Sunday 21 January 2018

Critics split over new Doctor

Peter Capaldi has received mixed reviews as the new Doctor
Peter Capaldi has received mixed reviews as the new Doctor

The new Time Lord's introduction to audiences was memorable, according to some critics - but others were less impressed.

Peter Capaldi had emerged "brash, furious and very, very Scottish", the Independent on Sunday's Neela Debnath said.

The script, to match the Doctor, is "suitably darker and more mature", she added.

The Sunday Telegraph's Michael Hogan said Peter "signals a conscious break from the Doctor's boyish recent incarnations", referring to the younger David Tennant and Matt Smith.

He said the "veritable elder statesman" is more reminiscent of the show's roots, when it featured older men in the lead role.

But the new Doctor had not quite been able to "stamp his personality on things", according to Phil Hogan of The Observer.

The reviewer said he had been left disappointed after the exciting build-up to the first episode of the new series, advising the new Doctor he will have to "get his brains in shape" for next week's episode.

AA Gill, The Sunday Times's TV critic, said Peter's version of the Doctor was "not unlike Richard Dawkins (the scientist), madly science-fictive and theophobic, with selective amnesia and vague formless feelings of charity".

David Stephenson, of the Sunday Express, liked Peter's Scottish take on the Time Lord because the new character is "one of us; older, kindly, grumpy at times, and with regrets".

He even predicts that he could be destined for greatness, declaring "once he gets over his post-traumatic regeneration disorder, this worldly Doctor could become a classic".

But the Sunday Mirror's Kevin O'Sullivan thought the whole episode was a "lacklustre affair", from the plot to the dinosaur and robots who made an appearance.

He added: "Thrust into the thick of it, the new guy struggled with the Doc's requisite irritating eccentricity and had zero chemistry with Clara. This odd couple are time zones apart."

Despite giving the episode a drubbing, the critic still sees hope in the stories to come because Peter is "a fine actor" and the Daleks will be back.

A peak of 7.3 million viewers tuned in to watch the feature-length opening episode of Doctor Who, the BBC said.

There was an average of 6.8 million viewers across the whole programme and the show attracted 33% of all viewers who were watching TV during that time slot.

The BBC said this made it the most watched series opener of Doctor Who since 2010 when Matt Smith took on the role.

Press Association

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