t has been more or less two years since we have had a series of Doctor Who on our screens and it feels like its been away far much longer. Of course we’ve had a spin-off series (that didn’t do too well) and a Christmas Special, but as always fans are hungry for more. Saturday 15th April saw the show return afresh. The Pilot feels like the show has been given a reboot. For the first time ever in Doctor Who we have an openly-gay companion. Not something I was expecting but I like the idea of it, it’s making the sexuality more acceptable and “normal” (I hate that word).
Pearl Mackie’s performance of Bill Potts was enjoyable and pleasing. Not to mention the teenage angst that many university students go through when attending an academy. It seems during the Doctor’s absence he’s taken up the job as a lecturer. Growing up watching the show I always imagined the Doctor being some sort of teacher of a school or college. Judging my the strategic positioning of the photographs of Susan and River Song in the Doctor’s office, I believe that his relationship with Bill is going to be more fatherly than sharing a time travelling adventure with a friend you’ve just met. Deep down he wants to show her the universe. He wants someone to share the beauty of the cosmos with. Yeah he’s got Nardole but he isn’t human.
Bill on the other hand is, in a way Bill reminds the Doctor of Susan Foreman. And with that makes the Doctor more afraid of losing another travelling companion. In a way he’s still sore after the departure of Clara and River Song. So could being a lecturer be classed as a distraction as well as an alias so he can keep a sharp beady little eye of the mysterious Vault. Now what is the Vault, what’s in it and why is it hidden under Bristol university? Judging by the text on the doors its Gallifreyian. So could the Doctor have an adversary locked away for the safety of the universe or is it something more? Could the university of Bristol be sat on top of a rift between time and space, like Cardiff’s Millennium Center? So many questions!
I also liked the play on names of two of the crucial characters for the first episode of season 10. It was a lovely nod towards the late William Hartnell and his wife Heather. Hence Bill and Heather in episode one. I also liked the fact that Bill has grown up in foster care, I believe that is one of the factors she wants to run away with the Doctor. I also liked the fact she questioned him on having her memory wiped and how it reminded him of Clara. Clara is still a rather large hole in his life that needs filling. Another reason of running away with the Doctor is the possibility she’ll run into Heather again, that is what could be left of her.
There were so many nods to past stories of Doctor Who, for me I liked the idea of the photograph of Susan Foreman, the old-school sonic screwdrivers and the appearance of the Movellans fighting the Daleks. It seems this series maybe filled with not-so subtle nods to past 54 years of time and space. Even though we had Daleks in this story they weren’t the main characters. The idea of having Bill being taken from one side of the universe to another was to show her what the TARDIS is actually capable of, even if it did take her time to clock on. (See what I did there?) Another reminder of a past story from Doctor Who was the casting of Bill’s foster mother Moira, who was performed by Jennifer Hennessey, last seen in the 2007 episode Gridlock.
I couldn’t praise this episode enough; it was a great introduction for a new series/companion. Matt Lucas brought the comedy side to the show. He’s absolutely hilarious, first I was skeptical about his return but after sometime of getting to know more of his character I think he’s a fine addition to the TARDIS. Could he built up of parts from Kamelion? Now there’s a question, could there be spare parts of Kamelion in the TARDIS that the Doctor used to resurrect Nardole? Who knows!
Overall great start, great debut for Pearl Mackie as Bill and a nice fresh feel to the show. I’m going to kind and give this a 10/10 BA Honors degrees. Welcome aboard Miss Potts.