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(Story Code 7.9)

by Neil Cross
The Doctor and Clara

“It’s not a ghost story – it’s a love story!” – The Doctor

November 4th 1974: in the middle of a storm-lashed wood on a desolate moor lies Caliburn House. Inside its main hall, two ghost-hunters, Professor Alec Palmer and Emma Grayling, are busy setting up their equipment, hoping that on this night they will be able to make contact with the restless spirit that haunts the mansion. After the professor activates his detection equipment, Emma bravely calls out to the ghost – and deep inside the mansion, something stirs, speeding through the many rooms and corridors, rushing towards Emma. In the hall, a horrifyingly distorted figure in white appears before the psychic, and then dissipates into nothing. But before Emma and Alec can take stock of what they have seen a knocking sounds at the front door; answering the call, they meet two strangers: a man called the Doctor and his friend Clara, who have come looking for ghosts… When the Doctor voices his excitement at meeting war hero and former government agent Major Alec Palmer, it comes as a surprise to Emma, who only knows her associate as an innocuous professor of supernatural phenomena. It seems that Emma is also of interest to the Doctor, who knows her as a renowned psychic empath. Picking up on Alec’s deduction that he is from Military Intelligence, the Doctor explains that he has been sent by the ministry to check the professor’s investigation; he then gleefully plays with some of the equipment, and then grabs a candelabrum to light his way through the house in search of the ghost. After explaining that he bought the mansion because of his interest in its ghost, Alec begrudgingly agrees to show the Doctor his findings: Caliburn house is over four hundred years old, but the legend of the Witch From the Well is far older; the professor has collected dozens of photographs of the spectral apparition, and many tales of sightings that go back hundreds of years. After Clara remarks that the ghost is in exactly the same position in every picture, the Doctor asks where the well is; Alec replies that no well exists anywhere on the property... The Doctor sets off to look for the ghost, dragging an unwilling Clara along with him; together they head for the music room, the heart of the house, unaware that in the shadows, something is following them … Back in the hall, Alec tries to explain why he kept his past a secret from Emma; there is clearly an attraction between the two of them, but they are too afraid to admit it… In the music room, the Doctor finds a ‘cold spot’ and Clara feels unhappy that something is watching them; as the ghostbusting duo go deeper into the house, the temperature drops, ice forms on the windows, and an angry banging sound can be heard from all around... In the hall, Alec’s equipment registers the temperature drop, and Emma’s psychic power tells her that “she is coming”… A terrified Clara tells the Doctor to let go of her hand – and in true ‘Scooby-Doo’ fashion, the Doctor tells her it isn’t his hand she is holding! Seeing a crooked creature crouching behind them, the two time travellers run for their lives, arriving in the hall just in time to see a black disc manifests in mid-air before Alec. Nearby, Emma watches as the image of a misty wood appears in the hall, a white spectral figure standing amongst the trees; the image quickly vanishes, leaving behind the words ‘help me’ on the wall, which then disappear along with the strange disc... A while later, Clara and Emma steady their nerves with whisky while the Doctor watches Alec develop his photographs. As the Doctor continues to enthuse about Alec’s military exploits, the professor explains that he is haunted by his actions, and is now looking for something else in his life. Meanwhile, Emma warns Clara not to trust the Doctor, telling her that he has a sliver of ice in his heart. When Alec develops a picture of the Doctor that also depicts the image of the Witch, the Time Lord grabs Alec’s camera and races off; together with Clara, the Time Lord heads for the TARDIS, which stands in the rain-swept grounds of the mansion. Ignoring the steam that now fills the console room, the Doctor sets the controls for six thousand years ago; donning a space suit, the Time Lord steps outside and takes a photograph. The Doctor then jumps forward to the prehistoric age, then the Eighteenth Century, and finally one-hundred billion years into the future, taking a photo each time. Clara is shaken by seeing the Earth’s history condensed into just a few short trips, and comments on how everyone - including her - must seem like a ghost to the Doctor; in response, the Time lord cryptically remarks that Clara is the only mystery worth solving… Returning to 1974, the Doctor shows his pictures to Alec and Emma, using a slide