Deep Breath

Doctor Who S8 E1 “Deep Breath” (BBC One)

Posted on Updated on

Contains spoilers for the episode

So Doctor Who is off and running again. And by running, I mean that literally as well as figuratively, the new incumbent in the title role wasting no time to disprove those doubters who felt that he might be too old for the role at the age of 56. On this evidence he’s more than up to the part and just as capable of manic-running-aroundness as even his youngest predecessors in the role were.

It makes sense to start this review with the question everyone had on their lips coming into the weekend: is Peter Capaldi going to cut it as the Doctor? To be honest few of us who knew Capaldi’s body of work had any doubt that he would be anything other than completely wonderful in the role, but it’s still the case that seeing is believing and until he finally appeared on the screen there was always just the tiniest chance that it could go horribly wrong. It’s a big relief then to report that instead it’s all gone wonderfully right: Capaldi is fantastic as the Doctor. For the first five minutes I was distracted by watching his performance, but after that I completely forgot about the actor himself because the Doctor was once again just the Doctor, which is just as it should be.

Capaldi’s Doctor certainly makes for a change from the others we’ve seen since the 2005 reboot, all of whom were very user-friendly and effortlessly charming, not to mention easy on the eye for the younger and also more female demographic drawn to the modern show in a way that was rarely the case with the classic series. No, this Doctor doesn’t really care if you like him or not – he’s not even very sure he likes himself. But he’s certainly fascinating and compelling and mysterious, which is not to say that he can’t also be very funny when he wants to be such as when he’s critiquing his new face and wondering from just where those “attack eyebrows” came from. For my money one of the most sublime lines ever uttered on television came early on, a throwaway moment when he told his companions “Don’t look in the mirror. It’s absolutely furious.” Read the rest of this entry »