Missy (Michele Gomez), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) & Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) - Doctor Who - The Magician's Apprentice (c) BBC
Missy (Michele Gomez), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) & Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) – Doctor Who – The Magician’s Apprentice (c) BBC

The Magician’s Apprentice

First Broadcast September 19th 2015 @ 6.40pm (6.54m viewers)

Peter Capaldi is back as the Doctor! After a long nine months since ‘Last Christmas’ the second series to feature the Twelfth incarnation of the Doctor begins with a bang. Following the example set in ‘Day of the Daleks’, ‘Destiny of the Daleks’, ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ and ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ the new season kicks off with a story featuring the pepperpot menaces from the planet Skaro. However, this is no mere Dalek story.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

The episode opens on a misty battlefield. Soldiers are fleeing an attack from old-fashioned aeroplanes. Aeroplanes with laser weaponry. In the midst of all this, a small boy finds himself trapped in a hand mine field. But heroically the Doctor comes to the rescue, unaware of the identity of the boy. Davros. Cue jaws hitting the floor.

Doctor Who Series 9 - Hand mines (c) BBC
Doctor Who Series 9 – Hand mines (c) BBC

Firstly the Kaled/Thal war on Skaro has only ever really been glimpsed onscreen during ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and it is very impressively and simply realised during this scene. The hand mines are also an entertaining invention. Most importantly it puts the Doctor in a difficult position. As the camera tracks towards him he is frozen to the spot. Every natural instinct brought him to help the boy. But now he knows his identity the Doctor doesn’t know what to do, demonstrating a vulnerability we haven’t really seen since the Fifth Doctor. Roll titles.

In the future Davros is dying. His servant Colony Sarff seeks the Doctor but the Time Lord has done a runner. Clearly he’s avoiding what he’s done. Strange things are happening on Earth too but yet even the Doctor’s best friends can’t find him. But when they do he sure does make an entrance!

Memorable Moment 2 (Spoiler Warning)

Wielding an ‘axe’ and riding a tank is surely one of the most entertaining entrances that the Doctor has ever made. Although not from the younger mould of his two predecessors, there is still something very cool about Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. Perhaps it’s the shades, hoody and t-shirt combo?

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Davros (Julian Bleach) - Doctor Who Series 9 Ep1 - the Magicians Apprentice (c) BBC
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Davros (Julian Bleach) – Doctor Who Series 9 Ep1 – the Magicians Apprentice (c) BBC

After the entertaining meandering with the consistently brilliant Michelle Gomez, the Doctor is finally brought face to face with Davros. Writer Steven Moffat admitted that he wanted to write more scenes of the Doctor and Davros together, hence this story. His reasoning is obvious as the chemistry between Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach is electric but more of that in part two. This episode needs a cliffhanger.

Memorable Moment 3 (Spoiler Warning)

The revelation that the trio are actually on Skaro is brilliantly done and all the Daleks look beautiful in their variety of colour schemes. Critically the opening scene of the episode serves a purpose in the finale as the apparent extermination of Missy and Clara makes the Doctor pointing a Dalek weapon and threatening extermination of the young Davros. For a character who traditionally abhors violence to be holding a gun at all is a grave visual, let alone the fact that it is being directed at a child.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) - Doctor Who - The Magician's Apprentice (c) BBC
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) – Doctor Who – The Magician’s Apprentice (c) BBC

It is a bold start to the new series. Ticking the crowd-pleasing box of including the Daleks. Appeasing dedicated fandom by featuring classic and new Dalek variants and bringing back Davros. But more grippingly it is the emotional rollercoaster that the Doctor embarks upon which engages the viewer. Crucial to this is the impeccable performance of leading man Peter Capaldi, cementing himself as perhaps the finest actor to take on the role of the Doctor. He portrays cool and comedic but also broken and desperate with equal skill and flair. It is episodes like this that makes us grateful for his casting on Doctor Who and dispel any misgivings about his suitability for the role.

Cast:

The Doctor – Peter Capaldi
Clara – Jenna Coleman
Missy – Michelle Gomez
Colony Sarff – Jami Reid-Quarrell
Kate – Jemma Redgrave
Jac – Jaye Griffiths
Mike – Harki Bhambra
Bors – Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
Boy – Joey Price
Kanzo – Benjamin Cawley
Mr Dunlop – Aaron Neil
Ohila – Clare Higgins
Voice of the Daleks – Nicholas Briggs
Shadow Architect – Kelly Hunter
Alison India – Ria Amarteifio
Ryan – Dasharn Anderson

Crew:

Writer – Steven Moffat
Director – Hettie Macdonald
Producer – Peter Bennett
Executive Producer – Steven Moffat
Executive Producer – Brian Minchin

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