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)
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Did You Know?


Much of this episode was shot at the Cinecittà studio in Rome, Italy. This marked the first time Doctor Who had been substantially filmed outside the UK since the 1996 revival TV movie was produced in Vancouver, Canada. (The last regular series installment to include substantial production outside the UK was the 1985 two-part episode "The Two Doctors"). The sets used were from the BBC/HBO co-production 'Rome'. The house of Caecilius was originally the house of the Junii. See more »


After the Doctor pulls Lucius' arm off and Lucius confronts the Doctor and Donna in the volcano, the crook of the actor's real arm can be seen through the costume's opening. The fake stone arm sits relatively high and does not disguise it. See more »


Donna Noble: But I'm history, too. You saved me in 2008, saved all of us. Why is that different?
The Doctor: Some things are fixed, some things are in flux. Pompeii is fixed.
Donna Noble: How do you know which is which?
The Doctor: Because that's how I see the universe. Every waking second, I can see what is, what was, what could be, what must not... That's the burden of the Timelord, Donna. And I'm the only one left.
See more »


References Fawlty Towers (1975) See more »


Doctor Who Theme
Written by Ron Grainer
Arranged by Murray Gold
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
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User Reviews

James Moran makes his mark with a great Doctor Who story
12 April 2008 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

After seeing "The Fires of Pompeii" I am confident that James Moran is here to stay and to become an excellent Doctor Who writer in the future. Moran's previous work is the screenplay for the horror/comedy "Severance" and for an episode of Doctor Who spin off "Torchwood". His script for "The Fires of Pompeii" shows real gratitude to and respect for the legacy of Doctor Who, as Moran does not attempt to introduce more spaceships to London's skies, but rather writes a surprisingly effective and very exciting story in the vein of classic Doctor Who stories from the 70's and 80's.

I love anything that addresses the TARDIS translating languages because that's one I always get asked when people attempt to ridicule Doctor Who. Anyway, this story's guest actors all do a terrific job and the script itself is really a fantastic piece of writing, combining classic Doctor Who elements with wonderful bits of humor and some of the best drama in this incarnation of Doctor Who outside of Steven Moffat's episode, as well as rousing adventure and action scenes. I'm loving Catherine Tate as Donna too, she makes an excellent companion.

By writing a smart, balanced script with a tinge of classic Who added in for good measure, James Moran has crafted one of the best debuts for a writer in Doctor Who's history. I look forward to more from him. Great stuff, and boy did it look good as well.


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