What YOU thought of the return of Doctor Who and the debut of Peter Capaldi - reader reviews

What YOU thought of the return of Doctor Who and the debut of Peter Capaldi - reader reviews

By Stephen Kelly

Sunday 24 August 2014 at 09:41PM

In case you hadn't noticed, Doctor Who returned with a new Doctor on Saturday. 

But, given time to breath and digest, what did fans really think of the debut of Peter Capaldi? Was his age jarring after the younger Matt Smith, or was it a welcome return to the classic era? Did they like his ruder side? Or was he a bit too abrasive? And then there's the episode itself, whose change of pace was a divisive issue on the night.

We asked RadioTimes.com readers to send in their reviews of the episode and the response was overwhelming. We can't, sadly, publish them all so if yours didn't make it then please do try again next week for episode two (and the Doctor's first proper episode after regeneration madness) Into The Dalek. 

In the meantime, here's what ten RadioTimes.com readers had to say...


Joe Harker, 20, Sutton-in-Craven, says...

Deep Breath initially threatened to fall into a jumble of poor slapstick jokes and smug self-referencing that wouldn’t materialise into a cohesive story. However, the episode eventually kicked into gear and delivered an exciting adventure that fulfilled its purpose of establishing the new working relationship between The Doctor and Clara. The only low point here was a poorly-shot action scene that only held up proceedings.

Otherwise, Deep Breath hit most of the right notes and delivered a kind-hearted farewell from Matt Smith with the message to accept his successor while also teasing a new character in Missy, Michelle Gomez’s mysterious woman claiming to have a link to the Doctor. The future of Doctor Who is bright, even if the series is getting much darker.

John Staples, age 20, Lincoln, says...

Just like Peter Capaldi, I'm writing to Radio Times because of my love for Doctor Who. Aged eleven, I began watching modern Who and like most my age, the fear of an older Doctor was worrying but how wrong was I. The change was brilliant and I loved Peter's portrayal from just the trailers.

Deep Breath thrilled from the beginning. A darker side to the Doctor was brought to life and I was fixed to my screen throughout. The pace and tone were just right. With quotes, references and familiar faces from the past, Peter shows huge promise. His age is regardless, he's young at heart with huge charisma and Steven Moffat's writing joked about this in a clever and amusing way.

Jenna Coleman was brought to centre stage and with Clara having gained more character since 'The Impossible Girl', she impressed thoroughly. Her acting was supreme - an asset to the show.

Rebecca Reed, 26, Memphis, USA, says...

I was a bit wary of going back to an older Doctor but Peter Capaldi did such an amazing job that all doubt has disappeared. He is like a mix of William Hartnell and Matt Smith. The first scene with the dinosaur spitting out the Tardis was so funny and a refreshing change. Loved the references to Fires of Pompeii and The Girl in the Fireplace from David Tennant's time as the Doctor and the reference to Amy Pond. Strax was funny as usual though he looked darker and more leathery than I remember. And the ending when Matt Smith appeared was epic and something new. I loved how they made us not only laugh but also reassured us.

The one thing I really didn't like was how they recycled material. When David Tennant did his first episode as the new Doctor he was in pajamas and a bathrobe for a good chunk of the episode. Fast forward to Capaldi and you have the same thing but with a Victorian twist (nightgown and a jacket). Other than that, I loved the episode and look forward to the new season.

Dylan Norton, Dublin, Ireland, says...

It may seem harsh, but we have hit bedrock. The downward spiral of Doctor Who, which thankfully the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor dodged, has continued with Capaldi's first episode. From wannabe funny lines, to predictable jokes, it's one manufactured, forceful turn after another. Do I blame Capaldi? No. His lack of screen time exonerates him. The dinosaur, clearly only included to try and make us feel apathetic to the Doctor's pain, was pointless. As if we wouldn't watch it of we didn't associate with his pain.

An over abundance of Clara, an assistant I will very welcome leaving come Christmas, combined with poor, poor supporting characters has led me to the conclusion this is one of the worst episodes of Modern Who I dare remember - definitely under the helm of Moffat anyway. Disappointment is only one word I feel should be associated with Deep Breath. I, for one, sighed deep relief when it finally ended.

Thomas Joseph Walker, 12, Blackpool, says...

Well, what can I say... Just WOW! In terms of welcoming a new actor to the role of the Doctor, Deep Breath is the best episode I have ever seen. The action was completely outstanding and the story was written really well! I loved the continuation from The Time of the Doctor to the opening scene. Capaldi's portrayal of the Doctor is very sharp, but at the same time very energetic! I can see that it will take some time for Clara to get used to The Doctor, but I think it might be worth it. The Tardis has changed a little, but as we all know Clara didn’t like it! I think his outfit suits his personality - it is very sleek and using a lot of dark colours! All in all I will watch it again because it was fantastic!

