As promised, Sunday brought the premiere of the official trailer for Doctor Who Festive Special "Revolution of the Daleks"- including the return of a familiar face and a different take on an all-too-familiar enemy. The adventure finds the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) locked away in a space prison, leaving the recently-announced Captain Jack (John Barrowman) to team up with the Doctor's TARDIS fam of Yaz (Mandip Gill), Graham (Bradley Walsh), and Ryan (Tosin Cole) to save the Earth from the machinations of the Daleks. But which version of the Daleks will the Doctor, Jack, Yaz, Graham, and Ryan be dealing with this time? And by the time the smoke clears, the TARDIS will be minus Graham and Ryan.
That's right, the holiday special will be the last on-screen adventure for the duo- and now Walsh and Cole are offering viewers a bit more insight into their final run. "It is very, very dramatic. It is very sad. It is quite sad and poignant is the word. You can expect a lot of poignancy from the episode," revealed Bradley. "Emotional" was how Cole described his finale scene, though he also admitted, "I was looking forward to having a rest though."
As for his personal highlights from his time on the show, Walsh has a number of people to thank. "Working in Wales with everyone on the crew. I have absolutely loved it, loved it. Wales has become like a second home to me and being included in something so iconic and ground-breaking with the advent of having a female Doctor, that whole thing where Chibnall sold that to me, it didn't disappoint, and I loved working with those guys," he revealed. "I love working with Chris Chibnall, that man is a genius but to also be working with Mandip and Tosin and of course Jodie is just extraordinary."
When it comes to what they'll miss the most, Cole looks to the show's crew and the fans who've remained faithful. "There are too many things to list here, but it has to be the team on the screen and behind it as well as the amazing fans. It's been an honor to work on such a cultural institution with fans across the world," he explained. "The people like me on the screen come and go, but it's the people behind the scenes and the fans that will always be there keeping the Doctor Who world alive and exciting." As for Walsh? "Everyone and everything. We are now in constant contact, texting, Whatsapping. I miss them all. I was texting the location guys across the airwaves. Happy days. Fantastic memories. Our times abroad, when we were in Spain, South Africa. I just loved it."
Here's what Whittaker had to say about Walsh and Cole's departure: "On a personal note, absolutely devasted! Both of them had to carry me to my trailer, I haven't cried like that for such a long time. Brad couldn't cope with it at all! Tosin was like 'I really can't cope with you getting this upset'."
Viewers last saw the Thirteenth Doctor at the end of season 12, where her fate was left hanging in the balance as she was locked away in a high-security alien prison with no hope of escape. In the upcoming New Year's Day special, Yaz, Ryan and Graham are far away on Earth and having to carry on with their lives without her. However, they soon discover a disturbing plan forming. A plan which involves a Dalek. How can you fight a Dalek without the Doctor? Even with Captain Jack's help, the gang are set to face one of their biggest and most frightening challenges yet.
Joining the special are Chris Noth (Sex and the City), who will be back as the disgraced Jack Robertson. Dame Harriet Walter (Killing Eve, Succession) will also be making her Doctor Who debut for the special, alongside television star Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (The Trial of Christine Keeler). "We've crammed this year's Doctor Who special with an explosion of extraordinary acting talent. Where else would you get British acting royalty, a globally renowned US screen star, an (inter)national treasure of stage and screen and one of Britain's hottest young actors — just in the guest cast," said series showrunner Chris Chibnall. "Put those together with Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, and Tosin Cole (and Daleks! Did I mention Daleks!) — and you get a cast to be exterminated for. And things will explode. Promise."
But that's not all, because as the excitement grows for the special, production is already underway on the 8-episode Series 13 (one that could air late 2021 or early 2022)- with Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens revealing to RadioTimes.com the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the work. The first thing viewers should know is that aside from there being three fewer episodes, the new series won't be able to have that global feel that the previous season had. "Basically, for the past six months we've been going, 'How do we make Doctor Who in the middle of a pandemic?'. We had to re-interrogate absolutely everything. We couldn't do [New Year's Day episode] 'Spyfall' this year. We won't be able to do overseas filming. Editorially, production-wise, logistically, health-and-safety-wise, it's had a massive impact."
Still, Chibnall's creative team is "incredibly excited" to be back at work, adding "as much as possible at the moment everybody's smiling, and we've got some really lovely, great, mad, scary ideas." While some of those ideas will be teased and touched upon in the special, most will play out during a 13th series that Strevens doesn't want viewers thinking of as "that COVID season." The executive producer explained, "The biggest thing is that when series 13 finally does air, whenever that is, we never want people to watch it under a caveat of COVID, going, 'Ah, well, but they made this during the pandemic,'."
Strevens continued, "We want to make sure that when you watch it, it's – no pun intended – timeless, and feels as exciting and as high-end as we've tried to make the series since we took over. That was the driving impulse behind looking at the narratives and reducing the number of episodes slightly: we want to make sure we can give people the biggest production values possible." Following that line of thought, Chibnall said he and the team understand that the world needs the Doctor back in it as soon as possible- safely, of course. "Obviously, every day is unknown. Who knows what the world's going to be like in three weeks or three months? But I think we're all going to want a big dose of Doctor Who escapism, and that's what we're aiming for – to bring a smile to people's faces. And also a bit of dread in their hearts for monsters," Chibnall explained.
"In this strangest of years, the 'Doctor Who' production team have worked wonders to get the show back into production. We're thrilled to be back making the show. Given the complexity of making Doctor Who, and with new and rigorous COVID working protocols, it's going to take us a little longer to film each episode, meaning we expect to end up with eight episodes, rather than the usual 11," Chibnall explained regarding production on Series 13 when news that it was underway was first announced. "But rest assured, the ambition, humor, fun, and scares you expect from 'Doctor Who' will all still be firmly in place. For everyone around the world, this is a challenging period – but the Doctor never shirks from a challenge!"
Strevens was excited to share the news that production on Series 13 had kicked off. "We are so thrilled to have unlocked the TARDIS, dusted down the sonic, and be able to start filming again for the next season of 'Doctor Who," said Strevens. "The amazing production team, crew, and cast have worked wonders to get us shooting again in these challenging times. It's going to be as fun-filled and action-packed as ever – with plenty of surprises.'