DoC­tor who

Total Film - - Contents -

Tak­ing stock be­fore Ca­paldi re­gen­er­ates.

show ex­tras 2017 out now DVD, BD Ex­tras Art cards, Fea­turettes

When out­go­ing showrun­ner Steven Mof­fat’s Tardis ten­ure be­gan in 2009, he said Doc­tor Who should al­ways “lean to­wards the new”. Di­vi­sive though his stay has been, he’s stuck to his guns. Even his (and Pe­ter Ca­paldi’s) fi­nal run plays less like a farewell than a re­launch, cel­e­brat­ing Who’s re­gen­er­a­tive ca­pac­i­ties.

‘The Pi­lot’ rev­els in the flex­i­bil­ity of Doc­tor-meets-com­pan­ion con­ven­tions and cap­i­talises on the chemistry be­tween the new Tardis pals: Pearl Mackie’s in­stantly like­able Bill, Matt Lu­cas’ sur­pris­ingly fun Nar­dole. In episode two’s fu­ture-bot mys­tery and three’s pe­riod piece, Ca­paldi and Mackie strike sparks. Char­ac­ter com­edy and creepy-crawlies shack up nicely in ‘Knock Knock’; ‘Oxy­gen’, mean­while, proves writer Jamie Mathieson’s ap­ti­tude for merg­ing scares and sub­text.

Some mid-se­ries air is sapped by a well-mounted, ill-re­solved three­parter and a pulpy Ice Warriors frolic. But Rona Munro’s ‘The Eaters Of Light’ bris­tles with at­mos­phere and the fi­nale is glo­ri­ously OTT: though Bill’s fate verges on ‘fridg­ing’, Michelle Gomez’s Missy, John Simm’s Mas­ter and clas­sic Cy­ber­men keep the show, Ca­paldi and Mackie on alert. If 2017’s Christ­mas spe­cial ful­fils the cliffhanger’s prom­ise, the Jodie Whit­tak-era couldn’t wish for a fresher lead-in. Kevin Har­ley

New com­pan­ion Bill (Pearl Mackie) is an in­stant hit.

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