We went to the cinema in Leuven to watch it this evening (thanks to the powerful lobbying of Belgian Whovians United, who welcomed us to the event partly in English though mainly in Dutch) and so got the full big screen, super sound system version (not in 3D this time). We also got the Doctor Who Extra at the end, and at the beginning an excellent cinema-only piece with Strax talking us through the twelve(ish) previous Doctors in Sontaran fashion.
I am an easily pleased soul, and I was very happy with it. It felt right to have a confused post-regeneration Doctor, not overplayed as with Six and Ten, and then the new title sequence is the best we’ve had in Moffat’s time (already four years on – longer than anyone except Letts, Nathan-Turner and Davis). Capaldi is very good; his performance feels very much under control, with the sense that the grownups are in charge now. This is a man who watched the very first episode when it went out in 1963; this is also a man who has won an Oscar.
I generally love the Paternoster Gang and Clara, but felt they were not quite as excellent this time round; Jenna Coleman obviously loves being in scenes with Capaldi (and we got a sense of how this is working behind the scenes with the readthrough in Doctor Who Extra) but seemed a bit less certain otherwise, and I suspect that the tabloid rumours are correct (she’ll have done two calendar years by Christmas, after all). But I did like the many shout-outs to Old Who, and the nod to English accents being foreign to a lot of us, including native speakers. I also thought it was good to have another look at the Girl in the Fireplace robots (gosh, their builders do seem to have made the same mistake at least twice) and the climatic underground battle scene, while to be honest not a strong point of the episdoe, would certainly have been done worse by Davis. And Matt Smith got the chance to do a more satisfactory take of his farewell to Clara.
The tramp looked eerily familiar to me. Of course, it was Brian Miller, Elisabeth Sladen’s husband.
Just thinking about that for a moment.
So, next week it seems we may get Daleks. (And once the thought has been raised in one’s mind that “Missy” may be n srznyr vapneangvba bs gur Znfgre, it’s impossible to shake.)