Doctor Who: Deep Breath Review

Posted on August 24, 2014

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Doctor Who opening titles

Picture courtesy of steampunkjournal.org


So here it is finally, the eighth series of the new run or thirty-fourth to us long-time viewers and fans with the brilliant Peter Capaldi as the iconic Timelord, The Doctor.

He is being put out there as the twelfth incarnation but John Hurt‘s regeneration was and is a Doctor as was recognised as such and yet he is missed out as one. To me this is the thirteenth regeneration with twelve new lives to live.

I like many have been looking forwards to this for some time and the rumours of Capaldi taking the part over from the fantastic Matt Smith made me want a Tardis for myself to see him in the part before anyone else. I just knew from the outset that he would nail the part, especially as it was announced that his was going to be a much darker and moodier Doctor. If McGann and Eccelston had been given/given more time respectively as the Timelord, then I think we would have seen darker incarnations before the comedic Tennant and Smith regenerations. You saw the potential in them to bow to their darker sides but they always fought it. Capaldi’s looks set to embrace it. You could say he’s more like the fourth incarnation or even the War Doctor.

So to this new series and episode.

It starts with a Dinosaur rampaging through London and minutes later it spits out the Tardis. Madame Vastra, Straxx and Jenny are there to unexpectedly greet our Timelord, who unbeknownst to them, has regenerated from the Doctor they knew.

Picture shows: Clara (JENNA COLEMAN) and The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI). Picture courtesy of BBC TV Doctor Who

Picture shows: Clara (JENNA COLEMAN) and The Doctor (PETER CAPALDI).
Picture courtesy of BBC TV Doctor Who


He stumbles out of the Tardis confused and a bumbling wreck, unsure of who he is and of those around him. He seems quite scared and completely out of it but has some understanding that he is a Timelord and knows many things including how to speak and understand Dinosaur. To cap all of this off, there are strange beings at work, robots who are killing to collect human body parts for themselves. To those of you who watched Tennant’s era, you will quickly know what this is about.

As ever with a new regeneration, the first episode is about the character and personality of the new Doctor and him being introduced to us and how he will possibly be throughout his tenure.

This Doctor made jokes about his accent being Scottish and about how the Scots blame the English for everything. He said this part with a wry smile on his face and I smiled too, especially in the face of the Scottish referendum for Scottish Independence due on September 18th of this year.
There was one scene where he talks to Madame Vastra and she speaks in a Scottish accent and he replies in something along the lines of ‘finally! Someone I can understand!’ Again I smiled here. This is obviously an in-joke about how many will struggle to understand his accent, especially the Americans who were rumoured to need subtitles for Capaldi’s tenure. I really hope there’s no truth in that!

There were lots of in-jokes about his age and being Scottish of course which kept the humour going. As for the side of him that is dark, well it came in short bursts; one being where he left Clara, brilliantly played by the lovely Jenna Coleman, alone with the ‘monsters’ of the episode. I think he will get darker and moodier as the series progresses.

Another scene was where he was convinced that he had seen his face before but couldn’t quite remember. This storyline has been suggested for quite some time now as Capaldi has appeared in the show before in the Fires of Pompeii. This will all be tied up we are told soon enough.

As for this episode, It had enough of a hook to keep me watching. Like all Doctor’s starting off with their first episode, the storyline is rarely strong, as I said it’s more of an introduction to a regenerated Timelord; but this one felt different in the way it was filmed. The opening titles were fantastic and fan made, giving it a much needed change and long hoped-for Steampunk feel although the title music seemed lighter than the dark titles. This is how the whole episode felt to me; on the fringes of a Steampunk universe.

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who: Ray Burmiston, ©BBC/BBC Worldwide 2014

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who: Ray Burmiston, ©BBC/BBC Worldwide 2014


This Doctor is what we needed and the episode even played to those that wanted Matt Smith to stay on or get another young Timelord. This show isn’t just for young teenage girls to drool over but for the whole family to enjoy. The end scenes were nicely done. They were aimed at the fans directly, not the character of Clara.

Something the modern show seems to keep insisting on is to put lots in about people’s sexuality. Now I am a firm believer in people choosing to live their lives how they want just as long as they don’t harm anyone in the process in whatever choice they make, but this is a family show with small children watching who are confused enough about life as it is. This isn’t a party political broadcast or a show about human rights. It’s a science fiction show that has never really needed to do things like this in its fifty-one year history. Still, we live in a funny world where everything is an offence and everyone is offended. Torchwood tried that and didn’t last long at all. A lesson has not been learned here. We as people do not like politics and religion rubbed in our faces and the same goes for anything else. Just let the show be as it always was and let kids be kids.

This Doctor has so much potential and needs to be allowed to grow into something we can all love and appreciate. I think, no in fact I know, that he will be amongst the greatest there has ever been and that was before I saw him on the television. The next episode Into the Dalek reads like the film Inner Space and it promises to be as mad as this series promises to be. I for one cannot wait.

Welcome back Doctor, you have been away for far too long.

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