A little over a year ago, Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor shockingly regenerated into the Fourteenth Doctor, who shares the same face as David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. This set the stage for Tennant to lead the cast of Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, which will finally begin airing at the end of the month. Ahead of the big premiere though, the Fourteenth Doctor has returned for a new short, and within the span of just a few minutes, he now has a hilarious tie to the Daleks.
This short, which aired as part of BBC Children in Need 2023, opens on the planet Skaro, when Davros, the creator of the Daleks, unveils his new creation to an underling named Mr. Castavillian. However, there are two key differences between this Dalek and the ones Doctor Who fans have followed for decades. But before we get into that, watch the Doctor Who short for yourself:
Ok, so first off, Davros doesn’t call his creation a Dalek, but rather a Mark III Travel Machine. That said, Castavillian does his best to come up with an anagram for Kaled, their species, that would fit as a designation, only for Davros to shoot down all his ideas. Second, this Travel Machine boasts a “multi-dextrous claw” rather than the traditional manipulator arm that looks like a plunger.
After Davros leaves the room, Castavillian is shocked to witness the TARDIS crashing into the room. The Fourteenth Doctor emerges from his vehicle, just 60 minutes after from his regeneration and still baffled by why he’s reverted to one of his old faces. However, his mere arrival causes an assortment of problems. For one thing, the TARDIS broke off the multi-dextrous claw, but more importantly, upon audibly noting the Dalek in front of him, that inspires Castavillian to name this machine just that. As if all this wasn’t bad enough, the Fourteenth Doctor also just had to throw in the word “exterminated,” thus prompting to Castavillian to make note of what will become the Daleks’ future catchphrase.
David Tennant’s new version of Doctor Who’s title Time Lord tries to make a not-so-graceful exit before making things worse, but as the cherry on top of this unfortunate proverbial sundae, he grabs an actual plunger from the TARDIS to replace the Dalek’s dislodged claw. Just an hour after regeneration, the Fourteenth Doctor named one of his greatest enemies, mentioned their catchphrase and provided the template for what will become a key weapon in the Daleks’ arsenal. This isn’t a good way to start off a new lifespan, but the good news for Castavillian is that Davros approves of the plunger arm upon returning.
This makes for one hell of an appetizer ahead of the main entrée that is Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, which will consist of three episodes airing to Disney+ subscribers all around the world except in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where the show will continue to air on BBC. This short is also follows in the footsteps of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, as prior to “The Day of The Doctor” airing 10 years ago, fans got “The Night of The Doctor,” which depicted the Eighth Doctor’s regeneration into the War Doctor.
Doctor Who’s first 60th anniversary episode, “The Star Beast,” premieres Saturday, November 25 on the 2023 TV schedule. Following David Tennant’s brief return, Ncuti Gatwa will take over as the Fifteenth Doctor, and among the things we can look forward to from him is a scene he’ll share with William Hartnell’s First Doctor.