Thin Ice - Press ReactionBookmark and Share

Sunday, 30 April 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Thin Ice (Credit: BBC/Jon Hall)Press reaction for Doctor Who - Thin Ice is in with most reviewers enjoying the spisode and the performances.

Radio Times praised the story for its multi-layered structure, exploring the hidden depths in the characters. "Sarah Dollard accomplishes this beautifully in Thin Ice. She wipes away a dusting of frost to give us a window into the Doctor’s soul and examines his moral code; the ideals he aspires to and the crimes and misdemeanors he’s prepared to indulge."

The Mirror enjoyed the period nature of the show. "Any time Doctor Who dips a toe into period drama it really goes for it. It delivers a grand scale for the Frost Fair, with an army of extras, wonderful costumes, and sets filled with small touches that all come together to create a visually engaging 45 minutes."

The Telegraph, while enjoying the story, was disappointed by the ending and the effects. "Last week’s story, “Smile”, was let down by a rushed ending. The denouement here was almost as disappointing. Sutcliffe tried to blow up the ice for a reason that wasn’t entirely clear. When the creature swam off down the Thames to freedom, its strange scale and unconvincing appearance resembled a Fifties monster movie."

The Nerdist praises the work of writer Sarah Dollard. "With Thin Ice, we get the sense that she’s been able to explore the topics that are important to her, worth talking about, and don’t pull any punches. From the tackling of racism and classism to the moral dilemma of the Doctor being surrounded by death at all times and even being complicit, it’s all right there, and it’s refreshing.".

The writing was also praised by Ars Technica "The first two episodes struggled to dance between the mostly-excellent teacher/student friendship and somewhat inconsistent sci-fi plot lines. Thin Ice, however, skates through with ease. Writer Sarah Dollard—whose debut episode, Face the Raven, "killed off" Clara last season—ably steers the whole thing through a (Moby Dick)ensian world."

Digital Spy called the episode a fun romp with hidden depths. "Not only is the scenery of 'Thin Ice' visually rich, with circus folk and an elephant milling about on a frozen river, but there's also something innately odd about it. In other words, it's the perfect backdrop for one of this show's twisted trips into the past."

While Den of Geek looked at the various elements in the story. "There’s a bubbling racial and slavery subtext to the episode, and just when you think it’s going to stay there, Sarah Dollard brings it furiously to the surface." looked at the relationship between The Doctor and the Companion. "Unlike more recent seasons of Doctor Who, this episode went out of its way to establish that the Last of the Time Lords himself feels like he works for the people of Earth. He calls Bill “boss” at the end of the episode and in a pivotal moment says “I serve at the pleasure of the human race.”

Screen Rant also investigated the impact of the new companion on the series. "Bill will be the first companion who is a product of Capaldi’s sometimes brusque but no less compassionate Doctor. As such, his actions at the beginning of their time together will forever shape Bill’s impression of the two-hearted alien moving forward, regardless the form he takes when it’s time to regenerate at the end of the season."

IGN looked at the structure of the story. "This third episode follows the pattern established by the previous two installments with a one-off adventure that feels in some ways like old-school Who. Here, as Bill wades deeper into the exciting insanity of the Doctor’s lifestyle, she also realizes that it’s not all fun and games and stealing pies. Ah yes, the life lessons of a companion."

AV Club admired the shift between serious and comic elements in the story. "Such sudden shifts between light and dark could undermine both aspects of the episode, but Dollard’s script is nimble enough to make keeping the audience off-balance into an asset. That can only work if the actors are confident enough in their performances to serve as an anchor for the various tones, and Capaldi and Mackie prove up to the challenge."

Finally Games Radar thinks this type of story is what Doctor Who was made for. "Unflinching storytelling at its finest, Thin Ice doesn’t shy away from the historical difficulties of taking a black companion to the 19th century. Pearl Mackie’s performance is fantastic from the get-go"

Our own review can be found in our Reviews section.

