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Doctor Who series 11 episode 1 - as it happened

We follow every twist and turn of Jodie Whittaker's first Doctor Who episode The Woman Who Fell to Earth, add some behind-the-scenes notes and check out your reactions to the series premiere

Published: Sunday, 7th October 2018 at 6:00 pm

We came here to live blog Doctor Who and fly the Tardis - and we just ran out of Tardises. Check below for the most recent updates!


This live blog has now concluded

20.19pm: And on that bombshell, it's time for me to bid you farewell! It's been great fun chatting with all of you about Jodie Whittaker's first episode, and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have.

Until the next time!

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20.06pm: Overall, people seemed to really like that episode! This tweet is fairly representative of what I'm seeing at the moment.

7.56pm: Watching Strictly right after that funeral scene is a bit of tonal whiplash.

7.50pm: For our part, here's out insta-video review of the episode, chock-full of spoiler discussion.

7.48pm: So there we have it! The first episode of Doctor Who series 11, AND the announcement of some tasty guest stars including Phyllis Logan, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Chris Noth and Mark Addy among many others.

But what did you think of the episode? Let us know on twitter @RadioTimes.

7.47pm: Only joking, I’m sure they’ll find some way out of it. And now, epic theme scream takes us to….the closing credits!

And yep, this is the new theme arranged by Segun Akinola, which is a nice mix of the old and new I think.

7.46pm: Using stolen Stenza technologu, random bits of Earth junk and a microwave the Doctor will create an intergalactic teleport capable of tracking the Tardis. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh. That. She’s accidentally taken her pals with her, to die instantly in the vacuum of space. Whoopsy daisy!

7.45pm: The Doctor says here she’s tracking the energy from her “ship” – is that Arton energy? Hmmm…

Also, her calling it the “ship” is a nice nod to the First Doctor, especially after Peter Capaldi’s incarnation mocked him for it in the 2017 Christmas special.

7.44pm: It feels very appropriate that this Doctor would throw her outfit together in a charity shop. Also, is this the first time in a while that the Doctor has actually paid for their outfit? Matt Smith nicked his, and I think David Tennant and Peter Capaldi grabbed something off the Tardis rack.

For the interested, Jodie Whittaker gave Radio Times a bit of an inside look at how that costume came together in our latest issue, and there’s an online version of the article here.

7.43pm: Now we’ve got the Doctor and her new friends post-funeral, and I’m impressed by how organic their grouping feels. It’s believable that they’d still be hanging out, and might work as a group travelling through time.

Also, we learn that Graham is a cancer survivor, which may come up again. Who knows?

Little nod to the Doctor’s family, and her species, here.

“No – lost them a long time ago. I carry them with me – what they would have thought, and said and done. Make them a part of who I am. So even though they’re gone from the world they’re never gone from me.

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7.42pm: Couple of things we learn from this funeral – Ryan’s dad is a useless flake (bet he’ll turn up again at some point) and Bradley Walsh can ACT.

Well, a lot of people who saw him in Coronation Street or Law & Order: UK may have known that already, but a lot of people only know him for his TV presenting work, and it feels like this scene (where he deliver’s Grace’s eulogy) is a little showcase to show us what he can do.

“I should have gone and Grace should still be here.”

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 13:00:01 on 17/07/2018 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 11 - TX: n/a - Episode: July Preview (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **Strictly Embargoed until 17/07/2018 13:00:01** Graham (BRADLEY WALSH) - (C) BBC / BBC Studios - Photographer: Henrik Knudsen

Just to ruin the emotional moment, lest we forget, Bradley is also wearing a grey wig for this entire series. Movie magic, baby!

7.40pm: After that brief mental breakdown from me, we’re now back where we started – Ryan making a YouTube video – and it turns out it’s about Grace, not the Doctor.

I feel like there’s almost a fun little message in this, about how we THINK this episode is all about the new Doctor (which after all the Jodie Whittaker hype, it kind of is), but it’s actually about the more human drama anyway.

ALso, this hits home because of what a great job SDC did with the Grace character.

7.39pm: First time I watched this I wasn’t quite sure whether Grace’s death was pointless, but actually even after Tim Shaw teleports away the gathering coil is still trying to bring down the crane Ryan’s on until Grace zaps it. So she saves Ryan.

