The Doctor and Donna land in the marketplace in Pompeii in 79 A.D., the day before the big eruption and the destruction of the city. The Doctor's destination was actually Rome but he soon realizes his mistake...but not before a market vendor sells the TARDIS to a local businessman, a seller of marble whose daughter may be able to predict the future. Donna sees an opportunity to warn everyone and evacuate the city but the Doctor flatly refuses. When the Doctor learns that those with the ability to see future are slowly turning to stone, he quickly comes to the conclusion that alien beings are operating inside the volcano - and that he has a far greater decision to make than that put to him by Donna. Written by
The Doctor tells Donna he had been to Rome once before, and that he "had nothing to do with that fire." This is a reference to the fact that the first Doctor (William Hartnell) visited Rome in the original series of Doctor Who (1963), in the 4-part serial "The Romans" (1965). Although the Doctor did not directly start the fire, he did hold a map a bit too close to an open flame, giving Nero an idea. See more »
The Doctor claims that the Romans had no word for "volcano" until Vesuvius erupts. In reality, the Greeks called volcano "etna" or "hiera" and said that the god of fire, Hephaestus, worked in a forge under a volcano. As the Romans adapted the Greek mythos, Hephaestus became Vulcan - volcano is a derivation of this name. See more »
This is an episode that's everything an episode of Doctor who should be
A great one-off. This episode is great fun to watch. Not only is there a "baffling" mystery to be solved, but there's amazing tension because a huge argument is brewing between the doctor and Donna about whether they should leave Pompeii or not. Each of them is convinced they're doing the right thing.
That alone would make this a stand-out episode, but there are also some of the best special effects yet seen on the show.
Aswella as a few more tantalising hints about what might be coming later in the series.....
overall Grade A for this episode.
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