Breathing

Doctor Who : Deep Breath

Here we go again with a brand new Doctor the fourth (or fifth if you included John Hurt’s War Doctor) that we have met since the series returned and once again we have an episode where the Doctor is running around in that post-regenerative haze that seems to affect him each time he changes not knowing who he really is and who people he actually knows are and acts very strangely indeed.

We got all of this in spades in this feature length season opener with such scenes as the Doctor running across the rooftops of London in a nightgown and then stealing a horse and plunging himself into the Thames. I would say that after about an hour he was actually pretty much fully formed but it wasn’t until after the end of the story that Peter Capaldi first uttered the immortal words “I am the Doctor” but he had me at “Kidneys” at the end of Time of the Doctor so I was already sold.

He is very different from the previous Doctor in so many ways which, it has to be said, wasn’t really the case the last time a new Doctor was introduced. He is quite abrasive in his manner towards anyone who he thinks is inferior to him (which let’s face it is going to be most people); he does not suffer fools easily and is very prickly and is going to rub a lot of people up the wrong way and get on people’s nerves which is going to be very interesting indeed to watch and also interesting to see what the kids of today think of this new look, grumpier, older Doctor than they are used to.

I thought that the introduction of the TARDIS into this story was a bit more inventive than the usual crash landing and being vomited out of a dinosaur is quite a unique method of travel for the TARDIS, it also gave a reason for their being a dinosaur rampaging through the Thames in the first place and basically petered out a bit after that after this rather spectacular beginning actually had very little to do with the story itself but did give the series a great image to start with an also a nice piece to open the trailer with as well.

It was also interesting to see that the Doctor only had eyes for dinosaur in his opening scenes in this episode rather than the humans, Silurian’s and Sontarans around him. Vastra, Strax and Jenny provided a nice familiarity in this episode and once again Strax had some of the best lines with Vastra paraphrasing the Brigadier from Planet of Spiders just prior to the title sequence.

The new look title sequence is also very interesting with its cogs and clock phases and is very different from anything that we have seen before in the series which is a welcome change. The new version of the theme music isn’t quite as successful though and is a bit of a damp squib if I am being honest.

I had heard rumours about their being an old adversary in this episodes and I certainly wasn’t expecting the returning adversary that we got as they were probably one of the last ones that I might have thought of for a return, and I certainly didn’t work out who they are until the very end when it was spelled out for us, and I don’t feel bad about it either because I don’t think that it was ever that obvious that it was going to be them up until the end anyway.

There are some pretty decent effects and make up work in this story with the dinosaur being one of them and the half-faced man being the other. The dinosaur looked about a million times better than they did back in Invasion of the Dinosaurs and they could do a remake of that now and it wouldn’t look half bad. The makeup on the half-faced man was brilliant because you really could see inside in his head with all of the internal workings and it was really quite spooky when he appeared as it is disconcerting being able to see through another person’s head. It was a lot more impressive than the waiter from the restaurant’s inner workings (which in themselves were quite impressive) but I guess that was because he was a different standard of droid than the half-faced man was.

The TARDIS interior has changed again and is ok I guess but there was nice little line with the Doctor bemoaning the loss of the round things that used to cover the walls, a lovely little touch for old school fans. Clara even used the redecorating line again which was to the point but has now been repeated twice in the last three episodes which is probably a bit too much and was funnier the first time it was uttered.

There was also a nice little scene between the Doctor and a tramp which was nice purely because the tramp was played the widower of Elisabeth Sladen, Brian Miller. It was a nicely played scene between the two of them with the Doctor commenting a lot on how Scottish and how old looking he had become. I did notice that there were a lot of references to the Doctor appearing older than he had before but I am not sure that that is entirely necessary as we know that he can be much older than he appeared and we had an older Doctor in the anniversary special as well which wasn’t that long ago. Perhaps this was mainly for the younger fans making sure that they understand that the Doctor is still the Doctor despite not being a young dashing buck anymore. It makes no difference to us old school fans as the Doctor is mean to be old looking but I guess that it might for the younger fans who have perhaps only ever seen Matt Smith as the Doctor, Day of the Doctor notwithstanding.

The little cameo at the end with the eleventh Doctor calling Clara from Trenzalore wasn’t really necessary in my opinion but it was nice to see him again and I can see why they did both for the younger audience and Clara herself that it is ok to be scared because there is a new Doctor, but that it really is still him, which is going to be important to the young eight year old fans watching who perhaps are going to find it difficult to adjust to Capaldi’s Doctor.

I was most impressed by this episode and look forward to the upcoming season with relish.

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