‘Eve of the Daleks’ (TV)

‘EVE OF THE DALEKS’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Daleks with the Thirteenth Doctor, Yaz, Dan, Sarah and Nick

It’s time to begin the end of the Thirteenth Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ with the 2022 Specials! 🙂

At this point, the BBC Centenary Special is about to happen in the autumn of 2022. I was expecting the three 2022 Specials of ‘Doctor Who’ to be compiled in one DVD/Blu-ray box set. I didn’t expect ‘Eve of the Daleks’ and ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’ to be released together in a single DVD/Blu-ray set.

Not that’s a big issue. Usually ‘Doctor Who’ specials would have their own separate DVD/Blu-ray releases like ‘The Next Doctor’ and ‘Planet of the Dead’. It was a surprise ‘Eve of the Daleks’ didn’t get its own DVD/Blu-ray release, as it was released alongside ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’ in May 2022.

It was nice to receive ‘Eve of the Daleks’ and ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’ together on a single-disc Blu-ray set before the arrival of the BBC Centenary Special. At this stage, I’m excited and nervous about what’s going to happen in the BBC Centenary Special and how Jodie’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ will end. 🙂

For now, let’s talk about ‘Eve of the Daleks’ and ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’ each in turn. Whilst they may not be the greatest couple of ‘Doctor Who’ specials I’ve seen featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, Mandip Gill’s Yaz and John Bishop’s Dan, they’ve been very entertaining to check out on TV.

Watching these two specials as a calm before the storm was invigorating. They also set up things that are about to happen concerning two main players in the Thirteenth Doctor era so far. It was surreal to go through January and April for that before the autumn of 2022 comes along for the end.

2022 of course begins with the New Year Day’s Special of ‘Doctor Who’ called ‘Eve of the Daleks’. I’d been looking forward to this ‘Doctor Who’ special since the final episode of ‘Flux’ in December 2021.

I was surprised that ‘Eve of the Daleks’ wasn’t actually released on New Year’s Eve before the end of 2021. This could have easily happened, since the special mostly takes place on New Year’s Eve itself.

And that’s in 2021 itself in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe, where presumably Covid-19 never happened, considering it never gets mentioned. The TV series does seem to avoid talking about Covid-19 so far.

Then again, ‘Eve of the Daleks’ is a self-contained episode where a small group of people are involved with fighting the Daleks and such. So, I suppose the non-mention of Covid isn’t a huge issue.

Also, most Christmas Specials take place on Christmas Eve itself in the build-up to Christmas Day, so I guess a big deal shouldn’t be made that ‘Eve of the Daleks’ was released on New Year’s Day in 2022.

Some specials can also be half-and-half on two days like the 2021 Christmas Special in the new ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ TV series. It all depends upon how you prefer your festive specials to be.

Anyway, as established, this is where we have the beginning of the end of the Thirteenth Doctor era in ‘Doctor Who’. At present, I’m saddened it’s coming to an end, since I’ve enjoyed the era so much.

For the most part, I’ve enjoyed Jodie Whittaker’s take on ‘Doctor Who’. I’m hoping that we’ll be given a fitting swansong finale for Jodie’s particular era of the show under Chris Chibnall’s direction.

I’m disappointed that we haven’t been given a proper Christmas Special to be featured in the Jodie Whittaker era of the show. It’s been given in comic tales and such, but certainly not in the TV series.

Surely Jodie Whittaker’s era could have had a Christmas-filled episode, perhaps based on ‘The Polar Express’. Maybe Big Finish could rectify this someday. Maybe I should do it for ‘Bradley’s Basement’.

I’m not sure what things are going to be like when Russell T. Davies takes over the show again and whether we’ll have proper Christmas Specials in his new era like in his old era. It will be fascinating. 🙂

I’m sure RTD will have more ideas for ‘festive’ specials compared to how Steven Moffat and Chris Chibnall have delivered their specials. It’s something to speculate on whilst waiting for his neo-era. 🙂

‘Eve of the Daleks’ is the third time that Chris Chibnall has given us a festive ‘Doctor Who’ special involving Daleks. The first special was ‘Resolution’ whilst the second was ‘Revolution of the Daleks’. 🙂

I’m not counting ‘Part One’ of ‘Spyfall’ in the lot, as that was the first episode of Series 12, not a festive special. It happened to be shown on New Year’s Day 2020 when Series 12 of ‘Doctor Who’ started.

It’s great to see Jodie Whittaker back as the Thirteenth Doctor along with her companions Mandip Gill as Yaz and John Bishop as Dan. I greatly enjoyed them as a TARDIS trio when I saw them in ‘Flux’.

