Here’s What The Doctor Who Companion Thought of The Pilot!

It’s been one whole week since Doctor Who Series 10 debuted. The Pilot introduced Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts, and for her, the adventure continues for 11 more episodes!

But what did we think? In our full review, James Baldock said:

“This is an episode that works, largely because by and large it doesn’t try to do too much. The cast are a big help – Capaldi is comfortable and self-assured as the Doctor, and his support make the most of what they have – but the strength of The Pilot lies in its concept of space, in a strictly terrestrial sense. It introduces new characters and gives them breathing room – hence the Doctor and Bill are flung together not by impossible forces, but by a sense of mutual loneliness and the driving need to explore.”

We asked the rest of the DWC team what they thought…

Joe Siegler

An Unearthly Child. Spearhead From Space. Rose. The Eleventh Hour. The Pilot. We’ve had a few “starting points” in the show’s history, so this past weekend’s episode was yet another. Moffat said it was intentionally a “jumping on” point, and that’s cool. For those of us familiar with the 800+ episodes, there’s a lot to like there too. The “Cup O’ Sonics”, the pics of River and Susan, the throwback to The War Machines with the ‘out of order’ sign, the Shada reference to having a professor with a TARDIS in his study, the Movellans… Lots old school to like here.

As for new school, I liked Bill. Lots of potential, and so far, no family in sight, which would be a welcome change. Also would like a companion that stays in the TARDIS, and doesn’t stay home and is picked up all the time. The actual “pilot” part was a cool story, but wasn’t going to be super heavy as they spent most of their time dealing with Bill.

Hell, I even liked Nardole, so there’s lots of good promise for this season (especially given what we know is coming). Bring on the emojis!

Richard Forbes

With my copy of The Pilot in hand, I had the special privilege of introducing someone to the magic of Doctor Who this weekend. For its part, the premiere did as it said it would on the tin: introduce the viewer to the fundamentals and the humour of the show. The Doctor Who virgin in question found it an enjoyable ‘wetting of the feet’ – so in that sense: mission accomplished. Reviewing The Pilot is difficult in part because I’m inclined, like I was with Doctor Mysterio, to review Series 10’s potential rather than the actual episode itself. The Pilot didn’t have much in the way of a monster or a back story for its monster; the central tension of the episode was resolved in one short scene featuring some very dodgy CGI. But the episode did have a fresh quality to it, a sense that The Pilot is but a mere stepping stone to greater adventures that lie ahead for the show’s new companion, Bill Potts. My hope is that sense is right.

Simon Danes

Curmudgeon that I am, I was doing what you’re supposed never to do, and expecting something to be bad before I’d seen it. I wasn’t expecting anything more than mediocrity, and quite unfairly thought Bill was going to be a cardboard cut-out to hang smart-alec lines on: Moffat’s silly quips which jar the action and make it impossible to suspend your disbelief. I loved Capaldi in The Thick of It but never warmed to his Doctor: too self-consciously a performance and not a real person, with irritating staccato delivery and. Full stops in. All. The wrong places.

I was wrong. It was very good. Peter and Pearl both excellent. I eat my words and my hat.


Not enough Daleks.

James Lomond

Oh, Best Show In The World… how I’ve missed you!

The Pilot was just lovely. It gave me everything I wanted except for epic underwater battles between Sea Devils and Aqua-Daleks (dear Mr Chibnall…)

Capaldi seems to have properly settled into the role, Bill is fab and makes far more sense alongside the professorial Twelfth Doctor. I couldn’t fault Pearl Mackie who delivered naturalness, warmth, adventurousness, and vulnerability with ease.

There’s a Gallifreyan mystery under a university, new blood in the TARDIS, and no weighty emotional baggage. I’m very happy.

Peter Shaw

Flicking through the channels Saturday evening I stumbled on this new BBC1 show, Doctor What. It’s about a canteen girl who gets embroiled with a loony silver-fox university lecturer who’s going through a midlife crisis. I think it’s a spin-off from that BBC Three sci-fi thing about a bunch of school kids – although they’ve brought in a writer who makes it more quirky to appeal to a younger audience. The old bloke has a comedy robot butler, does safe cracking as a sideline, and owns a magical lift that makes you think you’ve travelled across the universe. I quite liked this pilot episode. Hope it makes it to a full series…

Philip Bates

I’ve been looking forward to Series 10: the previous couple of series haven’t really worked for me on the whole, but this upcoming run of stories looks so fresh and interesting. And that’s exactly what The Pilot delivered!

What a wonderful character piece, full of lovely ideas, humour, heart, an ounce of horror, and topped off with Peter Capaldi comparing physics and poetry. Lovely. Pearl Mackie has really impressed, and I’m hoping Heather (Stephanie Hyam) returns because she’s gorgeous. Uhm, as a character, I mean. Obviously. Ahem.

Mez Burdett

Probably the best thing about The Pilot is how it seems like a fresh start whilst still remaining fundamentally the same. Pearl Mackie is wonderfully innocent and new to the world of Doctor Who, helping viewers old and fresh gain even more love for the show. Peter Capaldi has developed his Doctor even further to finally give us the definitive version of the Gallifrey’s most infamous child as he should have been from Series 8 onwards. But best of all were the scares. The eye in the shower, the unending chase across time and space, and all coming from one little puddle by a University. Steven Moffat has proved that after 10 years of writing Doctor Who, he still has the power to get children and adults across the world scared of the everyday things you never take notice of in the corner of your eye.

Simon Mills

The Pilot was a most excellent start to a season, in my opinion. On a par with Rose in its assuredness in setting up the characters and situation as if the show was returning anew from a looong break. Like Rose, the story was fairly simplistic but took its time to introduce Bill to us, the audience, and to the world of the Doctor (and Nardole). Nardole isn’t as annoying as I thought he would be and provided some genuine chuckles along the way. Loving the Doctor’s desk and the photos on it… I can understand River Song being on there, but why Susan? Why her, in particular? Is this foreshadowing…?

Thomas Spychalski

Did The Pilot drive my love of Peter Capaldi’s take on the Doctor further of did it crash and burn?

For a series opener. it was more than decent, although it did seem to take a bit of time to really get a full head of steam going.  But that’s perfectly fine as the new companion Bill got a Russel T Davies style introduction that allowed the character to be a bit more well-rounded than Clara, and she was a breath of fresh air as well.  If the rest of Series 10 is as good or better than the first entry, we are in for quite a ride.

Matt Badham

The Pilot was just what I needed in these doom-laden times. Enough of Trump. Enough of Brexit. Enough of immigrant-bashing. Enough of austerity and endless cuts. I needed some fun and that’s what this episode provided. Bill was fun. The Doctor was fun. Nardole was fun too and I haven’t really liked him before! I hope the whole series continues in this vein because I need 45 minutes of (intelligent!) escapism on a Saturday night like never before. It’s definitely a time for heroes and these heroes will do very nicely, as far as I’m concerned!

Generally, The Pilot has had a very positive reception. But how will the rest of the series pan out? The next chapter, Smile, begins at 7:20pm tonight on BBC One.