Before Jodie Whitaker says goodbye to Doctor Who and a new actor takes her place, the Thirteenth Doctor is closing out her time with a trio of holiday specials. The first one premiered on New Years and brought back the Daleks, and now the new special, Legend of the Sea Devils, is taking the Doctor, Yaz (Mandip Gill), and Dan (John Bishop) to 19th century China.
The big historical highlight of the special belongs to Crystal Yu as real life pirate queen Zheng Yi Sao, aka Madame Ching. Ching was considered one of the most successful pirates in history, taking control of her husband’s pirate confederation after her husband’s death and ending her legendary career commandeering 24 ships and over 1400 pirates before her death at the age of 68. In the special, she’s about to attack a nearby coastal village, prompting the Doctor and her companions to defend it, but the sudden appearance of the titular Sea Devils complicates matters.
Old school Who fans should get a kick out of seeing the Devils, who are making their first appearance in the post-2005 era with this special. The Devils as a sub-race of the Silurians, and first appeared in the 1972 episode of the same name during Jon Pertwee’s time as the Third Doctor. They wouldn’t appear again until Peter Davidson’s Fifth Doctor encountered them 1984, during the four-part opener to season 21, “Warriors of the Deep.” Unlike the Silurians, who’ve had a big redesign since their original debut back in 1970, the Sea Devils have mostly maintained their original appearance for the special.
All told, it looks like a pretty fun special in the vein with some of the series’ best episodes. Pirates are still incredibly fun (and also funny!) to see in live action, and watching them sword fight with aliens looks pretty cool. And it doesn’t hurt that the teaser features a brief glimpse at a massive sea dragon, which’ll surely help the special feel as grand and epic as it very well should, since this is the penultimate closer to Whitaker’s time as the Doctor.
Doctor Who: Legacy of the Sea Devils will premiere on BBC on April 17.
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