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Deep Breath – What Did You Think?

The opening episode of Doctor Who Series 8, and the first story for Peter Capaldi as everyone’s favourite Gallifreyan, Deep Breath has aired, but what did you
think? Please leave your comments in the section below and, obviously,
if you haven’t seen it best not to read.
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Cameron K McEwan was the first owner and site editor of Blogtor Who since its creation in May 2008 until Dec 2015. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, Cameron has also written two books, The Who’s Who of Doctor Who and Doctor Who: The Big Book of Lists, and directed a film all about Doctor Who fans throughout the years, Who’s Changing - An Adventure In Time With Fans. Cameron also contributes TV and film news and reviews to BBC Radio London, Metro, Digital Spy, New York Observer and Den of Geek. He lives in London with his one trousers.


  1. I'm not an expert reviewer by here goes:
    I adored Peter's Doctor, he's able to keep up the eccentric whilst bringing back the dark and mystery of McCoy and Hartnell. The storyline was slow yet enjoyable, Moffat seems determined to please the tumblr happy fangirls with such references as Amy Pond's legs and that awful 'Whoufflé' ship.
    The storyline with robots replacing parts found in Victorian London feels rushed, like they decided to have The Paternoster Gang before settling in a decent story. I've never particularly liked Vastra, Jenny and Strax but they brought such flavour to the discovery of who the Twelfth Doctor is.
    I was having fun throughout this episode however, Capaldi's acting and the usual Moffat quirks so many hate but I like brought familiarity to the piece. The title sequence is very imaginative, probably because it wasn't made by the BBC…

    The archetypal Moffat episode; Enjoyable, reference heavy, takes far too long to do anything but still undeniably Doctor Who.

  2. A fantastic first episode. Had everything in it for me to keep me watching the whole series. Capaldi EXCELLENT. Very 4th Doctor in places. Can't wait for next week DR WHO IS BACK… at last!!

  3. Very enjoyable. I did notice a couple of Easter eggs/nods to the past. Did anybody else notice the bucket of water suddenly disappear off the table in front of Clara? I think Peter's Doctor will be brilliant. Like many have said he seems to be a mixture of other Doctors, whilst also putting his own spin on the character.

  4. I loved it. Capaldi has the potential to be an epic Doctor and it already shows in the first episode. Moffat cleverly tackles the age perception issue head on. Through Clara's struggle to accept an older Doctor we are faced with what many 'newer' fans may themselves be experiencing. He uses the 'don't judge a book by it's cover' metaphor and forces everyone to question their prejudices and give the new Doctor a fair shot.
    There is a slight issue with this though, if Clara has met every incarnation of the Doctor then surely as the impossible girl she is used to this? Also, as great as the cameo of Matt Smith was this confirmed to the Doctor that he would regenerate. Through 'spoilers' his noble sacrifice at Trenzalore is now far less noble.
    However, minor nitpicks. Loved it, bring on the Dales!

    • Just to point out, the eleventh doctor phones Clara after he has been given his new regeneration cycle and has been restored to his youth but before he fully regenerates into Capaldi…that is why Clara finds the TARDIS phone on the floor after the explosive start to his regeneration.

    • I love your review, but for one thing. He didn't know until after he'd sacrificed himself that he'd regenerate, the call was just before Clara got into the TARDIS and he began hallucinating Amy's. I feel as if I'm nitpicking myself, but this was one of my favorite scenes of the episode, and I guess I'm defensive…:D Awesome episode and review though!

  5. Fantastic episode and fantastic new Doctor, Doctor Who is back at last after 3 years of comic dross, i for one wont miss the Matt Smith years but look forward to the Peter Capaldi years.

