The Woman Who Fell To Earth is the first episode of Doctor Who Series 11 (in the ‘new-Who’ era, discounting anything before 2005), and it has not one new broom, but two – Jodie whittaker is the new Doctor, and Chris Chibnall is overseeing everything.
A lot of stick-in-the-muds have berated the choice of a woman to play The Doctor without giving her a chance, but I’ll come to her later.
Going back a step, and I had high hopes for Steven Moffat when he took over from the godawful Russell T Davies, since he had a number of great occasional episodes beforehand, particularly Blink, the one with Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow – the greatest companion who we never had.
However, almost all of the episodes under his tenure were pretty poor, and this did Peter Capaldi a great disservice, although while he’s a good actor, the man inbetween him and David Tennant – Matt Smith – turned out to be the best Doctor since Tom Baker. I grew up watching Tom Baker and I didn’t think anyone could touch his greatness, but for all his young years, Smith had the eccentricity that was required.
New head honcho Chris Chibnall has worked with Ms Whittaker before, on Broadchurch. I only saw the third series of that, and it was very good. I’m not in a rush to see the first two series, especially as I’ll know spoilers from them before I’d watch them, but when that happens with a whodunit, I can always look at it from the other side to see how people are around the baddie(s).
Jodie Whittaker certainly does make an impressive entrance and equips herself very well in the role. I haven’t seen a huge amount of her output, so wasn’t sure if she could pull it off, but based on this, it’s a definite yes. Can she match Matt Smith’s eccentricity? She’s certainly making a good fist of it so far, so here’s hoping, especially in a number of exchanges:
- Yasmin: “Can I have your name, please?”
Doctor: “When I remember it.”
Plus a number of one-liners:
- Referring to A&E, “I never go anywhere that’s just initials.”
Looking for her sonic screwdriver, “Empty pockets. I hate empty pockets!!”
When quizzing a non-responsive baddie: “You don’t like questions. More the private type(!)”
And soon after she arrives and is surprised to learn she’s a woman: “Half an hour ago, I was a white-haired Scotsman!”
There were other brief asides showing it’s not just her who’ll get all the good lines:
- Graham: “Any talk of weird stuff, or strange creatures out tonight?”
Bus driver: “My wife’s out with her friends at karaoke, if that’s what you mean(!)”
Jodie’s Doctor makes up plans on the hoof, as the Doctor often does, but there’s a smattering of decent humour in this which keeps it ticking along nicely, all leading to a very enjoyable opening hour. She undergoes the regeneration aftermath process relatively briefly, so it doesn’t impinge on the plot – unlike David Tennant’s dire first episode, The Christmas Invasion; and she creates a new sonic screwdriver after losing her original one, dubbing it a ‘Swiss Army Sonic’, and now with added Sheffield Steel!
The teaser showed all three companions – grandad Graham (Bradley Walsh), Youtuber Ryan (Tosin Cole) and cop Yasmin (Mandip Gill) – and how they joined the Doctor, but we can see from this opening episode how that has happened quite differently. I was sceptical about how such a dynamic could work, but since all the characters know each other already by this point, that will be a plus when it comes to working together as a team.
A few other asides, and there’s a great score to keep the tension going along, courtesy of new composer Segun Akinola, as well as having an ’80s slant in the third act. This first new episode does feel quite darker, and I’m not just talking about the fact it’s mostly set at night time; and I expected Bradley Walsh to be terrible. He’s not.
As you’ll see, I’ve not gone into detail about the plot. Sure, it wasn’t the most original – and even reminded me of Alien Vs Predator with its premise – but it’s certainly far better than most Doctors’ first forays onscreen, as it does a great job of introducing everyone who’s going to matter, as well as doing one thing I wasn’t expecting for an opener. That happens very late on, but what is it? As River Song used to say… SPOILERS!
With no TARDIS shown, the lack of it being woven into the story arc (although I expect that to be resolved in episode 2), we were left with an interesting cliffhanger. How will they get out of that one? Well, we’ll discover that next Sunday at 6.55pm.
