The first online reactions to Jodie Whittaker’s first episode in Doctor Who have surfaced with mixed reviews for the new timelord.
The new series kicks off on October 7, but critics have been given a sneak peak ahead of its release.
- Read more: ‘Doctor Who’ season 11: release date, trailer, photos, cast, plot and everything you need to know
Empire was positive, stating the opening episode, The Woman Who Fell To Earth, “looks beautiful in the show’s new widescreen format.” They added: “Indeed, everything Jodie Whittaker and new showrunner Chris Chibnall have been promising us about the ramped-up, cinematic style of the new season turns out to be true.
“Those new lenses really do make a difference in giving the show a more textured, epic feel, matched by new composer Segun Akinola’s atmospheric score.”
The Sun was equally as gushing, with Rod McPhee awarding the episode four stars and declaring that Whittaker “may be the breath of fresh air needed to revive a flagging franchise”.
He continued: “[Whittaker] is a huge improvement on Peter Capaldi and brings back some of the spirit of David Tennant and Matt Smith — even if she doesn’t nail the character quite as well as they did.
“She doesn’t always strike the right balance between quirky geek and masterful Time Lord. And at times she comes across as irritatingly childlike. But the highest praise is that you quickly forget you’re watching a female Doctor and just accept you’re watching THE Doctor.”
Carol Midgley also praised the new Doctor in her review in The Times. “The best compliment I can pay Whittaker after the first episode, her casting doesn’t feel remotely radical. It feels normal,” she said.
“After 10 minutes, you forget her sex was ever an issue. Whittaker brings energy, fizz and modernity to the role while looking baby-faced compared to her predecessor, Peter Capaldi.”
But some critics were clearly unimpressed. “As an episode of Doctor Who, The Woman Who Fell to Earth isn’t perfect,” wrote Huw Fullerton in the Radio Times. “A few of the jokes (mainly focused on Whittaker getting used to her new incarnation) and lines of dialogue fall a bit flat. And on the whole, it’s definitely a less witty and quotable version of Who than we might have seen during the years of former showrunner Steven Moffat.”
The Telegraph‘s Ben Lawrence also had some issues with the episode. “Chibnall has cooled things down with some much-needed accessibility, but still something is missing,” he wrote. “There is also a distinct lack of interest in the show’s heritage.
“Although Whittaker’s performance captured the essence of previous incarnations of her character, the overall effect of the show sometimes felt like a trip too far from the familiar.”
The Guardian meanwhile, appeared initially unsure of the new Doctor but in the end decided “as Whittaker confronts the alien menace, viewers are left in no doubt that she is very much the Doctor. She delivers a speech which could have been written for any of her predecessors, and which outlines the very DNA which has kept the show running for 55 years – about embracing change while respecting the past and always trying to do the right thing. The woman who fell to earth has very much landed on her feet.”
Meanwhile, Whittaker recently discussed her Doctor Who co-star Bradley Walsh with NME, calling him “a dickhead”.
“He’s absolutely hilarious, but there’s so many moments where Brad would say something and he’s reduced the three of us to tears,” she said. “We are very lucky to be in this job and you never can be too serious if you’ve got Bradders around – he’s an absolute tit.”