1)This is another of my favorite episodes - an interesting first time trip for Donna Noble, where we get to see Catherine Tate really prove herself as a dramtic actress - I thought she was quite good in this. I also liked the interplay between her and Tennant, there was some quite funny bits between them. The bit with the "household gods" at the end was quite funny.
2)The Pyroviles were effective baddies - the big ones were quite intimidating. It was funny to see them run off with a squirt gun, though.
3)I liked the "duelling soothsayers" scene as well. "There is something on your back." That line always struck me as creepy.
4)We see Karen Gillan making her first Doctor Who appearance as one of the Sibyls - I'm surprised Moffat hasn't done a story where it's revelaed that that was really Amy Pond in disguise.
5)"Vesuvius explodes with the force of 24 nuclear bombs." This story actually inspired to read up on what actually happened at Pompeii - it's a very interesting story.
6)Some fun quotes:
Overall: As I say, quite a good episode. This one makes a good double bill with "The Romans".
Vesuvius erupted on my birthday, so I have a soft spot for this one
Wow, you were born the day Vesuvius erupted? You're old! ;)
Watched this again last night, since the guy that played Caecilius is going to be the Twelfth Doctor. Obviously, you can't get a sense of how he'll play the part just from this, but it's the only thing I've seen him on. He was good in this. It'll be interesting to see how he plays the part.
The only other thing I've seen him in is Torchwood: Children of Earth. Those were two very different roles, and he did a good job in both of them (particularly COE, I thought). He's got the acting chops. I'm looking forward to it.
This episode was great for comedy and tragedy. At the end when the family is huddled and pretty much ready to die having the TARDIS fade in like that was cheering. Did anyone else notice the music for this episode? A sort of chorus in the last few minutes? One of my favorite parts.