‘Doctor Who’ star teases ‘confusing’ New Year’s special

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 19:20:01 on 05/12/2021 - Programme Name: Doctor Who Festive Special 2021 - TX: n/a - Episode: Doctor Who Festive Special 2021 - Iconic (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 19:20HRS SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER, 2021* Dan (JOHN BISHOP), Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL), The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Sarah (AISLING BEA), Nick (ADJANI SALMON) - (C) BBC Studios - Photographer: James Pardon

Following last week’s Flux finale, Doctor Who isn’t taking much of a break before it returns to our screens. The show’s annual winter special airs on New Year’s Day again this year, as it has done since 2019, and promises to be a Whoniverse take on a Groundhog Day-style time loop story⏤I know, right? How has it taken them this long? Plus, as the title “Eve of the Daleks” makes clear, it’ll feature the return of the Doctor’s most iconic enemies.

Time loop stories might be fun to watch, but they’re a challenge to make, as they require the cast and crew to shoot essentially the same scenes over and over. For star Mandip Gill, who plays the Thirteenth Doctor’s longest-lasting companion Yaz Khan, filming “Eve of the Daleks” definitely got “confusing at times.” As she revealed while speaking to Doctor Who Magazine (via RadioTimes.com) about the special:

“We did a lot of running, and it got quite confusing at times,” she explained. “Being trapped in a time loop, repeating the same scenes as it gets closer and closer to midnight. But Annetta [Laufer], our director, was amazing. I kept having to ask her, ‘Which version’s this again?’, and she just knew straight away.”

As the episode was such a puzzle piece to shoot, Gill went on to say that she’s “excited” to see how the full picture comes together when the special airs this holiday season.

She continued: “I’m excited to see it. When you read it on paper, it’s hard to imagine what it’s going to look like. But it was good fun to film. It was great having Aisling Bea with us. She’s so funny. So funny. We had such a good time. Plus we get to fight the Daleks again!”

As Gill reminds us, Home Sweet Home Alone‘s Aisling Bea guest stars in the special as Sarah, the owner of ELF Storage. Adjani Salmon co-stars as Nick, a customer who visits his unit every New Year’s Eve. This year, the duo’s annual meeting will go a little differently, though, when both the Doctor and the Daleks crash the party.

“Eve of the Daleks” is the third special in a row to feature the exterminating cyborgs, following 2019’s “Resolution” and 2020’s “Revolution of the Daleks.” The previous two have introduced redesigned versions of the monsters, but the trailers have promised that the traditional bronze Daleks will be returning for this one, much to the approval of fans.

Doctor Who: “Eve of the Daleks” is the first of three specials airing across 2022 that will mark Jodie Whittaker’s final episodes as the Doctor.