Doctor Who fans have praised the sci-fi drama’s portrayal of mental health issues in the latest episode, but were left divided by one scene featuring the Doctor herself.
Viewers watched as Yasmine Khan’s past struggles with bullying and self-esteem were revisited in the BBC series.
Team TARDIS member Yaz was seen managing to overcome her demons, become a police officer and travel the universe. The scenes filling in the backstory of Mandip Gill’s character really touched viewers, with one writing online: “I’ve been where Yaz was. I could have done with hearing that.”
Another added: “The whole Yaz thing cut my heart up. Bawling.@MandipGill & Nasreen Hussain’s performances were heartfelt and outstanding. Some people just stick with you, and I think we can all relate to that. I’d take that “50” bet too #doctorWho.”
Sharing the same views, a third wrote: “One of the most beautiful little stories this series has ever told. I love that the series goes to these places and offers hope amongst the darkness.”
The whole Yaz thing cut my heart up. Bawling. @MandipGill & Nasreen Hussain’s performances were heartfelt and outstanding. Some people just stick with you, and I think we can all relate to that. I’d take that “50” bet too ❤️#doctorWho
— It’s… Kerry King Neale’s account (@kezzlebob) February 9, 2020
But, while some were impressed with how Yaz’s mental health issues were tackled, they weren’t so happy with the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), after she failed to help Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh) with his cancer-related anxiety in the same episode.
I am astounded that the writers thought it would be a good idea to have the Doctor completely ignore Graham's fear of his cancer returning. She makes zero attempt to reassure him. It was a horrible moment that ruins an otherwise solid episode. #DoctorWho
— DoctorBlue (@The_Blue_Doctor) February 9, 2020
In the scene, Graham tells the Doctor: “I thought I should talk about it, because those nightmares made me realise the fear is still there.”
However, he’s met with a slightly awkward response, as she says: “I should say a reassuring thing now shouldn’t I?”
Appearing to change the subject, she then adds: “I’m quite socially awkward, so I’m just going to subtly walk towards the console and look at something. And then in a minute, I’ll think of something that I should have said that might have been helpful.”
“I really liked #DoctorWho but like, I too am socially awkward and I would’ve still said something nice to Graham,” one fan said.
I really liked #DoctorWho but like, I *too* am socially awkward and I would’ve still said something nice to Graham ????♀️
— sophie hall seasons total landscaping (@SophLouiseHall) February 9, 2020
Another voiced their displeasure at the Doctor’s “blatant lack of sympathy and reassurance” and how it was “played for laughs”.
I liked it – BUT The Doctor's blatant lack of sympathy and reassurance (played for laughs) to Graham when he confessed his fear about his cancer returning was wildly off the mark writing in an episode about mental health. It's really no laughing matter… #DoctorWho
— Dominic G. Martin (@DominicJGM) February 9, 2020
One more viewer pointed out how this awkward moment felt out of character for this Doctor, given how she’d previously helped companion (Ryan) deal with his dyspraxia.
From someone who's lost family members to Cancer I found this scene extremely uncomfortable not the right moment to add the Doctors alienness here how come she can help Ryan with his Dyspraxia but not say something supporting to Graham not on #DoctorWho pic.twitter.com/LvBUuEOhxh
— Jake ???? (@SPACE_JODIE) February 9, 2020
Doctor Who’s next episode is The Haunting of Villa Diodati by a writer new to the series, Maxine Alderton (The Worst Witch, Emmerdale), with the Doctor and her gang arriving at Lake Geneva in 1816 on the night that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Doctor Who continues on BBC One at 7:10pm on Sundays