Doctor Who returned on Sunday night in spectacular style.
Judging from the incredibly strong overnights in the UK, it looks set to have
achieved its task of turning around the show’s fortunes. The proof of course
will be in how many people tune in again next week, but for now it’s great to
see everyone talking about the show again.
Some of the reactions were to be expected. An actor of the
calibre of Jodie Whittaker was always going to win people over, and she did not
disappoint. It was clear that the series was going to eschew recent trends and
appeal to a new, younger audience. And it was always going to provoke mixed
views on the new showrunner’s more conventional approach to plotting, and less
layered handling of themes.
But what is unexpected, is how it has appealed across the
board – bringing back to the fold disillusioned fans, some of whom stopped
watching in 2005, and welcoming a large contingent of newcomers. This is
exactly what Chris Chibnall had set out to achieve, and he must be credited for
doing just that. A remarkable, seemingly impossible feat.
As usual the episode has thrown up a number of questions,
some related to the plot and others to the future direction of the series.
Paul Driscoll is a freelance writer and author across a range of subjects from Cult TV to religion and social policy. He is a passionate Doctor Who fan and January 2017 will see the publication of his first extended study of the series (based on Toby Whithouse's series six episode, The God Complex) in the critically acclaimed Black Archive range by Obverse Books. He is a regular writer for the fan site Doctor Who Worldwide and has contributed several essays to Watching Books' You and Who range. Recently he has branched out into fiction writing, with two short stories in the charity Doctor Who anthology Seasons of War (Chinbeard Books). Paul's work will also feature in the forthcoming Iris Wildthyme collection (A Clockwork Iris, Obverse Books) and Chinbeard Books' collection of drabbles, A Time Lord for Change.