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The Vampires of Venice was the sixth episode of series 5 of Doctor Who.

It was narratively tied to the final scene of Flesh and Stone, greatly furthered the Doctor-Rory-Amy romantic triangle subplot and ended with Rory joining the Doctor in his travels. Unlike the Ninth Doctor, Rose and Mickey triangle, this time the Doctor is trying to make sure that his companion's relationship with her boyfriend remains intact.

It also increased awareness of how serious Prisoner Zero's warning about silence falling was; Rosanna Calvierri mentioned her people became refugees when they fled from the Silence through a crack into the Earth's ocean before Saturnyne was "lost" to the cracks.


The Eleventh Doctor takes Amy and Rory, soon to be married, on a romantic trip to Venice, 1580 to make Amy focus on her relationship with her fiancé. However, things in Venice aren't quite what they seem. Warnings of the plague are spreading about despite it having died out years before, and pale, creepy girls who don't like sunlight are lurking around. Could it have something to do with the school run by the mysterious Rosanna Calvierri?


Venice, 1580. Guido presents his teenage daughter Isabella to Rosanna Calvierri and her son, Francesco; they consider her admittance to Rosanna's school. Rosanna claims sympathy for Guido's concern for family and agrees to enrol Isabella. However, she then quickly has her steward hustle Guido out of the room, telling him they shouldn't wait. Guido puts up a bit of fight but is still taken away. Circling Isabella with Francesco, Rosanna asks him if she is to his liking. Francesco says Isabella is, flattering her. Her happiness is short-lived though, as the man bares a mouthful of fangs. Isabella screams...

430 years later in a Leadworth pub, Rory Williams phones Amy Pond from his stag party. He leaves a message on her answering machine, telling her how much he loves her and that, if they weren't getting married the next day, he'd propose. One of his guests directs his attention to a cake being wheeled in, making Rory quickly end his call in embarrassment. Everyone chants for the stripper to come out of the cake. To their shock, though, it's the Eleventh Doctor who pops out instead. The Doctor, relieved to be at the right party after having gotten it wrong twice, tells Rory that they need to talk about Amy; she tried to kiss him.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor explains that travelling with him blinds his companions to the important things in their lives back home. Returning to their ordinary lives after sharing adventures with him will drastically change things; the Doctor collected Rory to make sure this doesn't happen to Amy. As a wedding gift, he is going to take them anywhere in time that they wish to visit. The Doctor prepares to give Rory the "bigger on the inside" speech, but is shocked that Rory calmly explains ahead of time that the inside is another dimension. Annoyed, he tells Rory that he always looks forward to explaining it. As neither Amy or Rory can think of a place in time they want to visit, the Doctor decides to take them somewhere romantic, pulling a lever.

The Doctor showing off Venice to Amy and Rory.

The TARDIS materialises on the dock outside of Venice. The Doctor goes on to explain how Venice was founded by refugees running from Attila the Hun, and lists some of the many people who liked the city. Remembering Casanova, the Doctor quickly checks his watch; luckily, Casanova is not born for another 140 years. The Doctor does not want to run into him because he owes Casanova a chicken due to losing a bet.

When they try to enter the city, they are stopped at the gate and asked to present their papers; Venice has been quarantined at the suggestion of the city's patron, Rosanna Calvierri, to protect the citizens from the plague. The Doctor is immediately suspicious; the plague died out years ago. They present the psychic paper, and are admitted to the city, where they see Guido interrupt a procession of Calvierri school girls, demanding to know where Isabella is. He locates her in the procession, but she does not seem to recognise him and he is immediately warded off by another girl, who bares fangs at him. Amy asks the Doctor what he thinks of the situation, only to find that he's already gone.

The Doctor catches up to Guido, asking why he wants to get Isabella out of Rosanna's school. Guido explains that something evil happens to the girls in the school; Isabella didn't recognise him, and the girl who pushed him away had a face like an animal. Intrigued, the Doctor walks with Guido back towards the school, telling him it's time he had a talk with Rosanna.

In the school's courtyard, Rosanna is "hydrating" by drinking several chalices of water. Francesco enters, informing his mother of Guido's actions; he then speculates that they have "converted" more than enough girls to be introduced to his brothers. Rosanna disagrees, prompting Francesco to ask permission to take the ones they have already converted into the night to take more girls for conversion. Rosanna tells him that they should let the parents beg them to take their daughters to make it all the more ironic. Francesco leaves, annoyed.

