Doctor Who (2005– )
15 user 10 critic

The Unquiet Dead 

The Doctor has great expectations for his latest adventure when he and Rose join forces with Charles Dickens to investigate a mysterious plague of zombies.


Euros Lyn


Mark Gatiss

Watch Now

With Prime Video





Episode complete credited cast:
Christopher Eccleston ... Doctor Who
Billie Piper ... Rose Tyler
Alan David Alan David ... Gabriel Sneed
Huw Rhys Huw Rhys ... Redpath
Jennifer Hill Jennifer Hill ... Mrs. Peace
Eve Myles ... Gwen Cooper
Simon Callow ... Charles Dickens
Wayne Cater Wayne Cater ... Stage Manager
Michael Povey Michael Povey ... Driver (as Meic Povey)
Zoe Thorne Zoe Thorne ... The Gelth


Rose takes her first trip back in time and she and the Doctor travel to 1869 Cardiff. They take in a reading from none other than Charles Dickens but in the middle of the performance, a zombie-like creature interrupts the performance and there is a ghostly apparition. Rose is kidnapped and taken to the home of an undertaker where alien creatures are living in the gas lighting system and taken possession of the dead. Rose manages to get information from Gwyneth, the parlor maid, that points to her as the central point of contact for the alien beings. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site [UK]





Release Date:

24 March 2006 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (50 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Rift was added into the plot to simplify the Gelth's origins. See more »


Dickens uses the phrase "On with the motley." which is anachronistically incorrect. The phrase translates from "vesti la giubba", a line of dialogue from the opera 'I Pagliacci'. The opera wasn't written until 1892, and wasn't translated into English until 1902 (by Enrico Caruso). See more »


[first lines]
Gabriel Sneed: Sneed and Company offer their sincerest condolences, sir, in this most trying hour.
Redpath: Grandmama had a good innings, Mr. Sneed. She was so full of life. I can't believe she's gone.
Gabriel Sneed: Not gone, Mr. Redpath. Merely sleeping.
Redpath: May I have a moment?
Gabriel Sneed: Yes, of course. I shall be in the next room should you require anything.
[after Sneed leaves, the body rises up and strangles Redpath. Sneed rushes back in]
Gabriel Sneed: Oh, no. Gwyneth! Get down here now! We've got another one!
See more »


Referenced in Doctor Who: The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008) See more »


God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"It's not Naples. It's Cardiff!"
30 October 2008 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

The Unquiet Dead doesn't quite live up to to the first two episodes of the new Doctor Who series (especially the superb The End of the World), but it does feature ghosts, wit and the first example of a recurring gimmick throughout the series: the Doctor's interaction with historical figures.

The interaction is actually caused by accident: the Doctor wanted to take Rose to Naples for Christmas, but somehow the TARDIS has something to say about it and the two find themselves, much to the Doctor's dismay, in 1860 Cardiff. Trouble isn't very far away, either, since corpses have been mysteriously revived in the past few weeks, and the only people who can do something about it are the Doctor, a girl with psychic powers and a certain Charles Dickens (Simon Callow), who now makes a living performing magic tricks and hosting public readings of his body of work.

The main fascination of The Unquiet Dead is its postmodern approach to Dickens, something that was entirely to be expected from writer Mark Gatiss, given his experiences on The League of Gentlemen (the TV show, not the Sean Connery-starring nonsense): the great writer is depicted as a mixture of A Christmas Carol's Scrooge and Hard Times' Gradgrind, i.e. a man who has lost all faith in the magic he used to write about and now believes firmly in scientific facts. And all that goes without mentioning his wonderfully clever comment on the supernatural incidents in the story: "What the Shakespeare is going on here?". That line might also be a reference to the fact that Callow, always reliable for these parts, appeared in Shakespeare in Love and reportedly made a provocative statement about Hamlet in the original version of Four Weddings and a Funeral (Richard Curtis subsequently removed that scene, along with the back-stories of all the other characters as well).

On the flip-side, the episode has a darkness to it (given the zombie-style premise) that doesn't really sit well with the general tone of the show (Steven Moffat's two-part story later on in the season shows how to use that darkness in a good way), the (inevitable) gallows humor being more suitable for a Monty Python sketch or, given Gatiss' involvement, a League of Gentlemen story than Doctor Who. However, Eccleston's charisma manages to lighten up the mood when necessary, and Piper's natural warmth contributes hugely, too.

So no, it's not really good as the episodes written by Davies or Moffat, but what the heck, it's got Charles Dickens - that ought to be enough.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed