A. "Doctor Who", episode "The Unquiet Dead"

and "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"


I first learned about The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood on the Doc­tor Who episode The Un­qui­et Dead (writ­ten by Mark Gatiss). In this episode, the Tardiff takes The Ninth Doc­tor (played by Christo­pher Ec­cle­ston) and Rose (played by Bil­lie Piper) to Cardiff on De­cem­ber 24th, 1869. This was the show that sparked my in­ter­est in this whole Edwin Drood pro­ject. It’s been sev­er­al years since I got the idea to at one point do a Edwin Drood pro­ject but I want­ed to wait be­cause I want­ed to have read a few more of Dick­ens’ novel be­fore div­ing into his last. And then the bi­cen­te­nary came up and it seemed to be the per­fect time to do this — and so I am.

In this episode, we find a rather dis­il­lu­sioned Charles Dick­ens (played by Simon Cal­low). His imag­i­na­tion has grown stale, he had mud­dled up his fam­i­ly af­fairs, and he feels doomed to re­peat him­self for all eter­ni­ty, per­form­ing A Christ­mas Carol. A some­what hum­ble man, con­cerned with what his lega­cy will be. But in the au­di­ence, there’s some­thing un­usu­al. A dead lady walk­ing, eject­ing some kind of blue gaseous sub­stance. Dick­ens be­lieve it all to be trick­ery and il­lu­sion but of course, the Doc­tor knows bet­ter. And after a while, Dick­ens comes around too and ac­cepts this brave new world and re­al­ize that his ra­tio­nal be­liefs are not worth any­thing, re­al­ly.

I re­al­ly like this episode and I’ve watched it sev­er­al times. I was in­trigued by the whole Dick­ens part of it most­ly, but I also like the con­nec­tion to Torch­wood (the ser­vant girl Gwyneth, played by the same ac­tress who play Gwen in Torch­wood (Eve Myles)) as well as just the gen­er­al ban­ter be­tween the Doc­tor and Rose.

What is par­tic­u­lar­ly in­ter­est­ing in our con­nec­tion is of course the con­nec­tion to The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood. To­wards the end of the episode, Dick­ens go back to Lon­don to make amends to his fam­i­ly. He is very much cheered up and is in­spired to write about all the new things he has dis­cov­ered is out there. He wants to go back and fin­ish Edwin Drood and as he says, ‘Per­haps the killer was not the boy’s uncle. Per­haps the killer was not of this world.’ and changes the title to The Mys­tery of Edwin Drood and the Blue El­e­men­tals.

So this was the Doc­tor Who take on the Edwin Drood mys­tery — to have aliens be re­spon­si­ble for Edwin’s death. Of course I don’t think this is a real pos­si­bil­i­ty — I just found it nec­es­sary to in­clude this episode in my Drood in­ves­ti­ga­tions since this was what start­ed my Drood ob­ses­sion.

Christina Rosendahl
16. Feb. 2012

Review