in cold old England.

    • calimie says:

      You reminded me of that great fandom debate: "Rose, chav or not?" It was fantastic.

      Mark, be warned, this fandom can be quite wanky at times.

      • MowerOfLorn says:

        ….May I ask, what exactly is a chav? I'm not British, so sometimes its lexicon slips me by. (And of course, it'll help me explain 'that' line in 'that' upcoming episode- I'm sure the Whovians understand what I mean.)

        • Megan says:

          I Wikipedia’d chav and it sounded like awesome thing so maybe I got the wrong idea? I did it because of That ep as well. I just think it’s so cool that wearing plaid is a rebellion. Plaid.

        • kaleidoscoptics says:

          From what I understand, it's kind of urban young adult subculture that's influenced a lot by rap. Most of my exposure to the term is in Who flame wars where it's used as a sort of derogatory term for working-class youth whose appearance is considered 'cheap' or tacky by the commenter.

          Feel free to correct me if this is wrong/misleading.

      • Tasneemoo says:

        Rose was a chav, then the doctor came along 🙂

        But that horrendous blue leather jacket? whut? I still love her though, best companion EVER. Amy Pond came a close second.

    • kytten says:

      Alllso, never go to Milton Keynes. It is DEATH in city form.

      Come to Norwich though: We've got one of the only complete norman castles, most of a city wall dating back to 1377, and we're TINY for a city. You cna walk across the entirety of Norwich in about 6 hours. I've done it.

      • kaybee42 says:

        Want a tiny but AWESOME English city? ST ALBANS! St Albans is Mayfair on the UK Towns and Cities version of Monopoly so it must be brilliant! Big up the STA massive! (JSYK no one who lives in St Albans should be able to talk like that…it's just wrong)

        Wooooow, just found out this: "St Albans was the name of a planet in the cult science-fiction television series Firefly." Is that true, firefly fans?? That would be awesome!

      • sabra_n says:

        Bill Bryson's writing on Milton Keynes is totally hilarious, in a sad kind of way. Rest assured that I would never, ever visit that place after reading Notes From a Small Island.

    • Fiona says:

      I sometimes work in Reading, it's not all bad and has great shops.

      But places to avoid in Berkshire are Bracknell and Slough, possibly Windsor (unless you want to be surrounded by Asian tourists and admire the 30+ coffee shops popping up everywhere).

  29. Nikki says:

    I really fail to see how someone from the future dying in the past is some sort of paradox. I actually couldn't believe Rose was seriously asking that question. Of course you can die!

    I really liked how adamant the Doctor was about it being a-ok to let the gas aliens inhabit dead human bodies.

    I'm still not hooked on this show at all. Here's hoping that changes.

    • psycicflower says:

      While it can be seen as a bit of a silly question I think it's kind of understandable because Rose clearly has absolutely no knowledge of time travel. I doubt she even knows what a paradox is, I mean the only reason I know is because of shows like Doctor Who and various other sci-fi. She was probably mixing up and equating that a past you can't die without causing problems with a you who happens to be in the past dying.
      Plus there's no way of knowing how much your audience knows about time travel so I think it was just a way of letting kids and non sci-fi fans know the very basics of how it works.

      • Nikki says:

        You know, I didn't think of it that way, but that makes sense. Plus Rose was about two seconds away from dying, so she was pretty freaked out and desperate.

    • pica_scribit says:

      *looks over list of episodes* It was eps 8-10 that did it for me. If you're not hooked by then, there's no hope for you! :p

      • Fuchsia says:

        Nah, there's hope with the other Doctors still! I didn't really like Nine my first time around. I liked him a lot more after watching Ten and Eleven, though, and I LOVED both of them.

        • kytten says:

          I'm not a fan of Nine at all.

          This is the thing with Dr Who- if you don't 'feel' a series with one doctor, you may very well do so with another. Maybe you'll get into this later in this series. Maybe you'll like Ten more.

      • Nikki says:

        I've read several comments like this before! Really makes me anxious to see those episodes. I'm not sure if I should go ahead of Mark or not.

  30. echinodermata says:

    "It’s a great way for the Doctor to tell Dickens to stop his denial of reality without being condescending."

    I never thought of it that way, but now that I am it's really pretty cool. It's always a pet peeve for me when a genre show peddles the 'don't be a skeptic' modus.

    • kaleidoscoptics says:

      The cool thing about this one is that it was less "Don't be a skeptic" and more "Admit that maybe you don't know everything." After all, the ghosts weren't really ghosts, but since Dickens was so convinced that they had to be a hoax he didn't stand a chance of understanding what was really going on at first.