projector to play them in quick succession: they depict a woman in a white suit running in terror through the woods. The Doctor explains that they are seeing Hila Tacorian, a time travelling pioneer who crash landed in a pocket universe; whilst only three minutes have transpired for Hila, her timeline has lasted millions of years to anyone in this universe. The Doctor vows to save Hila, and he rushes back to the TARDIS to get what he needs for a rescue mission. Having run power cables from his time-space ship to Alec’s equipment, the Doctor creates a psycho-chronograph headset for Emma, powered by an old crystal he once stole from Metebelis III. Donning a rope-tethered harness, the Doctor explains is plan to dive into the pocket dimension to rescue Hila from the monster before the other universe collapses. Emma calls out to the lost soul of the house, and as the room fills with a fierce wind and terrible noise, the black disc reopens; the Doctor identifies it as a wormhole - a reality well - and then promptly jumps in! Plummeting through the vortex, the Doctor emerges in mist-shrouded wood on a huge lump of rock that is slowly disintegrating. Calling out for Hila, the Doctor is all-too aware that the crooked-looking man is stalking him amidst the trees. At that moment Hila appears and bumps into the Doctor; but there is no time for proper introductions – they have to run for their lives! Reaching the edge of the wood the two time travellers just manage to stop themselves from plummeting into the vortex; back-tracking, they see the ghostly form of Caliburn House - an echo from the real universe - and together they race for its sanctuary. Locking themselves inside the house, the Doctor and Hila listen to the angry banging of the crooked man trying to get in. Putting on the harness, Hila tugs on the rope – and back in the real Caliburn House, Alec starts the winch, pulling the time traveller to safety. Back in the pocket universe, the Doctor watches in dismay as the portal shuts down; turning round, the Time Lord finds himself transported back to the woods, where he is once again pursued by the crooked creature… Back in the real universe, the TARDIS begins sounding the Cloister Bell; hearing the doom-laden warning, Alec urges the exhausted Emma to reopen the portal to save the Doctor. Meanwhile, Clara tries to enter the TARDIS, only to find it has locked her out; then another Clara appears: the TARDIS’ user interface, modelled on Clara. When the TARDIS refuses to put itself at risk by entering the other universe Clara gets cross, and she tries to make the time-space vessel change its mind… Inside Caliburn House, Emma dons the headset again and holds hands with Alec and Hila, taking strength from them to reopen the portal. In the woods, the Doctor calls out to the crooked man, believing that the creature is deliberately trying to scare him: it wants to overpower the Doctor and piggyback him into the real universe. The creature attacks the Doctor, but the TARDIS arrives in the nick of time and knocks it away from the Doctor. As the ship flies past again, Doctor grabs hold of its frame, just as the TARDIS re-enters the vortex. Inside the manor, Emma, Alec and Hila are overjoyed to see the TARDIS rematerialize, bringing the Doctor and Clara to safety... The following morning, as everyone recovers from their ordeal, the Doctor admits to Emma that she was the real reason he came to Caliburn House: he needs to know what the psychic empathy thinks of Clara; Emma reassures the Time Lord that she is a perfectly normal girl, but the Doctor is still unconvinced… When Hila thanks Alec and Emma for rescuing her, the Doctor lets slip that they are all related – Alec and Emma got together after all, and it was their psychic link that helped save their descendant. As Alec and Emma understand they have a future together, the Doctor makes a sudden realisation: the crooked man also had a companion: the monster in the mansion – the creature didn’t mean any harm, it merely wanted to be reunited with its partner! Emma reopens the portal, and the Doctor dives into the pocket dimension; he quickly finds the crooked man, and with the aid of the TARDIS, he brings the creature home…

Matt Smith (The Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara), Dougray Scott (Professor Alec Palmer), Jessica Raine (Emma Grayling), Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Hila Tacorian), Aidan Cook (The Crooked Man)

Directed by Jamie Payne
Produced by Marcus Wilson
Series Producer Marcus Wilson
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner
A BBC Wales production

TX (BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD):
20th April 2013 @ 6:45 pm

*Featuring the Eleventh Doctor and Clara

*Working title: 'The Hider in the House'

*In keeping with the story, a thunderclap interrupted the continuity announcement that introduced this episode