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Doctor Who Resolution New Years Day Special

Review by Paul Bowler

A thrilling new adventure awaits Team TARDIS in Resolution, the Doctor Who New Year’s Day Special! The Doctor and her friends return to Earth as the new year is about to begin. But an ancient evil is also rising, something forged throughout centuries of human history, and now it threatens to destroy the entire world.

Although we’ve not had our usual festive themed Doctor Who Christmas special this year, the New Year’s Day special Resolution more than makes up for it. Written by showrunner Chris Chibnal and Directed by Wayne Yip (who also helmed 2017’s The Lie of the Land Empress of Mars for Peter Capaldi‘s final season), Resolution is an epic, fast-paced adventure that sees Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor (now sporting a nice new scarf) uncovering a bizarre archaeological mystery in Sheffield together with her companions Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole), along with new allies Mitch (Nikesh Patel who appeared in Indian Summers) and Lin (played by Call the Midwife star Charlotte Ritchie) who also get caught up in the action.

Following the century spanning opening scenes exploring the myth of some legendary custodians, the full scope and scale of Resolution quickly becomes apparent as Chibnal’s frenetically paced script deftly balances the creeping horror awakening at the archaeological dig beneath the Town Hall in Sheffield with the big action set-pieces. The drama and danger ramps up even further once the Doctor arrives and realises the menace is none other than one her deadliest enemies… the Daleks!

Yes, the Doctor’s greatest foes are back with a bang in Resolution! Well, at least one of them anyway! It transpires in Resolution that this Dalek is a reconnaissance scout that was defeated in the 9th Century, its parts divided around the world to be overseen by custodians, but now it has returned – albeit only initially here in its mutant form. We’ve seen how dangerous a lone Dalek can be before in 2005’s Dalek, and the Dalek in Resolution is every bit as deadly.

The Dalek mutant also goes a bit Venom at one point, forming a symbiotic bond with Lin. She is able to resists long enough for the Doctor to track her down, but not before the Dalek has been able to rebuild itself. I really liked this steampunk style Dalek and how it cobbled itself together. It’s quite a striking design, very different from anything we’ve ever seen before, but instantly recognizable and packed with hidden weapons!

Jodie Whittaker is again on superb form as the Doctor. Its great to finally see her incarnation of the Time Lord face-off against the newly reborn Dalek, and the powerful scenes between them were the highlights of the episode. The Doctor’s companions all get a moment in the spotlight as well, Tosin Cole got some great scenes when Ryan has a reunion with his long absent father, Aaron (Daniel Adegboyega), Bradley Walsh once again gets some emotional scenes as Graham, and Mandip Gill is right at the heart of the action as Yaz. Nikesh Patel and Charlotte Ritchie also make good mini companions for this adventure as Mitch and Lin, especially when Lin is taken over by the Dalek mutant and does all she can to resist the creatures influence.

There are moments of fun in Resolution as well, especially when the Dalek shuts down the UK’s entire internet and Wi-Fi, and the shocked population realise they might have to spend New Year’s Day actually having a real – shock horror – conversation! Not even UNIT is safe these days either, having seemingly been scuttled by Brexit, much to the Doctor’s consternation.

Wayne Yip’s stylish direction keeps Resolution rattling along at a cracking pace, especially once the Dalek trundles into action against the army. The showdown at GCHQ between the DIY junkyard Dalek and the Doctor and her friends is another spectacular action sequence, one that culminates in a final battle inside the TARDIS itself, and a moving reconciliation between Ryan and his father rounds off the episode in fine style.

In many respects Resolution actually feels a lot more like a popper season finale than The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos. I don’t think the shift from Christmas Day to having a New Year’s Day Doctor Who special has been at any detrimental cost to the series either, after all there’s only so many Christmas themed stories you can realistically tell, and this move also offered a chance to do something a bit different with the format. Resolution proved to be an exciting Doctor Who story bursting with action and spectacular effects, it was great to see the new Doctor and Co taking on a Dalek, and it also brought a nice sense of closure to series 11.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Images & Video Belong BBC