Hide (TV story)

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Hide was the ninth episode of series 7 of Doctor Who. The episode was inspired by the 1959 Gothic horror novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, as well as the broader sub-genre of haunting house fiction, and by the Quatermass serials — with which, at one point in development, it was intended to be a crossover.

It saw the Eleventh Doctor continue his investigation into Clara Oswald's true nature and led her to directly communicate with the Doctor's TARDIS for the first time, leading into the following episode.


Clara and the Eleventh Doctor arrive at the haunted Caliburn House, set alone on a desolate moor. Within its walls, a ghost-hunting professor and a gifted empathic psychic are searching for the Witch of the Well. Her apparition appears throughout the history of the building, but is she really a ghost? And what is chasing her?


"Caliburn House. Night four. November 25th, 1974. 11:04 pm."

Professor Alec Palmer and his assistant Emma Grayling are attempting to contact an apparition haunting Caliburn House. Emma is a psychic, and uses her gifts to gain the attention of the "ghost". They are interrupted by knocking at the front door, and open it to find the Eleventh Doctor and Clara. The Doctor tells Alec that he is looking for a ghost and Clara claims that they are "Ghostbusters".

The Doctor claims to be from "the Ministry", and knows who Alec and Emma are. Photographs that were taken by the professor show the same figure in the same pose throughout the history of Caliburn House. The Doctor and Clara search the house, as a strange creature stalks them through it. Loud knocking is heard, which is said to be associated with the "Witch of the Well".

The Doctor returns with Clara to the TARDIS and takes a series of photographs of the "ghost" throughout Earth's timeline. Upset at seeing Earth become a lifeless rock, Clara believes that she is nothing more than a ghost to the Doctor because as a time traveller he has been to a time when she is long dead. When she asks 'what are we to you' he tells her that human beings are "the only mystery worth solving". The Doctor uses his photographs to explain that the "ghost" is, in fact, a time traveller called Hila Tacorien, who is trapped in a pocket universe in the process of collapsing and being chased by an unknown creature.

The TARDIS heads for the pocket universe.

The Doctor uses a crystal from Metebelis III to enhance Emma's thoughts and use them to create a portal to the pocket universe, a reality "well". He goes to rescue Hila, who escapes but is trapped in the pocket universe with the monster after Emma collapses. As the professor encourages Emma to try again - finally admitting he loves her - Clara returns to the TARDIS, and after a brief argument with the voice interface (which appears as herself, much to her annoyance), manages to break into the pocket universe and rescue the Doctor from the creature.

The next morning in conversation with Emma, the Doctor reveals that he brought Clara to Caliburn House in order to see Emma, not the ghost. He asks what she senses about Clara, but Emma reports nothing unusual about her. As the Doctor and Clara are preparing to leave, the Doctor inadvertently reveals that Hila is Emma and Alec's future descendant. Alec and Emma are in love, and the Doctor advises them to "hold hands, and don't let go". Then the Doctor realises that the creature in the pocket universe has been trying to return to another creature in the house. He then states that every lonely monster needs a companion, and explains to Clara that the two creatures have been separated through time and space and certain events, and are yearning to be with one another. He describes this as not a "ghost story" but a "love story". He then returns to the pocket universe, where he reconciles with the monster to bring it back in the exact same manner as before.



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


The Doctor[[edit]]

  • The Doctor says he loves carrier pigeons.
  • Emma tells Clara not to trust the Doctor, saying that "he has a sliver of ice in his heart".


Popular culture from the real world[[edit]]

  • Clara introduces herself and the Doctor as "Ghostbusters." The Doctor and Rose sang the Ghostbusters theme song earlier in Army of Ghosts.
  • The Doctor quotes the song Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love) by Cole Porter when he realises the truth about the two monsters; "Birds do it, bees do it - even educated fleas do it!".

Foods and beverages[[edit]]

  • The Doctor drinks milk.
  • Emma and Clara both have a glass of whiskey which they don't like, and so drink tea instead. Furthermore, Clara calls whiskey the "11th most disgusting drink ever invented."
  • The Doctor requests some Kendal Mint Cakes to go with his Tacorien rescue.


  • Alec owns Caliburn House, which was built sometime before 1474.
  • The "Cumbrian agenda" of Series 7 Part 2 continues in this episode with not only the positive reference to Kendal Mint Cakes but also the negative one to Carlisle being the "opposite of bliss".

