The Ungrateful Dead
An alternate Programme Guide by
Massive Spoiler Warnings!!
Those who do not want Spoilers...RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!
The One Hundred and Sixty-Fifth Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Decay
Episode 1.03 - The Ungrateful Dead -
Mister Sneed is a man looking for a little romance. He's a perfect
Victorian gentleman who's only vices are drink and a touch of light
His only problem? His girlfriends just won't stay dead.
(opening credits - the TARDIS whizzes through time and space in
the vortex, and half way through its journey it stops in
57th century Dorset for a cup of tea and a few directions)
The Doctor wants Rose to experience the joys of wonders of the past -
most notably TB and death during childbirth, two of his long lost
As the TARDIS glides towards Naples, 24 December 1860, the Doctor
hands Rose an iPod - "I wanted to give you a sense of era and load
this up with all the greatest music of 19th Century Italy....
unfortunately I left most my CD collection on the planet Astora, but,
there should be some Blue Oyster Cult on this thing."
Rose can't wait to step out into a 19th century Christmas Eve,
"The ultimate era of the cliche Christmases!" as the Doctor promises.
Before she leaves the TARDIS however the Doctor insists that she
change out of her clothes as she looks like a right slapper -
"Oh yeah, 19th Century, right!"
"No. Actually, I thought you looked a bit loose even in the 21st.
I mean even *I* noticed ya'. You looked pretty sexed up for...
well, a monkey."
Sneed’s young maid, Gwyneth, returns from her questionable
activities in the stables to find Sneed recovering from a cadaver’s
This isn’t the first time the dead have fought back against Sneed’s
advances -- but the horrified Gwyneth realises that things have gone
"Whatever you're doin' to them,'taint natural Mister Sneed! It
were bad enough when they were just innocent victims -- but now that
they've started fightin' back...you must have the mark of the beast
Though she doesn’t wish to speak out of turn, she begs Sneed to get
a proper lady - one who cares for him, one who can love him, one who
hasn't been embalmed.
Sneed promises to do so, but first they must find his latest
conquest and get her back under lock and key.
Meanwhile, in another plot, the infamous Charles Dickens is about to
go on stage at the rather notorious Bawdy Parrot Inn.
When the stage manager arrives at Dickens’ dressing room, however,
he finds the great writer in a depressed, bleak mood, desperately
trying to cram 16 or 17 hundred more adjectives into the first
paragraph of his newest story.
Furthermore Dickens is brooding over his bad relationship with his
Italian boytoy, Anton, and the mistakes he’s made with his health -
including an ill-advised holiday of excess in Amsterdam.
The thought of his live show does little to cheer him up, as he’s
been telling the same stories over and over again for so long that
he fears his imagination has withered and died like an old...
But his audience awaits, and Dickens thus pulls himself together and
steps out on stage, to thunderous applause. The crowd listens,
enraptured, as Dickens begins to recite A Tale Of Two Nuns And The
Naughty Altarboy of Nice. Just as he gets to the point at which the
first Nun removes her vestals to reveal her hidden secret - a member
of the audience begins to glow!
The crowd begins to panic as an unearthly shriek and a gaseous
blue phantom emerges from the body...
Outside the theatre, Sneed and Gwyneth have arrived on the trail
of his latest tryst.
The Doctor and Rose have just nicked an issue of "What Horse" from
a newsagent and discovered that they’re actually in Cardiff, 1869,
rather than Naples, 1860 - Rose swears violently for three
consecutive minutes - causing all of Victorian Wales to stop dead
and stand in the streets in stunned amazement.
The Doctor, desperate to think of a way out of this horrid
situation, cheers up when he hears screams of supernatural death
radiating from the Bawdy Parrot!
Inside, Dickens is trying to convince the panicking crowd that the
shrieking spectre is just some sort of strange physiological reaction
to the horrors of temptation and erotic arousal.
When the Doctor rushes up, asking when it appeared, Dickens accuses
him of somehow engineering this farce. In all the commotion, no one
notices as Sneed and Gwyneth nick the dead body.
