Doctor Who Series 10: why it’s time to tune back in as Pearl Mackie arrives and Peter Capaldi exits

Ben Travis
It's back: Doctor Who is returning for Series 10, and you really should watch it: BBC

If you’re a more casual viewer of Doctor Who, there’s a good chance you checked out of the TARDIS a few years ago.

Don’t worry, it’s not really your fault. Even the most hardened fans of the BBC’s long-running sci-fi drama would admit that it’s been a while since the show was truly accessible.

During the middle of Steven Moffat’s reign as showrunner – Series 6 in 2011, if we’re being exact – the show disappeared up a wormhole in its own behind for a while.

In attempting to replicate the season-long arc of American sci-fi shows, the British teatime hit lost its welcoming and adventurous tone in favour of over-complicated and under-explained mythology, convoluted plotting and unsympathetic characters.

But no more. It’s time to come back – Doctor Who really is good again.

Or at least it should be. The signs are all pointing to Series 10 being the perfect point for Doctor Who un-obsessives to jump back in to the adventures of the space-and-time-transcending alien and his travelling companions.

There are several reasons to get back involved – and one of the most important is Peter Capaldi. No, he’s not a posterboy like David Tennant, but the Scottish actor is really, properly, truly marvellous in the Doctor’s Doc Martens-style boots.

Series 9 was the best the show has been in years, probably since Matt Smith’s excellent debut. While that was partly down to a top crop of stories – often told as two-parters, sorting out the rushed pacing that has plagued much of Moffat’s era – it was also largely because Capaldi nailed every scene.

When the Thick of It actor joined the show, his darker energy seemed misconstrued by some writers, who penned the Doctor in Series 8 as an angry and sometimes genuinely mean curmudgeon. That was all smoothed out for Capaldi’s second series, with his eyes twinklier, his dialogue more playful, and keeping the intensity when it counted.

Sadly this is Capaldi’s final run – make the most of his performances while he’s still in the role.

Then there's the arrival of Bill Potts – played by relative newcomer Pearl Mackie. The introduction of a new companion is an ideal chance for new viewers to get involved.

“I think with Series 10 it’s a great place to start if you’ve never watched Doctor Who because Bill is so new to the world of Doctor Who,” Mackie explains.

“You kind of see everything through her eyes. So as she learns about it, you can learn about it too which I think is very exciting.”

Bill was devised as an access-point for audiences. Where Jenna Coleman’s Clara had a murky origin story that involved being scattered in space and time through the Doctor’s life, Bill is supposed to be, well, normal. It’s a grounding that works wonders for the show – the domesticity of Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble was key to their relatability.

If you needed any more reason to tune in, it’s this: John Simm is coming back as The Master.

10 years after leaving the role of the other last ever Time Lord, the Life on Mars actor is stepping back into the fray – and is set to star alongside Michelle Gomez, who took over the villainous role as ‘Missy’ at the start of Capaldi's era.

Gomez is a firecracker of a performer on the show, delivering big and camp, and nailing small and intense too. The prospect of her and Simm working together is tantalising.

Doctor Who is back in its rightful place as an Easter TV treat – and coming off the back of the best series in years, with an incredible Doctor, an intriguing new companion, and the surprise return of a classic, it’s finally time to step back aboard the TARDIS.

BBC One, Saturday, 7pm

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