The TARDIS[[edit]]

  • Clara calls the TARDIS a "grumpy old cow."
  • The TARDIS unlocks herself in order to allow Clara to enter, even though she doesn't yet have a key.
  • Clara says that they need a place to keep her umbrella.



  • Neil Cross was heavily inspired by the works of Nigel Kneale, in particular The Stone Tape, hence the 1970s setting. In addition, the episode was supposed to have the Doctor meet Bernard Quatermass, but copyright issues made this impossible.
  • Clara assuming that the Doctor's holding her hand when really it's something else is taken from The Haunting.
  • Jamie Payne argued for the Crooked Man to be realised chiefly as a practical rig, in order to achieve a visual aesthetic similar to Poltergeist.

Story notes[[edit]]

Hide playset released by Character Options
  • The episode had the working titles Phantoms of the Hex and The Hider in the House.
  • The read-through for this episode took place on 21 May 2012, and filming began on the 24th.
  • This was the first episode filmed by Jenna-Louise Coleman as a series regular but screened as the fourth episode in series 7b. Coleman was uneasy about diving straight into the middle of Clara's adventures before filming her introduction ( a circumstance created in part by the lateness of the script for The Snowmen), but Steven Moffat and Jamie Payne both worked to assuage her concerns.
  • What the "ghost" version of Hila is saying is "Em pleh", which is "Help me!" backwards.
  • Jessica Raine would later portray Verity Lambert in An Adventure in Space and Time. Matt Smith made a cameo as the Doctor in the film.
  • Neil Cross had been a fan of the series and hoped to write an episode during the Russell T Davies era, but he was unable to do so due to scheduling conflicts. Cross' friend Caroline Skinner encouraged Steven Moffat to take him on. Moffat was won over by the fact that Cross was a showrunner in his own right with Luther.
  • The script process of "Hide" involved no face-to-face meeting, as Neil Cross lives in New Zealand. However, he flew in with his family to watch the filming.
  • Neil Cross was chosen to write The Rings of Akhaten based on the strength of this episode.
  • Caliburn House was named in reference to King Arthur's sword in the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth, which later evolved into the more familiar Excalibur.
  • Neil Cross originally intended the entire narrative to be set within Caliburn House, with the extra-dimensional space represented by a daylight version of Caliburn House's interior. However, Steven Moffat felt that the narrative deserved a larger scale, and he suggested that the Hex should instead take the form of an eerie wood.
  • Originally, the pocket universe was the prison of the Lost Lord, an ancient Time Lord also called the Revenant of Anathenon who had become trapped there so long ago that he was now just a bogeyman of Gallifreyan legend. The Lost Lord sought to tempt the Doctor into the Hex and feed on him, enabling him to return to the normal universe where he would begin absorbing all of time.
  • Neil Cross wanted to write "a really old-fashioned scary episode of Doctor Who" targeted especially at children nine to twelve, which was how he remembered Doctor Who at that age. He stated that "time travel and ghosts are echoes of one another. What is a ghost, if not a fragment caught in time?" He aimed to show suspense and tension, as he felt it was more terrifying than "full-on shock horror blood and gore".
  • Steven Moffat became concerned that a straightforward monster was unsuitably shallow. He worked with Neil Cross to develop the idea of the two Crooked Men and the love which bound them, reinforcing themes already present in the storyline.
  • Neil Cross wanted this to be a "very small, very restricted ghost story", but he was asked to make it bigger in the end. The different universe was present, but it was "smoke and mirrors" and the climax originally took place in the house, just in daylight and in the alternate world.
  • The idea of the Crooked Man was something Neil Cross said lurked in his imagination.
  • This was intended to air fifth out of the eight episodes comprising the second segment of season seven; it would later be pushed back to sixth before finally being broadcast fourth.
  • The episode comprised Block Four of season seven.
  • This was the first filmed appeareance of the Eleventh Doctor's purple coat, satisfying Matt Smith's long-held desire for an outfit in this colour, and advancing an overarching scheme for his incarnation's attire to evolve over time.
  • During a break in production, Matt Smith carried Olympic Torch. Steven Moffat jokingly tweeted that Cardiff would rebuild.
  • The scenes in the TARDIS could not be taped alongside the rest of the episode because the new console room set, which would debut on-screen in The Snowmen, was not yet finished.
  • Neil Cross wanted to tell the story with "a small cast and as few locations as possible".
  • The pocket universe was originally called The Hex. In post-production, dubbing replaced all references with less oblique terminology.
  • Jessica Raine later said that she had not realised "what an institution Doctor Who is" until she arrived on set. She said it was produced very differently from Call the Midwife.
  • Matt Smith and Jessica Raine had previously acted together in a stage play.
  • Neil Cross said that Dougray Scott and Jessica Raine were good at filling out their characters, as he found it difficult to fully "evoke the history of a quite complex relationship" between their characters with just the script.
  • The Crooked Man's movements were done in reverse and then played forward, to give it an unnatural movement.
  • Jamie Payne had Neil Cross' children be "monster consultants" during filming and evaluate if The Crooked Man was scary enough.
  • Neil Cross only had Jenna Coleman's five-minute audition for Asylum of the Daleks, in which she played a different but mysteriously linked character to work from, and some editing was done to her lines to make her sound less "bitchy".
  • Filming started three days after the script read-through.
  • Matt Smith was ill with flu when making the TARDIS scenes.