  6. *****SPOILERS******

    This episode was good, not my favorite, but it's hard to beat Midnight! Anyway, the new Doctor was good and funny, and I think he'll be amazing! My family doubted having an old actor, but even my dad softened to him by the end! Far and beyond the best part, though, the part that made me love the episode, was the call from Smith. Not because I missed him or anything typically my generation, but because it was an AMAZING way to convey how the Doctor feels, and get Clara to start to get over her fear of the new man. Also, ADORED the trivia! Actually looked forward to the commercials for once! I caws worried that they would make a hard turn from the puppy-like Smith to the uber-serious Capaldi, but the gentle curve was superb, and my fear that many would abandon the show without a hawt young man leading seems much less founded now! All-in-all, an amazing episode, and I loved the reference to a previous episode!!!!!

  7. Capaldi was great. The story was a little slow in spots but the back and forth dialogue with The Doctor and Clara in the restaurant was great. He has a Pertwee vibe to him which makes me like him more. Not too sure how I feel about the title sequence as the music also has a late 80s feel to it to me.

    Overall, it was good, though I think the Eleventh Hour was better.

  8. Brito: No, when he calls it's after he began regenerating, not before. It doesn't diminish his sacrifice.

    Also, liked it, but Clara and the Doctor have no chemistry. I hope the rumours are true regarding her imminent departure.

  9. 1. It obviously rains a lot in heaven.
    2. What have they done to the theme tune, new one's awful (too reedy)
    3. Stuff lifted from all over who history (pulling face off a robot, very Terror of the Autons)
    4. The garden in 'heaven' is the same one as in The Girl Who Waited)
    5. Chips

  10. When the doctor called Clara, he already knew he was going to regenerate. He had already received new regeberations from the time lords, so it didn't spoil anything for him.
    I really enjoyed Matt's cameo.

  11. Quite a good episode, enjoyed the plot until the Doctor opened his mouth.
    I think the writers have lost the plot. the Doctor is from Galyfray, not from Scotland.
    Makes it difficult to understand some things he said.
    Keith Biddlecombe.

  12. I quite enjoyed it. Of Peter's Doctor I never had any doubt, and enjoyed seeing plot stuff seeded subtly, whether it be his recognition of Capaldi-Face, or lines like "Where is The Other?" or whatever. And I quite liked the emotions of the change catching up with Clara, and the title "Deep Breath" being doubly apt because it did seem to take its time, breath a little, and felt a bit more classic as a result.

    I also knew clockwork droids were turning up, but did not expect them here, nor for so many elements (including, apparently, the series arc) to be "Girl in the Fireplace" direct sequel. In that way, in spite of having traces of Smith-era coda (including his lovely extra torch-passing), it felt a bit Tennanty – a bit "Christmas Invasion" to go with the Scottishness (which much has been said of David not using his native accent, but which always seemed to me only to be barely concealed, anyway).

    I'm glad to have an older, sterner Doctor back. I think the "running away to a facade of youth" had if not reached maximum contemporary story yield, was at least well-worn.

  13. I also can't help thinking the return of the 51st Century elements are harbingers of good things. There wasn't a lot of C.51 elements in the Smith era, but given the Capaldi's Face story is a bit of returning Russell Davies, it shouldn't be that surprising that a major shared Davies/Moffat element like C.51 would come full circle back. (Not that I'm expecting anything as crazy as John Barrowman cameos – but we never did find out why the Doctor was so often back and forth between that Century, Contemporary, and Victorian eras.)

  14. Not the greatest First story, those belong to Pertwee, Troughton and Smith but a good start nevertheless.

    It felt a little too long, particularly the dialog/waiting with the robots.

    Can't wait till next week though.

