When new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall told Radio Times this week that Jodie Whittaker’s first Doctor Who series would feature “all-new monsters,” we were excited to see a new age of foes for the Thirteenth Doctor – even though we definitely expected a few classic monsters to make an appearance anyway.
But according to Chibnall that’s simply not the case, with even the Daleks – Doctor Who’s most iconic villains since the 1960s, who’ve appeared opposite nearly every Doctor to date – apparently being left out of series 11’s upcoming episodes.
“We’ve got two weeks left of shooting, and we haven’t seen them yet,” Chibnall told the crowd at San Diego Comic-Con during the Doctor Who panel.
Now, this could just be Chibnall being coy, perhaps ahead of a surprise return for the Daleks in a later episode (maybe even the series finale or the Christmas special) – but generally the screenwriter did seem fairly emphatic about the exclusion of familiar Doctor Who motifs, preferring an open approach for non-fans of the series.
“It’s a lot of new stuff this year,” he said. “I mean we’ve got ten standalone stories. We’ve got lots of new villains, lots of new monsters, lots of new characters for you to fall in love with.
“This year is the perfect jumping-on point for that person in your life who has never watched Doctor Who. I want you to go out there and recruit that person.
“It’s a great moment to bring everybody on board. It’s a big, inclusive, accessible mainstream series of 10 really varied, exciting standalone stories. So you won’t see very much from the past.
“There’ll be little things here and there which you guys are going to spot,” he added, “because we have a lot of love for the show and a lot of knowledge for the show.”
“Less old stuff returning, and more new treats,” he concluded.
In other words, then, it sounds like for the time being nods to Doctor Who lore will be largely limited to cheeky Easter Eggs for the hardcore fans, while the main stories deal with new threats.
Still, that’s not to say the Daleks et al will never return, with Chibnall noting cheekily that it was only “this year” that the deadly pepperpots were being left on the intergalactic spice rack.
And who knows? Maybe by the time the new series has finishes, we’ll just want to see more of the new monsters anyway…
Radio Times’ special Doctor Who preview issue, including exclusive interviews, photos and behind-the-scenes secrets, is on sale now
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news