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?


The Pyrovile were originally called Pyrovillaxians. This was shortened to Pyrovellians, then Pyrovile. See more »


When the Doctor says, "Ipso facto," to Caecillius, Caecillius responds, "Look, you--" with an expression on his face that not only did not match his tone, but also did not match the movement of his lips and throat. But the movements were not of him saying, as one would expect, "By the fact itself," the TARDIS-provided English translation of what he says in Latin, a translation of the Welsh-Celtic he heard the Doctor say instead (i.e. "ipso facto" in English). Since the Doctor's face isn't visible for his line, it is possible both lines were overdubbed. See more »


Lucius: Is that so? Man from Gallifrey.
The Doctor: What?
Lucius: The strangest of images; your home is lost in fire, is it not?
Donna Noble: Doctor, what are they doing?
Lucius: And you, daughter of... London!
Donna Noble: How does he know that?
Lucius: It is the gift of Pompeii, every single oracle tells the truth.
Donna Noble: But that's impossible.
Lucius: Doctor, she is returning.
The Doctor: Who is? Who's she?
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who: The End of Time: Part One (2009) See more »


Doctor Who Closing Credits
Written by Ron Grainer
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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