5 October 2018

There is a wonderful sense of renewal as we head into Series 11. We have a new show runner, a new writing team, a new composer, a new look and feel - heck, even a new airdate...oh, there's also a new Doctor!

In fact, there hasn't been this much change since the show returned in 2005, but change has always been at the heart of Doctor Who, and its heart is beating as strong as ever.

From the beautiful opening shots of a hilly Sheffield, we are introduced to our new companions, and, after a little exposition, we're thrown right into the action.

About 5 minutes in, it became refreshingly apparent just how little we all know about this new series. Being at the forefront of Doctor Who news and information, it can be tricky to avoid plot details and images (thanks to the many emails we get from our visitors), but for once, every single scene was fresh and new, and unspoiled. Kudos really has to go to the production team on a sterling effort to protect the show's secrets!

We are incredibly hesitant to talk too much about the episode, but what we can say is just how different it feels to the new series direction, thus far. That being said, there's a comforting familiarity, too. This isn't a radical change for the sake of change - it's an evolutional change that takes the show in a bold new direction.

The fact that The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) now happens to be a woman, really isn't as big of a deal in the show as you would think. I mean, of course it's a big deal in the grand scheme of equality and diversity, and for girls (and boys) to have a rolemodel they can look up to, but, as far as the canonical issue of The Doctor now being a woman is concerned, she is every bit The Doctor as her predecessors, and it's business as usual.

Let's unpack Jodie's Doctor a bit more though. From the second you see her on screen, there's no time for you to question the if's or how's - it's straight into the action, and nitty gritty of getting to the bottom of the alien threat of the story. In fact, it isn't really until about two thirds in that there is a breathing space for her Doctor to start to unfurl who she is. That being said, by the time the credits roll, there is no question that this is The Doctor and she very much knows what kind of a woman she is.

As for our companions, Ryan (Tosin Cole), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Graham (Bradley Walsh), again, we want to keep light on the detail, but they fit in perfectly with Jodie's Doctor, and all 4 of them already have a wonderful camaraderie with each other and The Doctor. Very much like with the Russell T. Davies era, you genuinely care about the characters, and the fact that there are consequences and fallout from actions and situations in the episodes.

The overall feel of the show is like a perfect mesh between new and classic who in its delivery. It's the familiarity we mentioned early on, and although it's hard to quantify exactly why, there are a couple of moments that stand out, and if you happen to be a fan of the classic series, you will know exactly what we mean.

That being said, this is still very much new ground we are treading. Gone are the monsters of old (for now), and before us stands a brave new world full of scary new threats. It all feels more real and grittier, and you can't help but feel like anything could happen.

To any of you still doubting Jodie as The Doctor, honestly, genuinely you have nothing to fear! She encompasses everything The Doctor was and is, and if this episode alone is anything to go by, we hope it is the start of a long tenure in the role.

Quick mention of Segun Akinola's powerful musical score! It's a little Broadchurch-y in places, and somewhat industrial, too, which feels very different to what we've become used to, but it totally fits. Music is such an important part of Doctor Who, and it really sets the tone of the series. We don't get a title sequence for episode one, but there is a little cue of the new theme in the episode, and it is truly fantastic! Hold out until the end credits and you may just start to fall in love with our new composer!

Finally, a huge tip of the hat to Chris Chibnall for an episode that feels so much larger than the sum of its parts. Beautiful dialogue, believable, earthy characters and an emotional vein that makes you care about them. Between Jodie and Chris, the show is truly in good hands, and what an exciting time it is to be a Doctor Who fan!



5 Things To Look Out For:

1)  A poignant bookend.
2)  Teeth.
3)  A nose-picking Doctor?!
4)  Sheffield Steel.
5)  A moment at the end that is pure Classic Who!

+ 11.1: The Woman Who Fell To Earth airs on Sunday 7th October at 6:45pm on BBC One.

[Source: DWO]

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