FILTER: - Press - Series 10/36

Thin Ice - Overnight Viewing FiguresBookmark and Share

Sunday, 30 April 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Thin Ice (Credit: BBC/Simon Ridgway)Doctor Who - Thin Ice had an overnight viewing audience of 3.76 million viewers, a share of 20.4% of the total TV audience, according to unofficial figures.

Top for the day was ITV's Britains's Got Talent, which had 8.27 million watching. Top on BBC One was the comedy series All Round to Mrs Brown's with 4.74 million viewers. Casualty just edged ahead of Doctor Who with 3.90 million, pushing Doctor Who into fourth place for the day, just ahead of Pointless Celebrities which had 3.73 million.

Final figures will be released next week, which should see Doctor Who increase its audience substantially.

FILTER: - Press - Series 10/36

Thin Ice - IntroductionBookmark and Share

Friday, 28 April 2017 - Reported by Marcus

Thin Ice: Known Broadcast Details
United KingdomBBC OneSat 29 Apr 20177:20pm BST
Middle EastBBC FirstSat 29 Apr 20179:20pm AST(Sat 7:20pm BST)
United States of AmericaBBC AmericaSat 29 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
CanadaSPACESat 29 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
FinlandYLE2Sun 30 Apr 201711:00am EEST(Sun 9:00am BST)
AustraliaABCSun 30 Apr 20177:40pm AEST(Sun 10:40am BST, also on ABC ME)
BrazilSyFySun 30 Apr 20178:00pm BRT(Sun 11:00pm BST)
Latin AmericaSyFySun 30 Apr 201711:00pm CDT(Mon 4:00am BST)
New ZealandPRIMESun 30 Apr 20177:30pm NZST(Mon 8:30am BST)
DenmarkDR3Sat 13 May 20178:00pm CEST(Sat 7:00pm BST)

FILTER: - Press - Series 10/36

Steven Moffat to appear at the Hay FestivalBookmark and Share

Friday, 28 April 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have announced that Steven Moffat will be appearing at this year's Hay Festival, which takes place in Wales between 25th May and 4th June. The writer will be there to talk the craft of writing, with reference to his work on Doctor Who and Sherlock, and will feature on a BBC Radio 4 Front Row special to be recorded on the final Sunday.

In addition, the writer of this year's episode Knock Knock, Mike Bartlett will also be appearing at the festival, talking about his television adaptation of his Olivier Award-winning play King Charles III, and the challenges of writing for different mediums.

Full details about events and guests can be read in the press release below.

The BBC and Hay Festival (25 May–4 June, 2017) today revealed plans for unparalleled coverage of this year’s event across television, radio and online with a plethora of star names in attendance including US senator Bernie Sanders, actor and writer Stephen Fry, Doctor Who and Sherlock producer and writer Steven Moffat, screenwriter Jimmy McGovern, playwright Mike Bartlett, comedian Simon Amstell and Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham.

Across TV and Radio, more than 25 BBC shows will be recorded on site – from BBC World News’ HARDtalk, Talking Books and Click to BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, Start the Week, and Broadcasting House, to BBC Radio 3, BBC Wales, and BBC Hereford and Worcester.

BBC World News’ HARDtalk will see special guest US senator Bernie Sanders interviewed by Stephen Sackur on stage; four sessions of its literary series Talking Books will be recorded with George Alagiah meeting Ahdaf Soueif and Elizabeth Strout, and Rebecca Jones in conversation with Tim Winton and Sebastian Barry; presenter Spencer Kelly showcases cutting-edge science in the flagship science and technology show Click; BBC World Service will record a special edition of The Arts Show; while Owen Sheers presents a special screening of BAFTA-nominated The Green Hollow, his film poem marking the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster.

Meanwhile, BBC Arts Digital launches coverage of the opening weekend with two days of live streaming, which Stephen Fry kicks off with his digital reformation sparking a debate about the internet that everyone can join, while selective events will be available throughout the week on BBC iPlayer.

Additional events in the BBC Tent – open for booking from today – will offer an inside look at the latest BBC dramas and documentaries, including tips from some of our leading screenwriters, documentary makers and show runners.

Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts, BBC, commented: “In the BBC Tent at Hay Festival, audiences get unfettered access to important artists and broadcasters, emerging and established, as well as a chance to go behind the curtain to see how their favourite programmes are made. Giving books, storytelling and ideas a platform to reach audiences everywhere is something the BBC has always been committed to, so we’re delighted to partner with Hay Festival on such a rich and comprehensive range of programming – both on-site and on-air.”

Peter Florence, Director of Hay Festival, said: “For 30 years Hay Festival has brought readers and writers together to share stories and ideas, to imagine the world. Today, our partnership with the BBC enables these conversations to be heard globally – whether from our fields in Wales, or the beaches of Cartagena de Indias - giving everyone, everywhere, front-row seats."

Other BBC programme highlights at Hay Festival 2017 include:

BBC Radio 4 will broadcast four of its flagship programmes from the festival: John Wilson presents Front Row live with Pulitzer prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout on Friday 26 May; Samira Ahmed records a Front Row special with show Doctor Who and Sherlock producer and writer Steven Moffat on Sunday 4 June; Broadcasting House is live on Sunday 28 May; Tom Sutcliffe presents Start the Week live on Monday 29 May with award-winning authors Colm Tóibín, Sebastian Barry, Meg Rosoff and psychologist Jan Kizilhan. Meanwhile, Hari Kunzru talks to James Naughtie and an audience of keen readers for Book Club and Four Thought will be recorded in front of a live audience for later broadcast.

Radio 3 will be broadcasting “a week at Hay” from Monday 29 May to Sunday 3 June, with programmes every day across its schedule coming from the Festival. In a Hay-clusive, Radio 3 will bring a distinctive blend of 'slow radio’ to Hay audiences with a four-hour-long immersive broadcast of a walk from the Black Mountains to Hay with music, poetry and moments of reflection from writer Horatio Clare. The Sound Walk will be broadcast on Monday 29 May from 2-6pm and audiences will be able to listen to the broadcast by collecting headphones from the BBC Tent.

Five other Radio 3 shows – The Essay, The Verb, Free Thinking, The Listening Service, and In Tune –will record editions in front of live Festival audiences Clemency Burton-Hill presents a series of Lunchtime Recitals from St Mary’s Church, featuring performances from Adam Walker, James Baillieu, Federico Colli, The Amatis Trio, and Quator Voce. Katie Derham talks about her twin passions: dance and music, and how she’s combining these in a new six-part series for BBC Radio 3 called Sound of Dance. Free Thinking, BBC Radio 3’s Arts and Ideas programme, brings together Costa Book of the Year winner Sebastian Barry and writers Jake Arnott and Madeleine Thien to discuss the art of the historical novel, and in a second programme discusses women’s voices in the classical world with Professor Paul Cartledge, Bettany Hughes and Colm Tóibín. The programmes are presented by Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers Sarah Dillon and Catherine Fletcher.

New BBC programming is showcased, with playwright and television screenwriter Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster, Doctor Who) talking about his television adaptation of his Olivier Award-winning play King Charles III and the challenges of writing for different mediums; there will be a session with Jimmy McGovern about his new BBC One drama, Broken, starring Sean Bean, and the art of compelling characters in hard-hitting dramas; creators of Waking the Dead, Ian Burney and Barbara Machin, offer insights into what they’ve learnt about murder inquiries while making the show; comedian Simon Amstell presents his feature-length documentary for BBC iPlayer, Carnage; BBC Radio executive producer Sue Roberts and writer Dan Rebellato reveal the highs and lows of bringing Émile Zola’s award-winning Blood, Sex and Money to life as a radio drama; and award-winning film-maker Jill Nicholls discusses her films for the BBC’s flagship arts documentary series Imagine and the art of the literary documentary

BBC One writer and show producer Steven Moffat will be talking about Doctor Who, Sherlock, and the craft of writing, as he prepares to step down from his role as Doctor Who’s lead writer and executive producer later this year.

BBC Two film-makers Adam Low and Martin Rosenbaum talk about their documentary on Alan Bennett to Mark Bell, Head of Commissioning TV Arts BBC, revealing what it was like filming the nation’s best loved writer, with clips from the film, followed by its screening.

