Despite the fact that Doctor Who has faced off against evil alien garbage cans, men made of metal, and living sheets of skin, in the new promo for the next episode, the 13th Doctor is still resolute in her belief that ghosts simply do not exist. But while the Doctor might not believe in spirits, they certainly believe in her.
“The Haunting of Villa Diodati” finds the Doctor and her companions by Lake Geneva in 1816 just in time to cross paths with the likes of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley who’re making their way across Europe on a grand tour that involved at least one stop on a spooky night to rest and tell one another terrifying ghost stories.
Of course, the famed couples’ penchant for regaling one another with tales meant to horrify is what led to Mary conceiving the idea for Frankenstein, but in Doctor Who’s telling of the past, the inspiration for the otherworldly story came from the supernatural phenomena they witnessed during their journey—phenomena that the Doctor refuses to believe involves ghosts.
Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall told Radio Times, “Maxine Alderton, who’s written that episode, is an absolute Mary Shelley and Byron… not a buff, she’s an expert. She studied them, she loves them, she knew all about them, she came with a great idea.”
“The Haunting of Villa Diodati,” the last episode before the 2-part Cybermen and Timeless Children-filled finale, premieres February 17.