Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Who ya gonna call?

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2013-04-20 TV & Satellite Week.jpg


The Doctor and Clara investigate a haunted house mystery

From Marchlands through to Lightfields, ghost stories have been making something of a comeback on television recently, and so it was only a matter of time before Doctor Who added to the eerie oeuvre.

This week's episode, Hide, is set in 1974 and sees the Doctor and Clara pitch up at Caliburn House, an isolated mansion with a long history of spectral sightings centring on a ghost called the Witch of the Well.

The storyline was dreamed up by Neil Cross, whose previous credits include the MR James chiller Whistle and I'll Come to You and Guillermo del Toro's recent horror feature Mama. 'I wanted to write the kind of Doctor Who episode that terrified me when I was young in the early-1970s: explains the writer, who also created the episode The Rings of Akhaten shown two weeks ago. 'I wanted to do something very restricted, something that didn't have a whole bunch of locations.'

The Doctor arrives at Caliburn House in search of a hero of his, Major Alec Palmer (Dougray Scott), who is an expert in paranormal activity. 'He's known as the Ghost Hunter and he is someone the Doctor has always wanted to meet, Cross explains. 'This guy is an ex-military intelligence war hero, the kind of man who has a Victoria Cross secreted in his attic.

'But he is haunted by the guilt of some of the things he saw and did in the war, and by the fact that people died while he lived. Ever since then he has been obsessed with finding the proof of life after death and he thinks he might have found it in Caliburn House.'

Helping Palmer is his young assistant, Emma Grayling, played by Call the Midwife actress Jessica Raine. 'Emma is an empathic psychic working with the Ghost Hunter to contact the spirits in the house, explains Cross.

Whether the ghost really is a ghost, however, remains to be seen and, adding to the mystery, it appears to be running away from something itself.

Somewhere along the line, a very scary monster will appear — an event that actually spooked the crew while they were filming it. 'There was a scene where this thing was moving towards us down a dark corridor and it was actually quite disturbing to watch: recalls Cross. 'Consciously, you knew what it was. But you could still feel those fight-or-flight reflexes kicking in and your hairs sticking up. I was thinking, "OK, that's close enough — stop now'. It was a very strange feeling:

Cross says the episode was partly inspired by real life. 'My sister lives in a house in Bristol that used to experience hauntings; he says. 'It was a woman who stood stock still, wildly waving her head backwards and forwards. It's been seen twice, and I've heard it myself. I don't believe in spirits of the dead, but for all the reading and studying I've done, nothing has explained what happened there. It's a mystery'

A mystery, what's more, that has now worked its way into an episode of Doctor Who. 'If you want to scare people; Cross smiles, 'you write about what scares you.'


Jessica Raine plays psychic Emma Grayling

What haunts Caliburn House?

Dougray Scott as ghost hunter Alex Palmer

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2013-04-20). Who ya gonna call?. TV & Satellite Week p. 8.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "Who ya gonna call?." TV & Satellite Week [add city] 2013-04-20, 8. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "Who ya gonna call?." TV & Satellite Week, edition, sec., 2013-04-20
  • Turabian: "Who ya gonna call?." TV & Satellite Week, 2013-04-20, section, 8 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Who ya gonna call? | url= | work=TV & Satellite Week | pages=8 | date=2013-04-20 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=25 October 2021 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Who ya gonna call? | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=25 October 2021}}</ref>