TV Review – ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ (Doctor Who)

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Well, after what we’ve been through with a hellish year in 2020, it seems very fitting for me to say…it’s great to have ‘Doctor Who’ back! I’ve missed the TV show very much. TARDIS; time-travel; space and time; Daleks; the Doctor; her three companions, Captain Jack returning! That’s what I’ve missed.

Pure escapism for the inner ‘Doctor Who’ fan in me! 🙂 It seems very lucky that this New Year’s Day Special called ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ was filmed before the pandemic happened in 2020. Yes, post-production happened during the pandemic, but it’s nice to get a ‘Doctor Who’ episode in 2021.

I’d been looking forward to seeing ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ on New Year’s Day 2021 since Series 12 ended in March 2020. And I wasn’t disappointed by the final result. ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ is an excellent and enjoyably entertaining festive ‘Doctor Who’ special to watch during these tough times.

I wanted to know what became of the Doctor since she’d been arrested by the Judoon and put in a space prison at the end of ‘The Timeless Children’. Whilst that angle of the Doctor being in prison wasn’t fully explored in the special, I liked how things picked up their pace as the story progressed. 🙂

Also, I know this special was recorded before the pandemic happened, but it was eerie to see the Doctor in isolation whilst she was in prison for whatever crime she had committed. It reflects how many of us were put into isolation, having to wait for very long months before the pandemic is over.

I believe the Doctor is answering for the crimes made by her/his unknown incarnations before she became William Hartnell, including Jo Martin’s Fugitive Doctor from ‘Fugitive of the Judoon’. It would’ve been nice to have had the Judoon appear in the episode to clarify that aspect of the tale. 😐

It was also intriguing to see how Bradley Walsh as Graham, Tosin Cole as Ryan and Mandip Gill as Yaz coped without Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor for 10 months spending time on Earth since they’d been dropped off by another TARDIS from Gallifrey which got blown up. The trio seem to clearly miss her.

I’m sure the setting for this New Year’s Day Special must be in 2021 and not 2020. It might be hard to explain how the Covid-19 pandemic doesn’t fit in to what’s happening in the story, but we can assume that the 2021 during ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ happens to be in an alternate universe here.

It might explain the contradictions in ‘The Haunting of Villa Diodati’, ‘At Childhood’s End’ and ‘Farewell, Sarah Jane’…AND NO, I WON’T GET OVER THEM!!! Anyway, let’s talk about the special, shall we? It starts…A LONG TIME AGO… (2019) FAR, FAR AWAY… (Cheltenham). Hehe! I like that. 🙂

I like how the special follows up on the events of ‘Resolution’ where we met the Reconnaissance Dalek. Even though that Dalek got killed off, it doesn’t mean the damaged casing got discarded. I did wonder how the Daleks would return here since that Dalek in ‘Resolution’ ended up in a supernova.

It turns out that even traces of Dalek DNA can be acquired to form Dalek clones created by Nathan Stewart-Jarett as Leo Rugazzi, which is about the stupidest thing he could’ve done. Leo also builds new Daleks casings that become Earth’s new defence drones. The casings are purely robotic at first.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The parts of the Recon Dalek get used to form defence drones in order to suppress public riots and give support to Harriet Walter as Jo Patterson in her constituency to become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain. She’s assisted by…Chris Noth as Jack Robertson.

Yeah, bet you didn’t think we’d see him again, did you? 😀 It was nice to see Chris Noth back as Jack Robertson after making his debut in ‘Arachnids in the UK’. He’s still duplicitous as ever and would even betray his own people to the bronze Daleks that appear in the special. He’s loveable to hate. 😀

It was nice to see Harriet Walter guest star as Jo Patterson in the episode. I’ve seen Harriet Walter in a number of things including Lord Peter Wimsey drama serials and ‘Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens’. I also heard her in ‘The Boy That Time Forgot’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton.

A shame Jo Patterson got killed off by Daleks in the episode, but I suppose she had her own comeuppance. It was thrilling to see the recognisable bronze Daleks appear in the special as well as the defence drone Daleks based on the Recon Dalek’s design, both groups voiced by Nicholas Briggs.

And of course, it was especially exciting to see Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor reunite with John Barrowman as Captain Jack who rescues her from the space prison. I’m glad my wish was fulfilled in that Jodie’s Doctor got to meet Captain Jack at last and it was an invigorating reunion to watch here.

I still want to know why Captain Jack was piloting that spaceship when he picked up Graham, Ryan and Yaz in ‘Arachnids in the UK’ and who exactly he was fighting before he got into the space prison to get the Doctor out. Maybe Big Finish could explain things clearer in a future audio or something. 🙂

Thankfully, the Doctor reunites with Graham, Ryan and Yaz back on Earth once she and Jack return to the TARDIS. There’s clearly tension between the Doctor and her three companions as they haven’t seen her for 10 months. But they soon get down to business to sort out the incoming Dalek menace.

