The Curse of Fatal Death


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The Curse of Fatal Death

Serial Code


First Transmitted

12 March 1999

Final Ratings




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Regular Cast

Rowan Atkinson (The Doctor), Julia Sawalha (Emma)

Guest Cast

Richard E. Grant (The Doctor), Jim Broadbent (The Doctor), Hugh Grant (The Doctor), Joanna Lumley (The Doctor), Jonathan Pryce (The Master), Roy Skelton, Daleks (voice), Dave Chapman,. Daleks (voice)


Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by John Henderson
Produced by Sue Vertue


Before The Doctor can settle down to married life, he must face one last confrontation with his deadly enemy of certain death – The Master.


  • The title sequence is the same as used during most of the Fourth DoctorTom Baker era of Doctor Who, albeit ed to remove Tom Baker’s face.
    The opening image of the TARDIS flying through space as The Master watches was taken from the beginning of the The TV Movie. Steven Moffat, best known at the time for the children’s drama series Press Gang (which starred Julia Sawalha), was well known as a fan of
  • Doctor Who and included many small continuity references in his script. He subsequently wrote several episodes for the series proper, and in 2010 became the programme’s head writer and executive producer.
    The title “Curse of Fatal Death” is a tautology (it being impossible to have a death that is not fatal), which parodies the sometimes melodramatic and tautological titles of the original series (an example being the 1976 serial (The Deadly Assassin).
    The TARDIS console room and three of the Daleks used in the production were sourced from the people who made The Doctor Who fan production Devious. The console motor performed perfectly during rehearsal but gave a few problems during the final takes. A copy of the Doctor’s 500-Year Diary was placed on the console and red or green lights were used to illuminate the walls when the set was used for, respectively, The Doctor or The Master.
  • This is the lone example of a BBC-only production prior to 2005 in which the TARDIS interior appears to be lit when viewed from the exterior. This continues a tradition begun in the 1996 The TV Movie, and is common practice in the 2005 series. The visual effect was first seen in the film Dr. Who and the Daleks.
  • The exterior TARDIS prop was the same Mark II fibreglass version used in the 1980s and in the 30th-anniversary story Dimensions in Time, Curse was the last time the prop would be used.
    Other specially made episodes of Doctor Who include Dimensions in Time (1993), the officially untitled 2005 special mini-episode, and Time Crash (2007)-all produced for Children in Need-and “Space / Time, ” a two-part mini-story produced for Comic Relief in 2011. “Time Crash” and “Space / Time” were written by Moffat.

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