The Crimson Horror

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PRODUCTION INFO

Name
The Crimson Horror
Series 7

Episode 11

First Transmitted

4 May 2013

Final Ratings

6.47m

BOXSET RELEASE

Series 7 Set

DVD RELEASE

Series 7 Volume 2

GALLERY

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CAST

Regular Cast

Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna Louise Coleman (Clara)

Guest Cast

Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dame Diana Rigg (Winifred Gillyflower), Dan Starkey (Strax), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Rachael Stirling (Ada Gillyflower), Eve De Leon Allen (Angie Maitland), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie Maitland), Brendan Patricks (Edmund & Thursday), Graham Turner (Amos), Olivia Vinall (Effie), Michelle Tate (Abigail), Jack Oliver Hudson (Urchin Boy).

CREW

Written by Mark Gattis
Directed by Saul Metzstein
Produced by Denise Paul & Marcus Wilson

SYPNOSIS

There’s something very odd about Mrs Gillyflower’s Sweetville mill, with its perfectly clean streets and beautiful people.

There’s something even stranger about the bodies washing up in the river, all bright red and waxy. When The Doctor and Clara go missing, it’s up to Vastra, Jenny and Strax to rescue them before they too fall victim to the Crimson Horror!

PLOT

Madame Vastra and her partners, Jenny and Strax, investigate “the Crimson Horror” — a mysterious condition leaving victims with red skin and preserved like statues — after discovering that one victim has the image of the Eleventh Doctor visible in one of his eyes.

Investigations lead them to Sweetville, an idyllic community run by Mrs Winifred Gillyflower and her never-seen “silent partner”, Mr Sweet, apparently as a home for the chosen few to help them survive “the coming apocalypse”. Jenny goes undercover as a convert and infiltrates Sweetville, where she discovers The Doctor, chained up in a cell, but only partially preserved; the process didn’t work because he was not human. Gillyflower tends to dispose of such “rejects”, but he has been saved by her blind daughter, Ada Gillyflower, who has become infatuated with him and describes him as “my monster”.

Jenny helps The Doctor out and they walk to a strange rinsing cabinet of some kind. The Doctor takes his clothes and sonic screwdriver into the cabinet, activating it with his sonic. A few moments later he bursts out in a maniac joy, thanking Jenny for saving him. He tells her they need to find companion Clara Oswald, who has also been preserved. This confuses Jenny, as she saw Clara killed by the ice woman months earlier.

The Doctor tells Jenny that he and Clara were actually aiming to visit London in 1893, but they instead arrived in Yorkshire. Clara mocks The Doctor for perpetually getting them lost. The Doctor takes it in stride, telling her that it used to be a lot worse; “I once spent a hell of a long time trying to get a gobby Australian to Heathrow Airport.” They immediately got involved in the investigation of Sweetville and the red bodies piling up in the sewers. The Doctor and Clara, posing as a married couple, joined the Sweetville community to investigate, but Mrs Gillyflower imprisoned and preserved them. The process worked on Clara, but not The Doctor due to not being human; Ada locked him away, keeping him as her “special monster”.

The preservation process on Clara is successfully reversed, and Madame Vastra says the substance used to create the “Crimson Horror” effect is the poison of the red leech, a parasite the Silurians considered a major threat 65 million years ago. The Doctor and Clara confront Mrs Gillyflower, who explains her plan and reveals that Mr Sweet is, in fact, a red leech who has attached himself to her chest. Their plan is to launch a rocket into the skies over England and spread the leech’s poison over the planet. Ada, listening in, learns of her mother’s plans and confronts her; meanwhile, Clara disables the rocket launch controls.

Holding a gun to her daughter’s head, Gillyflower retreats into the rocket silo to activate a secondary launch control; she launches the rocket, but learns moments later that Vastra and Jenny have removed the poison payload. She fires at The Doctor but misses. Strax shoots at Mrs Gillyflower, causing her to tumble and die.

As the old woman lays dying, Mr Sweet abandons his host. Ada shares final words with her mother before brutally killing the parasite with her cane, causing his innards to spurt out. The Doctor grimaces, having originally intended to take the leech back to the Jurassic era so it couldn’t do anymore harm. The next day, Ada decides to make the most of her life, while the Paternoster Gang decide to lock the leech venom in their vault. Vastra asks The Doctor how Clara can be back, but he cannot give her an answer.

Later, The Doctor returns Clara to her 21st century home, where she discovers that the two children she helps care for, Angie and Artie Maitland, have found images of her and the Doctor in different points of time — including a nuclear submarine in 1983 and a manor house in 1974. They have found an image Clara does not recognise; it was taken in Victorian London — but she’s only been to Victorian Yorkshire. The children threaten to inform their father that their nanny is a time traveller unless she takes them on a trip in her time machine.

NOTES

  • This story marks the first time in the revived series that a companion’s associates have successfully deduced the person’s time-travelling affairs with the Doctor’s on their own, along with the Doctor’sability to time-travel, without questioning The Doctor directly or getting a firsthand experience of the TARDIS. Artie and Angie Maitland discovered pictures of Clara’s travels from Cold War, Hide, and a picture of Clara during her Victorian life (The Snowmen) on the Internet, which exposed her secret.
  • Likewise to the above, Clara sees herself in a past life for the first time by looking at the Victorian era photo of herself in London (The Snowmen), cluing her in that she really has lived more than one life, which The Doctor confronted her over in their last adventure, but she later forgot due to the day being rewritten. (Journey To The Centre of the TARDIS).
  • The Doctor is generally much friendlier to Clara, now that he knows she doesn’t have control over her multiple lives. He stops treating her like a ghost and treats her as his companion.
  • Although Jenny and Vastra both question The Doctor concerning how Clara is alive, he neither explains anything to them, nor is she ever present for these questions. Thus despite having met, Vastra and Jenny do not know that this is a different person and not the same one revived in some manner, and Clara gains no knowledge of her past life from the pair.
  • This story is the first to feature Vastra, Jenny, and Strax that was not written by Steven Moffat.
  • This story marked the 100th Doctor Who episode since the programme’s revival in 2005.
  • Filming for this episode began on 2 July 2012.
  • Diana Rigg is credited as “Dame Diana Rigg” the first time such an honourific has been included in a Doctor Who screen credit (by contrast, Sir Michael Gambon was not identified as such in A Christmas Carol).
  • The superstition of an eye retaining the last image it sees was previously referenced by the Fourth Doctor, who then used a similar process to read the last images recorded in the brain of a deceased Wirrn. (The Ark in Space)
  • Gillyflower has anorgan that turns around to reveal the launch mechanism for her rocket when specific keys and buttons are pushed. The Tenth Doctor played an organ to stop Lazarus. (The Lazarus Experiment). The Sixth Doctor’s TARDIS turned into an organ, which he played too. (Attack of the Cybermen).
  • An illness that turns your skin red was seen before, which may or may not have been from here. (New Earth).
  • As The Doctor and Clara prepare to Yorkshire, Clara says she’s had enough of Victorian values. The Doctor previously spoke to Strax about Victorian values, where after a person finds something brand new in the world that they’ve never seen, they will next look for a way to make a profit from it. (The Snowmen)
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