The Vampires of Venice

DVD NTSC
Region 1
13-episode
box set

DVD PAL
Region 2
13-episode
box set

Ltd.
DVD PAL
Region 2
3-episode volume
See below for Blu-Ray options
(Doctor Who Story No. 212, starring Matt Smith)
  • written by Toby Whithouse
  • directed by Jonny Campbell
  • produced by Tracie Simpson and Patrick Schweitzer
  • music by Murray Gold
  • 1 episode @ 47 minutes
Story: The Doctor takes Amy and Rory to the romantic city of Venice in 1580 A.D., only to discover that the city's rulers, headed by the Calvierra family, are recruiting young women into a cult. Will the time-traveling trio be able to rescue Guido's daughter? What are the Calvierras' real plans for the cult? And what kind of creatures are they that they don't mind being mistaken for vampires?

DVD Extras (box sets only) include:

  • Picture-in-picture commentary by writer Toby Whithouse, director Jonny Campbell, and actor Alex Price (Francesco Calvierra).
  • Doctor Who Confidential featurette: Death in Venice (14 min.) with Whithouse, Campbell, Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond),
    Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams), executive producers Steven Moffat and Beth Willis, Venetian historian Francesco Da Mosto,
    visual effects supervisor Dave Houghton, and 1st assistant director John Bennett. Narrated by Alex Price.
  • Outtakes & Bloopers
  • Story Trailer

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have already seen the program.
To avoid the spoilers, read the Buyers' Guide to the season instead.


Hooray! Another good one! Although I must admit, I was a bit nervous about where this one appeared to be going at first.


Of course, with the season arcs having become so PREDICTABLE lately, one comes to expect that after the companion introduction episode, future episode, and past episode, there comes the inevitable return to the companion's domestic concerns on present day Earth, England. When we're really unlucky, they make a two-parter out of it. I was still bracing for that when, lo and behold, they crammed that between last story's coda and this story's intro, and then moved on to another adventure. Nice structural move.

And though the triangle between the Doctor, Amy, and Rory may not have been the best idea for the season, this is the episode that truly makes the best of it and has me laughing and loving the regular characters - all of them. In retrospect, they are the best part of this episode, providing most of the entertainment value. Smith, Gillan, and newly acquired Arthur Darvill have superb comic timing, and they work really well off of each other. Whatever my hopes for the outcome of this triangle, I think the Doctor is even more endearing by trying to get the other two back together, and I'm really glad he pursued that angle. Good one.

Next bonus: Toby Whithouse FINALLY comes back to write another episode, and it's about time. It's been too long since "School Reunion" (story no. 174). From the banter between the regulars to the confrontations with the villains, this one is really nicely written, and leads to a decent climax.

Another bonus: Gorgeous international European location footage abounds. It's used really well in the story, and there's plenty of it. This is an episode that looks really good.

Mind you, I could have done with a TARDIS materialization for the main landing in the opening, but, what the heck, it's a small point.

The villain is one of the better played female villains on Doctor Who these days - rising above the usual head-bobbing and nagging tone of voice. Nicely the character explores believable options of cooperation with the Doctor that can't be dismissed too easily. A rich tapestry. Alex Price as Francesco has his moments as well, especially near the end.

Music by Murray Gold
The new title music,
theme for the 11th Doctor,
and a full suite of music from the story
are available on the 2-disc audio CD album:
Doctor Who: Original Music from
Season 31 (aka "Series 5", 2010)

More info & buying options

I find myself asking how historically accurate it is to have a black family working in Venice, asking favours at court, in 1580. Maybe it actually does work but.... it begs the question - so I don't know if it was the best casting choice. But at least it helps two of the supporting characters stand out a bit, and you never forget who they are or how they relate, so maybe we gain more than we sacrifice with this choice.

Another bonus: A William Hartnell library card, with Matt Smith playing off of it. Excellent! Classy! Hilarious! Sweet. I can't help imagining for the rest of the episode (series?) that Hartnell is inside Smith somewhere, wanting to bust out, wanting to treat Amy and Rory like Sir Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, which is more insight into his character. Hartnell's got that much residual screen presence with me. I like it.

Now, I'm not big on vampires, so that creepy aspect of the story wasn't really a draw for me. But that didn't matter. There was so much other good stuff that I did enjoy here, I just took it as it came and loved the episode.

I suppose we should point out here that it is a bit of a re-run to discover that these villains are here doing what they're doing because of the season finale challenge... that was season 30's run-on gag, and season 27's.... and you have to wonder why creatures like these always think Earth is THE place to go whenever something happens in the galaxy. Oh well, it's a small nit, since everything does work so nicely in this story.


Well, there's not too much more to say here. This is one of the good ones. Have fun watching it!



This story has become available on DVD.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the location nearest you for pricing and availability:

DVD NTSC Region 1
13-episode box set
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada
DVD PAL Region 2
13-episode box set
for the U.K.:

(Limited Edition)
DVD PAL Region 2
3-episode volume
for the U.K.:

Blu-Ray NTSC Region 1
13-episode box set
for the North American market:
in the U.S.
in Canada

Blu-Ray PAL Region 2
13-episode box set
for the U.K.

(Limited Edition)

Note: The full season sets contain commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and other extras. The smaller volumes only feature the plain episodes.


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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "Amy's Choice"



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