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The third Doctor Who TV movie so far, Deep Breath saw Peter Capaldi's debut as the Doctor in the show and like Day of the Doctor was released in cinemas as well as broadcast on TV. Unlike Day of the Doctor, it also served as the first episode of series 8; a strong series for the show which saw a number of the new series' best episodes.
Deep Breath is the story of Clara struggling to come to terms with this new Doctor as he recovers from post-regeneration trauma. Meanwhile, a group of Clockwork Droids from the SS Madam De Pompadour's sister ship the SS Marie Antoinette are trying to find their way to the 'promised land' and using a restaurant as their base to harvest people so they can use them as spare parts to replace any they are using that are currently rotting. This is arguably one of the darkest episodes of Doctor Who as it sees a ship made out of human skin and the film's main clockwork enemy Half-Face Man impaled on a spire. It is nice to see the show explore such dark themes with the Clockwork Droids even if their return was surprising given their last appearance before Deep Breath was eight years ago in The Girl In The Fireplace. This reviewer hopes to see them return again as they are among the most intriguing of the new series' creations but whether they will or won't is anybody's guess.
The writing is up to Steven Moffat's brilliant standards, however it never reaches the highs of Day of the Doctor. It is also a little too slowly paced and doesn't quite have the same cinematic feel of the TV Movie and Day of the Doctor. Director Ben Wheatley does a great job however (as he does in the next episode Into The Dalek) and we can only hope he returns to direct another episode of the show at some point. Maybe Steven Moffat's final episode?
Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are brilliant as the Doctor and Clara; Jenna Coleman in particular giving a very believable and engaging performance as someone who no longer knows who her friend is (although it can be argued that her response to regeneration is out of character for Clara because she has seen every regeneration of the Doctor up to 11 and therefore should expect that he changes his face once in a while anyway). The Paternoster Gang are also on top form; I will admit that I wasn't sure on them in their first appearance in A Good Man Goes To War but they have grown on me, especially Dan Starkey, who is absolutely hilarious as Strax. It's a shame that they haven't returned since during Peter Capaldi's era as I think they work well as supporting characters.
Oh, and I can't write a review about any episode of series 8 without mentioning the music. Murray Gold's music here is on par with what he produced for the Specials: absolutely incredible. Every piece is stunning and whilst there's no track to beat Vale Decem, it is easily Murray Gold's best music produced for Steven Moffat's era.
Overall, Deep Breath is a brilliant introductory TV movie for Peter Capaldi's Doctor unfortunately let down by a slow pace and not enough of a cinematic feel for something that was shown in cinemas.