Meanwhile, Rory and Amy walk through Venice as he asks what she has been up to. Amy vaguely explains the basics of her travelling with the Doctor, only to be asked by Rory if she thought of him. Amy uncomfortably answers that she knew she would be coming back. Rory then says that the Doctor is right: travelling with him blocks out all the important things. Amy consoles him, explaining that this is their date and that they should enjoy it. Rory agrees, thinking about the absurdity of time travel.

They are watched by Francesco, who is offered flowers by a girl. He turns down the offer but follows her into a tunnel. Nearby, as Rory tries to take a picture of Amy with his camera phone, they hear the girl scream. They run back to find Francesco leaning near her with blood-covered fangs. Rory attends to the girl, seeing that she is okay aside from a lack of blood. Amy follows Francesco, but the trail dead-ends at the river. She does not know she is being watched from below the water.

The Vampire girls scare the Doctor off.

Elsewhere, Guido feigns another attempt at breaking into the school to retrieve Isabella while the Doctor sneaks in through a side gate. He comes across a group of Rosanna's girls, noting that they have no reflection in a mirror. He realises they must be vampires. They threaten to call the steward unless he leaves, if he's lucky. They bare their fangs at him as he backs up to the exit, thanking them for the mystery. The Doctor meets up with Amy and Rory where they watched Guido previously; he and Amy are excited at having discovered vampires in Venice, which appals Rory.

The Doctor takes Amy and Rory to meet Guido, and they begin to strategise infiltrating the school. Guido suggests blowing their way in with gunpowder, which he has stacked in barrels, but the Doctor discards the idea. Amy proposes dressing in Isabella's clothing and having the Doctor pose as her fiancé; she will be admitted to the school, and, once inside, will open a trap door that leads down to the river, allowing them inside. However, Rory objects as he doesn't want others to think the Doctor is her fiancé. Amy counters that they've already seen the Doctor, but they haven't seen Rory, and offers to go with him as his brother. Rory again objects as they are dealing with vampires, to which the Doctor replies that they "hope" they are vampires. Amy catches onto the Doctor's train of thought: if they're not really vampires, what could be so bad that they don't mind being mistaken for them?

At Amy's suggestion, Rory acts as her brother and uses the psychic paper to fake having references from the King of Sweden. After being admitted, Amy meets Isabella inside. Isabella tells her of the school: she is taken regularly in the middle of the night and strapped to some sort of chair, and a process then occurs that Isabella can never remember. All she knows is that the sun now burns her skin. Amy promises to help her escape. That night, she sneaks down to the courtyard and unlocks the trap door, but is caught by the steward.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Rory successfully infiltrate the school through the secret passage. Rory persistently questions the Doctor's relationship with Amy, to which the Doctor either makes jokes or answers honestly. They break into the courtyard, but Amy is nowhere to be found. While looking around, the Doctor uncovers a body drained of all of its fluids in a nearby trunk. This prompts Rory to furiously yell at the Doctor for casually placing Amy in harm's way; there is something about the Doctor which makes his companions want to put themselves at risk to impress him. They are soon discovered and chased through the school by the girls; the Doctor produces a UV wand to keep them at bay.

Rosanna's true appearance becomes unmasked.

Meanwhile, Amy is forced into the dungeon cell that Isabella described earlier. Francesco and Rosanna circle her. Rosanna tries to force her to reveal her true identity, as well as how she managed to obtain the psychic paper she and Rory used to bluff their way into the school, being immune to its effects. When Amy resists, Rosanna orders the process begun, drinking some of Amy's blood. As Amy barely hangs on to consciousness, Rosanna explains she and Francesco drink the girls dry and replace their blood with that of their own species. The girls either die or transform; if they transform, ten thousand husbands wait for them in the river. Amy apologises as she's already engaged and kicks Rosanna's hip, accidentally dislodging a perception filter. Rosanna's true alien form is revealed.

The process is interrupted by the commotion caused by the Doctor and Rory. Rosanna and Francesco rush off to investigate, leaving Amy to be found and freed by Isabella. The two women join the Doctor and Rory and make their way through the dungeons, closely pursued by Francesco and the girls. They escape the school, but Isabella's sensitivity to light allows her to be recaptured by Francesco. When the Doctor rushes back to rescue her, he is knocked unconscious by a massive electrical shock that courses through the door.

