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“Ah, well, if you can’t take criticism…” Apr 10

On Saturday, there was a royal wedding and the Grand National. So which programme, according to overnight viewing figures, had the highest average viewing figures for the whole day? Yep: Doctor Who, with 8.3 million.

The Unquiet Dead was another heady mix of suspense, top notch special effects and great dialogue. This was a more traditional Doctor Who story – especially the pre-title sequence – but no worse for it. Now that we’ve got to know the regular characters, Mark Gatiss was able to tell 45 minutes worth of story, a Victorian ghost story with a sci-fi twist.

Billie continues to prove what an inspired choice she was for Rose and the supporting cast were uniformly excellent. Simon Callow – who appeared as Charles Dickens again on Saturday night on BBC Four – brought the writer to life, and got to save the day. While it can be argued that this renders the Doctor, as hero, somewhat redundant, it is only because the Doctor has convinced Charles that the aliens are real that Dickens can help defeat them.

There were some very funny lines – “Brecon?”, “Go out there dressed like that and you’ll start a riot, Barbarella” and “under the stairs, past the bins” being my favourites – although my own quibble was one joke I didn’t rate: when Dickens cries “What the Shakespeare?” But I know other folk who found it funny – horses for courses, I guess.

Without intruding into the plot, there were more hints of the story threads running through the series. The “Time War” that destroyed the Gelth’s physical forms also left the Nestene and the Doctor homeless. And Gwyneth is horrified by the “big bad wolf” she sees in Rose’s future Earth; we then see “Bad Wolf” grafitti on the side of the TARDIS in the (very moreish) preview of next week’s episode.

The Unquiet Dead was at times properly frightening. The lovely scene in the scullery between Rose and Gwyneth (like the scene with Raffalo in The End of the World) fleshed out Gwyneth as a character and made her sacrifice all the more touching. I confess to shedding a tear at TV Doctor Who for the first time since 1973, and I wasn’t even born then.

My favourite episode so far. Next week: Aliens…of London!

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    For the Who fan who has everything, there’s a new Doctor Who mobile ringtone.

    Details on the Radio Times website at: