Empire Gets Our First Look At Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who

The Twelfth Doctor debuts in a Ben Wheatley-directed story

Empire Magazine's Doctor Who feature spread from September 2014 Issue 303

by Dan Jolin |
Published on

In the second stop on a crazed, 12-day worldwide tour, Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat last night revealed the first adventure of the 12th Doctor, Deep Breath, at the BFI Southbank. **Empire **was seated among the none-more-Whovian competition winners and BBC top brass treated to a screening of the 80-minute, Ben Wheatley-directed episode, and is pleased to report, in as spoiler-free a manner as we know how, that it’s one of the best since the show rebooted three Doctors ago.

This is primarily down to Capaldi himself, whose freshly regenerated Time Lord arrives unhinged, confused and traumatized, in ill-fitting Matt Smith threads and causing collateral damage both physical and emotional after the TARDIS is spat into the Victorian London of cross-species, same-sex detective couple Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint. A high-profile death sparks a bizarre murder investigation, on which this new-old Doctor embarks while struggling with his own, curiously wrinkly identity: “Where did I find this face?” he asks.

Capaldi, a lifelong fan living the dream, snaps straight into the role and you accept him instantly, despite his vast disparity with Matt Smith. He channels some of the charismatic fierceness of The Thick Of Its Malcolm Tucker. This is something Moffat embraces in his smart, zinging script, and it’s the foundation of a whole new relationship with companion Clara (Coleman) which really gives the episode its pulse. Coleman offers up her strongest work yet as a Clara who is confused, angry and grieving for the Doctor’s expired last incarnation, while faced with an older, more antagonistic man who has seemingly outgrown her and possibly doesn’t even like her.

Meanwhile, Ben Wheatley, as you’d expect, revels in the macabre elements of a standalone story (albeit one with echoes of the Tennant-era Girl In The Fireplace episode) that suggests this new run will push the show back into creepier territory. But it's no less humorous, or inventive, Deep Breath comes with a few big laughs and one massive surprise…

For more from Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steven Moffat pick up the September 2014 issue of **Empire, on sale now. Season eight of Doctor Who is landing on the BBC on August 23.

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