  31. cheshire7 says:

    This is the episode that really hooked me into the NuWho. I enjoyed the first two for all the reasons mentioned before (witty dialogue, etc), but this felt like vintage Who (I'm from the Tom Baker era). The costumes, famous historical characters, etc. MARK — you MUST WATCH Dr #4 in his Sherlock Holmes episode!
    As to "Bad Wolf" — shhhh – spoliers! Just keep watching.
    As to Rose dying in 1869… of course it's possible. That doesn't change her birthdate in the 20th century. Now traveling back in time along Rose's own timeline might make a difference. But if Rose died 3,000 years in the future or 300 years in the past, I don't see how that can prevent her birth. It certainly might make her death mysterious, if the Doctor never revealed it. She'd be just another missing girl.
    But-oh my–the multiple Doctor episodes! You'll really enjoy watching those! And talk about time-bending!
    Er, wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey, as you know Who will say!

  32. karate0kat says:

    By the way, Mark, are you planning on watching any of Torchwood, the spin off? I only ask because this episode reminded me that they recycle a couple actors and make a joke about it later.

    I admit it's not my favorite, but I would love for you to see the Children of Earth miniseries that is season 3.

    • psycicflower says:

      I don't want to get too spoilery in case Mark plans on watching it but god CoE is the most depressing, and in some parts rage inducing, thing in exsistence.

      • karate0kat says:

        I know. That's kind of why I think it'd be perfect for Mark.

        Am I evil? Possibly.

        • psycicflower says:

          Thinking of his reaction of various things and characters in Harry Potter, it would probably make for some spectacular posts.

          Evil? Maybe, but I'm thinking the good kind of evil.

    • Matthew says:

      If Mark does plan on watching Torchwood then it makes sense to watch it in roughly the same order as it was broadcast, relative to Doctor Who, given that there's some crossover between the series.

      In other words (and including The Sarah Jane Adventures, the other spinoff):

      Doctor Who S1
      Doctor Who S2
      Torchwood S1
      Sarah Jane Adventures: Invasion of the Bane*
      Doctor Who S3
      Sarah Jane Adventures S1
      Torchwood S2
      Doctor Who S4
      Sarah Jane Adventures S2
      Doctor Who: The Next Doctor
      Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead
      Sarah Jane Adventures S3
      Torchwood: Children of Earth
      Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars
      Doctor Who: The End of Time
      Doctor Who S5

      *can be watched with S1 (it's part of the DVD set) instead, it doesn't matter greatly.

      (And that's everything that'll be out on DVD within the likely timescales of watching).

      Because the seasons are comparatively short, that adds:

      Torchwood: 26 x 50 minute episodes; 5 x 1 hour episodes
      SJA: 1 X 1 hour special; 34 x 25 minute episodes (two episodes per story).

      I'd say it's worth it for for the full experience of the fictional universe – and to make sense of some of the comings and goings of the characters.

      • Tasneemoo says:

        I'm 17 and proud to say SJA is pretty amazing 😀 My 7 year old neices and nephews gave me weird looks when I told them that, the convo went a little like this:

        me: Oh you're watching Sarah Jane?
        6 year old neice: Yeah *smiley faces for all eternity*
        me: I watch it, I think I've seen thid episode…
        neice: oh you mean when you were younger?
        me: no…
        neice: *odd looks*

  33. Kkruger says:

    Mark if you weren't planning on watching Torchwood, you might want to consider it. They share the same universe and characters do intersect.

    • Matthew says:

      I agree and I posted the order in reply to the previous post:

      With season four being made in the US in collaboration with Starz, there's now a pretty big Whedon connection, with Jane Espenson writing four episodes, Shawna Trpcic doing the costumes and Kelly A Manners producing. That might be another reason to get on the Torchwood bandwagon.

  34. Anseflans says:

    OH. Markmarkmark! When you've finished watching dr. Who, you totally have to listen to some Trock! It's a music genre based on dr. Who (Trock stands for Time Lord rock). Especially listen to Chameleon Circuit! <3

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      When he watches Blink, we all know what song I'll be posting. XD

    • Hanah says:

      Oh god so much love! <3 I'm learning to play 'An Awful Lot of Running' on the guitar at the moment. 😀 Have you seen the video's Charlie's doing for DW Confidential in the run-up to Christmas special? So adorable! And apparently both Matt and Moffat have listened to their songs!

