‘Revolution of the Daleks’ (TV)

‘REVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Daleks with the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan, Yaz and Captain Jack

This Dalek festive special was well-worth waiting for, both on TV and on Blu-ray! 😀

After what was arguably a hellish year in 2020, it was very welcoming to have ‘Doctor Who’ back on TV on the 1st of January 2021. I missed watching the TV show very much after seeing Series 12 in early 2020. It was great to have all the escapism elements of the show to enjoy on New Year’s Day. 🙂

This included the TARDIS of course; time-travel; space and time; the Daleks; the Thirteenth Doctor; her three friends Graham, Ryan and Yaz; and of course the return of Captain Jack Harkness. I missed the excitement of watching the show on TV and it was fantastic to have it back in this festival special!

It seems very lucky that the New Year’s Day Special called ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ was filmed before the coronavirus pandemic happened in 2020. Post-production happened during the pandemic, but it’s great that all that had been filmed for the special was done before the pandemic.

It’s nice we got a ‘Doctor Who’ special on New Year’s Day 2021 in time before the madness of 2020 took place. I’d been looking forward to seeing ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ on New Year’s Day 2021 since Series 12 ended in March 2020. I was not disappointed by the final result of the festive special.

‘Revolution of the Dalek’ is an excellent and enjoyable entertaining festive ‘Doctor Who’ special to watch during tough times. Even when I watched it a second time on Blu-ray with a Domino’s Pizza in late January 2021, I was still riveted by the special since it had exciting action, drama and adventure.

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. 🙂

In fact, upon watching the special again, it was fascinating and intriguing to hear that the Doctor had been stuck inside that space prison for a few decades. And yet there weren’t any Judoon patrols making sure she didn’t escape. Maybe the security systems were fully automated in the prison itself.

I know this special was recorded before the 2020 pandemic happened, but it was eerie to see the Doctor in isolation whilst she was in prison for whatever crimes she had committed. It reflects how many of us were put into isolation, having to wait for ‘long months’ before the pandemic had ended.

As I gather, 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 was 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’ with there being many Mary Shelley stories, ‘At Childhood’s End’ with multiple timelines of the Seventh Doctor and Ace and ‘Farewell, Sarah Jane’ where Nyssa and Tegan are a couple. AND NO, I WON’T GET OVER THEM!!! 😀

Anyway, let’s talk about the special, shall we? It beings…A LONG TIME AGO… (2019) FAR, FAR AWAY… (Cheltenham) Hehe! I liked that. And I was currently revisiting the ‘Star Wars’ movies at the time of watching this special as well as reading ‘Star Wars’ ebooks and watching ‘The Mandalorian’.

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 he made 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. 😀

I wish Robertson’s resolution at the end of the special was handled better. It seemed too easily resolved on first viewing the special. Robertson should’ve got his comeuppance for what he did with betraying his people to the Daleks. No doubt we’ll probably see Robertson again in a future episode.

It was nice to see Harriet Walter guest star as Jo Patterson in the special. 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.

I also saw Jo Patterson recently in three Series 6 episodes of ‘Call the Midwife’. A shame that Jo Patterson got killed off by the Daleks in the special, but I suppose she had her own comeuppance. Another Harriet…Harriet Jones…might’ve handled things better than how Jo Patterson handled it. 😀

There wasn’t really enough of Harriet Walter’s character in the special to make it worthwhile. Had ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ been a two-parter instead of a one-part festival special, it would have been more exciting and more character-driven than ever as it would iron out some of the plot-holes.

I liked how echoes of ‘Resolution’ were in ‘Revolution of the Daleks’, especially with Leo being possessed by a Dalek mutant creature, which happened to be Charlotte Ritchie’s character in ‘Resolution’. A shame Leo got killed off in the special when the Dalek mutant finished its use of him.

It was eerie to see defence drone Daleks on site, including being with Jo Patterson outside 10 Downing Street and various people taking photos of them with their phone cameras. Hopefully most of the special was shot where social distancing wasn’t a problem. I assume it was filmed in late 2019. 🙂

It was thrilling to see the recognisable bronze Daleks as well as the defence drone Daleks based on the Recon Dalek’s design in this special. Both groups of Daleks are voiced by Nicholas Briggs. I liked the conflict between the Dalek groups as the bronze Daleks considered the defence drones ‘impure’.

It echoed the conflicts between Dalek factions in ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’, ‘Revelation of the Daleks’ and ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. The Daleks were once again threatening and it’s nice to see that in this festive special compared to the efforts by Steven Moffat for his Dalek TV adventures.

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. 🙂

Incidentally, there were a number of recognisable former ‘Doctor Who’ monsters in the space prison with the Doctor. This included a Weeping Angel, two Oods, a Pting and a Silent. I wonder what crimes they committed. Were there any human-like prisoners that the Doctor interacted with here?

I would’ve liked there to have been a struggle for the Doctor and Jack with getting out of prison, especially with the Judoon trying to stop them. I know Jack’s temporal bubble was effective, but even along the way there has to be a struggle before the Doctor and Jack get their chance to escape.

