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| 8 October 2018 | Reply

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Jamie Childs
Starring Jodie Whittaker, Philip Abiodun, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Sharon D Clarke
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

The BBC have edged towards a more open-minded, modern world view in recent years, peppering Doctor Who with hints that a female Doctor may be on the horizon. There was a female incarnation of The Doctor’s arch-nemesis The Master (Missy), a lesbian companion (Bill), and plenty of fast-paced talk about the possibility on and off screen.

Finally, more than fifty years after the show’s premiere, the fourteenth official incarnation (I’m counting John Hurt’s The War Doctor) of the eponymous character is a woman.

More than enough grown babies cried foul at the announcement of Jodie Whittaker’s casting last year – the same bedroom warriors, presumably, crying about a female cast Ghostbuster reboot, female Star Wars leads, and so forth. These self-appointed protectors of the patriachy like their fictional stories to boldly go only where they are comfortable, it seems, and that does not include gender equality, pay parity or the like.

Well, it’s a sad day for them, as Whittaker finally hits our screens today in The Woman Who Fell To Earth, bringing with her all the humour, excitement, thrills and cool we could have hoped for.

Whittaker isn’t the only new face to Doctor Who in 2018. We meet new companions, and the hierarchy has changed completely with new showrunner Chris Chibnall – formerly head of the Doctor Who spinoff series Torchwood, as well as Broadchurch, which featured the tenth Doctor, David Tennant – taking over from Stephen Moffat. Chibnall has been adamant that everything about this series will be new – no relying on tired, over-rated old monsters or returning characters – thank goodness.

Newly regenerated and confused, the new Doctor falls into a train carriage in modern day Sheffield, where policewoman Yasmin, Dean, Ryan and his Nan Grace and step Grandad Graham are facing off against a strange tentacled alien.


As Whittaker’s Doctor struggles to remember who she is and cope with her latest regeneration, she is pitted against tooth-faced Senza warrior Tim Shaw (it will make more sense when you watch it), who is hunting Dean, a randomly selected human for sport & the right to become a leader of his people.

Along the way she builds her own sonic screwdriver (“now with added Sheffield steel”), goes clothes shopping, exposes the Senza Tim Shaw as a cheat, jumps from one building crane to another, and establishes herself as a strong, quirky incarnation of this most beloved character. “I know exactly who I am!” she declares once her new regeneration takes hold properly. “I’m the Doctor, sorting out fair play throughout the universe.”

On the evidence of this first episode of Series Eleven, we are allowed every hope that under Chibnall & Whittaker’s guidance, Doctor Who is in very good hands indeed. In fact – perhaps ironically, given the pathetic outcry over Whittaker’s appointment by the Sci Fi Baby Trolls – it looks like we can look forward to a return to a more classic, more access-all-ages Whovian style of storytelling.


Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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