‘Deep Breath’ (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

“Exit the Box and Surrender to the Glory of the Sontaran Empire.” – The Twelfth Doctor Begins

Here Comes Twelve!

This is ‘The Complete Series 8’ of ‘Doctor Who’ starring Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. It feels like only yesterday since I remember watching this series from beginning to end in 2014. It was the beginning of a new era as well as a new chapter in the Doctor’s life when he became Twelve.

I remember seeing the first episode of this series at a cottage on holiday with my parents in Scotland in August 2014. It ended with me watching the last episode on TV and on my tablet at home somewhere in November. The memories stay with you if you’re a true ‘Doctor Who’ fan.

Okay! Take a ‘deep breath’! Here comes the Twelfth Doctor!

‘Deep Breath’ is the first story of Peter Capaldi’s era of ‘Doctor Who’. This episode was shown on the 23rd of August 2014. Fans waited for nine months to see the new Doctor and he finally arrived.

The original ‘Deep Breath’ DVD was a 1-disc set with limited special features. This first episode of Peter Capaldi was shown in cinemas before the series began. I advise you to purchase ‘The Complete Series 8’ on DVD.

Let’s go back to when Peter Capaldi was first announced as the new Doctor. I remember the day vividly on the 3rd of August 2013. I’d just come back from a convention in Slough the day before and there was a special programme called ‘Doctor Who Live – The Next Doctor’ shown on Sunday.

I was wondering who was going to play the Doctor following Matt Smith. I hoped it would either be Alistair Mackenzie (from ‘Monarch of the Glen’) or Stephen Mangan (from ‘Dirk Gently’). Imagine my surprise, when I saw that it was Peter Capaldi who walked out onto the stage of ‘Doctor Who Live’.

Peter had been in ‘Doctor Who’ before as he played Caeculius in the Tenth Doctor story ‘The Fires of Pompeii’ and played John Frobisher in the ‘Torchwood’ story ‘Children of Earth’. I was quite surprised they’d cast an older actor to play the Doctor compared to a young actor. It was a nice and welcome change.

It turns out Peter was a fan of ‘Doctor Who’ before he was the Twelfth Doctor. I’d seen him in other things including episodes of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ and he’s well-known for being in ‘The Thick of It’.

On Christmas Day 2013, Matt Smith regenerated into Peter Capaldi. We had the last few minutes with Peter appearing in ‘The Time of the Doctor’. I learned how to be patient before seeing him again.

Nine months later, ‘Deep Breath’ was shown on the big screen before it was shown on TV. I didn’t see this episode in the cinemas and I’m glad I didn’t as I would have missed out on all the seats as there was such a hype about it. Even fans came all the way from America to watch the episode.

In the week leading up to the episode’s transmission on TV, I went on holiday to Scotland with my parents. We arrived at the cottage where we were staying on the 23rd of August 2014, just in time to see the brand new ‘Doctor Who’ episode on TV. I was looking forward to seeing the new Doctor.

‘Deep Breath’ is a good opening episode. But I wouldn’t say it was the best. As with most Steven Moffat-penned episodes, it’s rather complex and hard to grasp at times. Some of my friends back home weren’t impressed, especially with the T-Rex stomping Victorian London which was absurd.

The story follows on from ‘The Time of the Doctor’ as the TARDIS gets swallowed up by the T-Rex. When the dinosaur spits the TARDIS out, the Doctor comes out all erratic, deranged and confused. Clara is upset, but a menace lurks about in Victorian London as the Half-Face Man causes trouble.

Peter Capaldi makes a grand entrance as the Doctor. He’s certainly very erratic and hyper-active when Clara and the others try to calm him down. What struck me in this episode is the dark level Peter brings in his Doctor that has some echoes of Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor in it which was intriguing.

Jenna Coleman returns as Clara Oswald. I really love Clara as she’s so lovely every time I see her. I liked Clara’s journey and her reaction to the new Doctor since she doesn’t like his change of appearance and being older. She wants Matt Smith’s Doctor back since she feels she doesn’t know the Doctor anymore.

