Sunday, 24 August 2014

Doctor Who: Series 8 Episode 1 Deep Breath

You know, I’ve been criticized before, about this.

And will no doubt be criticized again.

But … ?

I have just sat down and watched Deep Breath, Peter Capaldi’s debut episode as the 12th Doctor.

And I think I can say this with no fear of contradiction.

For starters?   For starters, I’ve taken what’s call a disc image of the DVD of the episode I recorded.

THAT way, I can rip a copy: purely for my own personal use.   I can replace the episode with a legally purchased copy, as And when it becomes available.   (Some time in early September.)

Secondly … ?   As Deep Breath doesn’t yet seem to be on the BBC iPlayer, I can re-watch the episode: as I’m writing this.

Talking of which … ?   Talking of which, the BBC’s iPlayer service is doing a new set of what the BBC’s now calling the Dr Who Extras: the first such production since the end of Dr Who Confidential, way back when.

Which is nice …!


Whoah, whoah, I should be focusing, here … 

Let’s try and start again, shall we?


As any of my regular readers will tell you, I’m a fan of many things.

  • A good cup of tea.
  • Music.
  • Science fiction.
  • Entertaining films.
  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld stories.
  • All sorts of things.

    Right at the moment, I’m having a phase where ginger biscuits seem to have quite a lot of appeal.

    At any rate, one thing that’s been a constant?

    Is the simple fact that I’ve grown up as a fan of science fiction series, Dr Who.

    Ever since I was quite young.

    And, of course, I’ve been following the rebooted series since it started, back in 2005.

    As has most of the country.

    So, as you can possibly imagine, I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s  50th anniversary special.

    Thoroughly enjoyed Matt Smith’s last episode.

    And was thoroughly looking forward to the opening episode of series 8.

    Peter Capaldi’s first as the Twelfth Doctor.

    Tonight’s episode, in fact: Deep Breath.

    And, yes … I was impressed … !


    Deep Breath starts in classic Star Wars style: right in the middle of things.

    By showing us the aftermath of the Doctor’s recent regeneration.

    Not from the view of Clara (Jenna Coleman), trapped inside a faltering TARDIS with a man who barely realizes who he is: let along how to fly a damaged space-time vehicle.

    No, from the view of our old friends, the Paternoster Gang: Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), her wife, Jenny (Caitlin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey), who are called in to help the officers of the London Police.

    With a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    That’s seemingly managed to travel through time as a result of having swallowed the TARDIS.

    As we long term fans will know, by now, dinosaur spit isn’t the best thing on top of regeneration and steam.


    That’s only the start of things.

    It’s only when the team discover an invitation to Mancini’s Family Restaurant that things really get started.

    Things … 

    Like the fact the fact the rest of the diners aren’t breathing.   

    Like the waiter’s off hand attitude to customer service.

    And like the fact that the seat the Doctor and Clara are in, seems to have a bit too much give.


    Now, I said I was impressed … ?

    Hell, yeah … !

    As much as I loved The Eleventh Hour, Matt Smith’s opening episode, I think Deep Breath is the better piece of drama.


    Well, for starters, Coleman, McIntosh, Stewart, Starkey have got their performances off pat.

    No, they’re not doing them badly.   I simply mean that the show’s regular ensemble cast is back in action: and that their experience in their roles both shows, is practised … 

    And as strong — and as confident — as it ever was.

    Personally … ?   I have to give all credit, here, in particular, to Neve McIntosh and Jenna Coleman as stand outs*.

    I’ve ALSO got to credit Steven Moffat: who, I suspect, has written one of the best introductory episodes seen.   Certainly, I feel he’s outdone his work on The Eleventh Hour.   (I think Moffat had identifiable problems, there: he’d just taken over the Head writer/executive producer position from Russell T. Davies, so was learning a new and bigger job, AND dealing with a new cast: and was, I felt, riding a lot of behind-the-scenes changes, too.   He’s ALSO the show’s lead writer: which can’t be the EASIEST job … !)

    I think plaudits are due to director, Ben Wheatley, as well.   OK, this isn’t the likes of Kill List: but you don’t hire a directorial genius and not get a gem.   Or possibly two.   Next week’s episode is ALSO a Wheatley.

    I’ve ALSO got to give Peter Capaldi all credit, as well.

    We have, here, a role that is, famously, one of Britain’s best loved.

    It needs an actor of stature and gravitas, in order to pull off well.

    I’m not saying Ecclestone, Tennent and Smith weren’t.

    In fact, I think Matt Smith could possibly have out-acted Capaldi off screen, in his brief cameo.

    But I also think Matt Smith had to work at being the Doctor.

    Peter Capaldi … ?

    Peter Capaldi IS the Doctor.

    Is the Doctor, in all his alien fearsomeness, rage and fury.

    Is the Doctor, with all the two thousand years of personal history: the mistakes, loves and experiences that implies.

    Is the Doctor we haven’t seen: and waited for, for possibly more than half a century.

    Do your seat belts up.

    It’s going to be a bumpy ride.


    24th August, 2014.

    You know, there’s ALWAY’S something, isn’t there … ?

    I’ve got to admit to having watched Deep Breath, again, this morning.

    I’ve paid more attention.

    And noticed the deeply ambiguous confrontation between the Doctor, and the Half Faced Man.

    If case you missed it … ?

    Did the Half Faced Man jump?

    Or was he pushed?

    I suspect the arguments will go on for months …

    *        I’m aiding this footnote at the end of December, 2014: as I re-watch the episode: where it occurs that I’ve possibly quite seriously underrated Caitlin Stewart, there.   Coleman and McIntosh — are like Lennon and McCartney — overshadowing everything else around them.   Including the equally talented Stewart/Harrison.   Ahem … !

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