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.