Doctor Who is, of course, brilliant. We here at Beano Towers have been in full-on heart eyes emoji L-U-V with the Doctor since we were knee high to a Zygon. Eccleston’s fantastic indie leather trenchcoat, Pertwee’s crushed Scott Walker threads, Troughton’s crumpled space Columbo vibes… Yup, the Doctor has always been in at our gaff. Especially David Tennant. Phwor etc.
But – whisper it – the last couple of seasons haven’t quite done it for us. Yes, Peter Capaldi was amazing and last year’s Sideshow Bill brought a genuine breath of fresh air to Saturday nights but as the scripts got just that bit too reliant on a knowledge of backstory, we and quite a few others bailed until the last few eps when Malcolm played the regeneration game and we got… A WOMAN?!
We’ll fast forward a few months (TL;DR? No massive shock here but Twitter is a pretty nasty place full of men who really don’t like women) to last night when Jodie Whittaker made her debut as The Doctor. “Half an hour ago, I was a white-haired Scotsman,” said Whittaker, but here was show runner Chris Chibnall’s new take on the Time Lord which respected the past but was all about the future.
Galaxies of column inches have been dedicated to the whys and why nots of having a female Doctor. It’s still going on, now expanding out to people looking at the brown faces on screen and seeing an agenda as opposed to just, well, people.
Anyway, rant over. Essentially, it worked – and you really should care not just because we’ve gone all Guardian but this looks like the start of something big (again) for Doctor Who. The figures are in and it looks like the kids are returning to the show in their droves.
Here’s what people still call the overnights are saying:
– This is the biggest Doctor Who’ series launch audience in more than a decade on Sunday night. With an audience share of 40.1%, last night’s episode was the most-watched Doctor Who episode since the 2008 series!
– An average of 8.2m viewers watched the show. Given that’s on a sleepy Sunday and only 6.7m viewers watched the Bodyguard debut… WOWSVILLE!
– While we’re here, Matt Smith’s debut got 7.7m whilst David Tennant’s drew 8m. Now it’s not a competition but YOU GO GIRLFRIEND!
– According to BARB figures, more girls than boys (under-16s) watched – 378,000 vs 339,000. Last year’s series opener saw 143,000 girls as opposed to 390,000 boys. Amazing.
– That figure’s great, but most importantly it dispels the myth that boys won’t watch what girls like. BOOM! GET COMMISSIONING, TV PEOPLE!
– Oh, and it was actually pretty good (if not quite perfect). Tim Shaw the toothsome alien hunter, lots of knowing dialogue, a Sheffield charity shop (actually a Kidney Research branch in Cardiff, fact fans) we def need to visit, a promising bunch of companions in Ryan, Yasmin and Graham plus a ‘Sonic Swiss Army Knife’ handmade of Sheffield steel. Very promising indeed.
Will The Kids stay with it? Who can say, but we’d say the smart money is on pre-ordering the new Doctor Who sonic screwdriver on Amazon Prime before the inevitable Xmas sell-out.
Why do we at Beano Towers care so much? A few reasons.
– We’re a diverse bunch ourselves (hey, who isn’t) and power to all media types who reflect our modern world on the gogglebox!
– If anyone told Minnie The Minx that comics were for boys, she would rain havoc on their lives from a great height.
– So would Toots, JJ, Rubi and all the other characters who are taking the good ship Beano on its voyage to increased wokeness and vibes (ahem).
– You’ve all seen the Beano appear on the show, right? When Matt Smith was reading a Beano Summer Special from 1981? Keep up!
– Anyone remember Ace, Sylvester McCoy’s companion between 1987 and 1989? Well, actor Sophie Aldred was the voice of Dennis in our hit 2009 cartoon show! Look, it was a long while ago…
– Sticking with our favourite red and black rebel… When we reimagined Dennis for his new CG adventures on CBBC, you can imagine the mail we got for daring to change our Dennis. Well, we dared – building on the amazingness of eighty years of Beano history but in a way The Youth would actually turn on. Guess what? It worked. Change is good.
Enough. Just watch it. Your kids, whether boy or girl or Vogon, are REALLY gonna love you for it.
Last word goes to Whittaker. “All of this is new to you and new can be scary. Don’t be scared. I understand.”
Doctor Who is, of course, brilliant.