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Doctor Who reveals intriguing "time loop" storyline for New Year's Day special

Eve of the Daleks will have an unusual structure – Doctor Who meets Groundhog Day, anyone?

Doctor Who
Published: Sunday, 5th December 2021 at 7:20 pm

It’s official – Doctor Who’s upcoming New Year’s special will be called Eve of the Daleks, with Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill and John Bishop battling the tinpot terrors alongside guest stars Adjani Salmon, Aisling Bea and Pauline McLynn.

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However, there’s a new twist on the “January 1st Dalek invasion” that the series has been so found of in recent festive specials – this time, it’s going all Groundhog Day.

Yes, according to a new synopsis for the episode Eve of the Daleks will see the Doctor and friends trapped inside a building (specifically the festive-sounding ELF Storage), facing the Daleks over and over again while trapped in a time loop.

“The trailer for the special, which aired following the series thirteen finale, finds the cast trapped in ELF storage and stuck in a terrifying time loop with the Daleks,” the BBC said in a release. “Will the gang manage to avoid extermination and escape the storage facility in time to see out New Year’s Day?”

The time loop storyline is also teased in a first-look teaser image for the episodes, which sees the cast being menaced by Daleks while an ominous red clock ticks close to midnight in the background. Presumably, in the episode itself the hands will never actually reach 12, resetting over and over again as the TARDIS team are forced to relive the same moments.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks iconic image (BBC)

In recent years there’s been a resurgence in time loop stories in popular culture – Andy Samberg comedy Palm Springs and the videogame Death Loop spring to mind – and with hindsight, it seems perfectly pitched for a Doctor Who story. What better show to have a looping timeline than a show that’s all about time travel?

Plus, the time loop’s limited location and cast – they’re all trapped in one building, remember – may have been a handy fix while filming in strict COVID conditions, in a similar workaround to series 13’s serialised structure.

Altogether, it sounds like an intriguing new spin that’ll do much to keep the Dalek attacks feeling fresh. If nothing else, fans won’t feel guilty about watching this one on repeat…

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Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks airs on BBC One on New Year’s Day. For more, check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.

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