BBC Four film-makers offer insights into new series and films: professor of Digital Humanities at Newcastle University, Richard Clay, previews his major new arts series, Utopias; George Carey talks about his fascination with the interlocking worlds of spying and the British establishment and previews unseen footage of his upcoming documentary on Guy Burgess for BBC Four’s Storyville strand; medievalist historian Janina Ramirez offers insights from her new documentary, Julian of Norwich; Nick Willing talks about the challenges of making the documentary on his mother’s life, Paula Rego: Secrets & Stories; and Owen Sheers presents a special screening of BAFTA-nominated The Green Hollow, his film poem commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, followed by a Q&A.

Owen says: “I’m thrilled to be screening The Green Hollow at the Hay Festival. The film was both one of the hardest and most important projects I’ve ever worked on. The aspiration was to create a choral poem in the voice of Aberfan and I hope we’ve gone some way towards achieving that. The generosity and understanding with which the community shared their stories of the disaster and the aftermath was humbling, and the rendering of those voices by the cast and crew deserves to be seen again. Television can be the most ephemeral of mediums, so I’m hugely grateful to the BBC for making it possible for this film to be experienced again and especially pleased that the screening is happening at Hay. Growing up in the area, the Festival was a vital source of inspiration and knowledge for me so it has, I’ve no doubt, played a significant role in my being able to write this piece in the manner I did.”

Renowned surgeon David Nott delivers the sixth annual Patrick Hannan Lecture dedicated to the late BBC Wales broadcaster; BBC Radio Wales will record four shows live on site – Jamie Owen, Eleri Sion, The Arts Show, and The Leak; while BBC Hereford & Worcester presents a series of BBC Introducing sessions offering a taste of the best new music from the region.

Audiences will be offered insights into the creative process as Alison Hindell, Head of Audio Drama for the BBC, discusses the art of the box set; presenter Paddy O’Connell talks about life inside Broadcasting House; and there’s a masterclass on how to get started in the media, featuring a discussion with researchers and producers from radio, television and online.

There’s poetry too, as Manchester-based collective Young Identity present a live set from some of the rising stars of the UK spoken-word scene, with performances by Isaiah Hull, Shirley May, Inna Voice and Chris Jam, plus a reading from novelist Desiree Reynolds.

CBBC's Katie Thistleton will explore the amazing world of children's books and record some special links to be broadcast on the channel as part of CBBC Book Club, which airs on CBBC every Sunday morning and afternoon.

The full Hay Festival programme is available to view online at Tickets are bookable online or through the box office on 01497 822 629.

BBC Arts

The BBC has an ongoing commitment to arts programming – “the greatest commitment to arts for a generation” as announced by the Director General in 2014. The BBC aims to provide the broadest range and depth of music and arts programmes across television, radio and online. It creates non-commercial partnerships with the arts sector that go beyond broadcast, from sharing expertise to encouraging cross collaboration and creation in order to widen public engagement in UK arts. It aims to provide context through original, fresh discussion and perspectives and is the biggest investor and creator of original arts and music programming. In 2017 Tony Hall BBC Director General, announced Culture UK, a new approach to collaboration, commissioning and creativity in partnership with Arts Council England, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Arts Council of Wales, the British Council and Creative Scotland. The initiative will develop UK-wide cultural festivals that can reach new audiences, support artist-led commissioning in broadcast and digital media and onvene an R&D programme that will focus on new experiences in performance, live events and exhibitions.

About Hay Festival 2017

The 30th Hay Festival (25 May–4 June), presents an inspiring programme of conversations and performances in Hay-on-Wye over the summer half-term. The line-up of speakers also includes Peter Singer, Neil Gaiman, Elif Shafak, Nemat Shafik, Tracey Emin, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Brian May, Graham Norton, Eddie Izzard, Jeanette Winterson, Howard Jacobson, Yanis Varoufakis, Paul Beatty, Carlo Rovelli, Jacqueline Wilson, Judith Kerr and Chris Riddell, who converge for a party of ideas and stories in 800 events.

