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Bookmark and Share Twice Upon A Time - Press Reaction

12/26/2017 04:33:00 pm - Reported by Marcus

Twice Upon a Time: Bill (Pearl Mackie), The First Doctor (David Bradley), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) (Credit: BBC/BBC Worldwide (Simon Ridgway)) Press reaction to the final Twelfth Doctor story Twice Upon A Time is in and generally positive.

The Guardian found much to admire in the story "There’s so much that is good about the episode. Good jokes – mainly about the First Doctor’s embarrassing un-PC old-fashioned attitudes (“Aren’t all ladies made of glass, in a way?”). I like the second world war spoiler too. “Yes, but what do you mean, [world war] one?” asks the Captain, not understanding the unthinkable. I like Twelve’s “over to you Mary Berry” to One, just because he’s old, I think. Anyway, it’s funny."

The Mirror felt the episode delivered. "It's an emotional rollercoaster to watch and the minute's whizz by so fast, too fast. I felt the ticking clock in my living room was ticking a little louder, counting down to the moment we had to say goodbye to Capaldi's Doctor. I'm so glad that the Powers That Be decided to bring Pearl Mackie's Bill back to the show for one more outing. In an episode that can't really escape from a looming theme of death, Bill brings not only a sense of fun but also heart to the episode."

However, The Telegraph wasn't impressed. "Heavy on stagy dialogue and light on action, the narrative got mired in its own mythology, too busy making knowingly nerdy references to construct a coherent adventure. Ultimately, even the hero admitted there wasn’t a villain."

The Daily Mail found the episode wretchedly dull. "We had to endure an age of Capaldi wringing his hands and begging humanity to ‘be kind’. David Bradley reprised the First Doctor, originally portrayed by William Hartnell in the Sixties. His chief role was to make scandalising remarks about the importance of having a woman about the place to do the dusting, and to look horrified when Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) hinted she was a lesbian."

Radio Times felt the story was lacking substance but praised the nostalgia inherent in the story. "I get a little surge of joy that on Christmas Day 2017 the BBC1 audience will glimpse clips from 1966’s The Tenth Planet of William Hartnell and Michael Craze, both long dead, and my very alive pal Anneke Wills. The lamentable recast versions of companions Ben and Polly are kept mercifully brief, but in a coup of televisual magic a monochrome Hartnell transmogrifies into Bradley in HD colour. The first Doctor rematerialises right before our eyes."

The Independent praised the two lead actors. "Peter Capaldi, as ever, turns out an incredible performance as the Twelfth Doctor. In fact, you wouldn’t expect anything less given that his entire run as the Time Lord has been nothing short of magnificent. Unfortunately, given that this is his Doctor’s finale, David Bradley steals the show as the First Doctor. "

Digital Spy felt the episode delivered where it needed to, also praising David Bradley's portrayal of the First Doctor. "His performance really is spot on – a little spiky, pompous, yet warm and humane. Bradley puts his own stamp on the first Doctor, while remaining enough like his predecessor William Hartnell to soothe the Whovian hardcore. You're left hungry for more – for a story where Bradley's first Doctor is more than a distraction from the main event."

Den of Geek felt the acting plaudits belonged to one of the guest stars. "I can’t overstate just what superb work Mark Gatiss does too, as The Captain. Even before the moving revelation as to who his character really is comes out (maybe it’s Christmas, that that gave me a very warm punch), Gatiss’ quiet, diligent, matter-of-fact performance was tinged with a melancholy edge. Appreciating he had to do some of the ‘what are you talking about’ dialogue to the Doctors, I thought he played it superbly. Polite, baffled, and quietly curious."

AV Club felt the episode was a fitting tribute to the Twelfth Doctor. "This is a thoughtful, funny, incredibly moving episode about kindness, bravery, and the way small choices can make a huge impact. It allows Moffat to reflect on Doctor Who as an entire 54-year series while also serving as a more specific tribute to the 12th Doctor. And it gives Peter Capaldi a beautiful final showcase that demonstrates just how much he’s grown into the role since his rather ominous beginnings back in season eight."

Some felt the regeneration was too drawn out inculding IndieWire "The tradition of the Doctor pushing back against his regeneration is a recent one, and it makes for a prolonged and unnecessary goodbye. Regenerations are at their best when we’re tricked into forgetting they’re coming, like Eccleston’s magnificent and premature departure in 2005’s “The Parting of the Ways.” So having David Tennant, then Matt Smith and now Capaldi each deliver a drawn-out Christmas special swan song feels like three wasted episodes."

iNews praised the writing of Steven Moffat's last story. "The sharply-written interplay between both Doctors, in fact – and later Bill – was one of the joys of this episode. “Atmospheric? (It’s like) a restaurant for the French,” sneered Bradley’s First, gazing around the Twelfth’s hugely modified control room. “I thought I’d become… younger,” the earlier incarnation mused, gazing worriedly at his older self."

Finally Inverse found the episode a fitting final appearance for the twelfth Doctor. "“Kind” is the defining word for the 12th Doctor. It’s what moves him at the Christmas Armistice in Ypres, and it’s part of his final advice to his next self. That the incarnation who began his existence so prickly and aloof would end it as the champion of kindness speaks to just how much this Doctor grew and developed over this three seasons."

The Doctor Who News review can be found on our reviews site.