  15. Snarlsbukowski (twitter) –
    I thought Peter Capaldi defied my expectations. I couldn't quite see the actor as the Doctor but from watching him in Doctor mode I know he was born to do it now. A brilliant bit of choice casting! What wasn't so brilliant was the writing. Sure the episode was funny and I like the darker tone of the material, but Moffat promised bug changed and hasn't really delivered. He also seems to have gone overboard with trying to assure the audience that an older doctor is ok. Ok, I liked seeing Matt Smith doing his timey wimey thing and cameoing, but he's had his final goodbye, why should he undermine this new Doctor's debut, other than to insult the intelligence of the audience by telling them (Clara) that it's ok to like the new older Doctor. Steven Moffat's moments of brilliance are undermined by his moments of silly writing and self indulgence. Looking at the episode guide for the new series it didn't set me alight – nothing new for this new and brilliant Doctor. I feel Moffat should step down after this series, maybe let his mate Mark Gatiss take the reins, or maybe encourage Neil Gaiman to perhaps as his episodic writing for Doctor Who has been brilliant reminding us how great Moffat's writing was in the Russell T. Davies era. However, I don't think Moffat will give the job up so easily. But I am nit-picking. Doctor Who is still massively popular and entertaining and the BBC should pump more money into the show.

  16. I've been trying to digest what I saw on Saturday night and two days on I am not really any clearer.

    There were positives – Capaldi had a fine start and looks to have potential to bring something back to Doctor Who that we haven’t seen for a while. He can bring a new dynamic to the show and I hope will take the show to greater levels.

    There were some visual moments that were stunning, and the byplay with semi regular and regular characters were mostly on point.

    The largest issues I have come down to the script. The plot is paper thin and not all that interesting. Instead of telling an engaging story (and letting the story and the Doctor's actions tell what you want to say), Moffat seemed more intent on telling us how we should feel and if we don’t feel the way we should feel, then he'll make us feel shallow for feeling that way.

    The companions have long been a tool for writers to use as the audience. But there are different levels to that, and I felt that in this episode they tried to ram down our throats an agenda through dialogue pieces, instead of using the story to do the same. You could have achieved the same by writing a compelling story where the Doctor’s (and others) actions would achieve the same result. (Case is point is Donna Noble, who was awful first time out, but through good character scripting, became the best of the Tennant companions. You didn’t need the Doctor to say, “hey, you should like her, cause I do” for that to happen.

    If weren’t a fan on 11 and Clara’s dynamic, you were probably overly happy with what was presented. As someone who did enjoy it, I felt empty inside. I felt like I was watching a (admittedly much better made) re-hash of the 6th relationship with Peri. Knowing that Clara was going to be in the next episode, I (with about 15 minutes to go) was wondering why would she travel with him. He might be the same person, but his personality has changed significantly. He abandoned her numerous times, and you felt that as long as she could get home she wouldn’t go anywhere near him again (and I wouldn’t blame her).

    From the moment that she entered the Tardis, after the Doctor returned for her, the writers gave us a reason for hope. It is significant that when the Doctor talks about his mistakes, he references the relationship the 11th Doctor fostered with Clara. That is the clearest evidence that this is a different Doctor. Same person yes, but with different motivations and drives. No one can argue that Clara is being shallow or prejudice towards the Doctor after this scene. He is clearly presented as different. The 11th Doctor didn’t consider it a mistake. His phone call at the end cemented that. But this Doctor does. The reasons behind that will hopefully be explored through the season (I can already think of many valid reasons and I am not where near the talent of the writers on the show, so I hope they don’t just gloss over it). Clara now has a reason to stay with the Doctor, and the idea of going out to get coffee is a very nice start to them getting to know each other.

    I am off to see this at the cinema with my family tonight. I wonder, now the initial shock is over, what my reaction will be this time.

  17. The good-In a word: Peter Capaldi! He was born to play the Doctor. When he's in a scene you can't take your eyes off him. (don't blink) I quite enjoyed most of his regeneration crisis and when he started to become his own Doctor it was magical and brilliant.

    Other good things: the general story…regeneration crisis combined with creepy bad guys. Not the best one but pretty good over-all. Love the new Doctor's costume and I did like the opening title sequence. I enjoyed the Paternoster gang for the most part, but not the constant reminders that Vastra & Jenny are married.

