Doctor Who: The Reviews

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Doctor Who anticipation has never been stronger than in recent times as fans prepared themselves for season eight of this science-fiction institution and the introduction of the twelfth doctor played by 56-year-old Scot, Peter Capaldi. The opening episode, entitled Deep Breath, premiered this Saturday (23rd August) and has understandably been put under several microscopes by various reviewers. But what’s the outcome?

Doctor Who
Peter Capaldi has taken on the Time Lord mantel as the Twelfth Doctor with Jenna Coleman as his companion

The episode, without revealing any major plot points for those who couldn’t make their date with the telly on this unseasonably cold Saturday night, was all about adjusting.

Capaldi’s Doctor adjusting to the impossible hype, his companion Clara, played by Jenna Coleman, adjusting to this new being and the loss of her old friend and the audience, on both sides of the pond, adjusting to Capaldi as the antithesis of the eleventh doctor, Matt Smith.

Variety explained that the actual plot of this opening episode "runs secondary to the emotional throughline" as Clara enacts feelings of scepticism - possibly pre-empting audience caution.

MORE: What Did Peter Capaldi Do Before Doctor Who?

Was this weary approach to the new Doctor necessary?

Radio Times Doctor Who reviewer, Patrick Mulkern, commented that "the programme seems overly anxious that its now global audience won’t take to an older, craggier Time Lord.

"It is willing those millions attuned to, nay moistened by, the geeky good looks of Messrs Tennant and Smith to have faith in Capaldi." Fortunately for The Radio Times, Mulkern’s faith remained and his review later described Capaldi as "terrific throughout".

But, did this caution damage the impact of the opening episode?

Doctor Who
Most reviewers were impressed with Capaldi and what the opening episode had to offer

The review in Forbes thought so, summing up: "We spent over an hour on a half-baked plot with no proper climax or resolution". Commentator Neil Midgley called the episode a "strangely recessive, unheroic, dull season opener" and ended his review with the belief that "the audience at home were still waiting for their hero too."

MORE: Will The Doctor's Companion Make It Until Christmas? Capaldi's Not Sure

Not everyone agreed, however, with many commentators basking in the clever nods to the criticisms that Steven Moffat may have been expecting sprinkled liberally into the script.

The Telegraph appreciated the references to "Capaldi being grey, wrinkly and Scottish" and believed the script "augurs well for Capaldi’s stint at the control console of that famous blue box."

The Guardian also appeared happy with the way in which the episode conducted this new arrival by admitting that "the actor [Capaldi] absolutely failed to nail the character completely, which bodes well for the rest of the series."

MORE: Don't Rule Out A Sherlock Movie Just Yet, Says Steven Moffat

Overall, then, it would seem that the combination of season eight and the Twelfth Doctor anticipated various disapprovals and dealt with them in a manner most reviews have applauded.

All there is left to do is wait a further seven days and see what episode two can do.


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