Doctor Who draws big UK ratings

Jodie Whittaker’s first episode of Doctor Who has drawn bumper ratings in the UK and a positive reception from critics.

In its new Sunday slot the show saw an average of 8.2 million UK, the most-watched episode since David Tennant’s 2008 series opener (8.4 million).

Hollywood Reporter said:
Whittaker is more winning than I could have ever imagined — her Doctor is loose and lively, cheeky and irreverent, sporting a deliciously homey Yorkshire brogue that will be catnip for anyone entranced by a Midlands accent. (Me!) She had me laughing aloud with impeccable comedic timing, able to deliver a doe-eyed barb without blanching. “You’re interfering in things you don’t understand,” her foe threatens. “Yeah, well, we all need a hobby.” She immediately illuminates the space around her — a carbonated, inquisitive, motormouthed Doctor in a cringe-worthy rainbow-and-suspenders getup that feels like a take on Mork from Ork. (Are they afraid that if they put her in a dress, people will remember all over again she’s a woman?)

Variety said:
In acting the part, Whittaker immediately has to both inject her own personality into it and anchor the show. She might not be a brand new Doctor, but a new version of the same character that has fueled the show for decades. Striking the right balance has been a tall order for any new Doctor and showrunner to take on, as several pairs have done over the last decade, but the level of difficulty this particular team had to master is arguably the highest yet.

The New York Times:
But whether it’s Ms Whittaker’s performance or Mr. Chibnall’s conception, this feels like a different Doctor — friendlier, less angsty, more of a straightforward action hero. Perhaps the most important thing about the Doctor, until now, has been his alienness, the inhuman edge that Mr. Capaldi was so good at capturing. With Ms. Whittaker, the biggest change may turn out not to be that she’s a woman, but that she’s inescapably human.

The Guardian said:
Whittaker was great and will surely become even more so as the series goes on. At the moment she is a (deliberately calculated, I mean, not accidentally imitative) mixture of Capaldi and something new, as the doctor has not yet fully completed regeneration when the latest dastardly alien plot unfolds. She arrives on Earth without (ahem) a sonic screwdriver, but this lack of vital appendage is – and let this be the show’s wordless lesson to Redditors all – rectified by the end of the first half of this two-parter.

The Independent:
After all the hype, hyperbole and inevitable internet hate, she acquits herself wonderfully in her full-length debut. In the Doctor’s new uniform of rainbow sweater and bright yellow suspenders (think Bay City Rollers by way of Robin Williams in Mork & Mindy), Whittaker is a force of breezy nature – rambunctious, quirky but with a reassuringly familiar aura of Gallifreyan uncanniness.

The Mirror said:
Whittaker did more than enough to confirm there should never have been any kind of fuss about the Doctor being played by a woman. Her quirky and enthusiastic take was an instant hit in our house. It was as if Su Pollard’s Hi-De-Hi chalet maid Peggy had possessed a particularly trendy primary school teacher for the night. Speaking of which, it would have been nice to have seen Whittaker get into her charity shop chic costume a little sooner. Sadly, we had to wait until the final scenes for that piece of the regeneration puzzle to slot into place.


  1. The first episode of any new show, and that is what this new Dr Who is, has to grab the viewer and hold them for episode 2 then episode 3 etc,unfortunately this first episode was a bit lackluster and introverted and lacking direction, this new Dr Who is focusing too much on it’s British roots with a distinctive colloquial feel about it, perhaps the BBC are no longer interested in growing it’s franchise for the American audience but I suspect the show may struggle if the stories don’t find a brighter spark of inspiration in future episodes.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed it, yes it was a bit Predator like with the main villain however that didn’t bother me much, Jodie was great and I’m sure the other “friends” will come into their own over time. Bradley Walsh was really just himself or more so I could see his character Danny Baldwin from Coronation Street in his portrayal, again that was fine for me. Was a little bit Matt Smith debuting but that’s also fine as that was one of the ones I enjoyed, overall it got a big thumbs up and has me wanting more.

    Saw it at the Sun Theatre and it was in two cinemas because tickets sold quick, the chatter after as leaving also seemed very positive and I enjoyed seeing the making of and other extras that came with the cinema viewing (BluRay/DVD Extras no doubt).

  3. Agree about the story line sg4 it was terrible .The story lines have been so boring in recent times. Never had one good one in Capaldi’s years as the Doctor .The best story years (actors aside) were in the Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant & Matt Smith years

  4. Did not think Jodie Whitaker was any thing special. Chemistry between the Doctors companions lacking.Bradley Walsh should stick to Game show host not very convincing as an actor

  5. I agree. Jodie knocked it out of the park. Also quite refreshing not to have any timey wimey stuff going on and 4 deaths in the 1st episode whereas The Moff kept bringing everybody back to life.For me it was the best start to a new era since Jon Pertwee and a tv reviewer in the UK has said ep2 is quite a step up.

  6. Loved Jodie Whittaker’s work in the episode. The villain was give-or-take, but most post-regeneration episodes are the same. The thing that struck me the most was how cinematic the show felt. The whole episode just looked beautiful, something I don’t think I could ever say about Doctor Who before. Struggled to get through the last series, but definitely right on board this year.

  7. I loved it. It was fresh, humorous, dark, playful and sincere. I liked how The Doctor’s personality was slowly percolated out over the episode (and of course there will be much more to be revealed over the season’s episodes). We haven’t even seen the ‘new’ TARDIS, or seen the full title sequence yet. No need to give us everything right away, right? Can’t wait to see where this goes.

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