As any Doctor Who fan knows, you don’t mess with the Daleks – and not just within the world of the BBC sci-fi drama. For years the deadly tinpot terror’s iconic design has remained largely unaltered beyond some cosmetic upgrades, with some attempts to revamp the Daleks (most notably in 2010) attracting a significant backlash.
Now, as the Daleks return to face off with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor in the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special (or New Year’s special, depending on the airdate) they’ve had another makeover – but series boss Chris Chibnall says fans shouldn’t be too worried.
Why? Well, these new-look Daleks aren’t necessarily the new status quo for Skaro’s deadliest export…
“There’s always a pressure when you refresh any Doctor Who monster,” Chibnall tells Radio Times magazine in a special Dalek-themed issue, on sale from Saturday 28th November.
“But equally that’s part of the job and that’s part of what keeps it new and interesting.
“You’re never replacing what’s gone before, you’re just adding a new variant,” he adds. “It wasn’t like we were saying ‘these will replace the bronze Daleks!’.
“It’s just this story is about these black and red Daleks, which light up at night and do all sorts of things.”
In other words, just because we’re getting a new Dalek design, it doesn’t mean the older bronze model has been left on the scrapheap. These are new Daleks, but the more familiar-looking versions are still out there – and could be making their own plans as we speak…
In the same feature, Doctor Who executive producer Matt Strevens noted some of the challenges in updating the Dalek design, which was a major priority during production of the festive special.
“You want to contemporise them, and make them hold up to scrutiny under modern filming techniques, and to look as high-end as you possibly can,” Strevens says.
“You can’t stray too far from the classic design – but then what can you do within that? How can you make them feel different, and relevant, and sexy, and lethal as well?”
Happily, it won’t be too long before Whovians are able to find out exactly how they pulled it off – and in the meantime, fans can get a sneak peek of the new Dalek design in the new Doctor Who preview issue of Radio Times, which also features exclusive interviews with the cast and crew about the upcoming special and season 13.
Listen to the latest edition of the RadioTimes.com Doctor Who podcast below:
Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks airs on BBC One in late 2020/early 2021. Want something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.