I’m glad that John Bishop as Dan gets to have a few more TARDIS adventures following the end of ‘Flux’. It was very interesting for him to have his very first encounter with the Daleks in this special. 🙂

In the special, the story takes place at ELF Storage somewhere in…Manchester, apparently. A woman named Sarah, who works at ELF Storage (and owns it, I believe) is working late on New Year’s Eve. 😐

Her only customer is Nick, who turns up to drop off a Monopoly game, much to her irritation. I’m surprised there aren’t more staff working at ELF Storage, considering that it’s quite a big place here.

Actually, now I come to think about it – ELF Storage?! Does ELF stand for something? I know it was originally ‘SELF Storage’ since…the letter ‘S’ fell off, but there could’ve been Christmas significance. 🙂

You could’ve easily had ELF Storage be a link to the North Pole or something where Santa, his elves and his reindeer live. Perhaps Nick Frost from ‘Last Christmas’ could have appeared in this special. 😀

Also, I can’t help think of the film ‘Elf’ when seeing ELF Storage in the special. Honestly, wouldn’t have setting the story on Christmas Eve instead of New Year’s Eve be better to make it Christmassy?

The Doctor, Yaz and Dan meanwhile attempt to reset the TARDIS so they can remove the damage and anomalies caused by the Flux. They’re hoping they can spend time at a beach on an alien planet.

This is until the TARDIS has fixed itself. Instead of ending on a beach however, the trio end up in ELF Storage itself. It was funny when Yaz asked the question “Where’s the beach?” once they came out.

Unbeknown to the TARDIS trio and to Sarah and Nick, a time loop is created around the ELF Storage building. This time loop was created by the TARDIS, I believe, and the Daleks managed to sneak in. 😐

Very soon, Nick gets exterminated by a Dalek in a corridor. Sarah too gets exterminated by a Dalek at reception. The Doctor, Yaz and Dan are also exterminated by a Dalek in the story. Shock horror! 😮

And then the opening credits start. I’m not kidding. All that I’ve explained about Sarah and Nick as well as the TARDIS trio before they get exterminated by the Dalek happens in the first nine minutes.

It took a while for the opening credits to show up. I’d forgotten that we hadn’t had the opening credits yet! That must’ve been the longest prologue/opening sequence ever in a ‘Doctor Who’ story!

After the opening credits, the time loop resets itself and the TARDIS trio, Sarah and Nick sense something is wrong. Once the five characters meet with each other, they gradually work together. 🙂

This is so they can figure out how to escape the ELF Storage complex before the time loop closes and they’re all dead. This is essentially a semi-‘Groundhog Hog’-type of ‘Doctor Who’ story with Daleks. 🙂

I was expecting this episode to go in the route of what the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ episode ‘Cause and Effect’ did with the main characters getting caught up in a time loop and things are soon being reset.

This is before the heroes work out how to get out of the loop in order to cheat death. It doesn’t quite work like that in the same way as ‘TNG’s ‘Cause and Effect’ episode for this ‘Doctor Who’ story.

Don’t get me wrong. There are familiar elements involved. But when the time loop resets, it’s like a minute later once everything restarts. It took a while to process this aspect as I watched the episode.

The first time our ‘Doctor Who’ heroes go back to the beginning of the time loop, it’s 23:52. The second time, it’s 23:53. The third time, it’s 23:54. The fourth time, it’s 23:55. And so on and so forth!

As I indicated, some might find this a challenge to get their heads around when it comes to watching the special for the first time. I also found it rather compelling and intriguing to uncover in the story. 🙂

It adds to the tension of what’s going on when the Doctor, Yaz, Dan, Sarah and Nick are trying to get out of the time loop whilst the Daleks are killing them off. I wanted these heroes to survive this trap.

Talking about the Daleks, I found them really good in this special. Voiced once again by Nicholas Briggs, the Daleks are being operated by veterans Barnaby Edwards, Nicholas Pegg and Jon Davey. 😀

I would like to thank Nick Briggs for replying to my e-mail asking about ‘Timeslip’ and ‘Star Cops’ in Big Finish’s ‘Vortex’ magazine. And that’s in the January 2022 issue of ‘Vortex’ in case you wondered.