  35. diane says:

    Not only is this a BBC Wales production, but the Welsh National Symphony plays the opening theme. And they do a spectacular job! So they're sort of taking the piss out of the English attitude about Wales.

    Yes, the TARDIS isn't terribly accurate. Just go with it, and expect to learn more along the way.

    Re: Bad Wolf, it's one of those Repeating Memes. At some point, it will be made clear, but to this point there haven't been any clues.

  36. Openattheclose says:

    I am a huge history buff, so I love episodes that deal with famous historical figures and events. If I had a time machine, I would totally use it to go into the past and rarely go into the future. I guess seeing the future would scare me.

    I had no idea Cardiff was made fun of so much until I watched Dr. Who. Is this just a take on the whole "Backwards Welsh fornicate with sheep" thing? It seems kind of mean to me, or is it just all in good fun? What the Shakespeare is it all about?

    Also, don't blame the TARDIS, it's the Doctor's fault!!!

    • serenityjayne says:

      I don't know, but ever since I started watching Who and Torchwood, I am dying to go there. I know it's probably not as exciting as some places, but for me half the fun would be location spotting.

    • kaybee42 says:

      To be fair we don't ACTUALLY make fun of Cardiff/Wales that much! It's just DW being mean to their home city 🙂 And yeah, did you know they shag sheep over in the valleys? 😛

    • pica_scribit says:

      It's not mean-spirited. Russell T. Davies the show's producer and main writer, is Welsh, and much of the show is filmed in and around Cardiff/Wales, which is cheaper than filming in London.

    • kytten says:

      It is (mostly) affectionate mocking. I have no doubt some idiots believe it, but the entire thing is the british tendency to mock.
      We mock everything, and it's not like we don't throw it back at ourselves 😉

    • Openattheclose says:

      Okay, thanks everyone for answering. I knew that RTD was Welsh and that Doctor Who has a long history of filming in quarries there, but I just didn't know if there was anything more to it 🙂 I think the West Virginia comparison made upthread is a good one 🙂

  37. sabra_n says:

    As everyone has said, the mockery of Wales in New Who is an affectionate thing, since the show was produced by BBC Wales, run by a Welshman, and mostly filmed in Cardiff and the surrounding area. By having some episodes actually take place in Cardiff (as opposed to merely being filmed there for budget or logistical purposes), the show was trying in a small way to contradict the perceived London-centric nature of Old Who. It's something that went in hand with having a Doctor with a less-than-posh accent, a working-class companion (though Rose wasn't quite the first in that regard), and that big shiny gay agenda Davies happily whipped out every once in a while – it was all part of the show going, "Look! We're new and modern and different than the old series!"

    Once it proved to be a massive hit, the show became less concerned with "proving itself" that way, but I actually rather ended up missing those deliberate touches of difference.

  38. Pingback: Tweets that mention Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S01E03 – The Unquiet Dead | Mark Watches --

  39. who cares says:


    Exactly what it says on the tin but apart from that *hush spoilers*

  40. FlameRaven says:

    Haven't read all the comments yet, but– yes, the TARDIS going to the wrong place/wrong time is something that happens more often than not. It's one of the recurrent plot devices of the show: the Doctor hardly ever ends up where he was actually intending to be.

    Like all Doctor Who plot devices, it's explained several times and you get a different reason each time, although I'll let you wait and find out what those reasons are. (Any and all of them might be true, we don't know.)

  41. Elfy says:

    Yes, the TARDIS does regularly make ‘mistakes’, it’s never been quite right really. I always thought the Cardiff thing is a bit of an in joke, because the show is made in Cardiff.
    If you liked Mark Gatiss’ work in Dr Who I’d recommend checking out Sherlock, which is written by Gatiss and Steven Moffat (currently Dr Who’s head honcho). Best TV I saw this year.

  42. xghostproof says:

    …..about my only coherent thought, since I haven't rewatched this episode yet is one of "wait. there are bad wolf references already?"

    I am apparently way less observant than I thought I was. Huh.

  43. nanceoir says:

    Well, the crossing of one's own time stream, particularly when it comes to crossing one's own past time stream is generally bad because, well, if you don't remember having run into yourself in your own past, by crossing into your own past, you're changing the very past that got you to the point of time traveling in the first place, so theoretically the you that has traveled back into your own time stream doesn't exist to go back and cross into your time line, which means that you-you got to the point of time traveling and now you're crossing into your time line again and it's a vicious circle that keeps going 'round and 'round because it's vicious and a circle. Or like an M. C. drawing or something.

