Yet another historical episode where the Doctor takes the crew to visit a famous moment in literary history. Near Lake Geneva, Lord Byron has rented the Villa Diodati where he is staying with his friends Percy Shelley, Mary Shelly, John Polidori and Claire Claremont. The actual historical holiday would result in Polidori composing one of the first modern vampire novels but more notably, Mary Shelley writes the story that she would extend into the novel Frankenstein.
The Doctor gate crashes the party only to discover that things are amiss: Shelly P is missing and the house is beginning to behave oddly.
The first three quarter or so of this are great fun. Chris Chibnall’s historical episodes (of which there have been a lot) have had a tendency for reverence for their subject matter but there is only a modicum of that here. Instead we get some deftly done comic horror, with genuine scares, creepy moments and some well played comic timing.
Unsurprisingly, the cause of the pseudo-supernatural goings on turns out to be an alien artefact but here the episode shifts bringing in one of the story-arc elements and a darker tone for Whittaker’s Doctor. I won’t spoil that bit. I think it works even if the connection with the Mary Shelley’s seminal work of science fiction is a bit trite.
Overall, a solid piece of entertainment. This is only a ten episode season for Doctor Who, so we are into the end game next week with the penultimate episode.