I watched it last night. The one thing I was apprehensive about was that they'd pick up directly from the end of the Christmas special (with the Doctor falling through space), which wouldn't have been particularly new-viewer friendly. They didn't. They told the story from the point of view of four human character, who we got to know first. Then, when the Doctor quite literally drops into their lives, they are as confused as any new viewer would likely be.
Sometimes episodes which introduce new Doctors aren't the most new-viwer friendly. Sometimes episodes which introduce new companions aren't necessarily new-viewer, either. But when they introduce a new Doctor and a new companion (or companions) at the same time, it's necessary to slow down and kind of re-introduce the concept. (Actually, in this case, new viewers would be more up-to-speed than new companions if they k now anything about Doctor Who at all.)
In answer to your question, the doctor has the same memories (although the process of regeneration can leave the Doctor somewhat disoriented), and he (or now "she") has the same values, but the Doctor's personality is usually quite different. To me, Jodie Whitaker's performance draws quite heavily on that of David Tennant, certanly one of the most popular of the new series' Doctors.
It's often said that whichever Doctor one sees first becomes "his" or "her" Doctor. You've procrastinated long enough. It's time to dive in. Jodie Whitaker may likely become "your" Doctor.
“…nothing here seemed remotely new.”
While I’m here I might as well address Richard’s comments as well. I agree that there’s little new here for old viewers, but I suspect the new showrunner took as many of the elements of the revived series that worked and top-loaded them into the first episode. Besides, there were at least some Easter eggs for old viewers. I spotted some; when Bob gets the opportunity to see it, he’ll spot more.
"Substitute Whittaker for any of the NewWho Doctors and the episode wouldn't seem markedly different."
One more thing before others start weighing in: it's not the format of the show I found particularly new and different; it's Jodie Whitaker's performance as the Doctor which I found refreshing. I hope this episode put to rest all of the onjections to a female Doctor from internet nay-sayers. (Yeah, right... like that's gonna happen.)
For those who are interested, I've created a spoiler thread for the first episode here.
I'm so jazzed... we're heading into NYC tonight to see Hotsy Totsy Burlesque's tribute to Doctor Who!
Well, that was fun... while it lasted.
That's why I don't allow myself to become too excited about Doctor Who on television: 10 episodes and POOF! It's gone. There will be one additional special (on New Year's Day), the the show disappears until 2020.
Me, I'll be following The Time War and The Diary of River Song and The Further Adventures of Lucie Miller (and others) on audio.