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Doctor Who XXXIII(7)B.4: Hide

April 27th, 2013 (05:53 pm)

This is as far as I got with a review of last week's episode...

If the Doctor Who of the mid-1980s gluttonously consumed set menus of its history without really understanding what it devoured, its fifty-year-old self has a more delicate palate. Hide selected from a carefully-prepared buffet of vintage images and words which had been matured in the oak barrels of professional reflection rather than the plastic tumblers of nostalgic adolescents. Hide owed much to the broad Doctor Who gothic of the mid-1970s and advertised this, but despite an initial heady bouquet resulting from the careful grafting of time-honoured vines, its roots were firmly planted in the bed of contemporary television.

Though usually associated most with the first three Tom Baker seasons and the influence of producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes, the trappings of gothic horror had been borrowed by earlier stories in the 1970s including The Daemons and more relevantly for Hide, Day of the Daleks. The country house setting and the ghost who is not a ghost, together with the military associations of Professor Palmer, suggest that this is more of a third Doctor gothic story than a fourth Doctor one. The use of the Metebelis crystal in a lash-up reminiscent of that which helped finish off poor Professor - Mister Clegg in Planet of the Spiders only confirms it.

Other points would have been the rainstorms - Universal horror films via The Brain of Morbius; acknowledgements to Nigel Kneale and The Stone Tape (although Hide has a happier ending); remote kinship with Primeval and its anomalies and monsters, perhaps, in the shape of the Crooked Man; the continued sense that the Doctor is journeying through a projection of his own past and memories, with Clara as a kind of lodestone. Jessica Raine and Dougray Scott play their love story well, though Matt Smith in particular seems rather at odds with them, though this is also true of the Doctor. After being apparently neglected in Cold War the mystery of Clara returns - and Clara has a different perception of the Doctor's relationship to mortals to the one the series seems to have embraced up until now. It's not that everyone to the Doctor is alive at once, it's that they are dead... but is it not that all time travellers are ghosts?

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/595608.html.