Later that day, Rosanna, Francesco, the converted girls and the staff take Isabella to a plank to be pushed into the water. Carlo, Rosanna's head steward, reads a rite to Isabella, explaining her death is because of her betrayal of the Calvierris. Being pushed into the water, Isabella says she can swim like virtually all Venetians but soon realises she is not alone in the water — Rosanna's other sons are also there, beneath the surface. They pull her under as Rosanna dismisses everyone but Francesco. She tries to reach into the water, but Francesco warns her that his brothers do not know it is her in human form; she promises her other sons "not long now".

Rosanna returns from the "ceremony" to find the Doctor waiting for her on her throne. He tells her that he has deduced she is from Saturnyne and is using a perception filter to appear human. She in turn deduces that the Doctor is not of Earth, and is shocked to learn he is from Gallifrey, commenting that he should be in a museum. They question each other, Rosanna revealing her planet was consumed by the cracks in time; she and her children had to flee from the Silence. Running brought them to Earth. Rosanna asks for the Doctor's help in rebuilding her race, but he only wants to know what happened to Isabella. Rosanna does not know who "Isabella" is until the Doctor tells her she was the girl who helped them escape the school; Rosanna remarks that all traitors must be killed. As the Doctor is removed by the steward, he furiously shouts that he will stop her, if only because she didn't know Isabella's name.

Rosanna's perception filter goes haywire.

Rosanna heads to the courtyard, where she calls her staff together. She announces that "the storm" is coming. She attempts walking down the stairs but her perception filter begins going on the fritz, scaring her attendant back. Francesco wonders what's wrong; Rosanna deduces that the device was damaged by Amy's kick. She smacks the perception filter until her human disguise comes back into place and tells Francesco to gather the girls as there's a job for them.

Back at Guido's house, the Doctor heals Amy's bite wound and begins going over the facts. He comes to the conclusion that Rosanna is going to sink Venice and repopulate it with her transformed girls, as there is no way Saturnynians can stay on land indefinitely. Rory reminds the Doctor that blokes are needed for that, prompting Amy to tell them that Rosanna mentioned "10,000 husbands waiting in the river". The Doctor concludes that only Rosanna's sons survived the trip and that they are waiting in the canal until their mum can make some compatible mates for them, grimacing at the idea.

Hearing a bang from upstairs, the Doctor comments that the neighbours are awfully noisy but Guido tells him that there are no people upstairs. The Doctor is unsurprised by this and pulls out his UV wand for defence. Suddenly, Rosanna's girls appear in the window, to which a disbelieving Rory points out is on the second floor. They smash the window and try climbing in. The Doctor points his sonic screwdriver at them, cancelling perception filters; the girls are now fully Saturnynian, with no trace of their humanity or individuality left — they are primal but loyal to Rosanna.

The Doctor, Amy, Rory, and Guido run down the stairs to the exit, with the Doctor holding back the girls with his UV wand. However, the moment the time travellers get outside, Guido demands the UV wand. He locks them out and heads back upstairs to the gunpowder. He ignites it, blowing up his home, taking himself and the girls with it. Realising the danger that lies ahead, the Doctor orders Amy back to the TARDIS for her own safety. Rory thanks him before following her.

In the school, Rosanna opens a control hub set in her throne and uses it to create a deadly storm over Venice. Widespread panic ensues, as Rosanna watches in delight. The Doctor returns to the school and finds the generator but cannot stop it; a deadlock seal, again. Rosanna is surprised by how much the Doctor is trying to save a single city, which is a small price to pay for saving her race. He informs Rosanna of the death of her girls and begs for her help in ending the catastrophe. Devastated that her plan has failed, Rosanna leaves, telling the Doctor to save the city himself.

Francesco trying to kill Rory.

Outside the school, Amy and Rory catch sight of Francesco leaving the building. Francesco sees them, prompting Amy and Rory to flee. He jumps in the canal to go after them, and, to their shock, manages to get in front of them. Francesco focuses on Amy, bitter that a potential mate for his brothers escaped. Rory draws Francesco towards him by insulting Rosanna, and the pair fight. After a short scuffle, Francesco transforms into his true form and overpowers Rory. Pinned down by the monster, Rory waits for the end, but Amy comes to his rescue in the nick of time, using her compact mirror to amplify the sunlight and direct it at Francesco, who is instantly vapourised. Amy kisses Rory and then tells him that they're going to go help the Doctor. "Okay," he weakly mutters, still dazed from the kiss.

