Doctor Who: The Vampires of Venice

I have to admit I began watching this story with some trepidation. When I see words like “vampire” in the title of a Doctor Who story I worry that we’re going to get some sort of second rate wannabe Buffy the Vampire plot, or a story that considers science fiction as an opportunity present gothic horror as if it were part of the same genre. This seemed especially likely as the writer was Toby Whithouse, creator of Being Human. But it turned out I was doing Toby Whithouse a big injustice. In actual fact Vampires of Venice was a lot better than any of those possibilities and succeeded in creating a very science fiction back story for what was only an apparent vampire plot.

The story itself had a very “Big FinishEighth Doctor “Byronesque” feel to it, with a romantic historical location and sinister mystery to solve. This potentially horrific plot was diluted with a great deal of humour with the inclusion of Amy’s insecure fiancée Rory Williams and the “Mummy’s Boy” alien Francesco (played by “Alex Price”) to the point that, I felt, too much of the tension and fear was lost. Given that the regular audience includes so many youngsters this is a difficult balance to get right.

One of the big pluses of the story was the inclusion of Rory Williams (played by Arthur Darvill) who has hinted that he is a lot cleverer than he may seem. With him as part of the TARDIS crew the dynamics between the overly young Doctor and Amy might actually work.

A final word of praise for the BBC production team, especially the location scouts, who managed to find locations, in particular St Donat’s Castle, that created such a convincing 16th Century Venice for this story and all without the use of a TARDIS of their own!

Written by Peter Grehan


    Frank Sable

    May 11, 2010

    Which ever way you dress it up this was still a vampire story, vampire shrimps from out of space maybe, but still jumping on that trending teenage vampire bandwagon. Doctor Who doesn’t need to jump on bandwagons, its got a bandwagon all of its own that other programs can jump on.


    May 11, 2010

    This was my favourite episode so far! I loved the touches of humour evident throughout. It seemed to me that Matt Smith was more relaxed in his role than previously and the scares were just right for a mixed age audience. There is nothing wrong with using ‘traditional’ monster types, as long as value is added and entertainment provided – remember the Victorian werewolf?

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