The historical story had a key role during the adventures of the First Doctor, but over time they started to slip out of favour or became a backdrop to a tale set in the future. The Fifth Doctor, to my recollection, had quite a few, too. Now, we can expect something from the past in every season, or more than one if we’re lucky, and ‘The Fires of Pompeii‘ doesn’t fail to deliver at any level.
Great story, great scenery, superlative special effects – the Pyrovile looked appropriately menacing throughout. The early appearance of the Pyrovile sentry really made an impact, and the whole background of secret cults and visions provided a compelling and believable setting.
Again, Donna provided wit, wailing and a little wisdom, showing her willingness to stand-up to the Doctor when it comes to the crunch. Unlike other companions, who might have allowed the Doctor to leave while swallowing back their objections, Donna shows her backbone and ability to serve as the Doctor’s back-up conscience.
And wouldn’t you love to watch the archaeologist who digs up the frieze of the household gods, with Doctor, Donna and TARDIS? (Yes, I know that frieze isn’t the right word… but, it’ll suffice until I think of the right one).