Amy and Rory return to help the Doctor, sneaking into the school while the steward empties the house of its treasures. The Doctor sets them to destroying the control hub in the throne in any way they can. He then climbs to the bell tower, realising that the tolling bell is powering the generator at the top of the spire. He stops the bell and continues climbing, finally deactivating the generator; the weather immediately returns to normal.

Rosanna goes to the river, distraught. She attempts to deactivate her perception filter, but it malfunctions and she retains her human form. The Doctor rushes up, pleading for her to stop. She orders the Doctor to remember her species, knowing he will have to live with the death of her race on his conscience. Before he can reach her, she throws herself into the river, where she is devoured by her sons who don't recognise her.

The Doctor and Rory hear only silence in the streets of Venice.

Later, the trio return to the TARDIS, with the Doctor gleefully remarking that their next trip will be to the Leadworth Registry Office, where he wonders if he can give Amy away at the wedding; however, when Amy continues to express some reluctance, Rory sadly asks the Doctor to drop him off where they found him. Amy instead invites Rory to join them, to which the Doctor agrees. As they are about to leave in the TARDIS, a strange silence falls across the city. As he looks out at the empty street, the Doctor remembers Rosanna's words about "the Silence and the end of all things".



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.

According to a pre-launch press pack issued by the BBC, Patrick Schweitzer was actually the co-producer of this episode, but in the event, he was actually double credited — as both a full producer and a line producer.


Cultural references from the real world[]

  • Rory calls Francesco "Spongebob" after the titular character of SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Doctor[]



  • The Saturnyns were driven from their world by the Cracks and by what Rosanna referred to as "the Silence".


Story notes[]

