Doctor Who: Reviews are in Jodie Whittaker’s first episode, but what’s the consensus?

Reviews are out for the first episode of the eleventh series of Doctor Who, The Woman Who Fell to Earth. What’s the consensus among critics of the new Doctor?

Following the red carpet premiere earlier this week, unsurprisingly, reviews are already in for Jodie Whittaker’s first episode of Doctor Who. What’s the general consensus so far, and what can we expect from The Woman Who Fell to Earth when it broadcasts on October 7th?

First thing’s first, what we’re all curious about the most: Jodie Whittaker. How is her performance in the role? Is she a worthy successor to Capaldi’s Doctor?

The Radio Times certainly seems to think that she’s a strong Doctor, right from the first episode.

From her first appearance in the story (which comes a bit later than you might expect), there’s no question – Jodie Whittaker IS the Doctor, owning the role like she’s been playing it for years and avoiding the sort of self-doubt we saw during the early days of Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord.

The Sun also seems to agree on this. While they don’t believe it’s a perfect performance, they do think she’s a good fit for the role.

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.

And this seems to be the consensus across many reviews. Regardless of gender, Jodie Whittaker is clearly the Doctor, and has impressed everyone who’s seen her performance so far. This has certainly set expectations high for many of us, and we can’t wait to finally see her in action.

Jodie Whittaker already seems to be winning critics over with her first episode, The Woman Who Fell to Earth.
(Image credit: Doctor Who/BBC.
Image obtained from: BBC Press.)

Drama and story

But what of the companions? Do they also work well for the story? Digital Spy seems to think so.

There are characters and relationships easy to identify with, and themes – like the importance of family – that we can all relate to. Crucially, this is a show that you can imagine playing to a wide audience on a Sunday evening.

Character focused drama is something that Chris Chibnall is rather good at. While I wasn’t too keen on the rushed storyline, The Power of Three did provide us with an excellent look at Amy’s and Rory’s home lives, and how difficult that was to balance with their regular adventures.

I just hope that Chibnall’s first episode as showrunner provides a better balance between drama and story. From the sound of the Guardian’s review, it sounds like Chibnall has approached this just right.

The sheer number of new characters, alongside guest star Sharon D Clarke, necessarily means that the alien menace is more of a low-key device to bring the characters together and introduce them to us, than a world-ending threat.

This is actually very reassuring to hear. Big, epic stories are fun to watch. But if you’re going to balance that out with both introducing new characters and drama, that does have the risk of leaving a plot rushed. Especially when it’s told in a single hour. So having a smaller story sounds like a great option.

All of these reviews point to a lot to be excited about with this episode. The general consensus among early reviews is that, while it isn’t perfect, The Woman Who Fell to Earth does represent a fresh start for Doctor Who. More importantly, everyone seems to love Jodie as the Doctor. Now more than ever, I’m excited to see the Thirteenth Doctor in action!

Do these reviews make you hopeful for The Woman Who Fell to Earth? What are you most excited to see in the opening episode? Jodie Whittaker’s performance? The companions? Chris Chibnall’s new direction for the series? Let us know in the comments below.