Mister Sneed, remembering his promise to Gwyneth, decides to pursue
the start of a relationship with a proper, living, lady. And so, as
an opening move, Sneed chloroforms Rose, and orders Gwyneth to stick
her in their hearse as well.
The Doctor finally notices Rose's absence, and Dickens and himself
take chase of the hearse.
The lead enjoyed by Sneed and Gwyneth seems insurmountable, the
Doctor screams in rage, but tells Dickens there's no way to catch
them up now.
Dickens listens to the Doctor's anguish and replies "We could
follow them in my Mercedes. It can go 0 to 60 in 2 seconds."
"Wait. This is 1869. And you have a car? A Mercedes? HOW?"
"Bad fact checking on part of the writer."
The Doctor and Dickens pursue after the hearse while listening to
the soothing sounds of jazz.
Sneed and Gwyneth lay out Rose in the viewing room, unsure what
opening line Sneed could possibly use on her NOW.
"What's wrong with just telling her she had lovely eyes and seeing
where the conversation went from there? You didn't have to
chloroform the poor girl. Honestly, sometimes I question your
common sense Mister Sneed!"
The Doctor and Dickens then arrive at the front door, and after
Dickens beeps the doors shut, they approach the funeral home.
To their total surprise the funeral home is guarded by Victorian
gentlemen robots in coat tails and top hats.
Sneaking around the robots as they enjoy a pot of tea made by
Gwyneth, the Doctor and Dickens then hear Rose crying out for help;
she’s woken just in time to see two ex-girlfriends of Sneed's sit up
and climb out of their coffins.
The Doctor kicks open the locked door and rescues Rose, but the
corpses then speak in eerie, hissing voices, insisting that they
wish to be alone with Sneed. Dickens watches in shock as the
gaseous spectres hiss out of the bodies and piss off back to their
Meanwhile, Rose lashes out at Sneed for drugging and kidnapping
her and then locking her in a room with zombies. The stricken Sneed
admits that even he would have to call that a pretty bad attempt at
a first date.
Sneed explains that the dead have been waking up at awkward moments
for the past three months.
Quickly, the Doctor theorises that there’s a rift in time and space
located in the building -- he's seen it before, and it can really
damage property values.
Dickens, suddenly weary, tells the Doctor that he is full of shit.
Dickens insists that while he appreciates an illusion for its own
sake, when it involves the dead coming back to life to take vengeance
on the living - it's just too damned creepy and over the top for his
While Dickens and the Doctor argue over the reality of the
situation, Rose tries and fails to make friends with Gwyneth.
Gwyneth doesn't trust Rose as "she is from a strange sort of London
where the people walk around in immodest clothing, where the sky is
filled with flying metal birds, and people speak to one another in a
degrading fashion and use depraved terms such as 'Okay'".
Gwyneth insists that there are no such strange customs and
contraptions in her world.
"But what about the robots?"
"MISTER Pinwick and MISTER Antony are good and decent metallic
fellows who drink tea and address a lady properly."
Gwyneth curtsies and excuses herself to finish her chores before
leaving Rose alone in the room (Which is apparently the Victorian
way of saying "Now fuck off").
Later that evening the Doctor tries to conduct a seance, but when
that leads to nothing he sends a postcard to
The One Next Door
The People Who Animate Corpses"
And, with the help of the ever diligent Royal Mail, the dispatch
arrives promptly. Three days later the Doctor receives a reply from
"The Body Snatchers of the Queeb Universe"
"Ah! I should have known! The Queeb! I used to holiday there
before it was destroyed in the Time War!"
"What Time War?"
"Sorry, that vague reference is all you get for now Rose."
Reading the lengthy reply the Doctor discovers that the beings from
Queeb have taken a liking to Mister Sneed. Their only wish is to
inhabit a body in this universe and live out the rest of their
unnatural lives with him. However, the rift is unstable, and after
passing through, they are too weak to control the bodies for very
long; in order to inhabit them permanently, they need Gwyneth to
stabilise the rift - they don't mention why exactly, but it all
sounds plausible to the Doctor.
