Doctor Who boss explains the meaning behind festive special title

Exclusive: Just what is the Revolution of the Daleks, and does it tie into the classic series? Chris Chibnall lifts the lid…

Revolution of the Daleks

As we learned way back in March, the upcoming Doctor Who festive special is called Revolution of the Daleks, with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor and her friends set to battle the deadly aliens on planet Earth – but ever since the title was revealed, we’ve had one burning question.

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What exactly is the Revolution of the Daleks? Which Daleks are revolting? Who are they revolting against, exactly? Will this be a Dalek-vs-Dalek clash of the like seen in the classic series, or more of a technological revolution as the Dalek design is updated again? Or will it be something else entirely?

Previously, Dalek actor Nicholas Briggs told us it was an “apposite” title, but to find out more we put our questions to series boss Chris Chibnall – and according to him, there’s more than one way to skin this particularly teasing cat.

“I think it has more than one meaning,” Chibnall told Radio Times. “I think you’ll understand when you’ve seen the episode!

“There are loads of different ways you can interpret that title, whether it’s a Dalek revolution, or whether there’s a revolution involving Daleks…”

Also, Chibnall added, the “revolution” in the title refers to the non-Dalek characters too. With Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole set to depart the series in the special, the TARDIS team will be in for a major shake-up, and generally speaking the series cast looks set to be “revolutionised” ahead of the now-filming season 13.

“I think there are things happening within the episode emotionally that will change the dynamics on board the TARDIS too,” he said. “We’re doing everything in there.”

In other words, there’s more than one type of revolution we should expect from this festive special (we’re still hoping that the titular “revolution” just refers to the Daleks slowly revolving for no reason), and we’ll have to wait until New Year’s Day to see how literally we should be taking the whole thing.

Doctor Who Special 2020 - Revolution Of The Daleks
BBC

Still, Chibnall was able to clear up one point – despite our most fervent hopes he never intended Revolution of the Daleks to closely mirror the titles of classic episodes like Revelation of the Daleks, which had led some fans (and, er, RadioTimes.com) to theorise that the new special would be a sequel to those earlier serials’ Dalek Civil War storyline (which itself would count as a Dalek revolution, right?).

“Not particularly,” Chibnall said when asked about if the episode’s title was connected to those earlier serials. “It’s not the driving force between using that title.

“It’s a resonant title across the whole of the episode, not just a very specific hark back to something from 1985.”

Ah well – back to the fan theory drawing board.

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Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks comes to BBC One at 6:45pm on New Year’s Day. Want something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide, or our guide to the best Christmas TV for 2020