Doctor Who Logo 'The Crimson Horror'
(Story Code 7.11)

by Mark Gatiss
The Doctor and Clara

“The gaudy flesh-pots and gin-palaces of Bradford. Bradford: that Babylon for the ‘Moderns’, with its crystal light and its glitter, all as warm as the wretched ruins of humanity. Men and women crushed by the Devil’s juggernaut, sinking ever further into a great wen of depravity and ordure! And moral turpitude can destroy the most delicate of lives. Believe men, I know…” – Miss Gilyflower

Yorkshire 1893: investigative journalist Edmund Thursday and his wife Effie sneak into a factory to find out what lies behind a certain door, a door with an ominous red light glowing through its inset window. But as Edmund steps into the room the lift arrives behind Effie, bringing the factory owner, Mrs Gillyflower, and several of her ‘Pilgrims’; as Mrs Gillyflower commiserates Ellie on the loss of her husband, Edmund’s scream rings out, and then Ellie screams too… Later on, Edmund’s corpse is shown to his twin brother in the morgue: Edmund’s skin is a waxy, glowing red – what the mortician calls ‘The Crimson Horror’. After Mr Thursday has taken his brother’s body back to London, he seeks help from the famous Patanostra Row gang; he explains to their leader, Madame Vastra, that as a photographer he has been able to develop the last image his brother saw, which was recorded onto his retinas. When Vastra and her associate Jenny see the photograph, they realise they must travel to Yorkshire at once: the image is of the Doctor… In her home town in Yorkshire, Mrs Gillyflower gives a lecture on moral decay and the coming apocalypse; amongst the audience is Jenny, on a mission of infiltration. Mrs Gillyflower shows the assembled townsfolk her daughter Ada, who was blinded in a drunken rage by her late husband; Mrs Gillyflower then tells the audience that they can be preserved against Judgment Day by coming to work for her at her community, ‘Sweetville’. Many of the townsfolk sign up for a job, including Jenny. The following day, in Sweetville, Ada carefully makes her way to a cell, where she opens a hatch to give food to her ‘monster’. Elsewhere, Jenny joins the queue of hopefuls who have applied for work. On seeing an enticingly-locked door, Jenny offers the girl behind her, Abigail, a guinea to cause a distraction; Abigail pretends to faint, allowing Jenny to pick the lock and sneak inside. Jenny finds herself inside a huge factory, empty except for several huge speakers, from which the sounds of heavy machinery are blasting; Jenny hides as Mrs Gillyflower and several of her Pilgrims approach, carrying a big bottle of red fluid between them, and watches as a lift takes them downwards… Madame Vastra ignores Strax’s proposal of a massive frontal assault on Sweetville, and instead pays a visit to the mortuary, where the mortician gives her a bottle of the red, waxy substance; Vastra recognises it as something she has seen before, sixty-five million years ago... Back at Sweetville, Mrs Gillyflower and Ada have dinner; when Ada asks if Mr Sweet ever will join them, her mother explains that he is too tired – and then she sprinkles salt down the top of her dress… Taking the lift, Jenny emerges in the corridor leading to the room with the glowing red light, but before she can enter she is distracted by strange noises; following the sounds up a spiral staircase, Jenny comes across the cell – and when she opens the hatch, a red arm tries to grab her! Unlocking the door, Jenny is surprised to find the Doctor, dressed in long-johns with his skin covered in a red, waxy substance that prevents him from speaking. After grabbing the Doctor’s clothes and sonic screwdriver from nearby, Jenny helps the stiffly-walking Time Lord to the lift, but they have to hide in the secret room when Ada suddenly appears. Inside the room, Jenny and the Doctor see a huge vat of the red wax, and then watch as a number of people are dipped into it by a Pilgrim-operated machine. Seeing a maintenance cubicle containing some steam vents, the Doctor motions to Jenny to help him inside; after a few seconds the Doctor bursts out: now fully-clothed and back to his normal ebullient self, he promptly snogs Jenny, and is even happy to be slapped by her! When the Doctor asks after Clara, Jenny replies that she is dead; ignoring this, the Doctor explains how he and Clara arrived in Victorian Yorkshire and heard of the match factory opened by Mrs Gillyflower, a place from which no-one who entered ever came out alive, and of the corpses fished out of the canal, their bodies cursed by the Crimson Horror. The chemical composition of the bodies had been corrupted enough to implant the victims’ last sights on their retinas, and the Doctor was able to photographically develop them. Intrigued, the Doctor and Clara posed as husband and wife and applied for a job with Mrs Gillyflower; however, the widow easily saw through their subterfuge, and after showing the Doctor and Clara inside one of her workers’ terraced cottages, in which sat a huge bell jar containing two ‘waxwork’ figures, Mrs Gillyflower took them prisoner. The two time-travellers were soon dunked in the vat of red wax, but whilst Clara’s conversion was a success, the Doctor was deemed a reject, and sentenced to being thrown in the canal. However, Ada sensed a connection with the Doctor, and she secretly locked him in a cell and proceeded to look after him; while incarcerated, the Doctor was surprised by an appearance by Edmund, who burst in, his body covered in red wax, and then fell down dead… The Doctor tells Jenny that Mrs Gillyflower is giving her workers pills to immunise them from the harmful effects of the red venom, and also that Clara isn’t dead, although the reason why is complicated. Meanwhile, Strax gets lost en route for Sweetville, and considers shooting the horse pulling his carriage; but he is stopped by a young urchin, one Thomas Thomas, who obligingly shows him the way to his destination… Searching the terraced cottages, the Doctor and Jenny find Clara, converted to a waxwork and sitting inside a huge bell jar with her ‘husband’. Mrs Gillyflower finds Ada in the Doctor’s cell, sobbing over the loss of her pet monster; the widow is repulsed by her daughter’s actions, which interfere with her “Great Work”, and she casts her away. After smashing the bell jar with a chair, the Doctor shoves Clara into the steam vent cupboard and leaves her to cook while he and Jenny are confronted by a hoard of Pilgrims; Jenny deals with a few in her own inimitable way, but when their opponents draw clubs, the duo are forced to retreat – until Strax and Vastra arrive, forcing the Pilgrims to flee for their lives. After Vastra sends the over-excited Strax outside to keep guard, the Doctor is delighted to find that Clara has made a fully recovery; a quick introduction to the Patanostra Gang is followed by the explanation that the Red Leech is a prehistoric parasite that once infected the Silurians’ water supply with the venom it secreted; the Doctor ponders as to how the Red Leech survived all these years – perhaps it had help…? The Doctor, Clara, Vastra and Jenny take the lift and check out the chimney, where they see a huge rocket being prepared by Pilgrims; Mrs Gillyflower is loading the venom into the rocket, which she plans on detonating in the atmosphere to kill all those she sees as sinners. In her room, Mrs Gillyflower operates a switch on the huge musical organ set into one wall; the instrument rotates, to reveal a complex machine: the device controlling the rocket. The Doctor and Clara find Ada sobbing in a corridor, and learn that she has been left behind by her mother; the two time travellers then make for Mrs Gillyflower’s room, where they refuse the insane widow’s hospitality and vow to stop her mad plan. Mrs Gillyflower reveals the secret of Mr Sweet: the small, parasitic creature is clamped to her chest, feeding off her blood. The widow then activates the lights on the chimney, attracting the attention of Strax, who decides to investigate. Mrs Gillyflower explains that the rocket will explode and rain down Mr Sweet’s “beneficence”, killing everyone except for those she has inoculated and protected with wax, who will emerge as new Adam and Eve’s to repopulate the planet. The Doctor works out that Mrs Gillyflower experimented on Ada, using her daughter to create an immunising anti-toxin; his words are overheard by Ada in the corridor outside: the young woman turns on her mother, striking her with her cane in fury. But as Clara throws a chair at the rocket controls, destroying them in a shower of sparks, Mrs Gillyflower pulls a gun on Ada and uses her as a hostage to escape. The Doctor throws the chair at the window, allowing him and Clara to give chase, and they arrive in the factory just in time to see Mrs Gillyflower climb the stairs of the rocket’s gantry and reach the secondary firing mechanism. Mrs Gillyflower activates the rocket and then opens fire on the Doctor – but then Vastra and Jenny arrive on the scene, carrying the bottle of Mr Sweet’s venom, which they have removed from the projectile. Furious at the failure of her plan, Mrs Gillyflower is about to shoot her enemies when Strax appears at the top of the chimney and opens fire; the crazed widow slips, falling to her death on the ground below. As the rocket explodes harmlessly in the sky, Mr Sweet crawls away from Mrs Gillyflower’s body; the Doctor assures his friends that he will take the parasite back to the Jurassic Era, but he is too late – Ada has found the creature with her cane, and has splatted it! Sometime later, in the streets outside Sweetville, the Doctor kisses Ada goodbye and then bids farewell to Vastra, Jenny and Strax; avoiding the question of why Clara is still alive, he follows his companion into the TARDIS, which dematerialises… Dropped off home, Clara is surprised to find photographs of herself and the Doctor from the 70s and 1983 on Angie and Artie’s laptop; the two children appear at her side – they know she is travelling time with the Doctor, and they will tell their dad unless they get a trip too…

Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Dan Starkey (Commander Strax), Dame Diana Rigg (Mrs Winifred Gillyflower), Rachael Stirling (Ada Gillyflower), Eve de Leon Allen (Angie), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie), Brendan Patricks (Edmund / Mr Thursday), Graham Turner (Amos), Olivia Vinall (Effie), Michelle Tate (Abigail), Jack Oliver Hudson (Urchin Boy [Thomas Thomas])

Directed by Saul Metzstein
Produced by Denise Paul
Series Producer Marcus Wilson
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
4th May 2013 @ 6.30 pm

*Featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Clara, Madame Vastra, Jenny and Commander Strax