Teed up as the big farewell for two companions, Revolution of the Daleks was still a treat as Doctor Who returned to the festive schedule
“Sometimes we get a bit scared cos new can be a bit scary, right?”
Just a quickie for this perennial favourite. Doctor Who was quite lucky in that they got their Christmas episode in the can in good time pre-pandemic, it was actually filmed back in 2019 when Covid was but a Chinese whisper. And the way of these things as they are these days, we already knew that Revolution of the Daleks would mark the end of the TARDIS journeys for two of her current companions – would we get an Adric-style death to take us into 2021?
Spoiler alert, of course not. Ryan and Graham got to go back to Sheffield no problem, complete with psychic paper mementos, and even Sharon D Clarke’s Grace came back to welcome them home, well her ghost did at least. Dramatically it might not have been the punchiest way to go but in the end, it felt like the right thing to do , reflecting the relative normality of the ‘fam’ and their inter-relationships.
Tosin Cole benefitted from the increased focus with a standout scene with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, trying to come to terms with the personal revelations of the previous series, though it is hard to argue that Ryan will feel a particular loss to the show. Bradley Walsh’s Graham – a real revelation – will be more sorely missed but it will be interesting to see how Mandip Gill’s Yaz will flourish with more room to breathe and examine her complex feelings for the Doctor.
Overall, the episode didn’t quite hang together enough for me to stand out as a real classic. It had all the components – Daleks, Harriet Walter as PM, Captain Jack returning, Chris Noth also returning but with so many big story points – the Doctor in jail, the fam alone on Earth, those Timeless Child revelations to fit in around the main plot of the Daleks, it didn’t quite coalesce into something greater than the sum of those parts. Still watchable as ever and the final teaser sting of John Bishop as Dan is certainly an eyebrow-raiser.