We’ve only got one more episode to go in this series of Doctor Who, and from the sounds of it the finale will be a particularly epic adventure for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and her Tardis team.
But what’s actually going to happen in The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos? Who stars in it? And how will it feed into the New Year’s special?
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At the moment, details are surprisingly scarce – the BBC is keeping the plot under lock and key much more than usual – but after reviewing the evidence and chatting to some of the team behind the series, here’s what we DO know (and a few things we’re predicting) about episode 10.
What’s the story?
According to the BBC the episode will see the gang land on an enigmatic alien battlefield where there’s a strange mystery for them to solve, as you can see in the synopsis below.
On the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos, lies the remains of a brutal battlefield. But as the Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan answer nine separate distress calls, they discover the planet holds far more secrets. Who is the mysterious commander with no memory? What lies beyond the mists? Who or what are the Ux?
Sounds intriguing – and based on a few shots from the trailers, it also seems like the Doctor and her gang will be in plenty of danger during the episode, with quick shots of the characters running around with strange technology attached to their heads cropping up in the footage.
Still, we’re not too worried – thanks to newly-released pictures, we know the whole team survive to appear in the New Year’s Day special just a few weeks later.
What’s the episode like?
Speaking in the latest edition of the Radio Times magazine (on sale now) Mandip Gill described the finale as “big and explosive,” while co-star Tosin Cole noted that all four members of the main cast had a large part to play in their deadliest adventure yet.
“It’s a real team effort, showcasing the whole ensemble,” he told us.
“I think people are really going to enjoy it.”
“The big arc this year is the emotional journeys of of Graham, Ryan, Yaz and the Doctor”, showrunner Chris Chibnall added in a recent edition of Doctor Who Magazine.
“They’ve been through a lot emotionally. They’ve lost people. They’ve been thrown across the universe and seen all the thrills and spills, dangers and tough times that being with the Doctor can throw at you – and they’ve made a conscious decision to travel with her.”
“Who are these people now they’ve gone through at least nine – and many more unseen – adventures with the Doctor? The Doctor’s friends are going to be tested in episode ten: we’re going to see how far they’ve come, how much they’ve learned and whether they’re going to make mistakes at a crucial moment.”
Though of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty to do for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor as well…
“The inner steel and toughness of Jodie’s Doctor is on display a bit more in The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos,” Chibnall continued.
“You want to challenge the Doctor in every episode but particularly in a finale. Whoever you are, don’t mess with her.”
Who stars in it?
Alongside the usual cast, the episode guest stars Game of Thrones’ Mark Addy as Paltraki and Phyllis Logan as Andinio, and Mandip Gill was more than happy to reunite with her old co-star Logan.
“I’ve worked with Phyllis before on Good Karma Hospital, so it’s been really nice,” she said. “And obviously Mark’s a brilliant actor.”
“Mark was number one on our list to play Paltraki,” Chibnall said.
“I think he’s one of our finest actors – he’s got such strength and such humanity and such vulnerability and such truth. Paltraki is a mysterious character caught in a difficult situation and Mark absolutely nails the part.”
The episode also stars Percelle Ascott as Delph and Jan Le as Umsang.
Who are the monsters?
We don’t know which terrifying beasties the Doctor and co will be facing in the finale, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the return of the Stenza (aka the blue aliens with teeth on their faces who we met in the first episode) after they were hinted to play a bigger part earlier in the series.
And after all, the guttural voice we hear saying “You gave me my destiny” in the short Next Time trailer for the finale doesn’t sound a million lightyears away from the dulcet tones of Tzim-Sha/Tim Shaw, the Stenza warrior defeated and humiliated by the Doctor back in Sheffield…
When is the series finale on TV?
The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos will air on BBC1 on Sunday 9th December at 6.25pm, and runs for the usual 50 minutes.
However, it’s possible this timeslot could shift depending on plans to hold a Brexit debate between Britain’s main political parties on either BBC1 or ITV, on which point we’ll keep you updated.
Who made the episode?
Chris Chibnall wrote the episode, his first since episode five’s The Tsuranga Conundrum, and it was directed by Jamie Childs (who previously worked on The Woman Who Fell to Earth, Demons of the Punjab and penultimate episode It Takes You Away).
Why is this episode such a big secret?
More than any other, the BBC have been determined to keep details of this episode under lock and key – and according to Chris Chibnall, that’s all part of his grand plan for the series.
“It’s more emotional and surprising the less you know”, he said.
“We’re trying to take you on an emotional journey and if you want to have the maximum emotional experience, it’s best that everybody experiences the show at the same time, unspoiled.”
Better keep your diary clear on Sunday 9th December, then – we’re betting there are some MAJOR twists in this one.
Following the finale, fans will only have a few short weeks to wait until the hour-long Doctor Who special on January 1st 2019, and then after that we’ll probably have a much longer wait until series 12 comes to our TV screens.
Some speculation has suggested that we might even have to wait until 2020 before we see the further adventures of Jodie Whittaker’s Tardis team, though at the moment RadioTimes.com understands no decisions have been made about the series’ airdate.
Doctor Who continues on BBC1 on Sundays
This article was originally published on 2 December 2018