Hello everyone! 🙂
Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!
‘Doctor Who’ has returned to TV screens with Jodie Whittaker!!!
I’ve been looking forward to watching Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’, starting Sunday the 7th of October 2018. Unfortunately, I didn’t see ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’ on TV screens at 6:45pm as I had other commitments that evening. But I managed to catch-up on the first TV episode via BBC iPlayer.
In fact, my parents and I saw it on our home computer via BBC iPlayer. We had pizza and everything. 😀 My parents didn’t want to miss out on the first TV episode with Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. I’m glad I saw this special episode with my parents to find out what the new Doctor was like.
Before we talk about the episode itself, I want to make something abundantly clear here. I know not everyone is going to warm to the fact that it’s now a female Doctor on TV. I know there are fans out there who are still feeling uncomfortable with the notion that Jodie Whittaker is playing the Doctor.
But for me personally, I want to enjoy the 10 episodes of Series 11 as well as the Christmas Special coming out later this year in December. I want to share my thoughts on why I enjoy these episodes. If there is anything I don’t like about this season, then I’ll do my best to explain why that is the case.
At present, things seem to be really promising for the new Doctor as well as the approach to the new series by Chris Chibnall. Regarding Jodie Whittaker though, I’m not going to make any final verdict on her performance as the Doctor throughout Series 11. I will make my final verdict at the very end.
I’ll make some observations about Jodie Whittaker of course, but I’m not going to bring up any gender equality-related issues or political correctness issues in my reviews. I want to review these ‘Doctor Who’ episodes as ‘Doctor Who’ episodes. With that out of the way, let’s talk about Series 11.
‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’ takes place in Sheffield in the present day. Hey, I’ve been to Sheffield once back in March 2015. And it’s also the place where Jodie Whittaker’s character in ‘Trust Me’ came from. Bit of a coincidence! Anyway, this episode is where we meet our three new companions.
I like how this episode focuses on the point of view of the companions from the start of Series 11, just like it happened with Rose Tyler at the start of Series 1. The new companions are Bradley Walsh as Graham O’Brien; Tosin Cole as Ryan Sinclair and Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan. These three are very good!
By the way, this episode features no opening credits at the start. There’s not even a teaser scene for the opening credits. Odd decision, I admit that. But at least this episode didn’t take the route ‘Sleep No More’ did. Hopefully we’ll get the new opening titles and new titles music in the next episode.
Incidentally, there is a bit of the ‘Doctor Who’ theme music when Jodie Whittaker crashes into a train and appears as the new Doctor for the first time. And thankfully we get to hear the new ‘Doctor Who’ theme music composed by Segun Akinola during the episode’s end credits. It sounds good.
Of course the episode takes place directly after Jodie’s Doctor fell out of the TARDIS at the end of ‘Twice Upon A Time’. It does take a while for Jodie’s Doctor to make an appearance in the episode with all the other characters being set up. But when she turns up, she’s into action already and is good.
I like how the three companions are set up in the first episode. I like Ryan Sinclair as a character, who’s 19 and has a dyspraxia problem. There’s also Graham O’Brien who’s married to Sharon D. Clarke as Grace, Ryan’s nan. And there’s also Yasmin Khan who is a junior police officer in Sheffield.
I know that this is just the beginning and Graham, Ryan and Yasmin don’t all have equally strong standout moments in the episode. Ryan seems to stand out as a character for me compared to Graham and Yasmin. But this episode provides a good introduction to them and I like them already.
I really like that first scene in the train where the Doctor arrives, sorts out an alien and then meets her three potential (four if you count Grace as well) companions. It was funny when the Doctor asked Yasmin – ‘Yaz’ for short – “Why are you calling me, madam?” It’s a really good scene to watch.
So far, Jodie seems to have won me over as the Doctor. I like how she plays the character in the first episode, full of potential promise. Dad described her as a female version of David Tennant and I suppose that’s true. But from what I’ve seen so far, she seems to have made the character her own.
I’m quite relieved that there weren’t any sexual innuendos made about the fact the Doctor was now a woman, not a man in the episode. I was expecting there to be. Thankfully there weren’t. The episode gets straight to the point with Jodie’s Doctor sorting out the alien menace that’s attacking Sheffield itself.
Speaking of which, the writing feels much stronger in the episode compared to previous ‘Doctor Who’ episodes I’ve seen. The pacing feels sharper, especially as things happen more coherently and not too fast with things being thrown in your face as it was the case in the previous era by Steven Moffat.
I found myself on the edge of my seat on some really tense, scary moments. This could help with the fact that most of the episode was set at night-time and most scenes were darkly-lit. The episode’s monster Samuel Oatley as Venom, I’m sorry…Tzim-Sha also felt intimidating for our Doctor to face.
Jodie’s Doctor called him Tim Shaw for some reason. 😀 I did feel that Jodie’s Doctor had her heroic moments in the episode, especially when she was rescuing Johnny Dixon as Karl by jumping across from one construction crane to the next. She also had her moments of compassion in good and bad moments.
The episode also has Jodie’s Doctor building her new sonic screwdriver when she’s in a warehouse of some sort. That’s handy, isn’t it? It’s interesting how this episode doesn’t end with Jodie finding the TARDIS again. Usually first episodes for a new Doctor end with that. Perhaps it’s saved for next time.
There is a pretty shocking death featured in the episode. I won’t spoil it for you, but it was pretty emotional and heartbreaking to see. It was beautifully handled and I’m amazed with how the actors put their all into the scene. I haven’t seen an emotional scene like that since the David Tennant era.
This all leads to a funeral in…Oh my goodness! Is that St. Mark’s Church in Gabalfa, Cardiff?! It is! They filmed a funeral scene in St. Mark’s Church! I know that place! I was in the church before seeing the episode that evening. Seriously, I was. Ironic I was in that very church before seeing this episode. 😀
The episode ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger with Jodie’s Doctor, now out of the Peter Capaldi clothes and finally into her Thirteenth Doctor outfit, off to find her TARDIS. Her new companions, Graham; Ryan and Yasmin join her too (accidentally I might add). I won’t reveal how that happens, but it was exciting.
I was a little concerned when Jodie’s Doctor said it was a long time since she/he had worn women’s clothes in the episode when choosing her new Thirteenth Doctor outfit. But the more I thought about it, Jon Pertwee’s Doctor did dress up as a cleaning lady in ‘The Green Death’. So it made sense here.
Before we finish, I must tell you how much I enjoyed ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’. I’m enjoying Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’ so far. Jodie Whittaker has done well playing the Doctor. Also the writing by Chris Chibnall seems to be stronger and a big improvement compared to previous seasons here.
I was hoping to like this new era of ‘Doctor Who’. From what I’ve seen, I like it so far. I hope things will get better as Series 11 progresses later in the year. I know it’s early days and I won’t make a final judgement on Jodie Whittaker and Series 11 until the end. But I can’t help feel good about Series 11.
Next week’s episode is called ‘The Ghost Monument’ by Chris Chibnall.
Thanks for reading!
Bye for now!