The Haunting of Villa Diodati


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The Haunting of Villa Diodati

Serial Code

Episode 8

First Transmitted

16 February 2020

Final ratings



Blu Ray




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Regular Cast

Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin), Toshin Cole (Ryan), Bradley Walsh (Graham)

Guest Cast

Lili Miller (Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin), Nadia Parkes (Claire Clairmont), Jacob Collins-Levy (Lord Byron), Maxim Baldry (Dr John Polidori), Percy Shelley (Lewis Rainer), Patrick O’Kane (Ashad), Stefan Bednarczyk (Fletcher), Sarah Perles (Elise)


Written by Maxine Alderton
Directed by Emma Sullivan
Produced by Nikki Wilson, Adam Friedlander & Alex Mercer


‘Nobody mention Frankenstein. Nobody interfere. Nobody snog Byron.’ Should be easy, right?

The Doctor and her gang arrive at the Villa Diodati at Lake Geneva in 1816 on the night that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The plan is to spend the evening soaking up the atmos in the presence of some literary greats, but the ghosts are all too real, and The Doctor is forced into a decision of earth-shattering proportions.




Villa Diodati is near Lake Geneva.


Graham searches for the lavatory, but finds that they’re too early in history to enjoy the invention of toilets.


Graham begins”It is a truth universally acknowledged…”, but The Doctor interjects”wrong writer”.
The Doctor has instructed her friends not to mention Frankenstein, or otherwise affect its inception. Mary Shelley wonders if Ashad is a composite of multiple men (like the creature in her novel), and refers to his creators as a “Modern Prometheus” (the novel’s full title is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus). She watches him recharge via a lightning strike; in the novel, it is implied the monster is brought to life via electricity.
Ryan plays”Chopsticks” on the piano.
The Doctor quotes Lord Byron’s poem”She Walks in Beauty”.
Lord Byron believes that The Doctor is after the third canto of his work Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.
The Lone Cyberman recites Percy Shelley’s poem”Queen Mab”.
The poem read aloud by Byron at the end of the episode is”Darkness”.


    The episode had a “cold opening”.
    Unusual to a normal set up, this particular episode did feature a cliffhanger but it wasn’t set at the end of the episode, instead appearing before Team TARDIS head back to the TARDIS, in the final scenes in Villa Diodati.
    In the real world, the competition to create the best ghost story took place over the course of three days, not one single night.
    Although uncredited, the Cyberman’s helmet design visibly appears to beb based on Matthew Savage’s 2016 design
    In another account, the Eighth Doctor was involved in this night’s events. (Mary’s Story)
    Mary also travelled with the Eighth Doctor for a time, as his companion. (The Silver Turk, The Witch from the Well, Army of Death)
    In one of their adventures, Mary encountered another lone Cyberman, popularly known as the Silver Turk, in 1873 Vienna. (The Silver Turk)
    In a second account, the Tenth Doctor saved Mary from a bandaged alien during her stay in Switzerland, at least partly inspiring her to write Frankenstein, and certainly leading to the book’s ultimate title. (The Creative Spark)
    The Shelley Cabal’s encounters with the Mal’akh are detailed in The Book of the War.
    Although taking on Shelley’s name, Mary and Percy are not yet officially married. (Mary’s Story)
    The Doctor mentions that she knows Byron’s daughter, Ada. (The Enchantress of Numbers, Spyfall)
    Team TARDIS recall Jack’s warning about the Lone Cyberman. (Fugitive of the Judoon)
    The Doctor refuses to lose anyone else to Cyber-conversion. (World Enough and Time / The Doctor Falls)
    Mary calls the Cyberman a “modern Prometheus”; this would form part of her title for Frankenstein. (The Creative Spark)


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