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?)
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.
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.