It’s fair to say that Doctor Who’s upcoming festive special is pretty eagerly awaited, even if we still don’t know that much about it.
Shot in 2019 and shrouded in secrecy the episode is still many months away from airing, with little detail beyond the title – Revolution of the Daleks – officially released by the BBC.
Still, perhaps that title is clue enough. In a new interview, series star Jodie Whittaker has suggested that fans should study the title closely, suggesting that it contains a real “hint” for what to expect from the episode’s storyline.
“I think I’m allowed to say what it’s called…it’s called Revolution of the Dalek[s],” she said on a three-way Doctor Who panel with ex-Doctors Matt Smith and David Tennant.
“There’s a bit of a hint in it. But that’s all I can say.”
Of course, Whittaker could be speaking fairly literally, with the “hint” referring to the already-confirmed presence of the Doctor’s deadliest foes in the episode – but what if it’s more than just “the Daleks” she’s referring to? After all, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard there’s more to the title than meets the eye(-stalk).
When we spoke to Dalek voice actor Nick Briggs, who filmed on the episode with Whittaker, he noted it was a particularly “apposite” name for what happened in the episode.
“All I can tell you is when the caption came up at the end of the last episode saying it was Revolution of the Daleks that was news to me, because when I read it it just had a code number on it so I didn’t know what it was called,” he told RadioTimes.com.
“But it is a very apposite title. It fits perfectly – but not in the way that you’d think. I can see why they’ve called it that.”
From this, there are a few possibilities. Does the name refer literally to a Dalek uprising against some other race, or a group of Daleks revolting against the Skaro status quo? And could that tie into leaked filming of one new “Recon” Dalek battling against a larger group of his bronze brothers?
Or is this too obvious a hint? What if instead, the “Re____ of the Daleks” formulation of the title is a hint back to three classic Who stories, namely Resurrection of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks?
It might sound far-fetched, but as we’ve argued before this specific title formulation has only previously been used for stories set within the long-ranging Dalek Civil War (where the Imperial Daleks took on the Renegade Daleks), with different Doctors getting tied up in the conflict during different periods of history.
What if Revolution of the Daleks is another much-delayed chapter in that story featuring another incarnation of the Doctor? Or even if it’s not a direct sequel, what if the spirit of the story is intended to evoke that of the earlier stories?
In classic Doctor Who fashion, there’s a lot to hypothesize from even the barest bones of information, and it’s eminently possible that when the episode rolls round we’ll find that both Whittaker and Briggs just thought it was great that a Dalek episode had the word “Daleks” in the title.
Personally, we’re still hanging on to our half-baked theories. If nothing else, it keeps us entertained until the episode arrives in the winter…
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One in late 2020/early 2021 – check out what else is on with our TV Guide