Doctor Who: Season 12 - I'm not cross, I'm disappointed - Part 1

Niamh Brook - Writer

Note: This article contains spoilers from Series 12 of Doctor Who. 

Doctor Who has been a huge part of my life since I was 5 years old. I remember watching New Earth with my mum for the first time and being absolutely blown away. Witnessing David Tennant and Billie Piper in all their camp glory was astonishing and from that moment I never missed an episode. It became my life. Toys, annuals and birthday parties; I was obsessed. However, during the Clara era of the show I noticed a sharp decline in episode quality. I put the blame on  Stephen Moffat running out of ideas and being too stubborn to give up his title as showrunner. I was ecstatic to find out that Broadchurch’s Chris Chibnall would be taking over the raines and that his Doctor would be a woman.

Having a female doctor is a major shift for the show. The change means a lot to people all over the work, myself included. You have never seen an 18 year old fangirl harder at a family show than I when I first saw her on screen post-regeneration during the last moment of the 2017 christmas special. The choice to have a female Doctor meant and still means so much to me. Little girls now have the opportunity to play with their friends and get to be the Doctor rather than being shoehorned into the role of the companion. They could have the chance to see a female character who is the smartest, most compassionate, funniest person in the room. However, I feel that the little girls watching did not get what I was hoping for.

black and brown dome machine

Unfortunately, Jodie Whitaker’s Doctor is none of these things. She is flat, boring and frankly quite rude from time to time. Her debut series was so dull and painful to watch that I gave up halfway through. I felt that I had finally given up on the show. However series 12 was released earlier on this year and I could not keep away. I watched 5 of the 10 episodes to gage a feel for the new season and as I expected, I was disappointed.

Let us start with the two part opener ‘spyfall’. The Doctor and the gang are caught up in the world of espionage and have to help solve the mystery that revolves around Lenny Henry and a mysterious alien race, also Stephen Fry was in it. To give the first episode some credit, a car chase action scene did look really good and did bring me into the story more than I thought it would. However, it is clear that they spent most of the entire season's budget on that scene because the subsequent episodes look terrible in comparison. Spyfall (haha get it, like skyfall) is a mess. Having watched both episodes I could not tell you the plot. Something to do with Lenny Henry, Australia and two historical female figures. The latter is an attempt to shoehorn in some #feminism into the show. Whilst I appreciate the sentiment, you can tell it’s an obvious attempt to keep the show relevant and really confuses the plot.  Lastly, Spyfall introduced us once more to an iconic villain. The Master. Played by asian actor, Sacha Dhawan, the new Master is a mess. No real motives and evil for the sake of being evil, the Master is a cartoon caricature of what he once was. Also of the character’s development in seasons 9-10 is tactfully ignored so he can shoot his stupid doll machine at innocent people. Yep, doll gun, turns people into dolls. Interestingly, this is actually a weapon from the original series which only die hard fans would notice as there is no mention of its origin. It must be said, you can tell Dhawan is pouring his heart into the character and truly trying his best, but nothing he tries can make his lines less cringe.

Now, you might have noticed I didn’t mention the companions when talking about Skyfall. That is because they were not really relevant to the plot. Of course they do have tasks to complete within the episodes but they never really have any consequence or meaning. They are just kind of there. None of them really have defining personalities, they are simply blank shells, there to ask the Doctor questions so that we the audience have a vague idea of what's going on.  You could say that that has always been the role of the companion, but typically (ignoring Clara) the character is warm, charming, brave and has minds of their own. They typically challenge the Doctor on their ethics and morals and act as a way of showing the good and bad sides of humanity. 13’s companions are suck ups. From what I’ve seen, they worship her and never question her sometimes questionable choices. What I find interesting, is Chibnall’s choice to have three companions rather than the conventional one. Having three companions gives each character less time to develop on screen and the time they have feels rushed to get to the next one. Even in the past where the Doctor has had two companions in the Tardis, one companion has always been a more central character. It is their story and the other companion is there to aid and develop it. These three (vaguely) have their own stories and because of this, they feel stiff and unlikeable. The viewers simply don’t know who they are.


  1. What about Bradley's incredible acting?

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