When it came to the 2017 Christmas special, Doctor Who fans knew to expect a few comebacks. It had already been revealed that David Bradley would bring the First Doctor back at the end of the previous episode, while early announcements had told viewers that companion Pearl Mackie and longtime series writer/actor Mark Gatiss would be rejoining the fray.
And fans even had their suspicions that Jenna Coleman’s brief cameo (recorded separately from the rest of the cast) was incoming, thanks to some juicy rumours circulating for months before we actually saw the scene unfold.
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However, there was one character comeback that truly took us all by surprise. One return from the early days of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who tenure that literally nobody could have predicted, or they would have been derided as a fantasist if they’d even suggested it.
I am of course referring to the return of Rusty the Dalek, an antagonist of Peter Capaldi’s second ever Doctor Who episode who opted not to murder like the rest of his species due to a mechanical fault. However, by the end of the adventure he had been repaired and turned back to violence – but this time, it was mainly focused against his own kind.
In Twice Upon a Time, Rusty ended up played a fairly crucial role in informing the Doctor about his new foes Testimony – and in a new behind-the-scenes video, the production team have now revealed exactly why they decided to bring the character back, as well as his enduring appeal.
“Rusty the Dalek – I liked Rusty,” now ex-showrunner Steven Moffat simply explained in a new behind-the-scenes video.
“I liked Into the Dalek, it was a very early story from the Twelfth Doctor and Rusty was his first sort of full scale adversary.”
“I think he’s pretty crazy,” added Nicholas Briggs, who voices Rusty and all the other Daleks in the series. “But very determined to carry out his mission. It is always a delight to do a Dalek that has more expressive capabilities. I love all the ‘Exterminate!’ and ‘I obey!’ but it’s nice to do the sort of sensitive stuff as well.”
But was this the last we’ll see of Rusty? He leaves the story unscathed, after all – and Briggs is keen to take him in new directions in the future.
“Well what happens to Rusty, is that he gets spun off into his own miniseries!” Briggs joked. “Which is what all actors say about their characters when you ask them. But wouldn’t that be great? Rusty against the Daleks.”
Get that pitch over to Chris Chibnall, and who knows? He might be on to a winner.