Another point – is the death toll of this adventure slighter higher because of the Doctor’s intervention? She saved Carl, but he technically wouldn’t have died if Tim Shaw had taken him, and the Stenza wouldn’t have attacked any more humans even if the Doctor HADN’T been there (the other humans he ice-burns are ones he would have encountered anyway).

And it’s only because of the doctor that Grace was involved at all. OK, maybe Carl’s fate would have been WORSE than death, but even in that case all the Doctor’s actions did was swap one victim for another. The casualty toll is the same number whether she lands in that train or not.

It’s like the trolley problem ethical thought experiment – do you redirect a speeding trolley (aka a tram) away from more victims to hit a lesser number, even though by doing that you’re changing a terrible accident to a choice? – but when you’re just exchanging one life for another life.

On the other hand, I suppose she does get rid of those DNA bombs, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. And totting up the death counts of individual Doctor Who episodes may not be the whole point anyway.

7.38pm: Yes, poor old Grace has met her maker. I almost feel like this was too obvious – she was so into all the adventuring, why would they leave her behind? She wanted to be involved much more than Graham.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 02/10/2018 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 11 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **Strictly Embargoed until 02/10/2018** Grace (SHARON D CLARKE), Graham (BRADLEY WALSH) - (C) BBC / BBC Studios - Photographer: Sophie Mutevelian

“Promise me – you won’t be scared. Without me.”

Oh, the feels. Also, this may be a bit of an arc for Graham going forward – trying to find his feet in adventures, living up to Grace’s dying words and being brave.

7.37pm: So the Doctor removed the bombs and tricked Tim Shaw into putting them in himself. I like this a lot. It’s smart and Doctor-y, and makes his defeat his own fault – if he’d been less awful, this wouldn’t have happened.

Also, did you clock her checking he hadn’t put one in Carl as well? This episode does reward a bit of a rewatch.

Also, her reaction to Carl pushing him off the building tells you exactly who she is.

“You had no right to do that” – she sticks to her code.

7.36pm: I also like this little intro, with the cool new music playing behind it.

“I know exactly who I am – I’m the Doctor. Sorting out fair play throughout the universe. Now please, get off this planet, while you still have the choice.”

Quite like David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, in a way.

7.35pm: “We’re all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honour who we’ve been and choose who we want to be next.”

If that’s not a mission statement for the new series, I don’t know what is.

7.34pm: Strange that the ONE thing he needs is this crucial (and very portable) pod recall, and he left it behind him. Whoopsy-daisy!! He'll be kicking himself tomorrow.

7.33pm: "These legs definitely used to be longer!"

Also, it’s lucky for us that Tim Shaw keeps taking his mask off to needlessly emote and show us his weird teeth collection.

7.32pm: OK, I would definitely be whimpering like Carl if I was being hunted by an alien. I’ m not too proud to say it. Also, he’s only here because it’s his dad’s company – Doctor Who teaching us the dangers of nepotism.

7.31pm: Is it only me that detects the hints of chemistry between Ryan and Yaz? I haven’t talked about the companions much in the blog because I’ve been so busy making stupid jokes, but the short version is I like them a lot so far.

Good performances, and setting up interesting interpersonal dynamics for future episodes. And here's me interviewing a couple of them!

7.30pm: “I’m really craving a fried egg sandwich” – not quite fish fingers and custard, but the Doctor does have to evolve, friends.

7.28pm: Is it only me that detects the hints of chemistry between Ryan and Yaz? I haven’t talked about the companions much in the blog because I’ve been so busy making stupid jokes, but the short version is I like them a lot so far.

Good performances, and setting up interesting interpersonal dynamics for future episodes.

And I really like the music in this episode!

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19.27pm: This is the actor playing Tim Shaw in real life, demonstrating that he doesn't ACTUALLY want children to fear him.

Jodie Whittaker, Sharon D Clarke and Bradley Walsh in Doctor Who series 11 (BBC, HF)
Jodie Whittaker, Sharon D Clarke and Bradley Walsh in Doctor Who series 11 (BBC, HF)

7.27pm: Apparently, these scenes with the cranes were more or less the first thing they filmed for the new series back in October and November last year. Not exactly an easy first day, and it must have been freezing.

As we’ve written elsewhere Jodie Whittaker also did all her own stunts for this episode, and that includes all the crane fun.

7.26pm: It’s extremely dark that they introduce this lovely grandad talking to his granddaughter and then immediately kill him.

Presumably he was also one day away from retirement, had just paid off the mortgage, and was booked on a round-the-world cruise for the weekend. Just to make it sting even more.

