Doctor Who (2005– )
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The Fires of Pompeii 

Instead in Rome, The Doctor and Donna Noble end up visiting Pompeii in AD 79, on the eve of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, before anyone even knew it was actually a volcano.The entire city is doomed for destruction.


Colin Teague


James Moran

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Episode complete credited cast:
David Tennant ... The Doctor
Catherine Tate ... Donna Noble
Phil Cornwell ... Stallholder
Karen Gillan ... Soothsayer
Sasha Behar Sasha Behar ... Spurrina
Lorraine Burroughs ... Thalina
Peter Capaldi ... Caecilius
Tracey Childs ... Metella
Francesca Fowler ... Evelina
François Pandolfo ... Quintus (as Francois Pandolfo)
Victoria Wicks ... High Priestess
Gerard Bell Gerard Bell ... Major Domo
Phil Davis ... Lucius


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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site [UK]

Release Date:

2 May 2008 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Wales See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(50 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A fire broke out at Cinecittà Studios prior to filming. The conflagration was the result of an electrical short, and caused the deaths of four people and considerable destruction before it was extinguished. Despite the tragedy, however, the sets required had not been damaged. See more »


As Donna and the Doctor start their tour of "Rome", a sign seen behind them says "Two amphoras for the price of one". The plural of "amphora" is "amphorae". See more »


Donna Noble: What time does Vesuvius erupt? When's it due?
The Doctor: It's 79 A.D. 23rd of August; which makes Volcano day-tomorrow.
Donna Noble: Plenty of time. We can get everyone out, easy.
The Doctor: Yeah, except we're not going to.
Donna Noble: But that's what you do. You're the Doctor. You save people.
The Doctor: Not this time. Pompeii is a fixed point in history. What happens, happens. There's no stopping it.
Donna Noble: Says who?
The Doctor: Says me.
Donna Noble: What, and you're in charge?
The Doctor: TARDIS, Time Lord-yeah!
See more »


Edited into Doctor Who: The Girl Who Died (2015) See more »


Doctor Who Closing Credits
Written by Ron Grainer
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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User Reviews

Visions of the future echo from the past
21 March 2019 | by A_Kind_Of_CineMagicSee all my reviews

This episode is an interesting mix of comedy and deeper, darker drama. The comedy works well as you might expect with comedy star Catherine Tate as Donna but Tate's brilliance in the hugely emotional scenes and the dramatic challenging of the Doctor's code of conduct was a wonderful surprise. It turned out that Donna would be equally great in all the forthcoming episodes both in the humour and in the serious dramatic scenes.

Future Doctor Peter Capaldi appears in a nice support role which is later used in a strange but interesting flashback in The Girl Who Died when the Capaldi as the 12th Doctor realises he has the same face as this person he met before and feels it was to remind him of his vocation to save people. Future companion (and now Hollywood star) Karen Gillan also appears in an early cameo. The dialogue, story, setting and action is all really good and David tennant matches Tate with another great performance.

The involvement of the Doctor and an alien threat in the volcanic eruption that destroys Pompeii is a great scenario and this episode works really well.


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