Rose is appalled by the Queeb’s request for bodies, but the Doctor
thinks that Mister Sneed would be better off for society with a lady
friend - even if she was an undead animated corpse from an alternate
The Doctor refuses to let the Queeb's affection die just because
Rose doesn’t like the thought of dead bodies carrying out meaningful
"Rose, it's like falling in love with someone from another country.
There are problems of naturalization, culture shock, maybe the
occasional accident that kills billions of people - but we can't let
our own narrow prejudices stop the joyous union of a happy couple."
Gwyneth then points out that it’s her choice to make, and although
she can tell Rose thinks she's as thick as brick sandwich, she’s made
her decision; she respects Mister Sneed and will do what she can to
Rose still thinks it’s pointless, there weren't dead mail order
brides in 1869!
The Doctor informs her - "You can re-write history Rose. Every line."
The Doctor asks Sneed if he has any clue where in all of the world
the time rift might be located.
"Oh, it's in the shed. Where I store the moonshine."
Following Sneed into the shed, the Doctor and company meet a Queeb
who thanks them effusively for their help.
The Doctor insists that this is a one time offer only; the Queeb
can only transfer into one body, with which to date Mister Sneed and
keep him out of trouble.
The Queeb agree and then guide Gwyneth to the source of the rift,
in the very back of the shed, next to all the pin-up girl posters.
Gwyneth begins to glow, but none of the Queeb emerge from her body.
Rose and the Doctor expected them to find a suitable corpse in the
funeral home, but instead they seem to be lingering at the gateway.
Scared by an unexpected turn of events Sneed orders Gwyneth to stop
"NO! Stop! Whatever is going on. This is...twisted, strange...
Gwyneth reaches out and embraces Mister Sneed.
"OH! I see...Well Doctor, Rose, Charles, thanks for the help.
You can see yourselves off I'm sure."
Rose is mightily pissed off -
"WAIT! You just let these aliens kill your maid, take over her
body, and then use it to molest you like some sort of Victorian boy
"Yes, that about sums it up dear!" Replies Sneed.
"Happens all the time I'm afraid Rose. Crazy universe."
Agrees the Doctor.
"Fantastic idea for a story!" Comments Mister Dickens with glee.
"What, being molested by an undead animated maid?"
Now muttering only to himself Dickens looks down "Yes..yes...but
WHAT to call it - Maid For Sin?"
Rose storms out in disgust and leaves the horrid scene behind her.
Much much later, Dickens accompanies the Doctor and Rose back to the
TARDIS to say goodbye; he intends to return to London immediately to
spend Christmas with his Italian lover and make amends.
Now that Dickens knows how much more there is to learn about the
world, his imagination has been inspired.
Dickens corners the Doctor outside of the TARDIS and whispers to
"I am an old man, not long for this world. And you, I believe,
have seen the shape of things to come. Tell me. Please. Tell me
that I am remembered for my ribald tales of high strangeness and
erotica in times forth, and not that silly nonsense about the ghosts
and Christmas and all that codswallop.
Tell me that in that unknown, undiscovered country, there are men
with unkempt beards, carrying my works to their miserable ill-lit
flats wrapped in brown paper bags, and no one would dream of
mentioning my soiled name to schoolchildren and make them read
endless prose about knitting."
The Doctor smiles, lies through his teeth and pisses off back into
Inside, the Doctor informs Rose that Dickens will die in 1870,
leaving 'The Lust Maids From Beyond The Sun' unfinished -- but at
least he’ll be happy for the last few months of his life with Anton.
The TARDIS dematerialises, and Dickens, giddy with excitement,
walks back out into the streets of Cardiff, filled with hope for
Book(s)/Other Related -
The Banned Works Of Charles Dickens - A Collection Of
Tasteless Victorian Smut
New, from the makers of The game of Life AND Monopoly, -
Doctor Who, The Undead Matchmaking Game!
Links and References -
This entire tale bears an uncanny resemblance to the very nearly
forgotten Dickens tale of "An Account Of A Naughty Barmaid And the
Mistaken Black Bear".