7.25pm: “Hunting Who?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

I mean, to be fair Ryan, keep up. We were JUST talking about how he’s looking for Carl.

7.24pm: OK, the Stenza’s weird job interview process is basically just the plot of Predator. But he’s cheating! I’m starting to wonder whether he even earned all those facial cavities after all.

Wait, is this how the tooth fairy got started? A rogue Stenza warrior trying to beef up his CV? If that’s the plot of episode 6, you all owe me money.

7.23pm: So having asked the BBC I believe this alien’s name is actually Tzim Sha. However, the Doctor just calls him Tim Shaw the whole time, and the actor playing him (Samuel Oatley) is credited as Tim Shaw for this episode, so we’ll just stick with that for now.

Apologies to any real-life Tim Shaws tuning in.

7.22pm: So he’s taking the teeth…to stick them on his face! That is extremely gross. “A Stenza warrior wears his conquests, like some sort of twisted Pearly King.”

I actually find this pretty creepy – clearly, I can’t handle the tooth.

7.21pm: OK, now we know what this weird ball of wires etc is – it’s a bunch of gathering coils, sent to hoover up information for their boss the scary alien man.

7.19pm: Now we’re up to the best scene of the episode, as a random drunk assaults this deadly alien.

“Eat my salad, Halloween!” Sadly it doesn’t end well, but at least this man died doing what he loved – sharing useful nutritional advice.

7.18pm: OK, I'm glad it wasn't just me.

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who series 11 (BBC, SK)
Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who series 11 (BBC, SK)

7.15pm: As it turns out, any random alien tech and some spoons can make a sonic screwdriver. Who knew?

Seriously though, I love the music playing during that scene. G’wan, Segun!

7.14pm: “Right now, I’m a stranger to myself. There are echoes of who I was and a sort of call to who I am.”

This whole regeneration description is great, and runs up to my absolute favourite line from this new Doctor.

“When people need help, I NEVER refuse.” Yep, that’s the Doctor.

7.12pm: So far, the verdict on Twitter seems positive!

7.11pm: The magic alien Hershey’s kiss is the transport, and people are blaming Ryan for touching some lights to bring it here. This seems…unfair. I am Team Ryan.

7.09pm: Gosh, that Peter Capaldi outfit must be RIPE. Hasn’t the Doctor been wearing that since the last episode in 2017?

7.08pm: "Where’s my sister?”

“Ask me again.”

Where’s my sister?”

“You will never know.”

I feel like this buggy alien man could have come up with a better comeback after asking for another run at it.

OK, now there’s just one nice Rahul on TV again.

7.07pm: DNA melting bombs. Feels like they would have been handy for some OTHER aliens in the past?

7.06pm: Jodie Whittaker, on the sofa, doing the whole golden regeneration energy thing. Still got some Peter Capadi cells in there, I suppose.

Also, I like Rahul – he has a bit of grit. Along with the guy from Bake Off, there are some seriously good Rahul representatives on TV at the moment.

7.05pm: Yaz's police station, despite being set in Sheffield, is actually in Cardiff, fact fans.

While a lot of this episode did actually shoot in Sheffield, sometimes they just dressed bits of South Wales – and obviously a certain amount of stuff was done in the studios where Doctor Who is made in Cardiff Bay.

7.04pm: Ryan’s approach to helping fight an alien incursion is to search twitter for “weird stuff,” essentially, and we stan a useful legend.

“I never go anywhere that’s just initials” – the Doctor casting serious shade on B&Q.

Amit Shah i n Doctor WHo (BBC, HF)
Amit Shah i n Doctor WHo (BBC, HF)

7.03pm: This character, played by the great Amit Shah, is called Rahul, and I actually really like his storyline.

Also, Sheffield gets a lot of alien activity. Has the Doctor just not bothered going up there while people are attacked over and over again?

7.02pm: People have nicked the gross blue spinning top! Though despite his thieving ways, I have to admire this blonde sidekick man, if only because he favours the same grey hoodie/black overcoat combo I do.

Giving you a little glimpse behind the curtain there, readers, into the glamorous, fashion-first life of a live blogger.

7.01pm: Oh, and this is when we learn about Ryan’s dyspraxia. Here’s a definition from the Dyspraxia Foundation about what it is:

“Dyspraxia, or developmental coordination disorder, is a life-long condition affecting motor coordination, organisation, perception, language and thought.”

