1. WHOSE 1974
It’s the idea of 1974 that we visit in Hide, rather than the year itself. In the real world Britain was all bombs and death and concrete. But for Doctor Who it’s a time of toggle switches, stolen glances and tweed jackets, and a lovely metatextual jab at the difference between a companion and an assistant. Mind you, on telly, Jon Pertwee was rigging up a psychic to a contraption powered by a blue crystal from Metebelis 3, so not that much has changed.
2. FOR MASH GET SMASH
You can’t argue with a nice bit of product placement to set the scene. The BBC props department was in heaven sourcing tins of Carnation milk and bottles of Stone’s ginger wine to recreate that specific period feel. All that was missing was some white dogshit.
3. THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER’s CLIMAX
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Ever since haunted house stories were invented, the best of them have really been about the dark inside spaces of the participants – mental, sexual or otherwise. This one went down all the classic routes and then topped it off with a surprise comedy finish about lovestruck monsters. More of this sort of thing, please. Imagine the tense, earnest finale of, say, The Doctor’s Daughter being lampooned by immediately re-enacting it at comedy speed, with the same shots and everything. It could only be an improvement.
4. YOU PRESS THE BUTTON, WE DO THE REST
Speaking of mucking about with structure, the Doctor’s quick trip through all of known history to take some snapshots felt beautifully right. I suppose you couldn’t do it every week but I gawp when I see those beautiful effects shots spunked out to appear for only a couple of seconds.
5. THE CHIMERON OF THE WELL
Look, it wouldn’t be the first (or even the second) time I’ve shoehorned a reference to wildcard 80s story Delta and the Bannermen into one of these chats about modern episodes, but they’re really handing it to me on a plate now. When the lost lady cosmonaut appeared on the slide projector I sat up with a jerk. It’s her! It’s definitely her! (It wasn’t.)