This story is the 2022 New Year Special. It continues on from the end of the previous story (the six-parter "Flux"), which saw The Doctor's TARDIS damaged from the Flux. In "Eve of the Daleks" the Thirteenth Doctor, while attempting to reboot the TARDIS, accidentally traps ELF Storage and everyone inside it within a time loop. It also dealt with the consequences of The Doctor allowing the Dalek War Fleet to be destroyed in the final Flux event, with Dalek Executioners being sent to exterminate The Doctor in revenge.
It was written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Annetta Laufer. Jodie Whittaker stars, as the Thirteenth Doctor, alongside Mandip Gill and John Bishop as her travelling companions, Yasmin Khan and Dan Lewis, respectively. It features guest stars Aisling Bea, Adjani Salmon and Pauline McLynn. Jonny Dixon, who last appeared in the 2018 story "The Woman Who Fell to Earth", returned to portray Karl. He is seen briefly - witnessing the destruction of the storage facility at the end of this story.
For the first time since, the 1996 Eighth Doctor film "Doctor Who: The Movie", a story’s events are specific to a New Year’s Eve. ‘There have been Christmas episodes, but I think this is only the second time the series has done New Year’s Eve’, writer Chris Chibnall has stated. ‘Everybody wants New Year’s Eve to be the greatest night of the year, but it rarely is. We all feel that pressure about what you’re going to do. Will you go out? Will you meet someone? Are you going to spend it with the love of your life? For our final New Year’s Eve episode we’ve gone full New Year’s Eve, with all those yearnings and frustrations. And Daleks’.
This is the first of three specials for 2022 - and, along with the second special, was filmed in the same production run as all six episodes of "Flux". Filming for these two specials concluded in August 2021.
It has been reported that when Jodie Whittaker first read the script for this story and, saw that The Doctor gets exterminated in the opening minutes, she genuinely believed that she had been written out of the show earlier than she thought she was going to be.
This story is notable for the first to explicitly establish Yasmin Khan's feelings toward The Doctor as being romantically inclined. This occurs when Dan notices Yasmin’s reactions when in The Doctor presence. Yasmin claims that she did not realise that it was so obvious. The Doctor though is aware but pretends she isn't (see also the 2018 story "Arachnids in the UK").
Yasmin accuses The Doctor of ‘leaving us all the time’. The Thirteenth Doctor has ended up separated from Yasmin and other companions several times, including midway through "Spyfall", before "Revolution of the Daleks", and during a three year gap in the fifth part of "Flux".
This story is the third New Year special in a row involving the Daleks.
It introduces a new version of the Daleks referred to as ‘Executioner Daleks’ and uses the format of a time loop.
The Executioner Daleks! are previously unseen versions of the Doctor’s oldest foes and have upgraded, and so more powerful, gunsticks.
Regarding the Daleks seen in this special story Chris Chibnall has stated: ‘I think it’s always good to delineate and make specific the Daleks we meet at any point. These are the bronze Daleks, which we’ve only really glimpsed in recent years. But in this episode we have an execution squad, armed with rapid-fire, multi-blast weapons that make them even deadlier than standard Daleks. This is the ultimate New Year’s countdown - while you’re stuck somewhere, with Daleks coming for you’.
The Daleks in this story accuse The Doctor of using the Flux to destroy a Dalek War Fleet - which she counters was a Sontaran plan that she had only hijacked (see the final episode of the previous story "Flux").
Daleks have previously pursued The Doctor with the intent of executing the Time Lord (see "The Chase").
Before she is first killed by the Daleks, The Doctor fearfully mutters, ‘Not like this’. She had only recently been warned by the embodiment of Time that her time was heading to its end (see the final episode of the previous story "Flux").
One of the Daleks is heard to say ‘I am NOT Nick!’. One of the characters is called Nick but the man providing the voice for the Daleks is Nick Briggs.
The Fourth Doctor previously used his sonic screwdriver to interfere with Daleks on Proxima Major, causing more than just weapon interference. This included interference in their speech circuits and motor circuits (see the Big Finish Productions Fourth Doctor audio stories "The Dalek Contract" and "The Final Phase"). Similarly, the Thirteenth Doctor previously used her sonic screwdriver successfully to interfere with the Reconnaissance Dalek's weaponry in the 2019 story "Resolution").
The TARDIS' Cloister Bell is again heard – this time when The Doctor initiates the self-reset.
Dan is heard comparing the time loop to a Groundhog Day.
Nick's self-storage unit is filled with items that belonged to his ex-girlfriends, which he has kept in case they asked for them back. It is revealed that Nick has had a lot of ex-girlfriends, including Simona, Lucy, and Nicole. The sheer number of them, coupled with Nick's apparent obsessiveness over their possessions, prompts a worried Yasmin to ask him if they are all still alive.
Prohibited items for storage included stolen or illegal goods, humans, animals, tyres, cash, plants, food, cars, guns, ammunition, toxic, hazardous, and radioactive materials.
The Doctor mentions not having seen so much gunpowder since 1605 - alluding to Guy Fawkes' attempted destruction of parliament, which was witnessed by The Doctor, (see the computer game "The Gunpowder Plot") and also Yasmin (see the short story "Black Powder", that was published in the Doctor Who Magazine issues 568 and 569).
The Doctor states her sonic screwdriver is unable to resonate concrete. The Ninth Doctor learned this fact when he was unable to use it to escape from the Empty Child with Rose Tyler in the 2005 story "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances").
Sarah is heard to utter ‘Oh, my giddy aunt!’ while on the run from the Daleks. This phrase was often used by the Second Doctor.
This story has, to date, the longest running part of the storyline before the opening titles - running just over nine minutes, ten seconds. The previous story to hold this accolade was the 2016 Twelfth Doctor story "The Return of Doctor Mysterio".
This story is partially set on the same day that it was broadcast, the 1st January 2022. This makes it one of only nine episodes in the revived series to do so, after "Rose" on the 5th March 2005, the first part of "The End of Time" on the 25th December 2009, the second episode of "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang" on the 26th June 2010, the first episode of "The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon" on the 22nd April 2011, "Resolution" on the 1st January 2019, "Revolution of the Daleks" on the 1st January 2021, the first part of "Flux" on the 31st October 2021, and the final part of "Flux" (the directly preceding episode) on the 5th December 2021.
The first story, since the 1996 Eighth Doctor film "Doctor Who: The Movie", where the events are specific to a New Year’s Eve.
This story is the first of three specials for 2022.
This story introduces a new version of Daleks that are referred to as ‘Executioner Daleks’ which have upgraded and more powerful gunsticks.
This story is notable for the first to explicitly establish Yasmin Khan's feelings toward The Doctor as being romantically inclined.