Katherine Randazzo, Ohio, USA, says...

In Capaldi’s first episode as the Twelfth Doctor, there was a lot to be loved—and also, a lot to be cringed at. Some of the dialogue came off as a bit eye-roll worthy (sexist jokes? Really?), and heavy-handed (The Doctor lecturing the robot-man about changing who he’d been, for example). The episode, while not hard for me personally to follow, might have been a bit convoluted—especially for younger viewers. It didn’t feel like a family show. Still, the cinematography (“darker” lighting for the “darker” Doctor) was gorgeous, and all of the actors shone. I enjoyed the references to older episodes, and loved the Pompeii foreshadowing! Clara’s character development was wonderful, Eleven’s cameo was sweet, and all in all, my praises go to Capaldi for stealing the show. He feels like The Doctor already! I can’t wait for more!

Emily Walker, 19, Cambridge, says...

Only Doctor Who can open with a dinosaur roaring across Victorian London and, within a few minutes, completely ignore it in favour of a confused, talkative, Scottish stranger. Even asleep, Capaldi draws more attention from the characters and the audience than the poor dinosaur.

And yet, as fantastic as Capaldi was (and he really was – our high expectations for a darker, unpredictable Doctor were utterly surpassed), the surprising hero for me was Strax. About to put his friends in danger by breathing and attracting the robots’ attention, Strax turns his gun on himself. In that moment, Strax chooses to die instead of endanger his friends, showing both remarkable courage and just how far his character has developed since his introduction. If the 12th Doctor can be half as loyal and brave as Strax, Clara will soon have nothing to worry about. If only Strax had the Doctor’s intelligence and wit…

Dale Anthony Church, 31, Leicester, says...

People never like change and that includes The Doctor himself.  Staggering out of the Tardis with grey hair and a Scottish accent, his inner turmoil was inevitable.  But it’s the same inner turmoil us fans had been feeling since The Eleventh Doctor’s demise in the instantly forgettable The Time of the Doctor.  However, Deep Breath had none of those shortcomings. It was a perfectly acted, expertly directed masterpiece of modern Who. 

Peter Capaldi didn’t just play The Doctor, he embodied everything it takes to be a 2000 year old Time Lord.  The angst of his former self has been replaced by an obligation to seemingly do whatever is necessary. Jenna Coleman’s Clara also excels in ways unseen before as the multitude of layers within her character start to peel away.  The chemistry here was breath of fresh air.  There is a new sense of adventure as modern Who comes of age.

Paula Luther, 21, Pennsylvania, USA, says...

Peter Capaldi is the Doctor—no ands, ifs, or buts. He inhabits the role with every fiber of his being and brings a fresh vitality to our screens. Even in his post-regenerative muddle, he commands the attention of everyone around him and exudes an air of authority and confidence. This new Doctor is not a patient man, though; the millennia he has lived has shortened his fuse when it comes to evil. If monsters were afraid of him before, they had better be downright terrified of him now because the Oncoming Storm is thundering more loudly than ever.  

Jenna Coleman was also in fine form as Clara, playing off Peter Capaldi as comfortably as though they have been co-stars for years. In the face of danger and certain death, she made life-saving deductions quickly and accurately and kept pace with the new Doctor with very little difficulty.  

David Tallach, 39, Inverness, says... 

Peter Capaldi’s performance is a great deep breath of fresh air. Steven Moffat continues what now seems his trajectory back to a more classic series feel, begun with Matt Smith’s Doctor. This is in some ways a more successful version of what the 1980s production team attempted with the introduction of Colin Baker’s Doctor in The Twin Dilemma. Capaldi’s Doctor is initially confused, alienated and alienating, prone to erratic mood swings, but at least he does not try to kill his companion. (This always struck me as grossly inappropriate, given Peter Davison’s Doctor’s sacrifice for her at the end of The Caves of Androzani). By the end of the story, he has fully arrived, helped in part by Matt Smith’s surprise cameo. He is now a Doctor in command of his senses, his clothes and his TARDIS. Long may he reign!


Thank you to everyone who sent in a review – we really enjoyed reading them! If you've got a taste for sharing your opinion, or these clever Radio Times readers have inspired you to put pen to paper (or, more accurately, fingertips to keyboard) keep your eyes peeled for the next Radio Times Reader Review....


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