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Chris Chibnall, Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill talk ‘Revolution of the Daleks’

Before the New Year’s Day special, Chris Chibnall, Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill let us know what’s coming up for the fam…

Get ready for the festive special Revolution of the Daleks, coming to BBC One and BBC America on New Year’s Day.

Chris Chibnall: We pick up with the Doctor in prison. She’s been taken by the Judoon at the end of the last series and we’ll be picking up with her there. Some time has passed, she has been in prison for a very long time. She’s struggling. Back on Earth Yaz, Graham and Ryan are struggling to figure out their lives without the Doctor. It’s been 10 months for them since they’ve seen the Doctor and at the beginning of this they discover the presence of a Dalek.

The Doctor has faced major challenges before but perhaps this is her biggest challenge yet. How is she coping when we see her?

Jodie Whittaker: The opening for the Doctor is in prison where a lot of time has passed, and time plays out for the Doctor in a certain way as well so I think what’s interesting is at the start of this, the discoveries and journeys that we all go on aren’t Doctor led. That makes it exciting as well because it’s definitely a team effort throughout.

How is Yaz getting on without the Doctor? Is she having to take control here?

Mandip Gill: Yeah I think like we saw, Yaz has a really complex and different connection to the Doctor than the two boys for loads of personal reasons. So I think it would be safe to say that she is struggling without the Doctor but is probably trying that bit more than the boys to solve this. Probably because there was just no conclusion and that’s a little bit distressing for her but also she has a connection with the Doctor and with Space. She loves being in Sheffield, but there’s just something about Space, and the Doctor that’s just not been fulfilled yet. So there’s just more a sense of urgency with Yaz trying to find the Doctor.

Let’s talk a little bit about Captain Jack, we saw him briefly in series 12 and he’s coming back for the festive special. How long have you been planning that?

Chris: Ooh a long time, it’s been cooked up for a long time. We knew he’d be coming back for this special so we back-laid him into the previous series and the Judoon episode in the middle there. It’s been cooked up over lots of phone calls and secret meetings, and not so secret meetings, at John Barrowman concerts and things like that! He smuggled me backstage and we had a secret conversation. I knew that I really wanted Captain Jack to meet the Thirteenth Doctor and it had been a long time since he’d been on screen in Doctor Who so well overdue, and with Festive Specials you want them to feel like a treat, and there’s no bigger treat than John Barrowman’s Captain Jack.

Another thing that people have been talking about, lots of rumours flying around, is this going to be the end of the fam?

Jodie: Well as the Doctor I will say that the fam as a four is no more.

Mandip: I’m not really an emotional person, but even I was like "this is really sad I’ll never see you again, you’re so busy Brad always filming". But it’s been too soon to miss them, we have this WhatsApp group that’s pinging all the time, and obviously because of the lockdown we wouldn’t have seen each other anyway in that time, so it’s too soon to realise the impact of not having them, because we’re constantly sending memes or a message.

Can you tell us a bit about the storyline and how they come to leave?

Chris: I can tell you that it’s very emotional, I think we’ve all been in tears watching it. It’s a really important part of the mix of the special, where you get lots of thrills, lots of spills, lots of humour, lots of Daleks, and lots of emotion. It’s hard, but we don’t shy away from what it means for this family to have its final moments together. And it was emotional off screen, it’s emotional on screen, and it’s an incredible thing. Because it’s like you said Jodie, you all clicked, and you just never know if that’s going to happen. You could never have known that you would all get on and have such a great time, and I think we all feel very lucky that that happened. And that’s reflected on and off screen, but I hope it feels like a good send off for those two characters whatever happens to them.

And will the door be left open for them?

Chris: You’ll have to wait and see, won’t you!

We do have some exciting guest appearances in this episode. Can you talk about Chris Noth coming back?

Chris: Well I loved his character, it’s a fabulous performance by Chris. He loved being in the show and was very keen to come back. And his character story didn’t feel like it was at an end. He was disgraced at the end of the previous episode where we met him. And the story of his recovery and how he claws his way back into the world is seen in this story.

Jodie: He was brilliant. We had a really good time so we were like ‘great!’. I think for us, it’s really important that if someone’s going to come on it, and they’re going to leave their families, especially someone coming from abroad, they’re going to have to spend a long time away, the hours are what they are, there’s a lot going on, you don’t want that energy to be faked in the scene, you want it to be a bubble of excitement. I think we’ve been so lucky with all the guest artists that have come in, they’ve all brought so much, but I feel like they’ve all had a really good time as well. I think Chris is a comedy genius, I think he’s hilarious.

Why do you think people get so excited by the Daleks? What can we expect from them this time?

Jodie: I think what’s really brilliant about it is, it requires no previous knowledge of the Who universe. A TARDIS is a part of people’s vocabulary whether they’ve seen the show or not, so is a Dalek. This is the thing about it, you have little kids knowing about ‘exterminate’, it’s such an iconic thing.

Get ready for the festive special Revolution of the Daleks, coming to BBC One and BBC America on New Year’s Day.

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