The episode was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 20 April 2013. Overnight ratings showed that the episode was watched by 5 million viewers live. When time-shifted viewers were calculated, the figure rose to 6.61 million viewers, making it the sixth most-watched programme of the week on BBC One.[1] In addition, Hide received 1.53 million requests on the online BBC iPlayer for April, placing sixth for the month on the service. It also received an Appreciation Index of 85.


  • The episode received generally positive feedback from fans and critics. Nerdist's Kyle Anderson stated it was "easily my favourite of this half-series", as well as complimenting the "terrific" direction by newcomer Jamie Payne. Den of Geek liked the episode but criticised the twist ending, as to them it "didn't feel like a comfortable fit", claiming it was "a twist for the sake of a twist".
  • The episode was claimed to be the superior of the two Neil Cross-penned scripts for Series 7, as his previous script, The Rings of Akhaten, received mostly negative reactions from the fan base.

Filming locations[[edit]]

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • Several wires are seen running from the TARDIS to the equipment which opens the wormhole to the pocket universe, but when Clara returns, they are all missing.
  • While the Doctor is wandering the pocket universe for the first time, he removes his bow tie. The bow tie then appears and disappears between close and wide shots.
  • During one of the scenes, Clara is holding a candelabra with a candle missing. When the camera changes, the candle is back on the candelabra.
  • After the Doctor says "It's ghost time", there's a sequence where Palmer takes the Doctor and Clara on a walk down a hallway, in which Clara remarks about Palmer having bought the house. It then cuts to a sequence where the Doctor talks about empaths. For some reason, Clara's hair appears to be wet and she's drying it with a towel. There is nothing in-between to suggest how it got that way. Immediately thereafter Palmer begins telling his history of the ghost and Clara's hair changes arrangement from the way it was when she was drying it.


Is the Eleventh Doctor's "make do and mend" solution for Emma an evolution of something the Second Doctor used in The Wheel in Space?
  • The Doctor refers to the Time Vortex with verbiage similar to his "wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey" description of Time. (TV: Blink)
  • Like Clara, Wilfred Mott also wondered if the Doctor viewed humans as insignificant. In both cases, he asserted that he did not. (TV: The End of Time)
  • The device the Doctor puts on Emma's head to connect her to the "subset of the Eye of Harmony" has a remarkably similar design to the one the Second Doctor used to show his own thoughts to Zoe Heriot. (TV: The Wheel in Space)

Home video releases[[edit]]

Series 7, Part 2 DVD cover.

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

  • Hide was released on DVD and Blu-ray as part of Doctor Who Series 7 Part Two in region 1/A on 28 May 2013, region 2/B on 27 May 2013, and region 4/B on 22 May 2013.
  • Also, this episode was released as part of the Complete Seventh Series boxset on DVD and Blu-ray in region 1/A on 24 September 2013, in region 2/B on 28 October 2013 and in region 4/B on 30 October 2013.

Digital releases[[edit]]

  • In the United Kingdom, this story is available on BBC iPlayer.

External links[[edit]]