Story

Dr Who: Deep Breath is the movie version of Episode 1 in Season 8 of the Dr Who TV series.

The movie opens with a tyrannosaurus rex appearing out of nowhere and rampaging through Victorian London. The Doctor’s companions from past seasons – Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) and Strax (Dan Starkey) – arrive to investigate. Suddenly the dinosaur coughs up a blue police box, out of which clambers a newly regenerated and extremely disorientated Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and his current companion, ‘The Impossible Girl’ – Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman). Also observing the dinosaur is a mysterious alien android (Peter Ferdinado). The android has only half a face and cogs whirring around inside its head. It’s searching for human body parts to replace its own failing internal organs.

As the Doctor gets used to his new self, the rampaging dinosaur self-combusts, exploding in green flames. The Doctor discovers that it’s not only the dinosaur that has spontaneously burst into flames. It’s reported that many Londoners have also self-combusted. This leaves the Doctor with a puzzle to solve and a battle with the androids on his hands.

Themes

Time travel; aliens; androids; stealing human organs

Violence

Dr Who: Deep Breath has quite a lot of violence, including death. For example:

  • An android holds a pair of tweezers and a glass jar. He tells a man standing next to him that the man’s eyes are good and that his (the android’s) are bad. He then knocks the man to the ground and bends down towards the fallen man. We hear screaming, but we don’t see what happens.
  • A humanoid alien talks about melting the Doctor with acid.
  • In a comic scene, a humanoid alien throws a rolled newspaper to a woman leaning out of a window. It hits her in the head and knocks her down.
  • An alien talks about the Doctor having his throat cut by the violent poor.
    Threatening androids surround the Doctor and Clara and strap them to chairs, which descend a shaft to a chamber below.
  • An android threatens Clara and tells her that he will destroy her if she doesn’t tell him where the Doctor is. The android then pulls off his human hand and attaches a type of flamethrower, which he uses to menace Clara.
  • There is a stylised fight between two sword-wielding humans and some androids. The androids have sword-like blades in place of hands. The humans knock many androids to the ground, but the androids get up as if uninjured. At the end of the fight, the androids surround the humans and point swords at their throats.
  • An android hits the Doctor across the face, knocking him to the ground.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Dr Who: Deep Breath has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The rampaging tyrannosaurus rex in the opening scenes is scary.
  • There are several scary alien characters including a woman with a reptilian face; a short alien man with a bald head and three-fingered hands; and the android with half his human face missing, cogs whirring around inside his head and two human eyeballs moving about.
  • The Doctor rips a human face from an android’s head and puts it on Clara, who rips it off and throws it on the floor.
  • The Doctor is wearing the skin of a human head over his own head. He rips the human skin off and throws it onto the ground.
  • A hot-air balloon is made from patched-together human skin.
  • An android is impaled on the spike at the top of Big Ben.

From 5-8
Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by some of the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13
Younger children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

Dr Who: Deep Breath has some sexual innuendo and references. For example:

  • The Doctor refers to his companion Cara as his ‘lady friend’ and then says, ‘It’s just an expression – don’t get any ideas’.
  • A woman refers to an alien woman as her wife. She says that in public, for the sake of appearances, the alien woman pretends to be her maid.
  • A woman tells another woman that the Doctor looks like her dashing young gentleman friend and her lover.
  • The Doctor describes a female dinosaur as a ‘big sexy woman’.
  • While using a device to look inside Clara’s subconscious, a male alien says that he sees a lot of muscular men doing sport. He says, ‘It could be sport. Is that sport? It could be sport’.
  • While the Doctor and Clara are tied to chairs, Clara uses her feet to pick up the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and throw it at him. The screwdriver hits the Doctor in the groin. Clara asks, ‘Sorry did I hit something?’ The Doctor replies, ‘Oh the symbolism!’

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Dr Who: Deep Breath shows some use of substances. For example:

  • One scene shows glasses of wine on restaurant tables. Androids pretend to drink the wine.
  • The Doctor pours two glasses of scotch, one for himself and one for an android. Neither drinks the alcohol.

Nudity and sexual activity

Dr Who: Deep Breath has some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • A woman tells a second woman that she can share the oxygen in her lungs. The first woman then kisses the second woman on the lips for an extended period.
  • Women wear form-fitting suits and revealing clothing.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

Dr Who: Deep Breath includes some mild coarse language and name-calling.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Dr Who: Deep Breath is a science fiction drama aimed at teenagers and adult fans of the Dr Who series. As the first episode in the new season, the movie’s main aim is to introduce Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. He proves to be a very funny character with a strong Scottish accent, and he delivers some very clever and funny lines.

This movie seems darker than previous Dr Who episodes and is too scary for children under 10 years, as well as some older children. We recommend parental guidance for children under 13 years.

The main message from this movie is that it’s not outward appearance that makes people what they are – rather, inside is what counts.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Selflessness: the Doctor has been putting his life on the line for centuries to protect humanity from alien attackers. 
  • Care and companionship: the care and companionship of the people who travel with the Doctor make the Doctor recognise and appreciate the value of humanity and the need to protect it.

You could also talk about the way same-sex relationships in the Victorian period are portrayed and how things are the same or different today.