Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Mothership Hide by Steve Taylor-Bryant


Writer Neil Cross
Director Jamie Payne
Broadcast 20 April 2013
Reviewed by Steve Taylor-Bryant

Professor Palmer and his assistant Emma Grayling are ghost hunting at Caliburn House, where Emma's psychic abilities have managed to lock onto an entity. The Doctor and Clara arrive, pretending to be from Military Intelligence, to see what the duo are up to. After noticing the spirit is in the same position in every photo, the Doctor and Clara embark on a flight in the TARDIS photographing the same spot throughout the history of humanity. This causes uproar with Clara who remarks, "We're all just ghosts to you" to a fascinated Doctor.

From all the photographic evidence they determine that the ghost is actually a time traveller called Hila trapped in a pocket of time where one second for her relates to a hundred thousand years in reality. A rescue mission is planned involving Emma's psychic link, a harness secured in the present time and a crystal from Metebelis III and so the Doctor enters the time bubble. He manages to save Hila but a creature is chasing them back towards Caliburn House and, by the time Hila is safe, Emma collapses from exhaustion and the Doctor is stuck with a strange creature in the time pocket.

Clara manages to get a reluctant TARDIS to help rescue the Doctor with a low flying entry into the time pocket, allowing the Doctor to jump aboard and return to the House safely. The Doctor works out that Emma's psychic link was so strong because Hila is a direct descendant of her and the Professor and, whilst examining the magnitude of what love can achieve, decides that the creature also deserves the same attention. The creature is brought through to the reality to be with its mate.

This was a ghost story and a love story all rolled into one superb episode. I have long been an admirer of the writing of Neil Cross and the humanity that he can bring to any situation and, with the love of the two creatures perfectly mirroring the relationship of Emma and the Professor, a multi time sci-fi story was firmly grounded in an emotional reality that we can all recognise and understand. The relationship between Clara and the Doctor also shows signs of human emotion with the uncaring Doctor conducting his experiment and Clara realising he will never be like a normal man.

The chemistry between Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman has been incredible since Asylum of the Daleks but has really grown through the second part of season seven and this episode is a perfect example of when cast chemistry truly works. Hide is second in my list of Matt Smith episodes, only being beaten by The Doctors Wife and in my Top Five of all NuWho episodes.

A gem of a story by a writer I tip for Moffat's replacement when the time comes.

©BBC Doctor Who 1963

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