Bill and Co.

This week Whovian Leap reacts to “The Pilot”

Being a seasoned Whovian isn’t without its problems. The emotional baggage we carry from the Classic Series weighs you down. I couldn’t even watch last night’s gently paced opening scene to “The Pilot” without even thinking of  1980’s “The Leisure Hive”!

That interminable scene of a camera panning around the Tardis on a Brighton beach left me scarred. Because when in the very same way absolutely nada happened in the first few seconds of last night’s episode I panicked and imagined hordes of viewers switching off in their droves.

After eight long seconds, in through the door finally totters Nardole and I breath a sigh of relief, painful memories of dusty old JNT tales brushed away.

All eyes are on Matt Lucas. All for but a few seconds.

And then comes Bill…

In a flash the new companion wins me over with her verve and charm. What’s more, placing her in a room adorned with photos of Susan and River cleverly signposts her character’s significance and gave a pleasant nostalgic tingle to fans old and young alike.

“The Pilot” – it’s all about Bill, her relationships, her life and how the Doctor turns it upside down and makes it better. Bill sits on her bed and looks at photos of her mum – as tearjerking a moment as the great RTD himself could pull off.

Oh and the Doctor? Capaldi’s warmth and charm shines through. I wish that this had been his portrayal of the Doctor right from Series 8. What’s more, placing the Doctor in a university setting makes for a satisfying Shada vibe. Along with rock guitars, seeing Twelve lecture to awe-inspired students helps reinforce the idea that old is cool. This Doctor is a hit with the kids.

“The Pilot” is a clever piece of work by Steven Moffat and company, managing to be accessible to the general public while keeping old school fans happy. It was sensitively scripted, with imaginative and atmospheric direction. It was blessed with a beautiful musical score and a healthy dose of proper Doctor Who scares.

Series 10 promises so much. Daleks, Movellans and Mondasians – oh my! Not forgetting Ice Warriors, a regeneration and even the Master! Even though John Simm’s return was spoiled by a tabloid newspaper, in the end it wasn’t. Last night we discovered that the Master is bearded again! Delgado and Ainley be praised, the beard is back!!! Maybe that was the real surprise!

It seems that the outgoing production crew are giving one last push and raising their game. And quite right too. Peter Capaldi deserves no less.

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