I was delighted to see the Paternoster Gang again from the previous era of ‘Doctor Who’. This helps fans to settle back into the new series with familiar faces as well as Clara in order to ease the tension for those who might be unsure about the new Doctor when he’s just starting his new era here.

Neve McIntosh returns as Madame Vastra, the Silurian, leader of the Paternoster Gang. Vastra has developed into an interesting Silurian over the years. I liked how she seems wiser than everyone else and is trying to explain to Clara why the Doctor’s changed and uses her veil as an example to explain.

Catrin Stewart returns as Jenny Flint. I’ve met Catrin once at a ‘Memorabilia Birmingham’ convention at the NEC in November 2011. I found Jenny interesting as well as we learn more about her. I found her marital relationship with Vastra interesting and she gets to be an action girl again alongside Madame Vastra during the climax.

Dan Starkey returns as Strax the Sontaran. I’ve met Dan Starkey at conventions in Tunbridge Wells and Bournemouth. Strax is sometimes dim and used for comic relief compared to the standard Sontaran. I liked his scenes with Clara. Strax gets into the action, wearing his Sontaran armour again.

The monsters are the half-human; half-robotic clockwork droids, led by Peter Ferdinando as the Half-Face Man. These are quite scary robots when the Doctor and Clara face them. They look very different compared to last time as they were in the Tenth Doctor ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’.

I’m not overly keen on the new clockwork title sequence for Peter Capladi’s Doctor or the new ‘Doctor Who’ theme music at the moment. But I supposed I’ll get used to it in time in later seasons.

Matt Smith guest stars in the final moments of this episode. This was a pleasant surprise for me as I hadn’t expected him to appear at all. Doctor Eleven phones Clara from Trenzalore before he regenerates; giving her a proper goodbye which was lovely as he tells her to stay with the new Doctor.

The episode ends with a surprise guest appearance of Michelle Gomez as the mysterious Missy. I wondered who she was and what her real connection to the Doctor was. All would be revealed later on as I continued to enjoy the series with the Doctor and Clara and to find out what this ‘heaven’ was.

The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On the original ‘Deep Breath’ DVD, there’s the ‘Deep Breath – Intro’ by Strax; the ‘Deep Breath’ – Doctor Who Extra’ featurette and the ‘Doctor Who Live – The Next Doctor’ programme that announced Peter Capaldi’s arrival as the new Doctor, which I enjoyed.

I can’t understand why ‘Deep Breath’ came out on DVD first before ‘The Complete Series 8’ DVD. The special features aren’t all included from the ‘Deep Breath’ DVD to ‘The Complete Series 8′ DVD. This includes the ‘Deep Breath – Intro’ and the ‘Doctor Who Live – The Next Doctor’ programme.

On Disc 5 of ‘The Complete Series 8’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Deep Breath’ – Doctor Who Extra’ featurette can also be found on there. There is also an additional special feature which is the ‘Deep Breath’ Q&A panel with Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and writer/executive producer Steven Moffat.

The first episode of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is okay. It’s a decent start to his new era and I enjoyed watching it when I saw it on holiday in Scotland with my parents. I grew to like Peter Capaldi as the Doctor as he’s a cross between Jon Pertwee and William Hartnell. I looked forward to seeing more of him in the series.

‘Deep Breath’ rating – 5/10

The previous story

For the Eleventh Doctor was

  • ‘Tales From Trenzalore’ (Book/Audio)

For Clara was

The next story

For the Twelfth Doctor is

For Clara is

Return to The Twelfth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Clara’s Timeline
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2 thoughts on “‘Deep Breath’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    A excellent review Tim, some of this was really good & other parts were really bad, as you know I’m not a fan of Moffats writing & this script shows he overwrites complex arcs instead of linear storytelling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Deep Breath’.

    Yes there were some good and bad aspects to the opening episode with Peter Capaldi. Steven Moffat does over-complicate things in his stories and tries to be too clever. I had high hopes for him from the beginning of his era and it’s such a shame as I feel it’s gone downhill with his era.

    Tim. 🙂



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