Bureau 42 Review – Doctor Who – “Eve of the Daleks”

New Year’s Eve is really not an event, in that the only thing special about it is that we have our own, human-made calendar, and it happens to flip over on the next day.  It isn’t even accurate outside of a few miles thanks to time zones.  That means that it is purely made up for marking Time, which means we probably should have been celebrating it with Doctor Who all along.  This year, Chris continues his tradition of preferring New Years to the traditional holiday special, and bringing back our favorite holiday villains.

Cast and Crew

Directed by Annetta Laufer

Written by Chris Chibnall

Aisling Bea as Sarah
John Bishop as Dan Lewis
Nicholas Briggs as Daleks (voice)
Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan
Adjani Salmon as Nick
Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor


Sarah owns and runs ELF storage, and Nick is a customer who visits his unit every year on New Year’s Eve. This year, however, their night turns out to be a little different than planned. (From IMDB.)

High Point

The chemistry between Sarah and Nick is perfectly believable.  Both characters feel like exactly what you’d find in the real world.

Low Point

The episode is very episodic, which is nice for a change, but it feels like we spend a long time trying move forward to ultimately end up where we started1.

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6 I talked about Time Loops before.  We’ve seen Daleks before.  We’ve seen these companion interaction before.  I was trying to come up with a new detail to give them any points and the joke about ELF Storage was the best I had.

Effects: 4/6 There’s very little things that are fancy here, and the fancy things look like the sort of thing we could do at home on a laptop.

Acting: 6/6 This was the best part, the actors all disappear into their characters.  My wife had shown me Aisling Bea, which made me honestly question is she was supposed to be playing a character or she was just herself for this.

Emotional Response: 5/6 Admittedly, I am a bit of a romantic, but I enjoyed watching that part of the story unfold.

Story: 5/6 While the time it took to tell the story might have dragged a bit, it is a nice self contained story.  Great for sitting down with friends who were over for New Years who aren’t up to date on the show.

Production: 4/6 I expect the pandemic had a lot to do with the challenges in producing this episode, but keeping things as small as it did helped them pull it off.

Overall: 5/6 This is a good Doctor Who episode.  There’s better, but we’ve seen much worse.2

In total, “Eve of the Daleks” receive 30/42

The Doctor returns in “Legend of the Sea Devils” sometime in 2022.

1Like we are stuck in a tim– oooh. I get it.

2*grumble*…this season.*grumble*

2 replies on “Bureau 42 Review – Doctor Who – “Eve of the Daleks””

  1. I might be able to find another point for originality, though it’s definitely subjective. I’ve seen the “decaying time loop” trope done a few times, most recently on the likes of Agents of Shield and Russian Doll and as far back as Lois and Clark (a Christmas episode, no less). What’s unusual with this one is that everyone remembers the previous loops instead of just one or two select characters, and that was used to good effect here.

  2. I agree generally with this review. I’ve seen better, but this was a decent episode, suited to our current situation, and shot with…. well, without all the money they blew on the rest of the season. Sometimes less really is more, and the required effects were perfectly serviceable.

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