Press reaction to the new season of Doctor Who is overwhelmingly positive with Jodie Whittaker winning many plaudits for her first full episode as the Thirteenth Doctor
The Independent led the praise for the lead actress's performance. " After all the hype, hyperbole and inevitable internet hate, she acquits herself wonderfully in her full-length debut. Whittaker is a force of breezy nature – rambunctious, quirky but with a reassuringly familiar aura of Gallifreyan uncanniness."
The Guardian loved the interaction between the main characters. "The new Doctor and her team – 19-year-old Ryan, his old schoolmate turned police probationer Yasmin, and Ryan’s step-grandfather Graham (Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh respectively) – have heart and soul, and are set against a comforting background of West Yorkshire women – especially Ryan’s nan – talking common sense as alien life and electrical pulses erupt around them."
Whittaker was also praised by the Telegraph who said the actress shined in a flawed but fun Doctor Who debut. "There has been a depressingly predictable knee-jerk backlash to a time-travelling, body-regenerating extraterrestrial with two hearts having the temerity to be female but this debut adventure barrelled straight past such quibbles. After mere minutes of the Doctor’s arrival – crashing through the roof of a train in Sheffield, having fallen from the Tardis at the climax of the Christmas special – you stopped noticing"
Digital Spy was sure Jodie Whittaker's Doctor is going to be everybody's new hero, and noted how her sex is irrelevant. "For all the buzz, positive and negative, that surrounded Whittaker's casting as the first female Doctor, what her first few scenes make abundantly clear is how unimportant the character's gender really is. It's completely and utterly incidental, a point which 'The Woman Who Fell to Earth' makes not through words – the transition from old to new is discussed no more here than it has been in previous Doctor's debuts – but through actions."
Den of Geek says series 11 premiere finds Doctor Who in rude health. "Whittaker certainly makes an impact in her opening scene - quite literally, as she falls through the roof of the train and meets her new companions. The script cleverly wastes no time in having her do some proper ‘Doctor business’ - fending off an alien, casually dismissing a death in favour of the mystery at hand and persuading police officer Yas not to call for reinforcements. Whittaker shines pretty quickly in these scenes, and has every bit of the quiet intensity of her predecessors."
Variety felt the episode fulfilled a difficult brief. "Striking the right balance has been a tall order for any new Doctor and showrunner to take on, as several pairs have done over the last decade, but the level of difficulty this particular team had to master is arguably the highest yet. That’s why it’s so impressive that “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” is, for the most part, an extremely typical episode of “Doctor Who."
NPR loved the characterisation of The Doctor "With her rich Northern accent (the actress was born in Yorkshire), Whittaker's Doctor isn't posh or effete — no bow ties or fezzes for her. Instead, she radiates pragmatism (if pragmatism is a thing that can radiate) and a decidedly middle-class, we're-all-in-this-together enthusiasm."
Finally, the Los Angeles Times says Doctor Who returns in thrilling fashion. "The new Doctor has both authority and energy; she is playful yet mature, a little mad but not manic, funny and agile and perhaps will turn out a shade less judgmental than some of her predecessors. Chibnall has given Whittaker a lighter brief: “I’m the Doctor,” she declares, “sorting out fair play throughout the universe.” And later, in that soft Yorkshire accent, “Sometimes I see things that need fixin’ and do what I can.”
The Doctor Who News review can be found on our reviews site.