Could the Daleks return for the Doctor Who New Year special? – UPDATED

Showrunner Chris Chibnall may have dropped a few hints about the tinpot terrors’ return - and the New Year's Day special may contain a few clues as well

Jodie Whittaker and a Dalek Supreme (Doctor Who, BBC)

Doctor Who foes the Daleks didn’t make a return in this year’s series, with every episode of the sci-fi series including a new monster instead – but now, that could be about to change.

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“There are no old monsters this series, OK?” Chibnall told RadioTimes.com before the series started. However, as the news of a New Year’s Day Doctor Who special broke, we began to wonder. What about any episode that technically aired AFTER the series had ended, like this new special? Could the Daleks turn up then?

And if that’s true, has Chris Chibnall been secretly hinting at this possibility all along?

Not sure what we’re referring to? Well, let us explain. When appearing at San Diego Comic-con over the summer Chibnall gave the first hints that a New Year’s Day special was on the cards, by suggesting that despite having filmed the new series in its entirety there was still some work going on.

“We seem to be filming 11 episodes, and it’s only a series of ten,” Chibnall joked during a press conference, with executive producer Matt Strevens chiming in: “I don’t know what happened. It’s a show about space and time, so it’s all quite abstract.”

“I would definitely think there’s another episode after the end of the series, yeah,” Chibnall added.

And when asked about the Daleks’ appearance, Chibnall gave an answer that didn’t exactly rule out their return in the New Year’s episode they were currently filming.

“We’ve got two weeks left of shooting, and we haven’t seen them yet,” Chibnall said coyly.

Daleks and Jodie Whittaker (with Bradley Walsh) in Doctor Who (BBC, HF)
Daleks and Jodie Whittaker (with Bradley Walsh) in Doctor Who (BBC)

But for the purposes of our increasingly mainstream Dalek conspiracy theory it’s another thing he said that makes all the difference.

Because after stating they were a no-show this time around, Chibnall noted cheekily that it was only “this year” (emphasis on the ‘this’) that the deadly pepperpots were being left on the intergalactic spice rack.

By that logic, wouldn’t the 1 January 2019 count as next year – and be the perfect time for the Daleks to make their grand return in front of a massive, slightly hungover audience?

And then there’s the newly-released New Year’s Day special trailer, which teases a truly terrifying alien monster that’s sounding more and more like a Dalek to us…

“This is the DNA of the most dangerous creature in the universe,” Whittaker says in the footage. “It’s not gonna stop until it’s taken control of this planet.”

“It’s gonna kill anyone that gets in its path.”

“Does it have a name?” asks Bradley Walsh’s Graham, to silence from the Doctor – though if we’d waited just a few moments longer, we wouldn’t have been surprised if Whittaker uttered the word we’ve been waiting for for so long.

And THEN there’s the confirmed New Year’s Day special title, Resolution. Sure, it doesn’t have anything to do with our favourite denizens of Skaro – but a few fans have noted that this title feeds quite nicely into the ____ of the Daleks word structure that often accompanies episodes starring the species. It’s not SUCH a crazy idea that the BBC are giving us a hint with us, is it?

And if it does turn out to be true, a Dalek return could work perfectly. Finally having Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor face one of the Time Lord’s greatest foes would be a great way to round off her first run of episodes and kick off the New Year, and might make fans feel better about the long wait for the next full series in 2020.

The Daleks returning in all their glory would also provide the huge impact such a prestigious and populist TV time slot deserves, promising something that both dedicated Doctor Who fans and a wider casual audience could get on board with – after all, everyone knows the Daleks!

Of course, until nearer the time (or possibly after the episode itself) it’s unlikely we’ll know whether we’re right, or whether we’ve just taken a load of Chris Chibnall quotes much too seriously – but for now our #Dalekwatch continues

This article was originally published on 15 November 2018

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Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on New Year’s Day