Doctor Who returned to screens tonight as part of Children in Need, with a special five-minute scene featuring the Daleks and their creator Davros.


The scene was set early in the Daleks' history, when Davros was still developing the prototype of his 'Mark III Travel Machine'.

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Davros, played once again by Julian Bleach, looked different to to how viewers might remember him – and while fans might have assumed that's simply because this particular scene was set prior to the accident that left the character scarred and reliant on his support unit, Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has explained that there was more to it than that.

The image depicts Julian Bleach as Davros, with a stern expression, and Mawaan Rizwan as Mr. Castavillian, both in dark sci-fi uniforms against a backdrop with illuminated panels from "Doctor Who"
Julian Bleach as Davros and Mawaan Rizwan as Mr. Castavillian in Doctor Who BBC

Speaking on new BBC Three companion series Doctor Who Unleashed, Davies said: "We had long conversations about bringing Davros back, because he's a fantastic character, [but] time and society and culture and taste has moved on. And there's a problem with the Davros of old in that he's a wheelchair user, who is evil. And I had problems with that. And a lot of us on the production team had problems with that, of associating disability with evil. And trust me, there's a very long tradition of this.

"I'm not blaming people in the past at all, but the world changes and when the world changes, Doctor Who has to change as well.

"So we made the choice to bring back Davros without the facial scarring and without the wheelchair – or his support unit, which functions as a wheelchair.

"I say, this is how we see Davros now, this is what he looks like. This is 2023. This is our lens. This is our eye. Things used to be black and white, they're not in black and white anymore, and Davros used to look like that and he looks like this now, and that we are absolutely standing by."

Davies added that Children in Need night felt like the perfect opportunity to debut the reimagined Davros.
"It's a night where issues of disability or otherness or being excluded from society come right to the front of the conversation. So of all the nights to make this change, I thought it was absolutely vital to do this. And I'm very, very, very proud of the fact that we have."

New episodes of Doctor Who will air on BBC One from Sunday 25th November 2023, with the first of three special episodes starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, and Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa’s first episode as the Fifteenth Doctor following over the festive period.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

For more, check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


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