Doctor Who Time & What Channel Today: BBC America in the US


It's rare that I don't love Doctor Who, even when I'm frustrated with it, even when it makes me cry, but this was one of those times.

Jodie Whittaker has gone on record already saying that she finds the negative response "ridiculous", as its high time for a woman Doctor. I appreciate that the show went beyond the typical beat of immediately moving beyond a character's death, and I suspect the grief of her death will be a continuing character development as the season continues.

Where is Doctor Who filmed? Still, the feeling of inevitability towards her death that crept in at the very start of the episode, coupled with the semi-unearned, telegraphed sense of it when it happened sat wrong with me. It really seems like they've done a great job of creating a show that's accessible to new viewers AND that will be enjoyable for the loyal fans.

Whittaker's first outing as the Doctor also almost doubled the ratings for the BBC One series when compared with the first episode of the previous run in 2017, which had an average overnight audience of 4.6 million. I loved the accent, that's an accent I grew up hearing which makes it all the better. The monster, a trophy-hunter alien who collects the teeth of his victims as facial decorations, is legitimately creepy, and the show provides the audience with enough information to fall for the same red herring as the Doctor, allowing for misdirection and surprise.

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The fact that a Time Lord can periodically regenerate into another body was itself only invented to allow the show to sidestep the failing health of William Hartnell, who played the first Doctor on TV. "You know this not a goal break for the show, this is absolutely within the rules and the law of this extraordinary series". I assume much of this was terrifying for children, and thank goodness for that!

If you're a fan of the show already, it's got everything you'd expect.

It's a thorough regeneration for the series, which has a new showrunner - Chris Chibnall, who worked with Whittaker on the series Broadchurch - as well as new cast members, a new composer and a new writing team. "And certainly with this, this is made for fans, but its also made for people who haven't yet encountered this show, and we want to share that with them". They're off kilter, walking on baby legs as they discover the new aspects of themselves.

But her first full episode as the 13th Doctor aired on Sunday in the UK. It will screen on the ABC on Monday nights at 5.55pm.