The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2013 episode titled “The Time of the Doctor” got it’s first public airing last night. So you can expect more reviews and comment pieces during the coming days.

The event was held at London’s British Film Institute, on London’s South Bank, which as well as the press had other guests including BBC director general Tony Hall, culture secretary Maria Miller and BBC presenter Professor Brian Cox.

The UK’s Daily Mirror was one of the first papers with a review. It’s a bullet point review rather than an in depth look at the episode. In it there say “This episode is billed as being all about the introduction of Peter Capaldi. But who would have thought it, I ended up thinking more about the performance of Matt Smith afterwards and a storyline that gave me a lump in my throat.”

The Mirror‘s Mark Jefferies concludes his 4 star review with “Steven Moffat has come up with child-friendly episode and an ending for Matt that will pull on the heart strings. Capaldi’s introduction is short and sweet, and will leave Whovians desperate for more.”

The Guardian, which has more of a piece on the actual screening, say “Smith, the youngest ever actor to play the Time Lord, bows out in spectacular style, confronted by a “greatest hits” of the doctor’s enemies in a snow-covered faraway town called Christmas.

The Guardian‘s John Plunkett piece goes on to say “But the show, the first full appearance by The Thick of It star Capaldi in the role, which celebrated its 50th birthday last month, is also a sombre affair, reflecting on mortality and the passing of time.”

The Times was not so positive, echoing many fans disappointment with the episode. It said “So much Doctor Who iconography was there, thev best of the baddies, the lamest of the get-outs “I’ll revere the polarity”, the worst of the insults and even Matt Smith’s Doctor’s original girlfriend, Amy Pond”.

The Times’s Andrew Billen went on to say of the ending, “In a blink, Capaldi then took over the Tardis controls, as scatty and mannered as Smith himself. It was no turkey but overstuffed, it certainly was”.

The Radio Times also commented on this most watched moment of UK Christmas programmes “after a rather protracted regeneration – in pounces Peter Capaldi. Gaunt, lizard-like and with frou-frou hair. Was anyone else put in mind of Doctor Pretorius from Bride of Frankenstein?”

Radio Times reviewer Patrick Mulkern also commuted on the regeneration problem the show had created for itself, “As hoped, Moffat clearly explains, in the Doctor’s own words, how he’s unexpectedly run out of regenerations: taking into account John Hurt’s Doctor (“Captain Grumpy”), and David Tennant’s Doctor (“vanity issues”) having expended another life early (in Journey’s End, 2008).”

However he was rather critical of the plot as a whole with yet another Christmas themed episode…

Colin Davies

The editor of Film Review Online