Doctor Who: Deep Breath by Steven Moffat (TV review).

As with previous years, don’t expect me to go too spoiler, there’s enough other sites doing that, even in the brief hour after the first of Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the next regeneration of the Doctor. This review is more to do with impressions having watched the first extended episode.


What is most surprising is there is no continuation from the regeneration in the last story where the Doctor didn’t know how to pilot the TARDIS. Whatever happened, they must have crash-landed in the distant past, got swallowed by a really giant dinosaur that makes Godzilla look like a midget, and then taken the entire creature with them into the Victorian era. It seems like scriptwriter Steven Moffat forgot the Square-Cube Law and that a dinosaur that size would have difficulty moving. Then again, the CGI doesn’t give the impression of mass with its movement. London would have been devastated by even its smallest movements.

Oddly, the dinosaur problem isn’t the crux of the story, it’s more to do with the Doctor getting into his new regeneration and Clara trying to understand why he’s gotten so old and when he goes missing, Madame Vastra to explain what is going on. This even over-shadows the robot menace which although scary close up, doesn’t appear to be doing much to London as a whole, other than the odd spontaneous combustion. Isn’t it about time that Moffat gave Vastra and her gang their own TV series because every time they appear they steal the show. The comedy this time, especially from Strax.


Moffat is still maintaining his habit of having enigmatic foes who don’t have a name but just happen to be there. This time, its robots who have a habit of wanting to collect organic body parts to continue their existence while they seek their personal Eden, although we don’t really see what they do with them.

The real question is does Peter Capaldi do the business? Of course he does. His line delivery with some humour is balanced to when he is really serious. Moffat, to his credit, has made this regeneration of the Doctor back to his more odd self although, to be fair, he’s still settling down. Time is taken to address the Scottish accent and appearance. Although its only hinted at, this is the second time that the Doctor has adopted an appearance of someone he’s encountered in his travels, this time it’s not a Gallifreyan guard but a Roman from Pompeii.

If you compare here to Tennant’s regeneration episode, the first episode should not be an example of where he is likely to go although it might give some clues. There’s certainly more dialogue and we are at least spared chase scenes which might be a good sign for the future to have less padding. If anything, it’s still Moffat who needs to do more with the stories and we’ll have to see how other writers tackle the problem in the upcoming episodes.

Jenna Coleman as Clara has some scenes away from the Doctor but seems to have forgotten his Impossible Girl alias and how she has left clues throughout time to help herself and the Doctor out.

The changes to the TARDIS have made the interior less elaborate in its background detail. The exterior looks far too plastic than wooden and looks like someone gave it an extra special clean, especially when it removed the dinosaur gastric juices.

Finally, is it good? Yeah, I want to see what happens next.

Geoff Willmetts

August 2014

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