New Doctor Who universally praised

Minor Spoilers: Britain finally got a look at its new Doctor Who, with Matt Smith, on the weekend.

And according to critics, they liked what they saw.

The Telegraph said:
But frankly, the end of the world was small beer compared to the real story here – the establishment of Matt Smith, the most famous newly famous man in the world, as the new Doctor. And Gallifrey be thanked, Smith is a man who could have been born with a stripy scarf round his neck. It’s there in his physiognomy – his face is made up of as many disparate workings as the Tardis. He has a redoubtable cartoon chin offset by a hyperactive quiff, deep-set eyes and an almost Neanderthal brow. Essentially, the Doctor is meant to be a mad alien, and Smith looks like one before he even opens his mouth. By the end of episode one he was bedizened in a suitably daft public-school geography-teacher ensemble of bow tie and tweed jacket. It was ridiculous but it felt right: mad, alien, brand new but very old. A+ to the casting director. A+ to Smith.

Another Telegraph review said:
So then, have they struck gold or dross? Well, the verdict from this end of the sofa at least is that Smith is terrific. Less cocksure, less confident of his own allure than David Tennant, he has an intensity, a boisterousness and a rumpled, rueful air that’s very beguiling. And while his charm may be more understated than Tennant’s, he has stepped into the role with enormous confidence.

The Guardian said:
Smith’s age also turns out not to be something of a non-issue. Moffat’s line is that although the Doctor uses 900 as his stage-age, he can’t have any idea how old he is: he’s a Timelord, these things are wibbly-wobbly. And Smith carries off the youthful vigour of a new body and the ancient professorial wisdom with easy panache.

Another Guardian review said:
This opening episode, titled “The Eleventh Hour”, was also the first for the show’s new creative boss, Steven Moffat, the writer who has brought audiences some of the scariest episodes so far, including “Blink” and “The Girl in the Fireplace”. And last night’s outing lived up to expectations, with parents all over Britain blaming Moffat for terrifying their children about what might lie behind the cracks in their bedroom wall.

The Independent said:
And Moffat has clearly picked the right leading man. Like the Mona Lisa, Matt Smith has a twisty smile and barely discernable eyebrows. He has other things, too, that make him unlike the people you pass on the street: a thick messy lick of chestnut hair, an oddly acromegalous jaw, and a big bony forehead – the kind of facial escarpment rarely seen beyond the shores of Easter Island. said:
I saw the debut episode, “The Eleventh Hour,” a couple of weeks back, but can’t really weigh in on whether it’s good or not, due to the fact that I interviewed Smith for next week’s issue. However, I can report that, while the show finds the Doc a bit out of sorts by his recent “regeneration,” he does succeed in both recruiting a new assistant, Karen Gillan, and finding a new, and sharply fanged, foe to fight. Moreover, the 7-year-old Who fan that lives inside me says there were at least three moments when he wanted to find a couch to hide behind. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the amount of introductions taking place the show doesn’t feature the emotional heft of some of the most memorable episodes from the last few seasons. But Smith told me that that fans should be satisfied on that score by this year’s overarching storyline.

Daily Mail said:
There’s a new production team too – replacing the clever Russell T. Davies as head writer is the equally clever Steven Moffat, who has previously created some of the scariest monsters ever seen in Doctor Who. This deft first episode, called The Eleventh Hour, was packed with one-liners and an even more fantastical feel than of late. But it had that old reassuring combination of intense Britishness, quirkiness and a sense of the macabre.

TV Tonight review.
The series premieres at 7:30pm Sunday April 18 on ABC1 and is available on iView at 12am Saturday April 17.


  1. It was a fantastic first episode … I was quietly pleased that I had guessed correctly how all the bits I had seen in trailers related together (eg. Amy’s work etc) … and the new TARDIS interior is astounding!!! Matt Smith has more energy than David Tennant and that is really amazing!

    It will be a great ride! Geronimo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. Bereft Skerrick

    Watched this after watching the 1981 “K9 and Company”, in a pain medication haze. (Trust me, never watch “K9 and Company” even if on pain medication. Dreadful.

    “Eleven” Did take a while to get going, but once he did, well, geronimo!

