Forget about your Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS – let’s look back at the reaction of the previous episode, Hide, for a few moments in another of our “haven’t they done it yet?!” review roundups.
We’ll start with the basics – Hide pulled in 5 million viewers according to overnight figures. (Check back at the end of Series 7b for an overall look at Doctor Who’s performance this year.) On a sunny weekend and with an overlap with the vacuous Britain’s Got Talent, this should hardly come as a surprise, to be honest. Note that the worst performing episode in the overnights since 2005 is The Hungry Earth with 4.4 million, so we’re some way from that, and delayed viewing/time-shifting will no doubt bump things up by at least 1 million, if previous form is anything to go by.
Here on Kasterborous, fan reaction to Hide was largely positive, with 55.61% (124 votes) enjoying Neil Cross’ second episode (following The Rings of Akhaten), 28.7% (64 votes) declaring that they were “getting over it” and 16% (35 votes) showing disdain for ghost stories. We also ran a second poll for Hide, concerning the Spidergate controversy. Is it “meh-ta-bee-liss” (Planet of the Spiders, Jon Pertwee) or “meh-teb-el-iss” (Hide, Matt Smith)? Well, you lot voted in your droves (494, more than voted in the episode poll!) with 51.01% (252 votes) asking if it really matters, 29.96% (148 votes) pointing out that it is an established part of Doctor Who lore and 19.03% (94 votes) keen to remind us all that different Doctors have different larynxes. “New mouth, new rules!” etc.
But enough about you and us – what did the press think to Hide, whose guest stars were limited to Dougray Scott and Jessica Raine?
We’re leaving the blogs behind this week and focussing on the mainstream media. Let’s start with The Mirror’s Jon Cooper, who rightfully observed that
Not only did Hide ratchet the terror up to 11, it brought home the fact that when Who is good… Boy, is it really, really good.
The quieter moments never slow the pace or feel like padding, drawing us in with intriguing, well-rounded characters. When the tension ramps up it’s like an adrenaline rush.
Hide supercedes even Cold War in its brilliance, proving to be terrifying for both the adults and children watching.
Overall the standalones that make up series 7/33 have felt far superior to the convoluted overarching storyline that left me and many others bemused – I think I’m still trying to figure it all out in my head.
Dan Martin reviewed Hide in The Guardian, and makes perhaps the most astute critique in any of the major papers, underling “writerly” dialogue that fails to convince alongside a lot of enthusiasm for the episode.
The sepia-tinted 1970s, all blouses, polygraphs and Edinburgh-crystal whisky glasses, makes for an atmospheric awayday in this crooked pile.
Director Jamie Payne, a newcomer to the show, handles the scares deftly, with an old-fashioned it’s-behind-you! approach to ramping up the tension. And in a show where even the scariest monsters can have a tendency for the cute, here was one that made you take a good few steps back to toward the back of the sofa with every glimpse. Fantastic.
We couldn’t agree more!