TV Recap: “Doctor Who” Makes a Surprise Early Return in 2023 BBC Children in Need Short

I can’t believe that we are finally less than a week away from the first of the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials! Fans' appetites were somewhat appeased this week, with a special 5 minute mini-episode created for the BBC’s Children in Need event.

Doctor Who has had a storied history with the charitable event, going back to the airing of the 20th anniversary story “The Five Doctors” during the event in 1983. In a fun moment of history repeating itself, our first full look at David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor came in late 2005 during Children in Need, a month prior to the airing of “The Christmas Invasion.” Since then, the show has had multiple appearances – some small, some significant – during the annual event, including last year’s announcement of MIllie Gibson as the Doctor’s new companion.

And so the tradition continues ahead of the show’s 60th anniversary with the debut of “Destination: Skaro.” The short begins on the Dalek’s home planet of Skaro, during the genesis of their creation. We’re introduced to Davros (Julien Bleach), the creator of the Daleks, seen for the first time as an able bodied man. All previous appearances of Davros have shown him to be almost half man, half Dalek – scarred due the Kaled’s ongoing war with the Thals (yes, I know, a lot of Sci-Fi alien races). So this appearance of Davros takes place prior to that incident. Bleach, who has played Davros twice before, puts in an excellent performance, still getting the creepy essence of Davros through, despite the new appearance.

Davros shows off his new Mark III travel machine, the as-of-yet unnamed Dalek, to Mawann Rizwan’s Mr. Castavillian (read that out loud and see if you get the pun). As none of the proposed names hit a landing, Davros is called off, leaving Castavillian alone when the Doctor comes crashing in with his TARDIS, destroying the Dalek’s original armament in the process. What follows is David Tennant back at his comedic a-game. I don’t want to spoil all the jokes here, but let’s just say the Doctor may have had more of a hand in the genesis of the Daleks than he thought.

Speaking of the genesis of the Daleks, this short cleverly serves as a prequel to the absolute classic 1975 story, appropriately titled “Genesis of the Daleks.” It is in that story that we are first introduced to Davros as the creator of the Daleks, and it's truly one of the all-time great Doctor Who stories. Check it out if you haven’t!

As for “Destination: Skaro,” the BBC have officially released the short on their Doctor Who YouTube channel, so it’s included to watch below.

Overall, this was a fun little romp, providing some truly unexpected moments that will likely have little to do with the 60th anniversary specials. I’ll be back on Saturday to recap the first special, “The Star Beast,” so please, come on back then!

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Luke Manning
Luke is a fan of all things theme parks and self-proclaimed #1 fan of Joffrey’s Coffee, who lives in Kissimmee, FL