Five weeks into the new season of Doctor Who, and it’s quite revealing to go back and rewatch Deep Breath without all the hoopla around the new Doctor. There’s little of my original review that I’d alter (it can be read here) and, as expected, Capaldi reins in his performance for the ongoing series. His concern for the dinosaur and his attitude towards humans have been followed through, and the questions that need asking occasionally make an appearance, but some of the manic energy that informs the first part of this story (a lot of which you can see Matt Smith’s Doctor doing) is restrained.
The DVD comes without a commentary from the production team – hopefully there’ll be something on the Series 8 box set from Moffat, Capaldi, Jenna Coleman or director Ben Wheatley – but we do get the extra briefing from Strax which played in cinemas prior to the showing, with Dan Starkey enjoying the chance to explain regeneration. Reading that in concert with Moffat’s look back at the Doctors in the new DWM is interesting – both are done tongue in cheek, but there’s a certain edge about some of the earlier incarnations. In the cinemas, Strax’s briefing led directly into the episode, and it’s a shame that wasn’t emulated here.
We also get the brief making of documentary (whose breathless enthusiasm is just as offputting even if the B-roll and other footage is still fascinating), and the first release of The Next Doctor – not the David Morrissey special with David Tennant, but the Zoe Ball-hosted event from August last year, in which Capaldi was announced. At the time, I suspect most people didn’t take too much notice of anything prior to his arrival, but this stands up as an examination of the show’s appeal and the requirements Moffat was searching for in his new Doctor.
Verdict: Although chances are everything on this will be on the box set, this makes a fine introduction to Capaldi’s Doctor. 8/10