The Fires of Pompeii
Roots: The Fires of Vulcan. The TARDIS being treated as a work of art is inspired by City of Death. Several characters have their names taken from book 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course.
There are references to Spartacus and TK Max.
Goofs: It seems a little odd for Donna's Latin to be heard as “Celtic”, a category the Romans didn't have. Why not British (the place) or Germanic (the root language)?
There are numerous anachronisms in the market scene, including orange carrots and breeds of chicken and rabbit.
If the Doctor's in a different place to where he thought he was why is he so confident that he knows what date it is?
It's a bit odd for the soothsayer to describe the Doctor as “the tall one” [she's distinguishing him from the seventh Doctor - who's wandering about another part of Pompeii, as seen in The Fires of Vulcan.]
Caecilius is remarkably soft on his rebellious son for a Roman father.
Why are none of the statues painted?
Caecilius is rich enough to own an entire dress of purple and influential enough to get away with having garments that are illegal to wear (the 100% purple dress). So why does he only appear to have one household slave (the guy who gets killed by the Pyroville)? Also, the style of this dress is anachronistic, and it certainly isn't a toga as the Doctor says.
How does the Doctor know where Donna has been taken?
Donna says that the Doctor saved her in 2008. Yet The Runaway Bride happened in 2007 and Partners in Crime in 2009. So what is she referring to?
There are a number of inaccuracies in the depiction of the eruption. Most notably Vesuvius starts spewing ash on the 23rd, when the eruption didn't start until the afternoon of the 24th. And there wasn't a pyroclastic flow also, the Doctor and Donna shouldn't have been able to outrun said flow).
The TARDIS starts making the dematerialisation noise well before it actually starts dematerialising.
How would a volcanic eruption open a rift in time as the Doctor says? And how does that fit with the earlier explanation that the prophecies come from inhaling the Pyrovilles?
Dialogue Triumphs: Donna: "I'm here, in Rome. Donna Noble in Rome. This is just weird. I mean, everyone here's dead."
The Doctor: "Well, don't tell them that."
Continuity: The Doctor produces a Roman coin from behind Quintus's ear, has a loaded water pistol in his inside jacket pocket and carries a small telescope. The sonic screwdriver can cause marble circuit boards to fall over. He says he can see what events are fixed and which are in flux. Evelina's prophecy says that the Doctor's real name burns in the stars in the Cascade of Medusa
The universal ratification of the Shadow Proclamation includes a species designation. And the shadow proclamation applies in the first century as well as the twenty first.
The Pyrovilles arrived on Earth thousands of years ago. They were woken up by an earthquake seventeen years ago and decided to take over Earth, beginning with the seers of Pompeii. Their planet Pyrovillia is lost. Inhaling fragments of them can partially turn human beings into stone, and also give them accurate prophetic visions (though the Doctor also attributes this to the volcano causing a time rift).
Links: The Doctor mentions that the great fire of Rome had a little bit to do with him (tv]The Romans[/tv]. He mentions that he's in Rome and it's volcano day (The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances). There are references to the destruction of Gallifrey.
We previously saw humans turning to stone in New Earth and The Stone Rose.
Extras: This episode of Doctor Who had an episode of Doctor Who Confidential.
Location: Pompeii, 23rd-24th August 79AD. Rome, 80AD
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor claims to have met the original Sibyl [history records multiple different Sibyls, so it's unclear which one he's talking about.]
The Bottom Line: 'You were right. Sometimes I need someone.' A solid morality tale with interesting historical background.