TV Review: Doctor Who Season 1 Episode 1 + 2

Ncuti Gatwa makes his series debut as Doctor Who with Space Babies and The Devil’s Chord

“Every story has its hero”

With Disney money now coming in to take us to a bold new future, Doctor Who has undergone something of a reset for the hoped-for new audiences. What would be Series 14 by old money has now been renamed Season 1 and episodes are now available from Friday midnights on iPlayer, although also playing in its traditional UK timeslot of Saturday teatime too. Lest there be too much change though, Russell T Davies has returned as showrunner to shepherd Ncuti Gatwa’s Fifteenth Doctor through his first series after an early arrival and a Christmas special.

Dropped as an opening double bill (a curious choice given there’s only 8 episodes this series), ‘Space Babies’ and ‘The Devil’s Chord’ are both written by Davies and manage decently well to lay down all sorts of Whovian lore for the newcomers without alienating the existing fanbase at least on my count. Gatwa’s ebullience feels like a fantastic new driver for the show, his almost impossibly engaging presence is enormously effective and I’m really liking his chemistry with Millie Gibson’s Ruby Sunday, the new companion with a personal history full of plot potential to come.

‘Space Babies’ is your more light-hearted fare, talking babies on a spaceship with a bogey monster down below, Golda Rosheuvel a standout as Nan-E who knows a little about what is going on. I really enjoyed the big swing of ‘The Devil’s Chord’ though, Jinkx Monsoon eating up the screen as the malevolent Maestro, surely more than a villain of the week given the connections they reveal to the Toymaker, and closing with a full-on song-and-dance number without a care in the world.

Davies being Davies, he is stacking up a load of mystery boxes that may or may not be series-long story points or a whole shoal of red herrings but from the snow that accompanies Ruby, to The One Who Waits, to the twist at the end that has been promised, to Anita bloody Dobson, there’s a whole lot that looks set to play out and I can’t wait.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *