The Daleks are Doctor Who’s most persistent foe, and for many the ultimate test of just how a new actor slips into the role is how they handle going up against the legendary pepperpots. But Ncuti Gatwa might not get that test for a long while, if returning showrunner Russell T. Davies has his way.
“I do think we’ve had a lot of Daleks lately,” Davies said to British tabloid the Mirror at a recent press event for the upcoming anniversary specials. “I think they’ve been done a lot—people are expecting them every year now. So I think they need a good pause. Hopefully, there’s some enemies that will become new classics, but it’s always good to move on.”
While most Doctors have faced the Daleks at least a couple of times, they’ve become much more of a regularity in modern Doctor Who—especially recently, as Davies noted, referring to the fact that almost every one of Jodie Whittaker’s specials across New Years and her final outings involved the Daleks. As good as they are, and as iconic, the potential of overplaying them is very much real.
That said, that “good pause” might not be all that long in the grand scheme of things—we’ve already known for a while, for example, that the current Doctor Who production designers are working on a Dalek redesign, potentially the first significant overhaul to the creatures’ aesthetic since 2005 (outside of the controversial 2011 Dalek Paradigm designs, which didn’t really stick around). If, theoretically speaking, Gatwa’s Doctor faced the Daleks either at the climax of his debut series next year, or even in the 2024 Christmas special, that would still be two years between their return and the Daleks’ last appearance in “The Power of the Doctor.”
Two years, even if there was admittedly not a lot of Doctor Who on TV in that time, is still a decent pause if that’s all there ends up being—but fans should be prepared that it might be even longer than that before the Daleks exterminate again.
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