I found the Daleks well-written in this adventure in terms of their dialogue. They’re better written compared to the dialogue they had in ‘Destiny of the Daleks’, which I saw fairly recently on Blu-ray. 🙂

Some of the Daleks’ phrases about ‘not being fair’ were quite chilling to listen, especially when Chris Chibnall is writing for them. I find the Daleks far better in Chris Chibnall’s era than Steven Moffat’s. 🙂

The Daleks also happen to be the Dalek Executioners. Not sure if they’re connected to the Dalek Executioners from the ‘Time Lord Victorious’ series, but you can make your judgement regarding that.

The Daleks are exterminating the Doctor and her friends over and over again in the time loop in order to exact their revenge upon the Doctor. Something that’s not really a surprise with the Daleks.

They’re blaming the Doctor for allowing the Dalek war fleet in ‘Flux’ to be destroyed in the story’s last episode. The Doctor tells them it was the Sontarans that tricked the war fleet to be destroyed. 😐

Despite that, the Daleks still blame the Doctor nonetheless. The Daleks blame the Doctor for anything that goes wrong, don’t they? Once again, this shouldn’t be a surprise regarding the Daleks.

By the way, that Dalek “I am not Nick!” joke is hilarious. I’m sure when Chris Chibnall wrote the episode, he had to call Adjani Salmon’s character Nick in order for Nicholas Briggs to say the joke. 😀

In terms of the guest cast, Aisling Bea plays Sarah. I’ve seen Aisling Bea before, since she played the mother character Carol Mercer in ‘Home Sweet Home Alone’. I’ve seen that film once on Disney+. 🙂

Mind you, I wonder if Carol and Sarah’s characters are both the same person in this ‘Doctor Who’ TV story. I should do a full-on detailed review on ‘Home Sweet Home Alone’ to be pretty sure about that.

Sarah is quite a control freak. Not like Clara Oswald mind. She also seems mean-spirited at times, especially when she has phone calls from her mother, Pauline McLynn as Mary, on New Year’s Eve. 😦

And yes, that is Pauline McLynn who played Mrs. Doyle in ‘Father Ted’. Thanks to WilliamsFan92 for pointing that out to me. I didn’t realise it was her until he mentioned it to me back in January 2022.

Sarah’s mean-spirited manner is also demonstrated in how she treats Nick. Even Yaz and Dan remark that Sarah is being a bit harsh on Nick in the special. I wish Sarah was nicer and not so mean-spirited.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the setup between Sarah and Nick in the special. I think it’s meant to be romantic, especially by the time we get to special’s conclusion when they go off in a taxi together.

But I don’t know. Sarah might not be the easiest person to be with, especially when she’s complaining about a certain ‘Jeff’ of hers. I’m not sure if Jeff is still her husband or something like it.

Sarah clearly doesn’t like it when the Daleks are in the ELF Storage complex and she likes to keep things in certain order within the storage units. She also disapproves of what Jeff has kept in storage.

Gradually, Sarah comes to trust the Doctor. She, the Doctor, Yaz, Dan and Nick work together on breaking out and escaping the time loop and the Daleks, since their trail of death becomes so severe.

Sarah can be annoying and quite unlikeable at times in the special. I guess ‘Eve of the Daleks’ was playing to Aisling Bea’s talents as a comedian here, which I don’t think worked quite well in the end.

Incidentally, Sarah says “Oh my giddy aunt!” quite a few times in the special. I wonder if she’s met the Second Doctor at some point in her life, considering Patrick Troughton said that a lot in his era. 😀

I enjoyed Adjani Salmon as Nick. I’ve not come across Adjani Salmon a lot in TV and film, but he seems to be a good actor and the character he plays in Nick appears to be nice enough in the special.

It’s interesting to see Nick seemingly crushing on Sarah, even though she doesn’t quite return the same feelings. I often felt sorry for Nick in that regard, especially when he seemed dejected by her. 😦

Nick seems to place items in his unit at the ELF Storage complex that once belonged to…his former girlfriends; I think that’s what he said. I’m not very certain if that’s the case in the actual special here.

Most of the items that Nick has kept in ELF Storage range from shoes to binoculars to…a stuffed budgie (I think), which Dan picks up – it could be a toy budgie. It’s a very odd assortment of items. 😀

It’s interesting that Nick has an interest in Sarah at the ELF Storage complex, since he’s quite a nice chap whereas she can be rather mean-spirited. I’m not sure what Nick sees in Sarah in the special. 😐

Then again, I once fancied girls who probably weren’t in my league and they didn’t match me, so I can’t blame Nick for liking Sarah in that kind of manner here. It’s fair enough that he would fancy her. 🙂

Jodie Whittaker continues to be excellent in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. She’s full of energy in playing the Thirteenth Doctor, trying to save Yaz, Dan, Sarah and Nick from the threat of the Daleks.