Gwyneth quotes the source countless times including "Whether he be
man or beast his affections were made all too obvious."
Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor once vacationed in Somerset with Oscar Wilde.
Rose was required to read A Tale Of Two Cities in school, and
blames this for her failing English.
Groovy DVD Extras -
Simon Callow, as Charles Dickens, reads the classic comical tale
"Whoops! Where's My Bodice?"
Dialogue Disasters -
Dickens: What the SlaveMaster807 is going on?
Dialogue Triumphs -
Doctor: Go out there dressed like that you'll attract attention --
the WRONG kind of attention!
Doctor: I've made a mistake it's not 1860
Rose: I don't care
Doctor: It's 1869
Rose: I don't care
Doctor: And we're not in Naples
Rose: I don't care
Doctor: And I'm naked.
Rose: I don't care.
WHAT?! Wait a minute you pervert!
Get something on right now! A jumper at least.
You'll die of cold.
Doctor: You've seen the future, how about I show you the past?
How does 1760 sound?
Rose: What happened in 1760?
Doctor: Oh that's when I -- GOOD POINT. Better make that 1860.
All the witnesses should be dead by then.
Rose: One thing, those robots, what were they doing?
Doctor: MISTER Pinwick and MISTER Antony? They were drinking tea.
Rose: I mean, what were they doing in the 19th Century?
Doctor: Having a laugh I imagine.
Viewer Quotes -
"I can not believe that the BBC would broadcast such filth about
unholy unions with the bodies of the unnaturally deceased.
I've been waiting for this sort of thing for years!"
- Father James O'Maley (2005)
"This story is complete nonsense! Those robots would rust if they
drank tea!" - Nitpicker Monthly (June 2005)
"50% icky dead people sex, 30% Classic Who, 15% Zombie Adventure,
4% Alan Moore, 1% Hot Victorian Porno."
- SFX Magazine (August 2005)
"The magic of Doctor Who is back AT LAST! I know I've said that for
the last two episodes, but this time, the magic is REALLY, REALLY
Back with extra sugar on top."
- The Easily Excitable Reviewer, (May 2005)
Russell T Davies Speaks!
'It was a crazy shoot! Christopher Eccleston was updating his CV
between takes, saying things like -
"Okay, I want to include this scene in my 'Special Achievements in
This Role' section, but how do you describe this?
So far all I have is the bulletpoint 'My leading man character
valiantly killed an innocent maid so she could be infested by aliens
and molest a Victorian funeral director.'
And I don't think that sounds OVERLY heroic, and it's too long
So I think none of the actors were overly focused and in the moment
when we shot this one. But we still managed to shape what we all
felt was a great episode, and a great CV.'
Christopher Eccleston speaks!
"I love history, but BEFORE I did this I never knew Charles Dickens
wrote so much erotic fiction. I've tried to catch up on
alt.sex.stories.dickens, but there's really not enough hours in the
I was so excited to do this story because the quality of the writing
of Charles Dickens has always appealed to me. For awhile I thought
he actually wrote the script, but then I remembered he was dead.
Still, that doesn't detract from the vision and magic of Dickens'
writing. He's like Russell T Davies, but less Welsh and deceased."
Rumors & Facts -
This story was directed by someone named Eros, and it shows.
The script Eros was first handed was a grim masterpiece of pain and
agony. The script writer, Gatiss, was encouraged by executive
producer Russell T Davies to lighten up the piece.
RTD was apparently worried about the scenes in which zombies ripped
children apart limb from limb whilst devouring the flesh of poor
One of the first changes made was to write a new, happy ending, in
which Mister Sneed got a love interest in the form of the
extra-dimensional corpse possessing intelligence.
This varied greatly from the original ending in which Gwyneth used
an experimental gatling gun to subjugate humanity, and turned over
control of the nations of earth to flesh eating vampiric aliens from
the planet Mars.
The re-writes were handled with masterful grace and the production
continued on schedule.
The casting went very smoothly, and when Charles Dickens declined
to appear as himself, Simon Callow took up the role.