The biggest ever HAYDAYS programme gives young readers the opportunity to meet their heroes and enjoy a feast of activities, while great comedy, music, and The Sound of the Baskervilles, a new late-night club venue, continue celebrations into the night.

The Festival is free to enter, with ticketed events in 10 tented venues, plus a range of exciting sites to explore, including the Festival Bookshop, the HAYDAYS courtyard, arts and crafts in the MAKE and TAKE TENT and the SCRIBBLERS HUT; there are drop-in workshops in the MESS TENT, and market stalls, cafés, and restaurants.

The Festival also runs a wide programme of education work supporting the next generation of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages – Hay Festival Wales opens with two days of free programming for schools; the Beacons Project gives students aged 16–18 the chance to learn from internationally acclaimed writers; students in tertiary education get free tickets; and COMPASS is a special space on site to learn and discover, with free access to inspiring speakers.

Founded in 1987 around a kitchen table in Wales, the non-profit organisation brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events around the world – over the past 30 years there have been 120 Festivals globally.

FILTER: - Special Events - Steven Moffat

Lethbridge-Stewart: United In BloodBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books have released details on the next of their free digital-only stories:

United In Blood (Credit: Candy Jar Books)United In Blood
Written by Mark Jones
Cover art by Richard Young

Blurb: New Year 1970 and Lethbridge-Stewart decides to visit an old school friend. In the village of Aldbury something strange is going on. An unexplained increase of violence spreads across the town, and Lethbridge-Stewart finds himself caught up in the middle of it. So much for a short New Year break!

United in Blood is only available to readers who order the novellas bundle (comprising The Life of Evans, The Flaming Soldier and Day of the Intelligence).

Author Mark Jones was taught how to write a television script by Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, and was the co-creator of the Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton TV project, Starwatch. Other credits include writing for the Guinness Encyclopaedia of Popular Music, and penning the bestselling book about the film and TV location, Aldbury (filming location for The Dirty Dozen, The Avengers, Bridget Jones and Midsomer Murders amongst many others). Mark said:
One of favourite TV shows was the ITV programme Shillingbury Tales, a series also filmed in Aldbury. As a location it has always been presented as an idyllic English village, but what if dark forces were at work behind the scenes? My story combines this rural peace with an underbelly of violence.

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:
I remember reading about Starwatch in Doctor Who Magazine a few years back. So when Mark started working with Candy Jar on a new project, we grilled him about this. During these conversations he pitched an idea for a short story: Shillingbury Tales meets The Tomorrow People, with a hint of Children of the Stones. I told him to go away and write it.

Mark continued:
I wanted the story to feel as much like the early 1970s as possible. I’m old enough to remember how grim it was. In particular I remember how frightening football violence could be. This story transfers the fears of the terraces to a rural village and throws Lethbridge-Stewart into the mix.

The cover art is by Richard Young, who said:
I’ve really enjoyed the detailed work on the novellas, especially as the schedule has been slightly more relaxed. However, I have missed the fun of a tight schedule. And this one was certainly tight! Anyway, nothing brings out creativity better than a tight deadline. I put the artwork together in record time and I am rather pleased with it. It’s like A Clockwork Orange meets Jossey’s Giants.

The e-book is only available to readers who order the novellas bundle. Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said:
People who have ordered the bundle already will automatically get the free story, but I would advise those readers who plan to buy all three to do it as soon possible. We only have fifty bundles left and a handful of copies of the individual titles.
The Novellas Bundles are available directly from

Candy Jar is also pleased to announce that The HAVOC Files 2 & 3 have just been made available on Kindle for £4.99.

FILTER: - Books - Candy Jar Books - Lethbridge-Stewart

Thin Ice - PublicityBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The BBC have released a number of new publicity images to promote this week's episode of Doctor Who, Thin Ice:

Thin Ice
Written by Sarah Dollard and directed by Bill Anderson

In Regency England, beneath the frozen Thames, something is stirring.

