Doctor: Christopher Eccleston (Ninth Doctor)
Companpon: Billie Piper (Rose Tyler)
Alan David – Gabriel Sneed
Huw Rhys – Redpath
Jennifer Hill – Mrs Peace
Eve Myles – Gwyneth
Simon Callow – Charles Dickens
Wayne Cater – Stage Manager
Meic Povey – Driver
Zoe Thorne – The Gelth
Directed by Euros Lyn
Written by Mark Gatiss
Script editor Helen Raynor
Produced by Phil Collinson
Executive producer(s) Russell T Davies
Incidental music composer Murray Gold
Production code 1.3
Series Series 1
Length 44 minutes
Originally broadcast 9 April 2005
The Doctor attempts to pilot the TARDIS to Naples in 1860 to show Rose the past, but ends up in Cardiff in 1869 instead, on Christmas Eve. At a nearby funeral parlour, run by Gabriel Sneed and his servant Gwyneth, the corpse of the late Mrs. Peace has been taken over by a blue vapour. She rises from her coffin and kills her mourning grandson before lurching away from the parlour. Gwyneth, a clairvoyant, senses that the corpse is going to see Charles Dickens at a nearby theater. In the middle of his performance, the blue vapour leaves Mrs. Peace and scares the audience away. The commotion attracts the attention of the Doctor and Rose, who rush to investigate. Sneed and Gwyneth arrive and capture the corpse, but are confronted by Rose and end up kidnapping her as well. Meanwhile, Dickens accuses the Doctor of ruining the performance, but after the Doctor gushes over his literary genius, Dickens offers to help.
At the funeral parlour, Rose wakes up along with the newly-reanimated corpses of Mrs. Peace and Mr. Redpath. The Doctor and Dickens arrive and break into the parlour just in time to rescue Rose. After hearing about the trouble with the corpses, the Doctor convinces Gwyneth to help him hold a séance to attempt to communicate with the dead. The blue vapors fill the room and reveal that they are the remains of the Gelth, a once-corporeal alien race until they were devastated by the Time War. They plead with the Doctor to open the rift that exists in the basement of the parlour and allow them to cross over. The Doctor offers the Gelth temporary use of the corpses until he can transport them to a place where they can build new bodies, using Gwyneth as a bridge to cross the Rift.
Gwyneth stands in the middle of an arch and opens the rift, allowing the Gelth to cross over. The number of Gelth is much greater than anticipated, and their true motive is revealed: they intend to kill the living to give themselves more hosts and take over the planet. One of the animated bodies strangles Sneed to death, allowing another Gelth to possess his body. Dickens flees the parlour, and Rose and the Doctor are trapped in a part of the basement. Outside, Dickens realises that the beings are affected by gas and returns to the house. He extinguishes the gaslights and turns the gas on full, pulling the Gelth out of the bodies. The Doctor tells Gwyneth to send the Gelth back and close the rift, but she cannot close it or leave. Instead she takes out a box of matches, intending to ignite the gas and kill the Gelth along with herself. The Doctor determines that Gwyneth is already dead, and that by opening the rift, she had doomed herself. The Doctor, Rose, and Dickens flee the parlour just before it explodes and burns, killing Gwyneth and the Gelth.
The Doctor and Rose head back to the TARDIS, and Dickens thanks them for their help. He decides to leave immediately for London to patch up things with his family, and to finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The Doctor and Rose say their goodbyes and disappear in the TARDIS, and the astounded Dickens walks away through the streets of Cardiff, greeting everyone he passes and quoting A Christmas Carol: "God bless us, everyone!"