There are moments where she can be angry in some pretty stressed-out moments. I also liked it when Jodie’s Doctor tells everyone to keep on trying when they seem to be failing in fighting against the Daleks.

Incidentally, on a side note, compared to how Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor have sexualised moments in their era, I’m very surprised Jodie didn’t get any.

Maybe it’s because Chris Chibnall was trying to veer away from that angle compared to how RTD and Steven Moffat handled it, but it’s very surprising considering that Jodie Whittaker’s…well, a woman.

It doesn’t help that she’s stuck in that Thirteenth Doctor outfit for most of the time of in the TV series. It would have been interesting to see Jodie’s Doctor in a frock or a dress in a historical period.

If Peter Capaldi can dress up in Victorian clothes in ‘Thin Ice’ with Pearl Mackie as Bill, why shouldn’t Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor end up in 19th century garb in a story like ‘Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror’. 😐

I know she changes into something different in ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’, but still. Then again, the Doctor’s not altogether one for trying to blend into any environment or time zone that he/she visits.

I mean, the Ninth Doctor didn’t bother to dress up in 19th century gear in ‘The Unquiet Dead’. I might have repeated myself here, so please forgive me if you feel you have heard me say this before.

This special does address something that’s been going on regarding Yaz’s relationship with the Thirteenth Doctor. And it’s up to you whether you perceive this as being a good thing or a bad thing.

This ‘Doctor Who’ story is the first one to explicitly establish that Yaz has romantic feelings for the Doctor. Quite frankly, I think this is something that has been quite a long time coming in the series.

Now let me be clear about this. If Chris Chibnall was setting this up with Yaz and the Thirteenth Doctor being in a romantic relationship with each other, I wouldn’t be too bothered by that aspect.

It’s actually an intriguing direction that the series has been going in since Jodie Whittaker’s debut. I’m surprised this wasn’t more prominent in Series 12 concerning Yaz’s relationship with the Doctor.

I’m not sure if this was the actual intention behind Chris Chibnall’s writing in that Yaz happened to be LGTB or LGTB+, however you want to interpret it. This does appear to be a last-minute thought. 😐

Mind you, I’d like to think that Chris Chibnall had been working it out throughout his time on the TV series in terms of how he has developed the Thirteenth Doctor and her friends in a gradual manner.

I mean, the series could’ve easily have had Yaz and Ryan together, but clearly Chris Chibnall didn’t go in that direction. Not that there’s anything wrong with Yaz and Ryan being together in the TV series.

The fact that we’ve seen Yaz joining the Thirteenth Doctor from beginning to end so far showcases what her character journey has been about and how we’ve been getting to know her in the series. 🙂

For a long while, Yaz has arguably been underdeveloped from Series 11 to 12. From ‘Flux’/Series 13 up to here in ‘Eve of the Daleks’, I think that this is where Yaz’s character gets properly established. 🙂

She has romantic feelings for the Thirteenth Doctor and I don’t think it’s a major issue in terms of her development. If anything, this does make her more interesting as an individual in ‘Doctor Who’. 🙂

I like how it’s been developed throughout Yaz’s time in the TV series. It makes sense in it being gradually developed instead of having it be rushed and forced upon us as an audience watching this.

I’m thinking of how Nyssa and Tegan might be a romantic couple in ‘Farewell, Sarah Jane’. Although it’s not actually confirmed, the setup for that by RTD does seem to be forced and not so well-developed.

And yes, if RTD was given more time to write ‘Farewell, Sarah Jane’ as a longer story, maybe more could’ve been explored with Nyssa and Tegan’s characters, as I felt they were just briefly mentioned.

At least let us have some explanation for how Nyssa ended up with Tegan in Australia following ‘Terminus’ and the older Nyssa stories by Big Finish! Anyway, enough ‘Farewell, Sarah Jane’ ranting! 😀

In terms of where the Doctor and Yaz’s relationship is going to go from the revelation that Yaz has feelings for the Doctor, I’m not sure. It might not get explored a lot in the grand scheme of things. 😐

This is concerning the Thirteenth Doctor coming to an end in the next two stories for 2022. I don’t think that the Doctor would exactly return the feelings that Yaz has for her in her last two TV stories.

The Doctor isn’t like that in terms of a character. We’ve seen that (to an extent) in how the Tenth Doctor interacted with Rose and how the Tenth Doctor interacted with Martha in the new TV series.

