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Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Unquiet Dead originally aired in 2005.

What the Shakespeare is going on?

– Charles Dickens

It feels appropriate that Mark Gatiss should script the first episode of the revived Doctor Who not written by Russell T. Davies himself. Davies wrote the bulk of the first season’s thirteen episodes, and you could argue that he occasionally spread himself a bit too thin. However, I would argue that the first year of the revived show also had the strongest string of secondary writers on the bench, including Rob Shearman writing Dalek, Steven Moffat writing The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances, Paul Cornell writing Father’s Day and Gatiss writing The Unquiet Dead.

Gatiss and Moffat are two of the most prolific writers for the new series, with Moffat even succeeding Davies as showrunner. It’s also worth noting that both Gatiss and Moffat are fans of the classic show with considerable writing experience in television. It’s very clear that Davies isn’t just recruiting fans of the classic show, even those who may have written material while it was off the air (Gatiss wrote spin-off novels, Moffat wrote The Curse of Fatal Death), but recruiting those with practical experience about how television today works.

And that was a very shrewd decision.

Ghosts of Cardiff...

Ghosts of Cardiff…

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