Doctor Who Logo 'The Unquiet Dead'
Story Code 1.3

by Mark Gatiss
The Doctor and Rose

“It's a prank. Must be. We're under some mesmeric influence.” - Charles Dickens

“No we're not. The dead are walking.” - the Doctor

The Doctor’s attempt to take Rose to Naples in 1860 only slightly misses its mark, and the two time travellers arrive on Christmas Eve in Cardiff, 1869. While the Doctor escorts a suitably-dressed Rose around the snowbound streets, the undertaking firm of Sneed and Co. is experiencing a supernatural problem: just as their latest client, Mr Redpath, is paying his respects to his recently deceased grandmother, the body of his dearly departed relative suddenly comes to life, throttles her grandson and escapes into the night. Sneed’s maid, Gwyneth, is able to use her ‘second sight’ to determine that Mrs Redpath came to Cardiff to see the celebrated author, Charles Dickens, give a reading at the Tailiesin Lodge, and so she and her employer head for the theatre in their horse-drawn hearse. Meanwhile, Dickens’ reading of ‘A Christmas Carol’ is rudely interrupted when the animated body of Mrs Redpath stops sitting quietly in the audience and instead disgorges a floating spectral phantom into the theatre. Hearing the ensuing commotion, the Doctor and Rose make for the theatre, arriving at the same time as Sneed and Gwyneth. As Sneed and his maid bundle the body of Mrs Redpath into their hearse they are seen by Rose, forcing Sneed to render the young girl unconscious and take her back to his establishment. Much to Dickens’ annoyance, the Doctor hijacks his hansom cab and gives chase to Rose’s abductors, but the author is quickly won over by the Doctor’s enthusiasm for his work. Rose comes to inside Sneed’s house and finds herself confronted by two more animated corpses, but is saved by the timely arrival of the Doctor and Dickens; as the two wraiths leave their host bodies they talk of a “rift”, and then vanish into the house’s gas supply. After Sneed confesses that his house has always had a reputation for being haunted, and that his deceased ‘clientele’ have been walking for the last three months, the Doctor explains that the ‘ghosts’ are in fact gas-based alien life forms; these creatures are using the gases produced by decaying corpses as a means of animating new bodies for themselves, and the rift they mentioned is a tear in the fabric of time and space. While the Doctor attempts to convince the highly sceptical Dickens that his claims are true, Rose gives Gwyneth some advice on her attitudes towards men, and when Gwyneth then ‘reads’ Rose’s thoughts regarding her late father and her experiences of Twenty-First Century life, the Doctor attributes her gift to living over the rift. The Doctor decides to hold a séance, using Gwyneth as the focal point, and as he, Sneed, Rose and a reluctant Dickens look on, more gaseous creatures appear out of the air before them. The wraiths identify themselves the Gelth, a race of beings from the other side of the universe whose corporeal bodies were destroyed in a Time War; they ask for the use of dead humans so that they can live again, and request Gwyneth’s help in strengthening the rift in order to create a bridge between their world and Earth. Against Rose’s objections Gwyneth agrees to help her ‘angels’, but the Doctor stipulates that this arrangement is not a permanent solution, and that he will then transport the aliens to another world in his TARDIS. Reasoning that the weakest point in the house is the area closest to the rift, the Doctor and the others head for the morgue; here Gwyneth uses her abilities to let the Gelth through, but just as the wraith-like aliens are made manifest, they transform into monstrous creatures, killing Sneed and possessing his and the other dead bodies in the room. Dickens flees for his life, leaving the Doctor and Rose at the mercy of the walking zombies, but when the author reaches the street outside, he gets a flash of inspiration from a nearby gas-lamp; returning to the undertaker’s house, he then begins turning on all the gas-taps in the lighting system. The Doctor guesses Dickens’ plan: by flooding the house with gas, it will force the Gelth to leave their host bodies. He convinces Gwyneth that her angels are liars, and then asks her to send them back to their own world; however; Gwyneth can only hold the creatures long enough for the others to escape - and once the Doctor, Rose and Dickens are safely outside, she lights a match, destroying the building, herself and the invading Gelth, and closing the rift. Rose is distraught at the loss of the serving girl’s life, but the Doctor tells her that Gwyneth was already dead, and had been for the last five minutes… A short while later, the Doctor and Rose depart in the TARDIS, leaving behind a reinvigorated Dickens, whose new lease of life now has him looking forward to spending Christmas with his loved ones.

Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who), Billie Piper (Rose Tyler), Alan David (Gabriel Sneed), Huw Rhys (Redpath), Jennifer Hill (Mrs. Peace), Eve Myles (Gwyneth), Simon Callow (Charles Dickens), Wayne Cater (Stage Manager), Meic Povey (Driver), Zoe Thorne (The Gelth)

Directed by Euros Lyn
Produced by Phil Collinson
Executive Producers Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner and Mal Young
A BBC Wales production

9th April 2005 @ 7.00 pm

*Featuring the Ninth Doctor and Rose

*Bad Wolf sightings: When Gwyneth reads Rose's mind, she observes "The things you've seen. The darkness in your mind. The Big Bad Wolf..." before being interrupted by the arrival of the Doctor.