Oh, and one thing this episode didn’t have – which I didn’t even think about until the end credits ran – was that… there are no opening credits! Those are always an iconic moment, but this one just got straight into the action and continued from there. We’re pretty used to this with films, these days, but never with such a big TV show.
The Woman Who Fell To Earth is available on the BBC iPlayer for a month.
Individual episodes can be bought in HD and SD here.
Director: Jamie Childs
Producer: Nikki Wilson
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Executive Producers: Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens
Music: Segun Akinola
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker
Graham O’Brien: Bradley Walsh
Ryan Sinclair: Tosin Cole
Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
Grace: Sharon D Clarke
Tim Shaw: Samuel Oatley
Karl: Jonny Dixon
Rahul: Amit Shah
Sonia: Asha Kingsley
Janey: Janine Mellor
Ramesh Sunder: Asif Khan
Andy: James Thackeray
Dean: Philip Abiodun
Dennis: Stephen MacKenna
Gabriel: Everal A Walsh
The Woman Who Fell To Earth begins the new series of Doctor Who this Sunday at 6.45pm, and a new clip has been released online which shows a First Look at episode 1. I see, like a lot of dramas at the moment, that instead of filming in 16:9, they’re following the Netflix trend of shooting in 2.00:1, hence the modern black bars top and bottom, which are rather unnecessary. 16:9 is where TV programmes should be.
Check out the clip below:
Previously on DVDfever:
The Woman Who Fell To Earth begins the new series of Doctor Who on October 7th, but what time does it start?
Digiguide had a block kept aside from 6-9pm that hadn’t been allocated until now, so does this new series start at 6pm, 7pm or 8pm? Well, it’s neither of these.
Doctor Who‘s first episode will begin at 6.45pm and is due to end at 7.50pm. Expect these times to vary over the weeks as the episode will never always be so long.
Before that, Countryfile is on at 5.45pm, while the time traveller is followed at Strictly Come Dancing‘s Sunday show at 7.50pm, then Still Open All Hours at 8.30pm, and former timelord companion Jenna Coleman in The Cry at 9pm.
The Woman Who Fell To Earth is the first new Doctor Who episode to feature Jodie Whittaker as the new Do3ctor, and a new trailer has been released.
The series begins on Sunday October 7th.
Check out the new teaser below:
The Woman Who Fell To Earth is the first new Doctor Who episode to feature Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor, and a series teaser has been released – for some reason coming out AFTER the series air date was released, but what time will Doctor Who air on October 7th?
(and yes, I’m a bit delayed in putting this teaser onliine, but then I need a TARDIS myself!)
Usually, it’s been broadcast around 7pm on a Saturday. However, I was presuming an 8pm slot for this. I’m not sure whether Countryfile or Antiques Roadshow would make way, or they’d shift a bit earlier, but Sundays are a different beast to a Saturday, and around 7pm seems a bit early if people are having dinner or doing other stuff to get ready for a new week, while 8pm is more a time that the family would be ready to sit down and watch something like Doctor Who together, and that would then link into whatever drama was showing at 9pm.
Time will tell…
Check out the new teaser below:
The Woman Who Fell To Earth is the first new Doctor Who episode to feature Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor.
It’ll be written by new show-runner Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch), and the programme certainly needed a new broom after Steven Moffat wrote some great episodes before taking over, but then made a mess of it when it was in his hands.
Naturally, all the Whovians who are David Bowie fans will be cheering because of the similarity to his movie, The Man Who Fell To Earth, but as I saw someone comment on Twitter: those in charge made a big thing about how the new Doctor’s gender wouldn’t become a factor, and now…. we have this title.
And as we’ve seen, The Doctor will be joined by Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh).
The Woman Who Fell To Earth airs on Sunday October 7th…
Yeah, Sunday. I don’t think that’s a great idea, either. Whether on Saturday or Sunday, it’s going to get bounced around the schedules because of both Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor.
Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor in BBC’s Doctor Who you can see the series trailer below, which calls up her new companions.
Check out the trailer below:
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.