Doctor Who: The Magician’s Apprentice – what YOU thought

"A great episode of Doctor Who." "An absolute slog to watch through." "A chance to see this Doctor really having some fun." "Shades of RTD." Here's what our readers thought of the return of the Doctor...

The Doctor is back. And the verdicts are in. Here’s what readers from around the world thought of series nine opener The Magician’s Apprentice…


“This is an episode for the fans”

“This is an episode for the fans. Not only is it fast paced and beautifully produced but it has the feel of a landmark Doctor Who story. We have the two greatest foes in Doctor Who history, both parts played to their maximum potential. Michelle Gomez pitches the zany yet ruthless Master/Missy part perfectly. We get a buzz from seeing all those classic locations, UNIT HQ, Shadow Proclamation and Karn to name but a few. We have classic aliens and new ones too, from the bizarre to the down right creepy…

…the story reminds me a lot of Genesis of The Daleks and the clips of Tom Baker are used to maximum affect. That quote “If someone who knew the future, pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives… could you then kill that child?” This is basically the situation The Doctor is faced with. Except this time the stakes are higher…

Billy Brookes, 17, Grimsby, England

“A chance to see this Doctor really having some fun”

“With a combination of random guitar solos, major add-ons to Dalek history, confusing scene changes and some cheesy tank jokes, this is an episode that has the possibility of being loved to hate by long-time Whovians (think Love and Monsters).

“However as a self-proclaimed Whovian for most of my life, I loved it.

“The Magician’s Apprentice not only gave us a commanding and in charge Clara and some delightful Missy development but also a chance to see this Doctor really having some fun and exploring his new personality for the first time so far. His epic entrance brought an unstoppable smile to my face and his joke-filled speech to his party crowd had me giggling.

“Throw in some exquisitely creepy hand-mines (Moffat-King of Monsters) the brilliant reveal of Skaro and a fantastic cliffhanger and you’ve got an entertaining and exciting start to the series!”

Charlotte Usher, 17, Melbourne, Australia

“An absolute slog to watch through”

“Recent scripts from Stephen Moffat, in my mind, have been lackluster over the past couple of series. Episodes like ‘Time of the Doctor’ and the ‘Dark Water’ two-parter, seem to fall short compared to some other truly inventive episodes in their respective series. ‘The Magicians Apprentice’, unfortunately, also conforms to this trend.

“The script seems to be filled with great visual moments that don’t seem to gel in anyway with each other. As a result, there is little tonal consistency and a compromised pace that makes the end product an absolute slog to watch through. However, there are some good points, the characters are well performed. As I said before, there are great visual moments and the show has never looked better. The main arc of this story cannot be properly reviewed without seeing the second part, but it seems to be going in interesting places. Here’s hoping anyway.” 

Nicholas Black, 19, Buckinghamshire, England

“Oh, yes… I definitely got what I need”

“As a rock god, who I’m sure Peter Capaldi is a fan of, once said, ‘You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need.’ The Magician’s Apprentice may not have given me what I wanted (explosions, running, Doctor saving the day), but it gave me everything I needed.

“It gave me Missy, back from the dead (poking fun at her own return). It gave me classic Who throwbacks (Genesis of the Daleks). It gave me the Doctor riding in on a tank, rocking punk, plaid trousers and Ray Bans, and shredding a custom Fender guitar as only a Timelord can. It gave me the thrill and torture of having to wait on the edge of my seat until next week for part two.

“Oh, yes… I definitely got what I need.”

Kat Stryker, 26, Seattle, United States

“This is how you make a great episode of Doctor Who”

“Left in doubt by Peter Capaldi’s first season as the heroic timelord? After watching the pre-title sequence of The Magician’s Apprentice you will love him and possibly even rank him among your favourite of the actors to portray the Doctor. The magic of Smith is there, the drama of Hartnell, the comedy of Baker, the brilliance of Tenant and, most importantly, the tweed pants of Troughton. This series 9 opener is not to be missed and you’ll be hanging on your seat forc‪next Saturday’s instalment. This is how you make a great episode of Doctor Who, with a great story, a great cast and fantastic production values with a love of the lore of the universe of the BBC’s 52 year old franchise.”


Lew Freeburn, 18, Wrexham, Wales

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See Steven Moffat and Peter Capaldi LIVE at the Radio Times Festival  on Friday 25th September