Doctor Who: Season 5, Episode 1

The Eleventh Hour (17 Apr. 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 3,384 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 11 critic

With his TARDIS in ruins, the newly-regenerated Doctor with the help of Amy Pond must save the world in less than twenty minutes from galactic policemen known as the Atraxi.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr Ramsden
Perry Benson ...
Ice Cream Man
Arthur Cox ...
Mother (as Olivia Coleman)
Eden Monteath ...
Child 1
Merin Monteath ...
Child 2
David de Keyser ...
Atraxi (voice)
William Wilde ...
Prisoner Zero (voice)


Having Just regenerated the Doctor arrives in a small English village where he meets a seven year old Scottish girl called Amelia Pond. Fascinated and puzzled by the mysterious and bizarre stranger who claims to be a time traveler. Amelia finds her self caught up in a adventure involving an escaped alien convict and the Atraxi who are in pursuit of it. And if the Doctor doesn't act soon the world will end in twenty minutes...but that won't happen for another twelves years! Written by Robert McElwaine

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 April 2010 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


The opening sequence, in which the Doctor barely hangs onto the crashing TARDIS as it flies over London, was later added to the script to bridge from the conclusion of The End of Time to the TARDIS's crash into Amy's garden. Steven Moffat thought it would be funny if they showed him hanging out of the TARDIS and nearly crashing into London, which would start an episode set in a small town in a big way. See more »


On the Leadworth hospital rooftop scene, the Doctor progressively throws away a variety of neckties as he whittles the options down. The last of these neckties is yellow, which we see in a frontal mid-shot. When the action switches to a long shot, the tie is not present. When he again switches to the frontal mid-shot, the tie reappears. Later in the same scene, Pearson has a similar problem. The wide shot of the departing Atraxi vessel shows Smith reaching into his coat pocket for the TARDIS key. When Pearson cuts back to a close-up of Smith, he hasn't yet reached into his pocket, and it takes several seconds for him to complete the same action from that angle. See more »


Amy Pond: And you kept the clothes.
The Doctor: Well I just saved the world... the whole planet for about the millionth time, no charge, yeah, shoot me, I kept the clothes.
Amy Pond: Including the bow tie.
The Doctor: Yeah, it's cool, bow ties are cool.
Amy Pond: Are you from another planet?
The Doctor: Yeah.
Amy Pond: Okay...
The Doctor: So what do you think?
Amy Pond: What?
The Doctor: Other planets. Wanna check some out?
See more »


Referenced in Forget About It: Harry Potter (2011) See more »


Doctor Who Theme
Written by Ron Grainer
Arranged by Murray Gold
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
See more »

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User Reviews

A promising opening
3 April 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The secret of Doctor Who's longevity is his ability to regenerate. It's also the secret of the programme's longevity. Every few years there's the chance to reset everything, tweak the format, fix what needs fixing. The challenge for the production team is not to lose what was working.

So. With "The Eleventh Hour", Steven Moffat takes over as show-runner, and with it comes a new Doctor, new companion, new TARDIS, even a new arrangement of the theme tune. At the same time, he's inherited a show that's in pretty good shape, despite a few obvious flaws.

Russell T. Davies resurrected a cult programme, made it essential family viewing, and attracted top quality production and performing talent. But his version was a bit prone to grandstanding when understatement would have been better (let's face it, all his dials went up to 11, and most of them only went down to 8); it was good at setup but more interested in the character relationships than resolving its plots in a coherent manner; and the attempts at setting up a series-long story arc were pretty ham-fisted. Oh, and the arrangement of the theme music lacked otherworldliness. It may sound like a small point, but Dr Who has one of the great TV themes and it deserves to be handled properly.

So as an episode, this one has a lot to do, and for the most part it delivers.

The plot, without giving too much away, isn't up there with Moffat's (and by extension, Who's) best like "Blink", but provides a strong enough framework for everything else that needs to happen. The basic premise is creepy, and opens up to provide both small scale and large scale jeopardy for the Doctor and Earth. More importantly, it packs a lot of character development into a single episode in an unforced manner and tees up a lot of layers to explore in the rest of the series. The way the Doctor overcomes the threat is tidy and functional. One element requires a little suspension of disbelief but there was a sense of logic and conviction that a lot of RTD-era episodes lacked. We also got some hints as to the plot arc for the series, properly built into the script and not tacked on as, say, random Ood prophecies.

It's very early days for Matt Smith, but the Doctor's Gallifreyan mantle sits easily on his shoulders and he delivered his lines with a confidence that belies both his age and his experience in the role. Actually, delivered is a bit harsh. Nailed would be more like it. You knew by the end of "The Christmas Invasion" that David Tennant would make a good Doctor. It took Smith perhaps two scenes. Encouragingly, his instinct seems to be to underplay when the easy option would be to go loud. The role would appear to be in good hands.

Karen Gillan had less scope in her first episode as new companion Amy Pond, but there was enough there to suggest that both the actress and the character will be able to keep pace with Smith. The plot neatly sets up a lot of questions about how the Doctor affects the lives of the people he meets, which will no doubt be a big source of character drama later in the season. And she looks great.

The script was another cause for encouragement. In previous seasons, the dialogue has delivered the character beats, but often relied on the acting talent to carry them off. Moffat is an accomplished sitcom writer (the original, UK version of Coupling was a real gem), and it shows here. The dialogue is sharp and witty, and the quality and quantity of good lines seems to help the cast to handle them deftly.

Overall, the changes were subtle, but almost all in the right direction. An opening episode has a lot to do, and this one made good use of its hour without quite being top drawer. But it feels like there's a lot of powder being kept dry for the rest of the season, and the fuse has been lit.

I have only one gripe: the remix of the theme tune. When will someone see sense and ask Radiohead to do a proper job?

35 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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