At a special advance screening of the Doctor Who New Year’s Special “Resolution”, showrunner Chris Chibnall revealed that it was the Doctor herself Jodie Whittaker who was responsible for a Dalek showing up this series.
Many fans feel that a new Doctor only truly becomes the Doctor when they face the Daleks for the first time, yet Chibnall declared that there would be no old or returning monsters in Series 11. So I guess it’s a matter of semantics, since the Doctor Who New Year’s Special ‘Resolution’ isn’t considered part of the series proper. Christmas and now New Year’s Day specials are considered special stand-alones, even though past specials were often continuations of cliffhangers at the end of the series finales.
During the Q&A at the end of the screening, Chibnall admitted that the seeds were planted from the start for the final episode of the current series of Doctor Who to end with the Doctor fighting a Dalek.
“We knew we wanted something big for the end of series special, and knowing that we would have no old monsters in the series was really a build-up for the special. When you see the Dalek, it’s hopefully exciting, it feels rare, and fresh, and thrilling. And also the first encounter for Jodie with that iconic monster. We knew we wanted to do that as the kind of climax of the series.”
However, the situation was actually much more fluid than he initially let on. It was back when Whittaker showed up her first day on set to shoot her post-regeneration scene as the Doctor at the end of the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas Special ‘Twice Upon a Time’. Wandering the studio and ending up amongst the props, Whittaker found a spare Dalek lying about. She asked for a photo to be taken of her sitting with the Dalek with a cup of tea in her hand for the fun of it.
She texted the photo to Chibnall with a caption “Me and my mate.” Chibnall, who was still planning the episodes for Series 11, was so struck by the image that he decided she had to have her first Dalek story at the end of her first series.
“When we came into work and you decided to share with us what we were doing, you’d said that that had been the beginning,” Whittaker said. “And so it felt like the right end I suppose, for this season.”
The result was ‘Resolution’, a raucous, slam-bang climax to the 13th Doctor’s first season that felt more exciting, surprising, and fun than the Series 11 finale ‘The Battle of Ranskoor Av Koros’.
“It’s exciting, and I think for Whovians, or NuWhovians, this moment is as epic for you guys as it is for us. Because for us to be the first time for some fans that they encounter this particular moment of the history of the show, and for other fans like old Brad [Walsh] that have been with it since the black and white days, this episode is a celebration of old and new.”
So there you have it: if Jodie Whittaker hadn’t taken a larky photo with a Dalek in the props room at the Wales studios, we might not have gotten a Dalek episode. It was as if she followed the universe’s direction – very much Doctor-like, actually.
Now could someone perhaps post that photo of her in Peter Capaldi’s costume drinking tea with a Dalek?