Even in the classic ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Aztecs’, the First Doctor wasn’t committed to a romantic relationship with someone, especially when he was accidentally engaged to be married to Cameca. 🙂

It’s certainly an interesting avenue to explore when it comes to the final two stories of Jodie’s era. Whether this does get explored more fully in the last two stories is a matter of debate in this regard.

I’m not sure if RTD would carry it on if Yaz (and maybe Dan) continued travelling in the TARDIS with the Fourteenth Doctor. It does seem very unlikely considering RTD’s plans when he takes over again.

It could be that Yaz might self-sacrifice herself in the Thirteenth Doctor’s final TV story. The Doctor could self-sacrifice herself in order to save Yaz, ending up becoming David Tennant or Ncuti Gatwa. 🙂

It depends on what plans RTD has for his new era of the TV show. I have a sense that things will be crammed into Jodie’s final episode, especially with what has been in the Thirteenth Doctor era so far.

This includes the Timeless Child stuff as well as other things like Daleks, Cybermen, the Master, etc. I’m hoping it won’t be disappointing and we’ll have to wait and see once Jodie’s final episode comes.

I honestly don’t know what will happen with the Thirteenth Doctor and Yaz. A romantic relationship probably won’t be explored much in Jodie’s last two stories on TV, since it might be all in a mad rush.

It’s interesting that Dan brings up the matter of Yaz’s feelings for the Doctor to her as being kind of ‘obvious’. It’s also very interesting that Dan mentioned it to the Doctor and it doesn’t click in for her.

Then again, the Thirteenth Doctor has been known to be socially awkward at times in the TV series. It was intriguing to see her reactions to Yaz at the story’s end after Dan talked to her on the subject.

By the way, Dan coped rather well when he faced the Daleks in this adventure. It was fun to see the interaction Dan had with one Dalek when he’s trying to distract it from the Doctor and the others. 🙂

Thankfully, all is well in the end, as our five heroes escape the building where a firework display occurs. The Doctor, Yaz and Dan return to the TARDIS and Sarah and Nick go off in a taxi together. 🙂

Jonny Dixon as Karl from ‘The Woman Who Fell to Earth’ also makes a return cameo in this special. 🙂 It was quite nice to see him. I didn’t think we would see Karl make a return appearance in the series.

‘Eve of the Daleks’ has been an enjoyable romp of a Dalek adventure featuring the Thirteenth Doctor, Yaz and Dan. It was so nice to watch the special episode on New Year’s Day in January 2022.

The special does have its flaws, but I found this better than other festive ‘Doctor Who’ specials I’ve seen over the years. ‘The Husbands of River Song’ is a special that readily comes into mind for me. 😀

I don’t think if this one tops up on ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ in January 2021, but it’s been a fun adventure and it does showcase some intriguing aspects about a couple of the main characters here.

I was looking forward to the next ‘Doctor Who’ special that would feature the return of the Sea Devils. I went “Oh yes!” once I saw them in the ‘next time’ trailer after ‘Eve of the Daleks’ finished. 🙂

My Dad went “Oh no!” once he saw them on TV! 😀 My Dad isn’t very keen on the Sea Devils, you see. I hoped that they would be better in the Easter special compared to their previous TV appearances.

The DVD/Blu-ray special features for ‘Eve of the Daleks’ are as follows. There’s ‘The Dalek Execution’ behind-the-scenes featurette on ‘Eve of the Daleks’, featuring cast and crew interviews. There’s also an audio commentary on ‘Eve of the Daleks’ with Adjani Salmon, Nicholas Briggs and director Annetta Laufer.

‘Eve of the Daleks’ rating – 7/10


The previous story

For the Thirteenth Doctor was

  • ‘It’s Behind You!’ (Comic)

For Yaz was

  • ‘It’s Behind You!’ (Comic)

For Dan was

  • ‘It’s Behind You!’ (Comic)
The next story

For the Thirteenth Doctor is

  • ‘Hydra’s Gate’ (Comic)

For Yaz is

  • ‘Hydra’s Gate’ (Comic)

For Dan is

  • ‘Hydra’s Gate’ (Comic)
Return to The Thirteenth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Yaz’s Timeline
Return to Dan’s Timeline
Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index
Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index
Return to Doctor Who Timelines
Return to Doctor Who
Return to Sci-Fi

2 thoughts on “‘Eve of the Daleks’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    A fair balanced review Tim, to be honest I thought this an average episode, not bad but not memorable it just lacked drama and suspense for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon,

      Great to hear from you again! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Eve of the Daleks’. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the episode. I actually enjoyed ‘Eve of the Daleks’ more than ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’. That might be to do with this episode being longer and more festive compared to ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’ being shorter and less Easter-related.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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