By now, Doctor Who fans know that New Year's Day's Festive Special "Revolution of the Daleks" finds the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) locked away in a space prison, leaving Captain Jack (John Barrowman) and Yaz (Mandip Gill), as well as series-departing Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) to save the Earth from the machinations of the Daleks. But which version of the Daleks will our heroes be facing this time? For clues to the answer to that question and others, showrunner Chris Chibnall and executive producer Matt Strevens spoke with RadioTimes about what viewers can expect from the Doctor's arch-enemies.
As we mentioned in previous posts, something viewers should know about "Revolution of the Daleks" is that it's pulling double-duty: serving as both a stand-alone episode as well as a sequel to 2019's "Resolution (of the Daleks)." In fact, from what Chibnall and Strevens had to say, it sounds like a rewatching before "Revolution" might be in order. "I kept to using just one Dalek in 'Resolution' because they're powerful things singly anyway, so that's fun just to be able to give one that space. But also I was planning to bring them back in greater numbers for this episode," Chibnall revealed. "We knew that when we said goodbye to the Reconnaissance Dalek, when it was jettisoned out of the Tardis doors into a supernova at the end of 'Resolution,' that that would not be the end of it. Chris already had the idea of this return, that the next time we see the Daleks, it'd be straight into a sort of origin story for the version in our era of the series."
When it came to designing a new look for the iconic villains, Chibnall wanted to make sure that they went with a look that would be unique while still staying true to the Daleks. "We wanted something sleek, shiny and powerful, and slightly different from any Dalek you've seen before," he revealed. "There's always a pressure when you refresh any Doctor Who monster. But equally, that's part of the job and that's part of what keeps it new and interesting." That said, neither Chibnall nor Strevens are looking to replace what came before them. "You're never replacing what's gone before, you're just adding a new variant," Chibnall explained. "It's just this story is about these black and red Daleks, which light up at night and do all sorts of things." Strevens agrees, adding, "You want to contemporize them, and make them hold up to scrutiny under modern filming techniques, and to look as high-end as you possibly can. You can't stray too far from the classic design – but then what can you do within that? How can you make them feel different, and relevant, and sexy, and lethal as well?"
Looking ahead to Series 13, is it possible that the domed big-bads could make a return? Chibnall wouldn't say- but he did confirm that some familiar faces of the monster persuasion will be making their returns. "Yes, more monsters are coming back. There are ones who've appeared over the past 15 years that are deserving of another visit in the next series. In fact, they're probably formulating their plans as we speak…"
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."