Jodie Whittaker excels again as the Thirteenth Doctor in this Dalek festive special. I was pleased to see Jodie tackle a full-on Dalek invasion compared to handling a single Dalek in ‘Resolution’. It was also fun to see how she put up with Jack Robertson, though the resolution of that is weakly handled.

It was nice to see how Jodie’s Doctor interacted with a past companion in Captain Jack as well as her current companions Graham, Ryan and Yaz. I know that had been done with Ace in ‘At Childhood’s End’, but that was in book form. This was the first time we get to see it in TV form with Captain Jack.

I also liked how the Doctor questions who she is as she’s had time to reflect on ‘the timeless child’ revelation but still can’t get to grips with it. She also tries to make amends with being absent from her three friends without a word and I greatly liked how she tricked the Daleks by using another TARDIS. 😀

Mandip Gill was interesting to see as Yaz in this special episode. Yaz has missed the Doctor greatly and she can’t get rid of the notion that she, Graham and Ryan may never see her again in the 10 months they haven’t seen her. She shoves the Doctor angrily once she has reunited with them again.

I like the scenes she has with Captain Jack, who notices how much the Doctor means to her and he shares his experiences of when he ‘left’ the Doctor all those years ago. I’m not sure if this is setting up a kind of ‘romantic’ thread between Yaz and the Doctor in Series 13, but it’ll be fascinating to see.

I enjoyed Tosin Cole’s journey as Ryan in the special episode. Unlike Yaz, Ryan is more accepting of getting used to the idea of staying on Earth with the Doctor being absent in their lives for 10 months. I like the scene Ryan has with the Doctor in the TARDIS as they catch up on how things have been. 🙂

Ryan gets the Doctor to tell her what’s been bothering her with ‘the timeless child’ reveal and encourages her not to be discouraged about the new changes to her life. I like how Ryan gets to be in the action a lot in the story, especially when he, Graham and Jack board a Dalek saucer in London.

Bradley Walsh as Graham is great in the episode and I like the funny one-liners he has in the story. His reaction to seeing Captain Jack again was hilarious. Mind you, I don’t think Graham gets the most standout character development compared to Ryan and Yaz, which was fascinating to see in the tale.

Mind you, it was fascinating how by the end of the episode, Graham seemed keen to travel with the Doctor whilst Ryan wanted to stay on Earth. I like how cocky Graham can be in the story, especially when he and Ryan tease about not telling Jack Robertson anything when he’s mesmerised by the TARDIS.

John Barrowman as Captain Jack as ever is fun to watch in ‘Doctor Who’. I liked the mentions he made about Gwen Cooper from ‘Torchwood’ when communicating with the Doctor via phone in the TARDIS at the end. I assume this special takes place after the latest ‘Torchwood’ audio tales for Jack.

It was nice to see how Jack worked as a team member among the already established TARDIS foursome in the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz. He has a score to settle with the Daleks since they exterminated him in ‘The Parting of the Ways’. Thankfully he doesn’t get killed by Daleks.

My jaw dropped when I saw the bronze Daleks invading the blue box TARDIS spiralling over London. I was shocked at that. I wondered how the Doctor was going to get out of that one. I thought it clever of Chris Chibnall to use the house TARDIS from ‘The Timeless Children’ to trick the Daleks here.

Thankfully both defence drone and bronze Dalek groups are defeated by the end of the special. Jack is going to stay on Earth for a while apparently. As you may have gathered, this special also features the final regular appearances of Bradley Walsh as Graham and Tosin Cole as Ryan in ‘Doctor Who’. 😦

It was sad to see Graham and Ryan depart the TARDIS in ‘Doctor Who’. I did wonder at certain points of the story whether Graham and Ryan would get killed off by Daleks, just like how Adric got killed off in ‘Earthshock’. Thankfully that didn’t happen and I’m glad Graham and Ryan stayed alive here. 🙂

It was lovely to see the final scene between the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz as they were saying goodbye to each other. It’s also rather fitting that the journey we see Graham and Ryan go on in becoming grandfather and grandson in ‘Doctor Who’ comes to a satisfying and very touching end note. 🙂

I like how the special ended with Graham teaching Ryan how to ride a bike which happened in ‘The Woman Who Fell to Earth’. Ryan may not be able to ride a bike properly yet, but he’s getting better at it as seen at the end of the special. Sharon D. Clarke as Grace made a cameo as a ghost in the tale.