The Doctor and Bill arrive at the last of the great frost fairs, and find themselves investigating a string of impossible disappearances - people have been vanishing on the ice! Bill is about to discover that the past is more like her world than she expected, and that not all monsters come from outer space...

The Doctor is played by Peter Capaldi, Bill by Pearl Mackie and Nardole by Matt Lucas.

Profile images feature Austin Tailer as Spider, Ellie Shenker as Dot, Tomi May as Dowell, Kishaina Thiruselvan as Harriet, Badger Skelton as Perry, Asiatu Koroma as Kitty, and Nicholas Burns as Lord Sutcliffe.

This Bank Holiday weekend sees Doctor Who sitting between Pointless Celebrities and Casualty, with primary opposition on ITV being Take Me Out and Britain's Got Talent. World Snooker continues on BBC2, whilst Channel 4 serve up The Restoration Man followed by Walking Through Time; Channel 5 will be showing new episodes of two incarnations of NCIS, whilst Sky 1 have The Simpsons followed by Inside the Freemasons, and the Sky Movie Premiere in the time-slot is X-Men: Apocalypse. The previous weeks have seen Doctor Who achieve third place for The Pilot and fourth for Smile, with Britain's Got Talent the most-watched show of both evenings followed by the BBC's All Round to Mrs Brown's - last weekend also had the live FA Cup Semi-Final football game gaining slightly more viewers than Doctor Who, but this weekend doesn't suggest any other surprises ratings-wise!

BBC One continues to show Doctor Who at 7;20pm, with BBC First simulcasting the episode across the Middle-East - see the table below for other broadcasts around the world. Meanwhile, Danish broadcaster DR has now schedueled the series on its DR3 channel, with The Pilot receiving its premiere at 8:00pm CEST on Saturday.

Thin Ice: Known Broadcast Details
United KingdomBBC OneSat 29 Apr 20177:20pm BST
Middle EastBBC FirstSat 29 Apr 20179:20pm AST(Sat 7:20pm BST)
United States of AmericaBBC AmericaSat 29 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
CanadaSPACESat 29 Apr 20179:00pm EDT(Sun 2:00am BST)
FinlandYLE2Sun 30 Apr 201711:00am EEST(Sun 9:00am BST)
AustraliaABCSun 30 Apr 20177:40pm AEST(Sun 10:40am BST, also on ABC ME)
BrazilSyFySun 30 Apr 20178:00pm BRT(Sun 11:00pm BST)
Latin AmericaSyFySun 30 Apr 201711:00pm CDT(Mon 4:00am BST)
New ZealandPRIMESun 30 Apr 20177:30pm NZST(Mon 8:30am BST)
DenmarkDR3Sat 13 May 20178:00pm CEST(Sat 7:00pm BST)

FILTER: - Publicity - Series 10/36

The Pilot - Official RatingsBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 April 2017 - Reported by Marcus

Official figures released by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board or BARB, gives Doctor Who - The Pilot an official rating of 6.68 million viewers.

The rating includes all those who recorded the programme and watched it within 7 days. It is over 2 million higher than the initially reported overnight figure.

Doctor Who is the tenth most watched programme for the week, the highest chart position for a non-Christmas episode since Listen in 2014.

Top for the week was ITV's Britain's Got Talent, which had 11.04 million viewers. Incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall's Broadchurch, starring David Tennant, was 2nd for the week.

FILTER: - Ratings - Series 10/36 - UK

Smile - Audience Appreciation:83Bookmark and Share

Monday, 24 April 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who: Smile (Credit: BBC / Simon Ridgway)Doctor Who - Smile had an Audience Appreciation or Ai figure of 83

The Appreciation Index in an indication of how much viewers enjoyed the episode. It is based to the reactions of a selected panel of viewers, who rate the episode shortly after transmission.

83 is considered a good score, roughly similar to the scores achieved by the last series of the show,

The highest score for the evening was shared by Casualty on BBC One and Amazing Hotels on BBC Two, both of which scored 84.

