The Dalby Spook

Posted in Audio by - November 05, 2022
The Dalby Spook

Released November 2022


Following coordinates that appear on the psychic paper, the Doctor, Liv, and Helen arrive on the Isle of Man in the 1930s in ‘The Dalby Spook’ by Lauren Mooney and Stewart Pringle. Pretending to be reporters to join famed paranormal debunker Harry Price as he visits an isolated home purported to house a talking mongoose, the three must race to discover the truth about Gef and the young girl at the centre of events before Price can take his close-minded assumptions public.

After being more of a background character through much of Stranded and ‘Paradox of the Daleks,’ Hattie Morahan shines brilliantly in ‘The Dalby Spook’ as Helen finds herself sympathetic to the plight of Voirrey. Helen hasn’t spoken too much about her past and upbringing, but what she has revealed about her father’s brutal behaviour towards both her mother and her as well as her brother’s imprisonment and disowning for being gay suggest that her childhood was anything but pleasant. As such, it’s only natural that she should bond with this young girl who is locked her in bedroom that is devoid of any toys or sentiment. This is a situation in the year of her birth that hits far too close to home for Helen, and Morahan brings a confident conviction to her performance as Helen refuses to back down from the male figures who assume they know best and can decide everything for Voirrey without discussion.

Naturally, much of the story here centres around the distinctly different approaches that Price and the Doctor take to investigating the presence and powers of Gef the mongoose whom Voirrey regards as her only friend. The Doctor knows that something with genuine psychic powers is present given what happened in his TARDIS, but Price is more concerned with exploring potential avenues of falsehood as he looks to eliminate Voirrey’s mobility and voice as his first true action of discounting potential variables. Philip Jackson is suitably commanding as this man who so desperately wants to be seen as part of society’s elite even if his own world views are terribly jaded and closed to the possibility of there being anything beyond his imagination, and Felicity Cant provides the perfect voice as the young Voirrey who seems somewhat detached and yet still firmly adhered to reality given her unique circumstances that she cannot fully understand or control.

Although the Doctor is, of course, correct in his assumptions that something otherworldly is occurring here, Liv and Helen are also absolutely correct to call out his own rather narrow outlook. That’s not to say that either companion is right from the start, but after they witness a local man’s somewhat vacant expression and memory that hints at a possible possession to spark the Doctor’s own imagination, he is all too quick to jump to his own assumptions about the being known as Gef. This leads to a brief but monumental confrontation between the Doctor and his companions, and Paul McGann, Nicola Walker, and Morahan execute these moments and their buildup absolutely perfectly while hopefully setting the foundation for further exploration in future stories. The Doctor is typically an optimist keen to explore every angle of a situation, making his actions here somewhat jarring even if he is in a rush against Price to provide another answer, but his decisions nonetheless allow for some immense characterization of his companions amidst the mischievous Gef whom nobody can quite understand. As a result of this somewhat impish and playful behaviour, the tone does sometimes float between earnestness and levity more than it should, but the historical setting and intense emotions make ‘The Dalby Spook’ an immensely memorable affair with a heartfelt core that expertly brings Helen back into the spotlight.

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