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TV Review By Calum

DOCTOR WHO Series 11 Episode 1 – ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’

Written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Jamie Childs

SYNOPSIS

Previously on Doctor Who… The 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi), after defeating an army of Cybermen and solving the mystery of the glass people, has regenerated into a thirteenth incarnation (Jodie Whittaker), but the regeneration energy damaged the TARDIS in flight, throwing the new Doctor off-board and falling through the night sky of Earth.

In the city of Sheffield, Ryan, Yasmin and Graham are living their normal, everyday lives. But their encounter with the Doctor is about to change everything. Can Yasmin, Ryan and Graham trust this mysterious woman? And can they work together to defeat an alien threat within the city?

FIRST THOUGHTS

It’s been about 15 months since Jodie Whittaker’s reveal as the new Doctor, and all we’ve had before the transmission of this episode was a one minute glimpse of the character in the 2017 Christmas special, so there’s been a lot riding on ‘The Woman who Fell to Earth’.

Does it do well? Short answer… ABSOLUTELY!!!

I’m struggling to find words at the moment, simply because of how blown away I was. All I can say right now is that everyone involved in the making of this year’s ‘Doctor Who’ should give themselves a pat on the back. The first episode was a lot of fun, it was a very good start to the new era.

WRITING

This new era of ‘Doctor Who’ is under the command of new head writer / executive producer, Chris Chibnall. And here he has given us a bold, emotional and adrenaline fuelled opening episode.

What I love about Chris’s writing is how grounded his stories are, he’s always sprinkling his scripts with a touch of humanity which I find beautiful (one of the reasons why I LOVE his ITV Crime Drama: ‘Broadchurch’). There are a lot of emotional moments within this episode and that’s where Chris’ writing excels.

All of the characters are really well-rounded, I found them all believable and engaging, and it’s another great strength in Chris’ writing, he’s always making sure that his characters are really detailed in personality and background; it’s something I really look up to in Chris when it comes to scriptwriting.

I really look forward to seeing where Chris and his team of writers take the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. They’ve got me hooked already, let’s hope they can continue to shine.

Performances

It is going to be no surprise to people when I say that the star of ‘The Woman who Fell to Earth’ is the woman herself… JODIE WHITTAKER!!!

The second Jodie Whittaker (above) appeared on-screen, I bought her as the Doctor straight away. Her version of the two-thousand year old Time Lord is funny, charming, energetic, and full of warmth. My favourite moments with the new Doctor were the quieter moments (though I shall not say what they were, no spoilers here), Jodie gives a lot of heart to the role and it’s clear she’s having a lot of fun. And no, I am not going to be talking about Jodie being the first female Doctor. Her gender is mentioned briefly, but it’s not the centre of attention – and it shouldn’t be. The focus here is establishing Jodie as the new Doctor, and she does a superb job! (I also really like her costume. Totally Doctor Who).

The new Doctor is also going to need some friends to join her on her travels. Let’s talk about the Doctor’s new friends.

Ryan Sinclair is a fantastic character, who is brought to life brilliantly by Tosin Cole (above). His character struggles with dyspraxia – a co-ordination disorder – and he wants to be able to ride a bike, but his disorder makes it difficult. Tosin plays the scenes of frustration really well, making Ryan a really engaging character.

Yasmin Khan, played by Mandip Gill (above), is a character who is bored by her job as a police officer, dealing with parking offences day after day, all she wants is something a bit more exciting. Mandip gives a lovely performance as Yaz, full of energy and warmth. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the relationship between the Doctor and Yaz develops, and I look forward to seeing where Mandip takes the role.

Graham O’Brien, played by Bradley Walsh (above), was definitely the funniest out of the human characters, but I love how Bradley Walsh grounded his performance. I was expecting his full on quirky humour we see on ‘The Chase’, but I was proven wrong. Bradley was wonderful, and Graham is just so loveable, I can see him almost being like a grandfather figure in the Doctor’s life, which can be a really interesting route for the series to take.

The supporting cast were all very good. Sharon D Clarke plays Grace (Graham’s wife and Ryan’s Gran) and she gives a great performance which had me smiling from beginning to end. Other roles are minor, but the actors do a really good job at bringing them to life. And it wouldn’t be ‘Doctor Who’ without a monster.

The concept of the villain was great, it wasn’t as compelling as everything else, but it was still great, and it had some very creepy moments, especially with a few moments of body-horror.

Direction:

Jamie Childs is the director of this episode and he gives the whole thing STYLE!

Sheffield looks gorgeous, I can see a lot of ‘Broadchurch’-like shots in terms of the location with its sunshine, which is not a criticism at all, like I said, it’s REALLY good. The quieter moments are also very well executed, and there’s a fantastic, edge-of-your-seat sequence in a building site which had me and my sister clinging onto each other.

And the music is stunning. Segun Akinola gives us a very atmospheric soundtrack, and I LOVE the new ‘Doctor Who’ theme tune (which we don’t hear until the end credits).

FINAL THOUGHTS

‘The Woman Who Fell to Earth’ was an impressive introduction to the new era of Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall. It was definitely worth the wait. Fun, exciting, full of heart, it was a great jumping-on-point for a casual viewer, and a stellar return for Whovians around the world. ‘Doctor Who’ is back!!!

‘DOCTOR WHO: The Woman Who Fell To Earth’ result = 9/10
Catch up with the new ‘Doctor Who’ , or return to a previous series, on BBC iPlayer,
You can also find 10 series' of Doctor Who on Netflix!

© Calum Brown Visable Inc

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