FILTER: - Ratings - Series 10/36 - UK

Overnight Australian ratings for SmileBookmark and Share

Monday, 24 April 2017 - Reported by Adam Kirk
Smile has debuted in Australia, averaging 464,000 viewers in the five major capital cities. The story was the highest rating ABC drama of the day and the eleventh highest rating program of the day overallThese ratings do not include iview, regional or time-shifted viewers.
Media Links: TV Tonight

FILTER: - Australia - Broadcasting - Ratings - Series 10/36

Smile - Press ReactionBookmark and Share

Sunday, 23 April 2017 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who: Smile (Credit: BBC / Simon Ridgway)An excellent adventure is how The Telegraph describes the second in this year's series of Doctor Who, Smile. The paper is a big fan of new companion Bill, played by Pearl Mackie, who they say is settling in beautifully. "The especially effective thing with Bill is that she asks the questions that a viewer might well ask. Why are the Tardis seats so far away from the console? Why have you got two hearts? Does that mean you’ve got really high blood pressure? How are you allowed to blow stuff up and not get into trouble? Fair points, all of them."

Digital Spy agrees that Capaldi and Mackie are an all-time great TARDIS team. "In her second week, new companion Bill continues to inject fresh energy into Doctor Who, and into the Doctor himself. She stands out from the pack just by virtue of acting and speaking like a real person, and there's great value, both comic and dramatic, in having her ask the type of questions that you or I would if we ever jumped aboard the TARDIS."

Ars Technica praises the dialogue. "The almost rhythmic dialogue in the script for Smile, written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who penned In the Forest of the Night for series 8 of the sci-fi drama, helps the viewer become better acquainted with Bill, following Mackie's terrific character debut"

The Nerdist also praises Mackie's performance. "Smile kept the Bill Potts train a-rolling. She’s truly a breath of fresh air; a fun and funny companion who is incredibly passionate about learning, gets giddy when visiting new places, and reacts–as the Doctor said in “The Pilot”–with a smile when she’s confused rather than with frustration."

Screen Rant also looks at the two main characters. "Smile is the perfect way to explore the two characters’ burgeoning relationship, by placing Bill’s wide-eyed wonder front and center with a fittingly dark discovery about humankind’s first colony being undone by some robots that communicate solely through, you guessed it, emoji."

It was not all praise though with The Mirror feeling the episode didn't reach it's full potential and the story lacked punch. "I was really excited about the concept of the Emojibots. Robots that murder you if they think you're unhappy. It should have been up there with Weeping Angels who attack when you blink. But once the episode has set the premise, we're not given any more depth to this idea. Sadly, not exploring the main concept of the Emojibots pushed the episode away from great and delved close to the border of mediocre."

Radio Times also felt the episode was devoid of real emotional investment. "Fatally, for a tale that toys with emojis, there are few convincing reactions on display. Situations force the cast to go through the motions of emotions. There’s no one to root for and, as a viewer, I make no emotional investment. Smile presents interesting ideas but, as drama, is as bland and insipid as emojis themselves. "

Games Radar also felt the episode lacked something."The problem is that the episode can’t decide whether it wants to figure out why people who don’t smile were murdered, or focus on action sequences about emoji robots and their floating swarms of killer nano-robots. Pick one and stick to it."

Cater Matt felt the story was solid. "Smile is a story about collaboration, and also one about treating people and things that are different from you as the same. Maybe there is a political message here, as well. While there was no great moment of emotional fervor, The Doctor did kick off a new civilization with Bill at his side. A very satisfying episode in the end."

IGN liked the message of the story. "That the Doctor is only able to save the colonists by realizing that he also has to save the emoji-bots is the real twist of this story, and also where the lesson comes in about how we in the here and now need to learn to recognize the needs of those around us, and respect those needs, and work together in order to not have to flee a decimated Earth a few decades or centuries from now"

AV Club returns to dynamic of the TARDIS team. "This is an episode that begins better than it ends, which is never the optimal arrangement. But ah well: The Doctor and Bill’s growing friendship and Bill’s character in particular are the real joys of “Smile,” and they are likely what will linger in the memory more when looking back on the season as a whole."

Doctor Who News's review can be found in the Reviews section.

FILTER: - Press - Series 10/36