Doctor Who Series 7 Episode 9 – Hide
One of the great joys of watching Doctor Who, or any TV programme for that matter, is seeing a classic episode shown live. Hide was one of those experiences. What is even more surprising is that this comes from the keyboard of Neil Cross, writer of this season’s second episode the Rings of Akhaten which was hardly a classic, or rubbish as many have told me.
From the first few minutes Hide looks like a simple ghost story about Dougray Scott’s Professor Alec Palmer and Jessica Raine’s Emma Grayling hunting ghosts in a big scary house – a standard Doctor Who location because they are brilliantly atmospheric and very cheap. If you didn’t have goosebumps then you are clearly no fun.
However, Hide is more than a cheap haunted house story as it touches upon themes like love and family. It also felt timeless. The only modern-day reference was a laboured joke about Ghostbusters. Why do all Ghostbuster jokes seem so forced in Doctor Who? In fact the Doctor’s arrival in this episode is only the poor part. The scare was obvious. Who else was it going to be?
Once the Doctor arrives however, everything is turned up to classic and away we go. All three actors are as good as the script they have been given while the direction is first class. Sadly Jenna-Lousie Coleman comes across as a bit stiff in the first half of the story. This is hardly a surprise when you realise this is the first episode she filmed. How do I know this? The final scenes of the episode are shot with the same background and she is wearing the same clothes as the pic. Some of the shots are so similar the public shots could just be stills from the filming. Also I need too many Doctor Who gossip websites.
However she also gets the episodes three best moments, a comic discussion with the TARDIS where it is clear the two don’t get on (is the TARDIS jealous?) a beautifully crafted monologue about time travel and how the Doctor views humans and our mortality. My favourite is when she questions Palmer about why he brought the house. A great comic set of questions that we all ask ourselves when watching a haunted house story.
Despite this episode being a clear classic, it is still controversial with some. This is all due to the ‘twist’ ending
[from here on there is spoilers!]
We discover our monster in the wood, the one that was chasing the Doctor through the wood earlier in the episode, isn’t evil, just love-sick. Now I’ve read many comments with people throwing their keyboards into the air complaining “why can’t the monsters just be evil?”
Well many are. You wouldn’t take a Dalek to meet your gran would you? They, like politicians, are bastards and always will be. For me, Doctor Who is at its best when the monsters aren’t evil for the sake of being evil, they just happen to be at odds with the Doctor. That is why the Ice Warriors are so good and what Gatiss attempted to show last week. I’m hoping Neil Gaiman is going to do a similar thing with the Cybermen in a couple of weeks.
Also it is nice to see ‘ugly’’ creatures are allowed to love. Throughout the history of visual Sci-fi the only chance ‘ugly’ creatures get to love is when they are allowed to lust after some beautiful blonde. Ugly creatures have feelings too. You can insert your own joke about the writer of this review here. It’ll be far funnier than anything I could come up with!
Over all Hide is a classic Dr Who that will stand the test of time and be talked about for years to come!