  • As were earlier episodes Partners in Crime and The Fires of Pompeii, this episode is five minutes longer than the usual format, making it a fifty-minute-long episode.
  • A ninety-second clip from this episode was aired during Matt Smith's appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 26 March 2010.
  • Working titles for this episode included Blood and Water and The House of Calvierri. Mark Gatiss suggested the final title, inspired by the song "Werewolves in London" by Warren Zevon.
  • In the Series 5 preview, one of the vampires leaps for Rory, without any change. In the actual episode, he changes to his alien form. Differences like this have happened many times from trailer to episode.
  • The name of the species, Saturnyns, isn't spoken in the episode, though the planet Saturnyne is mentioned three times.
  • The Doctor mentions Casanova and having a bet with him. David Tennant had previously played Casanova in a television series written by Russell T Davies. Helen McCrory played Casanova's mother in a 2005 film.
  • This is the first Doctor Who episode that, instead of having the last scene cut to the closing titles, has the closing titles 'merge' with the scene. In this case, the camera zooms into the TARDIS keyhole, and, through it, the Time Vortex is visible. In the DVD version, the closing titles begin playing at this point; in the original broadcast, it led into the "next time" preview for the following episode.
  • This episode is notable for being filmed in Croatia, and is, therefore, the first episode of a Doctor Who universe show to be filmed in a formerly Communist country.
  • The Vampires of Venice has similarities to School Reunion, also written by Toby Whithouse:
    • The pre-titles sequence involves a scene of a young girl being attacked by an alien and is followed by a scene in which the Doctor appears during a common activity and says something rather ordinary.
    • The companion's boyfriend joins in for the adventure and becomes part of the TARDIS crew for the following episodes.
    • Both episodes feature scenes where two of the main characters discuss the Doctor's effect on relationships.
    • The alien species in both episodes can transform into humans.
    • The leader of the alien race in both episodes proposes an alliance with the Doctor.
    • A minor character disposes of most of the aliens by causing an explosion.
    • The alien's plan is thwarted by a simple flick of a switch.
    • Both groups of aliens exhibited traits of vampire mythology.
  • This episode aired on the same day as the K9 episode The Last Oak Tree was first broadcast on Disney XD in Britain. It also aired on the same day that Fear Itself was first broadcast on Network Ten in Australia.
  • At 36:23 when Calvierri is watching the sky, the statue next to her resembles Prisoner Zero.
  • The Doctor's library card, which he shows to the vampires, has a picture of his first incarnation on it. The Doctor's name is given on it as "Dr. J. Smith", showing that he used it before Jamie McCrimmon did in The Wheel in Space, and the address is 76 Totter's Lane in Shoreditch, London.
  • Toby Whithouse wanted to emphasise the amount of danger the Doctor puts people in, which is pointed out by Rory in the episode. He believed that the companions over time developed the same mentality as the Doctor in running towards the danger, and so Rory was a great opportunity to question that.
  • Helen McCrory's costume was designed to be similar to her alien creature to make the transition smooth. McCrory was coached to move like a fish, which she pursued diligently.
  • Each pair of teeth for the vampires was unique and moulded to their mouths. They were hard to speak with and Alex Price's lines were re-voiced, though he commented he got "quite good" at speaking with them.
  • In the original script, a big monster rose out of the water in Isabella's death scene, but this would have been too expensive and Steven Moffat was forced to ask Toby Whithouse to make it "invisible".
  • It was Steven Moffat's idea for Guido to trade clothes with Rory. Toby Whithouse was against as he thought Guido was a "tragic character", but he eventually thought the sight of the character in Rory's stag party T-shirt was funny.
  • The script was originally too long, and as a result many sequences had to be cut, some even after they had been filmed. These included a fight scene with the Doctor and Rosanna's steward, a longer fight sequence between Rory and Francesco, and some dialogue between the Doctor and Amy following the climax.
  • Many of the costumes in the episode were taken from artwork from the 15th and 16th centuries. This included veils that women wore, which were used for the vampire girls.
  • The chamber in which the girls were taken to be turned into the Saturnynians was bathed in a green light to suggest alien technology and also ease the brief glimpse of Rosanna's true form. Cinematographer Tony Slater Ling accomplished this despite the low ceilings. Parts of this scene were cut due to censorship issues for being "too scary".
  • Isabella's scream at the end of the opening scene originally went into the title sequence. However, Jonny Campbell thought that the next two scenes had "soft endings" that would not work well right after each other. As a result, the title sequence was moved to after the scene of the Doctor crashing Rory's stag party, which Toby Whithouse described as a "fun scene" and a unique opening to the titles.
  • When discussing the script with Toby Whithouse, Helen McCrory thought that she should hurt Amy at some point and it was added that she bites Amy while she is in the chamber.
  • Steven Moffat chose Toby Whithouse to write this episode based on his work on Being Human.
  • Several aspects of the episode had to be compromised due to budget constraints. The true form of the aliens could only be shown for a few seconds each as it was very expensive to do, and these shots were spread throughout the episode.
  • Toby Whithouse wanted a "comic thread" to "dilute" the plot and character developments. He also noted that it was difficult to capture Guido's "tragic" character in the running time.
  • In the original script, Amy and Rory cornered Francesco after suspecting him of killing a villager and Francesco climbed up the wall. Toby Whithouse thought this would be a relatively easy stunt, but was told it would be too hard to accomplish and Whithouse revised it to when Francesco simply runs away.
  • The flower vendor was originally named Bianca.
  • Helen McCrory and Alex Price play mother and son as Rosanna and Francesco. They also indirectly played another mother/son duo in the Harry Potter universe. In the films, McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy, and in the sequel based play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Price plays Draco Malfoy, son of Narcissa.


  • 6.2 million (UK overnight)
  • 7.69 million (UK final)[1]

Filming locations[]

  • Croatia was used as the primary location for the setting of this episode. It is the third episode of the revived series after TV: The Fires of Pompeii and Planet of the Dead to include major filming outside the UK.
  • Some filming took place in Caerphilly Castle and Castell Coch.[2]
  • Scenes featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory were filmed at Llancaiach Fawr.[3]

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When the Doctor begins climbing a pillar on top of the bell tower, we can see the white sky in the central arch. Two other arches in the very same shot picture proper dark CG sky. Minor appearances of the white sky in other shots also occur.
  • At the end of the credits, the official BBC Doctor Who website URL was not shown, unlike every other episode aired before did.


Home video releases[]

DVD & Blu-ray releases[]

Series 5 Volume 2 DVD Cover

Digital releases[]

  • This story is available for streaming via Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. It can also be purchased on iTunes.
  • In 2015, it was released by BBC Worldwide on BitTorrent and iTunes in the A Decade of the Doctor bundle, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new series. It included an episode guide, Earth Conquest: The World Tour, and introductions by Peter Capaldi.

External links[]