    I'm not gonna lie to you, Marge: that was kind of fun to write. But, if I think about it much longer, I fear my head might explode.

  44. Cinthya says:

    Shooting for Naples in 1860, the Doctor actually misses his mark by a few years and a few thousand miles and nine years. (Is this something that happens?

    haha. Yes that is definately something that happens. A LOT. It's a convention the writers use to explain why they land in a particular place.

    This is not the first time I’ve heard someone make fun of Cardiff, so if someone could explain why I should also be weary of the place, that would be awesome.

    I was confused at that too! I was like "why does everyone make fun of the Welsh?" I wasn't really aware of Wales as a place (only as a title really "Prince of Wales") before Doctor Who , but I really want to visit now and see all the filming locations. Its like the UK's canada (or is that scotland?) , probably really awesome but it gets made fun of a bunch. (And I want to visit everywhere in the UK TOO! )

    Oooh I can't wait for you to get to season 3. You're going to have a field day with the first episode (not saying why!)

    • kaybee42 says:

      Geography wise, scotland is like Canada for us (in that it is up north)… but we take the piss out of Wales in the same way Americans take the mick out of Canadians. But yes, Wales is BRILLIANT! (and beautiful and full of lovely people)

  45. niamheryoumind says:

    "I didn’t know that the TARDIS could make a mistake like that."

    One piece of 'fanon' or fan speculation that I adore is that The Doctor can't drive and he lies about his age. It's either that or the TARDIS didn't think anything interesting was going on in Naples in 1860 and thought Cardif was much more exciting.

  46. LadyLately says:

    Because quantum, Mark. Because quantum. That's how they can go in the past.

  47. potlid007 says:

    Doctor Who gif of the day:
    <img src="; border="0">
    I have no fucking clue what DTens is doing, but I'll go with it
    and the TARDIS is my favorite character in Doctor Who. And I am not ashamed of it.
    <img src="; border="0">
    <img src="; border="0">

    • kitish says:

      You sir or madam, win all of the squee! Also, the TARDIS is the best character ever. 🙂

    • swimmingtrunks says:

      Is it sad that I recognize EXACTLY which episode that is merely from the background? No, of course not. I cannot recall him making those faces, though, so now I am eagerly awaiting said episode in hopes that that gif is NOT from outtakes or Confidential.

    • Starsea28 says:

      I live in the place where the TARDIS is materialising. 😀

  48. kelseyintherain says:

    "Can we all start saying, “What the Shakespeare???” from now on?"


    *is a huge Shakespeare geek*

    Also, all in favor of Mark skipping the next two and heading straight into 'Dalek'?

    • MowerOfLorn says:

      Pppfft, no. While I'm not incredibly fond of the plot, like it or not, they're an important two episodes. They set up /a lot/, both in terms of plot and characterisation.

      But Dalek is a great episode. In fact, the only Dalek episode where I like it for the villain. XD

    • calimie says:

      No, they're really important even if I would wish them away.

      BTW, Mark is not fond of "I can't wait until you read xxxx" because it does alter his perception of the episode. Same with "xxxx is a waste of time".

    • nextboy says:

      I know, I rewatched the next two this week and they are kind of poor. Still, the character stuff is good, but the story and humour is all a bit childish and annoying

    • Starsea28 says:

      He'll just appreciate Dalek more after them.

  49. Tilja says:

    The Doctor lives outside of time and space merely by being inside the TARDIS, that's how writers can forget all those pesky little details about time paradoxes. What intrigues me is how an older self doesn't remember in the new body having met his future self. Glitches in the matrix during regeneration?

    Also, the TARDIS is in constant contact with all of time and space and she definitely knows tons more than the Doctor, like where he has to be at a certain time in his specific timeline. I try not to think about those clashes until they come along. I enjoy the show better like that.

  50. Stephanie says:

    The Doctor always talks about the TARDIS as if she has a mind of her own, so I like to think that she puts the Doctor wherever he's needed. Not only with the inaccuracies that just happen to put him right where something is going on, but also when they go to some huge city, and end up on the one street where something is happening. I think that she sometimes just ignores the Doctor and puts him wherever he has to be. Not that he ever complains about the trouble, of course.

  51. Hypatia_ says:

    May I just say that I'm really impressed that you picked up on the Bad Wolf words already. It took me another episode or two.

