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Charles Dickens


Charles Dickens (died 1870) was a famous 19th century British author. (TV: The Unquiet Dead) He was often said to be the greatest English novelist of the Victorian era, and his works remained popular at the turn of the 21st century and well into the future. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) Gwyneth referred to him as "the great man". (TV: The Unquiet Dead) He wrote fifteen novels and five novellas, as well as hundreds of short stories and articles. (PROSE: A History of Humankind) In the last years of his life, he entered a period of melancholy, seemingly brought on by emotional estrangement from his family. (TV: The Unquiet Dead)


Writing career[]

By 1845, Dickens was married to a woman named Kate, with whom he had several children. An earlier work, The Pickwick Papers, was notorious for the accusation that he had stolen the idea for a character from his illustrator. He believed in the reality of spontaneous human combustion (PROSE: The Death of Art) and incorporated it into his novel Bleak House. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire)

In December of 1845, after numerous delays, he was close to publishing the first edition of his newspaper, the Daily News, from its London offices, but events on the 18th would unsettle him and drive him to leave the city. His writing after that point became colder and bleaker.

Montague, an irate toymaker, confronted Charles Dickens about his recent Christmas book The Cricket on the Hearth, in the belief that Dickens was prying into his history. Intending to visit the man later to explain that the book's character was not based on him, Dickens turned to the proofs for his paper, only to be shocked by an unnerving poem about living dolls that wasn't there when he looked a second time. He later travelled toward the Billingsgate address of Montague's shop, only to flee in terror from dolls crawling towards him. Twenty years later, he told his friend Wilkie Collins part of the story and the two went to see Montague's shop, only to find it had burned down years ago. (PROSE: The Death of Art)

Later years[]

In 1866, Dickens encountered the Eighth Doctor and Charlotte Pollard at the Reform Club while they were looking for Pieter Montmarche. Dickens got into a row with the Doctor over an error in Great Expectations. (AUDIO: The Man Who Wasn't There)

In 1869, he was on a gruelling tour of public performances of A Christmas Carol, a work he had written many years earlier. During this period, he despaired of his life being merely a series of recitations of his past successes.

In the Taliesin Lodge in Cardiff, on 24 December, his reading of A Christmas Carol was interrupted when the Gelth-inhabited corpse of Mrs Peace had blue smoke coming from her. He accused the Ninth Doctor of creating a light show. The Doctor, seeing his companion, Rose Tyler, being taken by the Sneed and Company hearse, followed after them with Dickens in Dickens' coach.

Even after seeing more reanimated corpses in the funeral parlour upon saving Rose, Dickens clashed with the Doctor, as he firmly believed in the rational world. Dickens was not prepared to entertain the more fantastical elements of life. The Doctor, however, saw that things humans considered "supernatural" were in fact just extra-terrestrial reality. Thus the Doctor was open to participating in a séance as a way of communicating with the Gelth, while Dickens viewed such things as the antithesis of rationality.

The Gelth began breaching through, thanks to the servant girl, Gwyneth, but instead of finding temporary bodies until the Doctor could find something permanent, "a few billion" came through, and cornered the Doctor and Rose. Dickens opened the gas throughout the funeral parlour, sucking the Gelth out of the corpses and back into the gas. He told the Doctor to do the same. Though not able to send them back where they came from, Gwyneth was able to hold the Gelth in the building by setting the parlour alight, saving the world.

By the end of the ordeal, Dickens emerged with a belief that he had only just begun to learn about the universe. With his re-invigorated sense of wonder, he resolved to tell the tale of the Gelth affair in the form of the ending to his novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

The Doctor knew he would not live long enough to do so, but knew that when he did die, he did so a happier man. He died the following year. (TV: The Unquiet Dead)


The Ninth Doctor was a massive fan of Dickens, considering him a genius. The Doctor told Dickens that his books lasted "forever". (TV: The Unquiet Dead)

A Charles Dickens Museum was in London by 2016. (TV: For Tonight We Might Die, The Metaphysical Engine, or What Quill Did)

In the 2010s, at Coal Hill School, Clara Oswald was teaching a lesson about Dickens and his work David Copperfield. (TV: Kill the Moon)

Alternate timeline[]

Charles Dickens appears on BBC Breakfast. (TV: The Wedding of River Song)

In a timeline where River Song caused time to collapse when she refused to kill the Eleventh Doctor, Dickens appeared on BBC Breakfast being interviewed about his "new Christmas special." (TV: The Wedding of River Song)

"Charlie Dickens"[]

The Engineer, a member of Faction Paradox, used Dickens' biodata and books to construct their own version, "Charlie Dickens". The twisted him to be a better fit for the land of Amerika, focussed on writing about "Real men", and believed he wanted to write a book about John Gault. In actual fact, "Dickens" was being used for other purposes, and during a shootout his shadow attacked Gault and turned him into a Shift. After this, "Dickens" was abandoned by the Faction, and went around Amerika telling people stories about Gault. (PROSE: Print the Legend)


Dickens was the author of several works: David Copperfield, (TV: Kill the Moon) The Pickwick Papers, (PROSE: The Death of Art) The Signal-Man, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Martin Chuzzlewit, Bleak House, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and The Old Curiosity Shop, which contained the character Little Nell. (TV: The Unquiet Dead)

The complete works of Charles Dickens comprised fifteen volumes. (AUDIO: The Crooked Man)

One work by Dickens contained the line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." The Fourth Doctor found a page ripped out of this book in a second-hand bookshop in Eastwold, in the mouth of a murder victim, and suggested someone did not like Dickens. (AUDIO: The Crooked Man)

Other references[]

The Fourth Doctor claimed Charles Dickens's favourite flower was the geranium. (AUDIO: The False Guardian)

A robot duplicate of Rose Tyler erroneously recalled that the Ninth Doctor and Rose met Charles Dickens in 1869 Edinburgh. (GAME: Robot Rose)

While a student at Coal Hill School, Susan Foreman had never even heard of Charles Dickens, despite having a brilliant knowledge of William Shakespeare. (PROSE: The Edge of Destruction)

Behind the scenes[]

The Sixth Doctor and Melanie Bush referred to the character of Sydney Carton, implicitly taken from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, in The Ultimate Foe. This is the same book the Fourth Doctor finds in The Crooked Man.

Dickens' real-life great-great-great-grandson Harry Lloyd is an actor who played Jeremy Baines and Son of Mine in the 2007 two-part story Human Nature and The Family of Blood.

Dickens is played by Simon Callow in Doctor Who. Callow is known for his love of Dickens.

In the story of Doctor Who: Legacy, the Seventh Doctor, stressing the importance of preventing the Sontarans' interference in the timeline, cites Charles Dickens as an example of an important person in human history whose existence is endangered.