    Which brings us to…

    The bad:
    The writing & editing! I've never been on the let's hate Moffat train but this might make me rethink that. He endlessly feels the need to explain/tell everything anyone might possibly question later on. He must think the viewers are quite stupid. The whole history of Doctor Who has been about questions and generating discussions. He's supposed to be a mysterious alien for heaven's sake not the boy next door! Now it seems that Moffat is so anxious for us to like and accept the new Doctor he has to tell us everything we might wonder about, and he wants to be all things to all people so that nobody will think he didn't address their particular concerns or questions. The result was that he insulted the intelligence of all, except possibly the youngest of viewers. Not only did he explain anything you might not know from previous Doctor Who watching, and even tell you what you were seeing, he hit you over the head with it over & over. Many Scottish references, endless references to the fact that he's older…really? I hadn't noticed…numerous "where did I see that before" comments by the Doctor himself…just in case the viewers were saying that.
    The bad #2
    Clara's overreaction to the new Doctor. She's supposed to have seen & helped every Doctor and therefore knows more about him than most previous companions but absolutely cannot cope with his regeneration. She has to be convinced by everyone including the previous version of himself. Having to bring back #11 to talk Clara into accepting the new Doctor was almost enough to make me hate the episode completely. In 50yrs no other companion has been so traumatized and certainly no other Doctor has had to make a trip from beyond. Indeed in the middle of his regenerating no less, he stops to make a phone call. OMG I could go on for hours on how bad this is, but enough said.
    The bad #3 Some of the editing was not terrific but the worst is that "I am the Doctor" speech at the end. It was out of the blue & not really connected to anything. That scene with Capaldi brilliantly showing us The Doctor, his Doctor for the first time, was a wasted moment. It would have been so much more effective if it had come right after Clara says I don't think I know who you are anymore! Then they could have had his speech and the final scene where they resolved the issue and just skipped the #11 bit in between. That would have been a fitting ending. That would have been a more typical ending for a regeneration crisis episode.

    Finally, I think Peter Capaldi has the potential to be the best Doctor the show has ever had. That's saying a lot, since there are a few who almost can't be beat! (Pertwee, Tom Baker & Tennant especially) I'm really looking forward to the rest of the episodes but after watching this, I now hope that Moffat doesn't write too many of the future S8 episodes.

  18. I liked Deep Breath but I have read some of the comments from fans and maybe it isnt perfect. I thought Peter really shone as the Doctor, and I thought Jenna was great too. and there were some great moments it is a good episode, but not a great one

  19. There were things I liked and things I didn't, but overall I enjoyed it, especially the little nods to the past. When the dinosaur spit out the TARDIS and it landed in the same spot by the Thames where the TARDIS landed in The Dalek Invasion of Earth I had a moment of geek nirvana. (Where the Dalek came out of the water, and later the Doctor said goodbye to Susan). That was the first episode Peter Capaldi ever saw as a kid, and they recreated the set for his first scene. Also Elisabeth Sladen's husband as the bum (she was in Invasion of the Dinosaurs)!

  20. @Elwood Grobnik
    Thanks for those lovely bits of trivia. I didn't know the bum was Liz Sladen's husband. It was lovely that he got to be in this. It was a fun scene & important as it was the moment when the Doctor was beginning to find himself. Also the setting they used for the Tardis landing was a nice homage to the original Doctor.

  21. GrannyMumantoog

    You should listen to our audio commentary for DEEP BREATH as we give out a lot of facts just like (and including) that one.

    (Also, Blogtor Who reported on Brian Miller being in the ep a couple of weeks ago.)

  22. Minor continuity error, aside from those already mentioned in the excellent audio commentary: Clara holds the newspaper towards Vastra showing the 'Impossible Girl' ad. But it has flipped round, a second later, so that it is facing them when Clara plunks it down on the table. I realise the ad continues 'on the other side' anyway…


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