    I love this episode pretty much because of Eve Myles and my attachment to her due to Torchwood, primarily Children of Earth. And the Doctor biting everyone's head off as usual. The thing I love about Nine is that whenever he's not either seconds from death or telling someone off, he's standing around with this big happy smile on his face. Just enjoying the hell out of the chaos and crazy shit. For someone with so many issues, he seems awfully happy much of the time.

  52. rin says:

    I love that you're getting through these so quickly! I may or may not be one of those fans who checks for updates all the time. Ahem.

  53. Danielle says:

    I didn't even begin to wonder about Bad Wolf until episode 6, so you're twice as quick as me 😀

    This was a nice episode. Mark Gatiss makes me happy. He's working on a modernised Sherlock Holmes with Stephen Moffat at the moment. On that note, ALL PRAISE STEPHEN MOFFAT. Episode Nine, man. DAMN.

  54. Ash says:

    With the Tardis, it’s partially due to the Doctors unrefined driving but mostley because it hasn’t been in full working order in quite some time. It’s been stuck as a police box for long enough.

    And don’t worry about the Time War, you’ll get some answers eventually.

  55. Fuchsia says:

    After reading all these comments, I think that quite a few people need to go back and reread what counts as a spoiler.

  56. Tasneemoo says:

    one of my lesser favourite (is that even a real phrase? :/) episodes.Still good nevertheless, but I love The Long Game and Fathers Day.

  57. I think the thing I love about this episode is that it shows us that even the Doctor has prejudices. The Gelth knew they could play upon the fact that the Doctor would side with "the aliens", because that is where his natural compassion lies. Throw in a Time War sob-story, and they had him. The great thing about him is that he understands that, and learns that he needs to have the same discernment that he uses with humanity. I wouldn't love this series if the Doctor himself didn't grow as a person—-alien—-er—-dude? 😛

  58. Tasneemoo says:

    YOU KNOW WHAT I am mega pissed about the fact that Next don't sell TARDIS lamps anymore 🙁 I mean the whole reason I painted my room blue was because of the TARDIS. That TARDIS lamp was amazing 🙁

  59. Starsea28 says:

    As for landing in the wrong place, sometimes it's his own fault and sometimes it's the TARDIS herself. We think. Possibly.

  60. freshwater says:

    Found this and had to post it for you, Mark.

    <img src='; title='YES!!! I AM!!!' alt='YES!!! I AM!!!' />see more Very Demotivational

    Hmmmm….not knowing how to post a gif this may not have worked….so click on the address for a gif about caps lock.

  61. Paul says:

    On the subject of Cardiff, imagine you thought you were going to Naples, and you actually ended up in Pittsburgh. It's not that there's nothing to recommend it, it's just that it grew into being as a working class city, and well…it's not Naples.

  62. Sierra says:

    "Is this something that happens? I didn’t know that the TARDIS could make a mistake like that. You can answer that, FYI."

    Oh yes. The Doctor getting lost happens _all_ the time. There are several theories as to why and how and some involve the nature of the TARDIS so I won't get into that.

  63. Tonie says:

    I think my favorite thing about this episode is the whole relationship between Gwyneth and Rose. Rose is all up in arms and protective because obviously she, the clever girl from the future, knows better than the poor servant girl. Then Gwyneth points out that Rose hasn't asked what she wants and it completely catches Rose off guard. It's a lovely privilege identifying moment.

  64. Reddi says:

    This was a wonderful episode. I love CE's doctor. I'm really enjoying watching you pick up certain things as you go. Russell Davies had a few missteps in the series, imo, but overall he did an incredible job, and I love his blend of humor, drama, and 'humanity'.
    And the doctor has always been a terrible driver. 🙂 He strikes me as one who, when paying close attention, can come back second after (or probably before) you last saw him, as he did in Rose (who knows how many years it was for him between the time she refused his offer to go with him, and the time he came back? It was seconds for Rose, but for him?). But he's like a walking case of ADD, and if he's not paying attention he WILL screw up the locations and times. He's just a bad driver.

    • Reddi says:

      I will add, without spoiling, that if you watch the first episodes from 1963, you'll understand his trouble driving at times.

  65. RJM says:

    "(Is this something that happens? I didn’t know that the TARDIS could make a mistake like that. You can answer that, FYI.) "


  66. Rei says:

    I hate Gwen so much.
    She pretty much ruins everything.

  67. Well I definitely liked reading it. This subject procured by you is very constructive for good planning.

  68. nefredfelman says:

    The other thing about the TARDIS being errratic is that, when the Doctor originally stole it from his people (naughty Doctor), he was able to do so because it was in for repair. So it was never working properly in the first place

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