There was something Doctor Who fans were prepared for going into season 11, and that’s that there were to be no classic monsters. Though we’re used to seeing the Daleks pop up every season, usually with an appearance by the Cybermen and the Master as well, new showrunner Chris Chibnall wanted to start afresh with the Thirteenth Doctor and so he ruled out bringing any familiar foes back. And that looks to be true, except for a thrilling, easily-missed easter egg in this week’s episode.
In 11×05 “The Tsuranga Conundrum,” the Doctor and friends found themselves on a medical spaceship attacked by a small, cuddly creature that could eat anything in its path. Using the ship’s database, the Time Lord discovered that this was a Pting. What you might have overlooked, though, was the other aliens that the display scrolled through before settling on the critter. There were no Daleks in there, but these creatures should all be recognizable to seasoned Whovians.
From left to right in the photo below, we have a Cyberman (post-“Nightmare in Silver” edition), an Ood, a Weeping Angel, a Slitheen, a Sontaran, a Silent (wait, what was I saying?), a Silurian (a classic 1970s one!) and, last but not least, a Zygon.
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Hopefully that gave fans a thrill, as we fully expect Chibnall to keep his word about not featuring classic monsters for the rest of the season. This latest run appears to be building towards something, but it looks to be something created fresh by Chibnall. The warlike race the Stenza have been referenced a couple of times since the season premiere, “The Woman Who Fell To Earth,” and there was some curious chatter about “the Timeless Child” a few weeks’ ago, too, which hinted at something from the Doctor’s past being uncovered.
At least there was this fun easter egg though to remind us that the Doctor’s greatest foes are still out there and we’ll keep our fingers crossed that Chibnall will bring some of them back when writing Doctor Who season 12.