A lot of the time it makes physical activity difficult, which is why Ryan has such trouble. Anyway, we’ve gone into much more depth on this topic here.

7.00pm: Carl just wants to leave, not have answers. I guess this is what separates the Doctor’s travel companions from the people she leaves behind.

I like to think I’d be up for interplanetary travel, but to be honest I would miss watching University Challenge and eating toast, which don’t seem to be regular activities for the Tardis gang.

6.59pm: Right, so Earth has been invaded 43 times since 2005, including Daleks massing on the streets, black cubes giving everyone heart attacks and Cybermen chilling out in every living room. And they still don’t believe in aliens?

Maybe the London-centric invasion plans of so many of the aliens just puts them off.

6.56pm: ‘Why are you calling me Madam?’

This is one of the scenes Doctor Who released early online, and to be honest I think it’s a little stagey compared to some other great stuff in the episode. But maybe that’s just me.

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell to Earth (BBC, HF)
Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who: The Woman Who Fell to Earth (BBC, HF)

6.55pm: It’s funny, the first time I saw this I thought the Doctor didn’t turn up for ages, but it’s only 9 minutes. Lot of good, quick character introductions in that time.

6.54pm: Until now! Jodie Whittaker is here, and we finally get to hear a VERY brief section of Segun Akinola’s new theme tune arrangement.

We chatted to Segun about this new theme here, if you’re interested. Also worth noting – there are no opening credits this week. They’ll kick things off next time.

6.53pm: Now we’re getting into it. Doors locked – though couldn’t they climb out of that window? Let’s say they couldn’t.

Especially when they have to deal with a crazy tentacle-y monster in front of them…

6.52pm: Elsewhere, Grace and Graham are on the train of high-speed travel AND high-speed exposition, filling us in handily on the specifics of their relationship. Thanks guys!

I absolutely love SDC’s performance in this episode – it’s so warm! – and the relationship between Ryan and Graham is interesting. Five quid says we have an emotional scene where he DOES call him grandad by the end of the series.

Also, weird stuff going down on this train.

6.51pm: “Look at you – you’re a Fed!” I love that. But surely they’d recognize each other? I guess it was primary school, not high school.

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6.50pm: Now we’re meeting Mandip Gill’s character Yaz, a figure with the exact backstory – new cop, stuck on parking duty, wants to do more – of Judy Hopps, the rabbit hero from the animated movie Zootopia/Zootropolis. Whotopia!

6.49pm: This magic glowing light thing-y. which looks a BIT like some symbols we’ve seen in official images for the series, is just too darn tempting for Ryan. Who among us could resist the allure of a magic glowing light thing-y?

And now it’s turned into what my notes have as a “gross blue spinning top,” though others have since pointed out that it looks more like a Hershey’s Kiss chocolate (other slightly unpleasant sweet treats are available).

The first time I saw this, I honestly thought this had some kind of link to the missing Tardis – it’s blue! It’s sort of pointy – but it is no spoiler to say no, I am just a moron.

6.48pm: It’s not named until later in the episode, but if you want to know more about the condition Ryan has that make him unable to ride the bike, we’ve written about it here. I don’t think it’s a spoiler as a lot of people have written about it already, but I know how sensitive people can be about plot stuff. Only click if you want to.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 02/10/2018 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Series 11 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **Strictly Embargoed until 02/10/2018** Grace (SHARON D CLARKE), Graham (BRADLEY WALSH) - (C) BBC / BBC Studios - Photographer: Sophie Mutevelian

6.47pm: More pertinently, we’re being introduced here to two of our new “Tardis team,” Ryan (played by Tosin Cole) and Graham (played by Bradley Walsh), as well as Sharon D Clarke’s character Grace (last two pictured above).

I hope he doesn’t give kids ideas about throwing bikes off cliffs here. I can see the YouTube videos now – “My Bike Cliff Challenge!!”

Maybe that’s what the YouTube channel was for, eh?

6.46pm: The cinematography of the Peaks around Sheffield here is gorgeous – supposedly the team has upgraded a lot of the camera lenses and equipment this year, and I think it really shows.

Then again, maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see. Who knows!

6.45pm: OK, this YouTube opening, with Ryan talking about the “greatest women he ever met,” is very modern and up-to-date. Hopefully he doesn’t undercut the emotion by ending with “don’t forget to like and subscribe!!!”

6.44: Cool new BBC drama trailer there.

