Doctor Who’s festive special is a secret sequel to another Dalek episode

Revolution of the Daleks follows directly on from another Doctor Who adventure, reveal series bosses.

Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who (BBC)

Upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special Revolution of the Daleks (which may not actually air on Christmas Day, of course) looks set to be a smorgasbord of Dalek action, with the poster for the episode featuring an army of the deadly alien baddies taking on the Doctor and her friends.

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Exactly what these new Daleks are up to or their plans are for planet Earth remain a closely-guarded secret, of course – but in a new Radio Times interview Doctor Who bosses Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens have offered some intriguing new clues for fans, disclosing that the special is a direct sequel to one of their earlier episodes.

“This story is essentially both a standalone episode and also a sequel to Resolution,” Chibnall told us, revealing that the events of the 2019 New Year’s special are key to this year’s follow-up.

“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.”

In Resolution, the TARDIS team (Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor alongside Mandip Gill, Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole) took on a lone Dalek that had been long-buried on Earth, eventually sending its rusting, homemade body into a supernova in the special’s closing moments.

However, it now seems this wasn’t the end of the Dalek threat, with executive producer Matt Strevens noting that this storyline is soon picked up in this year’s festive episode.

“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,” Strevens tells the new issue of Radio Times.

Revolution of the Daleks
The November 2020 Doctor Who preview issue of Radio Times

“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.”

Exactly how this “origin story” for the new-look Daleks will play out is unknown, though both Chibnall and Strevens pointed out that the glossy new design they’ve created for the tinpot terrors in Revolution of the Daleks is closer to the battered Resolution design than the style of Daleks we’ve seen in recent years. Clue alert!

Doctor Who New Year's Day (BBC)
Doctor Who New Year’s Day (BBC)

“It harks back to the Reconnaissance Dalek in Resolution,” Chibnall told Radio Times. “It’s almost like that might be a plot point…”

“We wanted the audience to see the origins in the Reconnaissance Dalek,” added Strevens.

“Because in a sense, that Dalek gives birth to this next iteration that we see in Revolution of the Daleks.”

In other words, it looks like high time for fans to dust off their DVDs (or just check out BBC iPlayer) for a Resolution rewatch to seek out any more hints about what to expect. If nothing else, it’s sure to get us all in the mood for some more Dalek carnage.

Listen to the latest RadioTimes.com Doctor Who podcast below:

Radio Times’ special Dalek preview issue is on sale now, and features exclusive behind-the-scenes details, images and interviews with the cast and crew.

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Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.