1. The Opening
This doesn’t feel like any Who we’ve seen before. And before the sarcastic groans reach my ear, this isn’t because the new Doctor is a woman. The beginning of the first episode doesn’t even begin with the new opening theme. Instead we get a beginning focused on our new characters, and soon to be companions, for a change. Also, the new theme is GREAT.
2. The Cinematography
Whoever was in charge of the beginning of the first episode did a spectacular job, as our view of the Peak District is as wondrous and awe inspiring as any made-up planet we’ve seen on Who so far. The series is visually stunning as the lighting and set locations give us a whole new appreciation for the mundane.
3. The Plot
The first episode is fantastic in setting up a little mystery for us to follow. You can really appreciate Chibnall’s roots in mystery (he did after all, previously bring us the superb Broadchurch over on ITV before heading to Doctor Who last season) as he sets up an immersive and intriguing plot. His writing for Doctor Who and Torchwood has been mixed (he REALLY likes the Silurians) but as showrunner, thus far he has impressed with the way he has made his mark on the new series.
4. The Companions
I like the new companions a lot more than I expected. It’s nice to have characters that aren’t machinations and/or extensions of Steven Moffat’s ego (in case I wasn’t obvious enough: Clara, that was aimed at YOU). I was surprised when I initially heard that Bradley Walsh wouldn’t be playing a comedic character (his giggle fits are infamous on The Chase, after all) but his character, Ryan’s step grandfather, is one that is easy to warm to when we see his moments with Ryan’s grandmother. His little one-liners are great too (he, thankfully, gets to retain some humour despite what reports said). Yasmine and Ryan are interesting companions too, and their backstories show a lot of potential for later down the line. Yasmine is a young policewoman, frustrated that she’s not being taken seriously enough and Ryan is training to become a young mechanic, whilst overcoming Dyspraxia and the two are linked by having been in the same class in primary school. It’s a great relationship for the three companions, and they link well in how they relate to the Doctor.
5. Jodie Whittaker
Whittaker is, in her own words, ‘brilliant’ as the Doctor. She brings an energy and vitality to the role and has already shown great moments of humour and self-doubt. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of her version of The Doctor over the rest of the -too short! – ten episodes. Her costume is fantastic – a lovely nod that she gets it all from a charity shop – and her love of custard creams has already solidified her to me as sheer excellence.