  3. For those who thought the first 15-20 minutes was more suitable for a kids’ show – bear in mind that childen are part of the core auudience! “Doctor Who” who has _never_ been aimed at an “adult” audience, but is intended to be suitable for everyone from fairly young children up. What better way to introduce a new Doctor to, say, 6-10 year olds – for many of whom this will be their first “new” Doctor – and put them at ease? I rather doubt it’ll be happening every week…….

    Anway, I loved it; not the strongest standalone episode ever, but an excellent introduction of Matt Smith’s interpretation of the role. He seems to have nailed it straight away.

    i do agree that the rejigging of the theme isn’t that impressive – it seems too quiet and poorly mixed. Still, you can’t have everything.

    Mark (“Who” viewer since 1965!)

  4. I’m loving the RTD dissing. Of course I will be forever grateful that he was able to revive the show, but I hated a lot of the decisions he made and much of his storytelling was very laboured. As much as you can tell from one episode, this seems like a huge step in the right direction, I liked that it was more low-key, I thought Matt was great, as well Karen.

  5. Madame Tango

    Don’t worry Regan he’s not getting jelly babies but we suspect there will be a nod to the fourth doctor and he will be carrying food but this time it will be biscuits!!!

  6. I enjoyed this new episode after tolerating the childish and un-entertaining first 15 mins. It felt like I was watching a childrens show, and not at the high standard of Sarah Jane Adventures. It was almost embarrassing to watch.

    It then got interesting, and enjoyable. The new Doctor is better than I thought, but will take some time to grow. The new opening titles were lacking the depth and darkness of the prior version, and the music was too soft and dissapointing. I actually was not sure if the titles had actually started until Matt Smith’s name appeared.

  7. Not a fan of the show at all but seen the odd one in recent years and always enjoyed the episodes. However, couldn’t get past 20 minutes of this as absolutely nothing happened (would have been better edited down into it’s usual 45 minute slot I suspect) – but absolutely agree Matt Smith put in a superb performance.

  8. Seymor Smith

    I thought it was great. Thanks for bringing the show back RTD but don’t let the door hit you on your way out. The special effects are tv quality but that doesn’t bother me. They had a lot of exposition to fit into the episode and it was handled well. The similarities with The Girl in the Fireplace are no big deal. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series.

  9. RTD leaving as head writer and Moffat taking over is the greatest thing to happen to the series imho.

    The first episode was great and the trailer at the end made me so excited for this season.

  10. I saw the first episode, and while the new Dr. is confident, I found the episode lacking.

    The new intro theme seemed really lacking, the volume was literally half that of the show, and the episode felt more like a kid’s show (and a half rip-off of the earlier, better story The Girl in the Fireplace).

    One thing I will concede, it wrapped up the earlier Dr. and characters so hopefully the Rose storyline is finally done.

  11. My only fault is that the had a chance to do a completely new TARDIS interior look but they decided to go with cobbled together garbage again.

  12. While the special effects seemed a little too cartoonish for my liking the writing and acting was pitch-perfect!! I think after seeing Smith’s interpretation of the role that I finally (despite watching the show since Pertwee) be able to answer that all-important fan question “Who is your Doctor”. Smith has instinctively inhabited the skin of a 907-year-old alien, given us the inner turmoil of a new man in an old body and brought back all the old elements that we loved! And as much as Tennant is one of my favourite actors it is nice to see the end of the emo doctor – without the losing the emotion that is needed. Moffatt’s writing is once again brilliant and the one liners are some of his funniest material!!
    I think Moff and Matt may have just managed the impossible – Doctor Who has been turned up to Eleven!! (My only tip if you have kids – plaster the cracks before you let them watch it!!)

  13. i had to do it and i saw the first episode and what do i think – the series is in safe hands and from the what is to come end i cant wait

  14. I was lucky enough to see this and OMG it is good, fantastic actually. The story is refreshed, the new Doctor is great as is his side kick. Lovely way to introduce us to them and the new series. I think it’s going to be a hit.

    David any news whether ABC will be airing (or has the rights to) the Confidential episodes, looking behind the scenes, that they air each week in the UK? IMO they should do like the BBC and air it on a 2nd channel right after the episode each week.

  15. I agree that he is a excellent Doctor Who and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Everything about the first episode was great, they really have stepped up to the plate with this one! It went beyond my expectations actually, too early to say he is the best Doctor yet but he is well on the way.

  16. The trailer at the end of the episode is jaw-dropping. We are in for one helluva series! Matt Smith may well yet be my favourite Doctor, based on this first outing.

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