I’m intrigued about how the Thirteenth Doctor and Yaz will continue travelling together in the TARDIS without Graham and Ryan. Hopefully this isn’t the last time we’ll see Graham and Ryan in ‘Doctor Who’. I hope that we will see Graham and Ryan again in a future Series 13 episode or a festive special.

‘Revolution of the Daleks’ by Chris Chibnall has been a satisfying New Year’s Day Special to watch in 2021. I enjoyed the special greatly and it was lovely to see Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor back with Bradley Walsh’s Graham, Tosin Cole’s Ryan, Mandip Gill’s Yaz and John Barrowman’s Captain Jack. 🙂

The Daleks were also very well-handled, both in the defence drone group and in the bronze group. I hope we’ll get to see more ‘Doctor Who’ soon and there seems to be a promise of that with Series 13 currently being filmed. What will happen next time when we do reunite with the Doctor and Yaz?

And who is John Bishop as Dan in Series 13 of ‘Doctor Who’?! 😀

Incidentally, I’ve pre-ordered my copy of the ‘Torchwood’ audio by Big Finish called ‘Absent Friends’, starring John Barrowman, Gareth David-Lloyd and…David Tennant. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

4 thoughts on “TV Review – ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ (Doctor Who)

  1. Media Lover

    This is a great review Tim.

    This special was a joy to watch. I had forgotten that Bradley and Tosin were leaving which made the appropriate scenes all the more impacting. It was also surprising to see Jack Robertson technically redeem himself.

    I am excited for series 13 especially the introduction of Dan. We shall see how it turns out.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi ML

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Revolution of the Daleks’. Glad you found the special a joy to watch. The departure scenes for Graham and Ryan were very well-handled. I wish the Robertson resolution was handled better though as it seemed too easily resolved on first viewing.

      Yes, I’m looking forward to Series 13 when it comes out. Hopefully it won”t be long till we see the Doctor and Yaz again with Dan joining them.

      Many thanks for your comments, ML.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. Timelord 007

    Overall i enjoyed it, nice to see Daleks exterminating lots of people again & being threatening, a nice devious plan by the Doctor in destroying the Daleks (via the other Tardis a touch of the devious seventh incarnation i thought).

    Jodie showed a wonderful emotional side to the Doctor when Ryan & Graham left (them seeing their wife/grandma brought tears to my eye’s) & it was nice to see John Barrowman reign in the over the top theatrics & actually give a character driven performance as Capt Jack as he tells Yaz about life travelling with the Doctor & how he felt when it ended but please no more romantic Doctor/companion relationships i had enough of that with Rose.

    Few nitpicks, the escape was pretty easily handled & i thought we could have learned more about the prison as they are holding various aliens & monsters in there (hopefully this prison will be expanded upon in series 13), Chris Roth as Jack Robinson is an annoying character who spouted some awful dialogue made worse he came out the ordeal the flipping hero?

    The prime minister was a poor Harriet Jones “we’re experiencing a few technical issues” :doh while people are being exterminated felt silly.

    Overall the good outweighed the bad, i wish the episode had been 90 minutes & had a more tense escape from the prison sequence but on the whole a entertaining Doctor Who adventure.
    4/5.

    Oh & John Bishop as new companion Dan I’m on the fence about that, I’m not sure how i feel about him joining the Tardis TBH.

    Excellent review Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed ‘Revolution of the Daleks’.

      The Daleks were threatening again weren’t they and I’m glad Jodie’s Doctor managed to outwit them using the other TARDIS from Gallifrey disguised as hers. I was taken by surprise when I saw that, especially once the Daleks invaded the TARDIS itself. 😀

      Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is wonderful here and I’m glad she got to reunite with Graham, Ryan, Yaz and Captain Jack in the story. John Barrowman was great to watch as Jack and I’m pleased he got to meet Jodie’s Doctor at last. That farewell scene for Graham and Ryan was definitely well-handled, especially with seeing Grace’s ghost at the end. I don’t know if there will be a sort-of ‘romance’ between Jodie’s Doctor and Yaz in Series 13, but it has been rumoured and talked about.

      I would’ve liked there to be a struggle for the Doctor and Jack getting out of prison, especially with the Judoon trying to stop them. Yeah, even Robertson getting out of what he did in the episode was too easy and I wish he got his comeuppance. There wasn’t really enough of Harriet Walter’s character in the special. Had ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ been a two-parter, it would’ve been more exciting and more character-driven than ever, ironing out some of the plotholes.

      I’m not sure about John Bishop as Dan joining the TARDIS either. I don’t really know much about him as an actor/comedian. It’ll be interesting to see when he appears in Series 13 with Jodie’s Doctor and Yaz.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the episode, Simon. Very pleased you enjoyed it and found more good than bad in it.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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