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 questioned who she is since 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 in this TV story.

That’s with another TARDIS. 😀 More on that later! I know people have criticised Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the Thirteenth Doctor over the years and how many have criticised Chris Chibnall as showrunner. Most of these criticisms I find really unfair and I have enjoyed this era of the show a lot.

Mandip Gill was interesting as Yaz in this festival Dalek special. 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 liked the scenes she has with Captain Jack, who notices how much the Doctor meant 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 the journey of Tosin Cole as Ryan in this special. 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 liked the scene Ryan has with the Doctor in the TARDIS and 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 he 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 special and I liked the funny one-liners he had 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 by the end of the episode how Graham seemed keen to travel with the Doctor whilst Ryan wanted to stay on Earth. I liked how cocky Graham could be, especially when he and Ryan teased about not telling Jack Robertson anything whilst he’s mesmerised by the TARDIS. 😀

As ever, John Barrowman as Captain Jack 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 the 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. Thankfully, the Doctor outwitted them as she used the TARDIS from Gallifrey disguised as her TARDIS to trick Daleks.

I thought it clever of Chris Chibnall to use the house TARDIS from ‘The Timeless Children’ to trick the Daleks here. I had actually forgotten about the house TARDIS and it’s good Chris didn’t forget about that when using it as a plot device for the Doctor to defeat the Daleks when they invaded London. 🙂

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 touching end note. 🙂

The departure scenes for Graham and Ryan are very well-handled. Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll see of Graham and Ryan as I’d like to think they make a return in one of the episodes for Series 13 or in a future festive special. But for now, this is where their TARDIS travelling days end. It’s very moving.

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 it’ll be very interesting and exciting, especially as they’re about to be joined by John Bishop as Dan, who I believe will be the ‘next’ TARDIS companion.

The DVD/Blu-ray special features for this festive special are as follows. On the ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ DVD/Blu-ray, there’s the trailer for ‘Revolution of the Daleks’, the ‘Revolution of the Daleks – Closer Look’ featurette, ‘Best Moments: Brad and Tosin’ and ‘John Barrowman plays ‘What’s My Line?’ There are also 4 exclusive art cards included in the DVD/Blu-ray sets of this 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?

I’m curious about who John Bishop as Dan is in Series 13 of ‘Doctor Who’. I’m not sure what to make of him since I don’t really know much about him as an actor and as a comedian. It’ll be interesting to see when he appears in Series 13 with Jodie’s Doctor and Yaz. Hopefully he’ll be a great companion.

In the meantime, I have plenty of Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’ to enjoy. I’m looking forward to the ‘Torchwood’ audio called ‘Absent Friends’, starring John Barrowman, Gareth David-Lloyd and…David Tennant! 😀 There is a lot more to discover with ‘Doctor Who’ ‘if you open your eyes’. 😀

Incidentally, Barnaby Edwards and Nicholas Pegg return to be Dalek operators in this ‘Doctor Who’ festive special. They were Dalek operators way back in the days of the Christopher Eccleston era. It was nice to have them back ‘playing Daleks’ and I’ve met the two gents in real-life at conventions. 🙂

‘Revolution of the Daleks’ rating – 9/10


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

  1. Timelord 007

    I enjoyed it, i found it entertaining & even John Barrowman as Captain Jack gave a much more toned down performance.

    My only gripe I’d had this as a 90 minute special & added a much more intense escape,it was a very easy fix having Jack turn up & i thought the prison was a interesting place full of mystery which wasn’t fully explored.

    I hope we not getting another romance with Yaz cause that reeks of box ticking agenda, just keep the Doctor & Yaz as friends, that got stale with the Doctor & Rose.

    Excellent review Tim, i been reading lot hate about this episode & Jodie as the Doctor, it not called for as i was against a female Doctor originally but it can work if cast the right actress for the part, the comments i read have sickened me if they loathe the series so much then switch off.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed ‘Revolution of the Daleks’. Yeah I suppose John Barrowman gave a toned-down performance as Captain Jack here. I’m looking forward to what the upcoming ‘Torchwood’ audio with Captain Jack, David Tennant’s Doctor and Ianto will be like.

      Yeah, making ‘Revolution’ a 90 minute special would’ve benefited it a lot or even have it as a two-parter. It certainly would’ve added more tension in Jack and the Doctor’s escape from the space prison and we could’ve explored more on the Doctor being in the space prison and why she was kept there.

      They may not go in a direction where Yaz and the Doctor end up as a romantic couple. I know it’s been done quite a few times now with the Doctor and Rose and with the Doctor and Martha. With John Bishop as Dan joining the TARDIS, the possible Doctor/Yaz romantic subplot might not happen.

      I’ve avoided reading those kinds of comments/reviews from people who unleash their hate on the latest series and Jodie’s Doctor. It’s like people have made their minds up about Jodie’s Doctor without giving her a fair chance. I’m glad you gave her a chance and that you’ve grown to like her Doctor over the years.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Glad you enjoyed my review.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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