Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Quirks and outrage

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Pensive: Clara (Jenna Coleman) and The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) in Dr Who.

Quirks and outrage Melinda Houston remembers the days when the Doctor's visits were more private.

DR WHO ???

Sunday, August 24, 4.50am and 7.40pm, ABC Has it all got a bit out of hand? Having been a Dr Who fan since some of those Jon Pertwee episodes gave me screaming nightmares as a primary school kid, the Steven Moffat reboot thrilled me as much as anyone. And of course I'm excited that we have a new season, and a new Doctor. But the world tour by Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman; the leaking of scripts; the outrage over the leaking of scripts; the dodgy rough cuts of this episode hitting torrent sites; the outrage over the dodgy rough cuts of this episode hitting torrent sites; the general global hysteria... Without wanting to seem churlish, when your private pleasure becomes an international cultural phenomenon, it loses a bit of its gloss.

That said, if you can put all the hoopla aside, there's plenty to enjoy in this first chapter in Peter Capaldi's reign. For a start, there's Peter Capaldi. While he's fixed in a lot of people's minds as foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It, he's actually a subtle and dextrous actor capable of convincingly disappearing into all manner of characters (mad scientist in Torchwood, buttoned-up bureaucrat in The Hour) and it certainly feels here that he's been given permission to make this iconic role his own. So far there is - blessedly - less of the quirk, and more of the cool gravity that marked some of the more interesting doctors. (Like the short but memorable stint by Christopher Ecclestone, who so spectacularly dragged the character into the 21st century.) And while not everything about the script and structure of this first ep is as satisfying as it could be, it is encouraging to see some beautifully written moments that really give us a sense of who this bloke is and what he might become. There are also plenty of teasing developments, which sometimes makes this feel a bit messy, but certainly sets us up for an intriguing season eight.

Spelling correction: Christopher Eccleston

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  • APA 6th ed.: (2014-08-24). Quirks and outrage. The Canberra Times p. C27.
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  • Turabian: "Quirks and outrage." The Canberra Times, 2014-08-24, section, C27 edition.
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