The Doctor Who Holiday Special revealed that the UK has forgotten the Daleks – because previous invasions have been erased from history.
The trailer for the Doctor Who Holiday Special revealed the Daleks have been embraced by the human race – but why has humanity forgotten the Daleks? Doctor Who producer Matt Strevens has suggested the Holiday Special is something of an origin story for a new breed of Daleks, and it seems the malignant pepperpots have been welcomed by humanity. The trailer showed the British Prime Minister hailing the “new defense drones,” clearly unaware of the creatures within. The Daleks have always been known for their manipulative streak, and this gambit feels reminiscent of both the Patrick Troughton story “The Power of the Daleks” and the Matt Smith story “Victory of the Daleks.”
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But this naturally raises the question of just how the human race can possibly be so gullible as to trust the Daleks? After all, during the Russell T. Davies era the Daleks openly threatened the globe on multiple occasions. Armies of Daleks and Cybermen battled in the streets of London in the Doctor Who season 2 story “Doomsday,” and in Doctor Who season 4, the Daleks literally stole the entire planet Earth. A former British Prime Minister, Harriet Jones, was actually exterminated by the Daleks in “Journey’s End.” So frankly you’d expect the human race to be wary of anything that looks like a Dalek.
Doctor Who‘s continuity has always been confusing, but in this case, there’s actually a relatively clear explanation and one tied to the Matt Smith era. In Doctor Who season 5, the Doctor discovered cracks propagating throughout time and space, rewriting history. It turned out this process had actually been caused by the Doctor himself, as he was destined to reboot the universe in the season 5 finale “The Big Bang.” One specific change was the erasing of all previous Dalek invasions of Earth. Essentially, as far as the general human race is concerned, the Daleks have never invaded Earth full-force before.
Curiously enough, the UK government does have some history with the Daleks even in this rebooted timeline. As told in “Victory of the Daleks,” during the Second World War a group of Daleks persuaded Winston Churchill’s wartime government to believe the Daleks were his servants. Thematically this story is clearly similar to the Doctor Who Holiday Special, and oddly enough that episode too introduced a new Dalek design. It’s safe to assume all records of these events were classified, and thus by the 21st century, no politician or civil servant would be familiar with them. Thus history looks set to repeat itself, which in itself feels like an amusing commentary on British politics.
The Doctor Who Holiday Special suggested the British public will soon be very familiar indeed with the Daleks, with the new Daleks shown opening fire on the citizens of London and a classic Dalek saucer hovering over the city. And Earth is without its greatest protector, with the Doctor a prisoner of the Judoon and her fam forced to deal with the Dalek threat without her. Fortunately, they have the help of John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness, no stranger to protecting the planet without the Doctor, finally making his much-anticipated return to Doctor Who.
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