Doctor Who: Series 11 (or 36 depending on how you count): Episode 1: The Woman Who Fell To Earth by Chris Chibnall

October 7, 2018 | By | 2 Replies More

A new Doctor. New companions. None of the old enemies. A new writing team. A new day. Why should anyone get the jitters?

As usual, I’ve kept away from most of the hype. I prefer to let the stories be the judge than go in with any false assumptions. About the only thing I’ve pondered on is whether Jodie Whittaker will let her hair grow longer or frizzle out like the previous regenerations over her tenure. After all, the Time Lord never visits a barbers or hairdressers.

  1. I think the oddest thing was waiting for the opening credits. It’ll be interesting to see whether other countries have it the same way as we British saw it. If not, then it’s the longest teaser yet.

Be careful. From here on, there might be spoilers. Not too many though.

In some respects, I thought some elements of this story wouldn’t have been out of place in a ‘Sarah Jane Adventures’ story. After all, you get a collection of different people thrown together with alien things arriving on Earth and someone comes along to rescue and sort things out.

The big blue thing looks a bit like a blue onion and there’s no indication later how two people alone could lift it alone and not get frostbite moving it to a van. There’s also a squiggly-tentacled thing that invades a late night Sheffield train which I presume is the local service. Oh and a mysterious lady appears with no idea who or what she is but is trying to sort what is going on.

So, let’s have a look at these new people first. There’s enough introductions to embed their names in your head with occupations later. Yazmin ‘Yaz’ Khan (actress Mandip Gill) is a second year cadet police officer. Ryan Sinclair (actor Tosin Cole) is a warehouse worker who is leaning not very successfully to ride a bike on the hillside with his grandmother and nurse, Grace (actress Sharon D. Clarke), and her second husband, Graham O’Brien, (actor Bradley Welsh), a retired bus driver who had cancer. Then there’s this new woman (actress Jodie Whittaker), who hasn’t quite got her head back together while she’s regenerating.

The blue onion releases the creature from inside and promptly kills the man who had it retrieved, apparently looking for missing sister. The alien is also after someone else but that’s too much spoiler. The Doctor and her found companions then have to unravel things. There’s a touch of ‘Quatermass And The Pit’ about this.

Oh and the Doctor makes a new sonic screwdriver for herself out of best Sheffield steel spoons although we don’t see what’s inside. She insists it’s more like a Swiss army knife without the knife. Even so, you do have to wonder where she got a power source for it. The Doctor might be good with gadgets but Earth technology is still too primitive.

The Doctor wins literally by talking down the alien and showing its options aren’t good either way. Again, too much spoiler for reveals here. There are sometimes where you should be watching first and reading my review later.

Oddly, despite my thinking there were now too many friends or companions or whatever, I thought Grace would have made an interesting choice to be one.

Some of the jumps between scenes leaves gaps in the logic, especially at the end with a funeral and wondering what the Doctor for at least most of a week without a change of clothes and no money. You would think the number of deaths all happening in the same night would have drawn some proper police response. More so with a train trapped on the line.

Having said all of that, the story itself is pretty captivating with no attention wandering which is a good thing. Even when played slightly amnesic, Jodie Whittaker holds your attention although I do have to wonder if her dialect rather her accent will be understood in other countries.

The other companions are more like quick vignettes at the moment but for everything, you do have to give time for them to develop. This has always been true of every new character introduction. It’ll be interesting to see whether they’ll all be getting more screen time.

Writer Chris Chibnall has certainly gone for making the story rather than in-depth significant characters having meaning the way to go. This I applaud. If anything, there’s been far too many stories focusing on the Time Lord rather than the events she finds herself solving.

It’s all early days at the moment and about the only thing I’m still getting my head around is why show the actors credits for the next episode a week early. But if that’s the only problem, roll on the next episode.

© GF Willmetts

07 October 2018

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Category: Doctor Who, TV

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (2)

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  1. avatar Eamonn Murphy says:

    It was okay for the new huggy-kissy Doctor Who. I didn’t like it when she said ‘I would of..’ instead of ‘I would have’ (she quite clearly said of.) But good fun.

  2. avatar Julian White says:

    I think the actor credits at the end are for the entire series – but the VoD version I watched didn’t quite get to the end, freezing with Chris Noth partially turned to the camera.

    I enjoyed the episode – with some relief I must say – and didn’t realise until I read your review that there wasn’t an opening credit sequence… So where was the logo that had people up in arms? (Not too sure about the theme version, either. Yet.)

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