6.42: I am so excited to see what the world makes of Jodie Whittaker. What a lot of build-up there's been to this series! Now time to see if people think it was all worth it...

If you do, please send us your video reviews! We'd love to feature them.

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6.40: Just five minutes to go! JUST about enough time to check out this incredible lip-sync performance from Bradley Walsh and a few friends...

6.36: Need a reminder of what happened the last time we saw Jodie Whittaker's Doctor? Well, luckily for you our very own Stephen Kelly has written a recap of the last Doctor Who episode, Peter Capaldi's regeneration and where we left the Thirteenth Doctor.

We're too good to you.

6.32: Anecdotally, I've heard quite a lot of stories like this:

Will a lot of people watch Doctor Who for Jodie Whittaker? I'm not sure, but I'd love it if they did. Honestly, I love Doctor Who, and more people watching it can only be a good thing.

I never get the fan "gatekeeping" mindset. Isn't it better when something you like is popular with other people as well? Personally, I love that Who is part of the national conversation again.

6.30pm: Still struggling to pass the time over the last 15 minutes? Well boy oh boy do I have a video that will definitively FILL SOME OF THAT TIME - my interview with Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnall from the premiere red carpet.

Yes, this is naked, mercenary self-promotion but it's my live blog, my personal Huw fiefdom, and I've essentially gone power mad.

In as much as one can go power-mad in a Doctor Who live blog on an entertainment website.

6.26pm: Don't forget though, guys - tonight's episode is an extra-long 62(ish) minutes, so don't start expecting the Doctor to pull out an incredibly quick victory when she still hasn't saved the world after 50 minutes.

6.25pm: Helpfully, BBC1 have sent me this tweet reminding me when the episode is on. Thanks guys! Not had it tattooed on my brain for weeks or anything...

6.22pm: In other news, I've also been asking some fans how they're watching tonight's episode, and here's what they've come up with.

I have a lot of sympathy for the headphoned iPlayer-watcher. Sure, I might alienate all the people who love me by shouting at them to shut up, but if I can't watch a new Doctor Who episode in respectful silence, I might as well cut them all off anyway.

I'm still not entirely over the 5 minutes I had to miss from Night Terrors in 2012.

6.17pm: All sort of ex-Doctor Who cast and crew have been tweeting about tonight's episode in the run-up.

My favourite has to be Russell T Davies' drawing of Jodie Whittaker, but there are also some contributions from Mark Gatiss and Matt Lucas as well.

6.15pm: Only half an hour to go! In honour, here's some very cool fan art of Jodie Whittaker's Doctor.

I recently visited the Doctor Who studios in Cardiff, and they actually have some of this sort of fan-made art up all over the place, it was very cool.

6.11pm: It's a good sign when even your most hated foes are wishing you luck!

One of the Daleks, aka Barnaby Edwards, there. He's probably just angling to find out whether the Daleks will be back this year just like the rest of us...

6.10pm: OK, here goes....I have actually seen this episode already.

Yes, I know, I'm a big phoney. You may have even watched the video at the top of this blog which sees me and my esteemed colleague Paul Jones previewing it, which went up a couple of weeks ago.

But look, I'm being up front with you, and not pretending to be completely shocked by every twist and turn of this episode, because I won't be. What I CAN do is still follow along with the story, give you some behind-the-scenes details and crack as many terrible jokes as I can possibly type.

But if you do want to know what my (spoiler-free) initial reaction was in written form, you're in luck! I wrote a review shortly after attending the premiere in Sheffield, which you can read here.

Spoiler alert - I thought it was pretty great.

6.00pm: Hello and welcome to the Doctor Who live blog! To ruthlessly rip off the tagline for this series, it's about time you got here.

My name's Huw, and tonight I'll be following all the twists, turns and viewer reactions for Jodie Whittaker's debut as the Thirteenth Doctor, The Woman Who Fell to Earth. In the past I've done live blogs for Game of Thrones, Westworld and the Apprentice, so hopefully this'll be a little less cut-throat, but who knows? It's a whole new Who, after all, with a brand-new production team behind-the-scenes along with the new cast.

Over the next 45 minutes I'll give you a bit of background info about the new series, before the episode kicks off properly tonight at 6.45pm GMT and 1.45pm EST on BBC1 and BBC America respectively. It's an hour long so we should have plenty to chat about, and plenty of time to chat about it in, even without our own Tardises, vortex manipulators or other fictional time travel devices.


But before all that, I have to get real with you all - because I have a terrible confession to make.


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