I have just seen Doctor Who: Eve Of The Daleks. There are thoughts to be had and to be shared. And yes, spoilers, obviously. That's the way things work…
1. Every Planet's Got A North
The TARDIS never lands where and when it is meant to. Never. The Cloister Bell sounds as the TARDIS cracks. Well, they are in Manchester. Sorry Dan, we're not in Liverpool. And Yaz – I mean Sheffield – Manchester is still in Lancashire, across the Pennines from Yorkshire. The rivalries and xenophobia may not be as apparent to those from other shores, planets, or the South. But Dan and Yaz have been knocking around together for three years in the past, probably longer than the Doctor and Yaz have. This is why dissing Dan is Yaz's job, not anyone else's; there's a bond – just a different one that she has for the Doctor.
2. Nick, The First Human Killed By A Dalek On New Year's Eve
And Sarah is the second. Talk about first footing. These are execution Daleks. As opposed to the usual pacifist Daleks I guess. But these Daleks – and their merchandisable weapons variants are just for killing humanoids like humans of Time Lords – or whatever the Doctor is. They have Gatling Dalek guns and are resistance to TARDIS sonic screwdriver technology. Thankfully the TARDIS keeps resetting time and turning itself on and off as part of the update. Just went through the same thing for Windows 11. And yes, the Sarah and Nick relationship is weird, but people do get thrown together in weirder ways and in even weirder circumstances in Doctor Who. Oh, yes, and Nancy Wilson singing What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? from 1963, 59 years ago, and the year that Doctor Who began. 60th anniversary next year along with the BBC's 100th.
3. We've Been Here Before With Doctor Who
It's not the first time the Doctor has been caught in a time loop. In Meglos, the Doctor and Romana broke a time loop by deliberately recreating the events of the loop out of phase with the loop itself. In the Claws Of Axos, The Doctor puts himself and Axos in a time loop, thereby dooming them to relive the same few seconds in time for all eternity. Or as long as it takes to play a game of Monopoly, but each time both sides get to collect £200. The Doctor is able to escape by breaking the TARDIS out of the loop before its first iteration can complete, but Axos, lacking the ability to time-travel by itself, isn't so lucky. Of course, all of this was before Groundhog Day. Will we ever be able to break out of the time loop that keeps giving us time loop stories all the time? This is less of a Groundhog Day more like a Russian Doll as, the amount of time the Doctor and her friends have to reach a solution to the warehouse time loop trap they find themselves in decreases by one minute every time the loop is reset. I once wrote a Doctor Who story for the comic book line called Room With A Deja View. Storage Room With A Deja View would have been even better. I'd have been happy to gift it.
4. Seven Minutes To Midnight And Counting Down
Why Midnight? Why does the time loop care about midnight in England? Does it really want to watch the countdown on Jools Holland's Hootenanny like the Doctor does? Don't we all? Could it be, and yes I'm going for the No-Prize here, that the TARDIS has become attuned to humanity and its obsession with the flip between one day and the other, and one year and the other, on New Year's Eve, and has baked that into its reset protocols? And it's only with the death of the Doctor that the reset happens? The time loop survives the death of Sarah, or Nick, of Yas and Dan – even the Daleks – but it's only the Doctor's death that triggers it again.
5. Storage Room With A Deja View
See? It totally works. And the Doctor goes MacGuyver, with a little suicide thrown in. There's lots of stuff, on various levels, it just has to be all brought together with a temporal pincer movement. Okay, maybe she didn't watch Jools, but streamed Tenet. At least the Doctor gets to tell the story about what they are planning, one revolution ahead. And making story logic explicit because that's what stories are…
6. Doctor Who And The Three Daleks
Is this the first multi-Dalek story? If the Dalek can survive the time loop and find a way to return, is this the same Dalek we are seeing again and again, double, tripling, quintipulating itself each successive time? Five of them? I didn't know when I was well off. Oh, and the "I am not Nick" line? Yes, he is; Nicholas Briggs has been voicing the Daleks for decades now…
7. Is The Entirety Of Chris Chibnall's Doctor Who A First Date Or A Meet Cute?
To quote Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Code
The Doctor: Come on, we can all have a good flirt later.
William Shakespeare: Is that a promise?
The Doctor: Oh, fifty seven academics just punched the air.
That was a reference to the many theories and speculation regarding Shakespeare's sexuality, specifically his relations with the "fair youth" in his poetry. Well, there are far more academics who have concentrated on the relationship between Yas and The Doctor. And today it turned from subtext into text, even if it is a text that the Doctor is refusing to address. Well, we have two more specials in 2022 to go. But in the end, is Yas anything more to the Doctor than a pet? Was Rose?
8. The Day Of Nick
Ducking and letting the Daleks shoot each other is basically what the Doctor – the Doctors – did in the Day Of The Daleks by making Gallifrey disappear as the Daleks attacked it. Worked on a micro as well as a macro scale, though maybe, just maybe, when building these new Dalek Gatling Guns to kill fleshy humanoids, they should maybe have made themselves impervious to the new weapon? At least Nick gets the best "Exterminate" line of all time.
9. A Better Dalek Strategem
What would happen if the Daleks could let the humans and Time Lord survive until after midnight and then kill them all, before they get to the TARDIS and escape? Or just let the Doctor survive until then to make for an easier shot, without the chaff? No time loop to reset and they win. But if they kill the Doctor before midnight, she gets another chance, and finally takes it. Is it just in their nature that if the Doctor is there, they can't not try and kill her, even if it is self-defeating? And hey, they did manage to kill the Doctor more times in one night than ever before. I guess we'll see the return of the Dalek Gatling gun.
10. The Doctor Remember Remembers…
The Doctor remembers meeting Guy Fawkes in The Gunpowder Plot adventure game, it seems, noting the amount of explosives and comparing it to 1605 when Fawkers and fellow Catholic conspirators sought to blow up Parliament and failed. Looks like she had a hand in that as well.
Sea Devils to come!
Eve of the Daleks
New Year's Eve. Sarah is working – again. Nick is her only customer – again. Same old same old. Except this year, their countdown to midnight will be the strangest and deadliest they have ever known. Why is an executioner Dalek targeting these two people, in this place, on this night? Why are they having to live through the same moments again? Can the Doctor, Yaz and Dan save them and survive into the New Year?
Written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Annetta Laufer, Eve of the Daleks premieres on New Year's Day 2022 on BBC One at 7pm GMT and on BBC America at 2pm and 8pm ET.
The Doctor: Jodie Whittaker
Yasmin Khan: Mandip Gill
Dan Lewis: John Bishop
Sarah: Aisling Bea
Nick: Adjani Salmon
Mary: Pauline McLynn
Voice of the Daleks: Nicholas Briggs
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Director: Annetta Laufer
Producer: Sheena Bucktowonsing
Executive Producer: Matt Strevens
Executive Producer: Nikki Wilson
Executive Producer: Chris Chibnall