'Doctor Who's "Legend of The Sea Devils" Trailer Brings A Pirate Queen

Crystal Yu as Madame Ching in Doctor Who "Legend of the Sea Devils"
Crystal Yu as Madame Ching in Doctor Who "Legend of the Sea Devils" (Photo: James Pardon/BBC America)

The changing of the guard at Doctor Who is not like the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. The latter is a many rehearsed seamless transition that's been going on for hundreds of years. The former never seems to be able to change over without awkward delay or, worse, some embarrassing exit. Whether it's Christopher Eccleston's long-held grudge against how the show treated him or a couple of years where the only episode is the holiday special, something always seems to drag on longer than anyone wanted.

Such is the case with 13th Doctor Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall's exits, which comes at an awkward time for the BBC and the series. This year, 2022, marks the 100 year centenary of the former; next year, 2023, marks the 60th anniversary of the latter. Having Doctor Who off the air is not acceptable for either milestone. But Whittaker has finished her final season already, and showrunner Russell T Davies, who returns to take over the program for the first time since his exit in 2009, is not available until 2023. There's no help for it; the only answer is specials.

It is not the first time Doctor Who has bridged the gap this way. Tenth Doctor David Tennant's exit (and Davies' first leavetaking) was also marked by a year of special episodes airing in spring, fall, and Christmas/New Year's to fill the gap before Steve Moffat would take over as showrunner with his Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. Some of those specials were good too. And considering how much better "Eve of the Daleks" was compared to the New Year's Special to Season 13's Flux, fans have high hopes for these. The trailer for the next special, Legend of the Sea Devils, at least looks enticing. 

Here's the special's synopsis:

Legend of the Sea Devils finds the Doctor, Yaz, and Dan in 19th century China, where a small coastal village is under threat – from both the fearsome pirate queen Madame Ching and a monstrous alien force which she unwittingly unleashes. Will the Doctor, Yaz, and Dan emerge from this swashbuckling battle with the Sea Devils to save the planet?

Whittaker will once again be joined by Mandip Gill and John Bishop as her companions Yaz and Dan. Guest stars for the new special will feature Crystal Yu (A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby) as Madame Ching, along with Arthur Lee (The Great) and newcomer Marlowe Chan-Reeves.

"Legend of the Sea Devils" marks the return of the titular monsters first introduced during the Third Doctor adventure "The Sea Devils" in the original Classic Doctor Who Series 9 way back in 1972 and last appeared in 1984's "Warriors of the Deep" in Series 21 with the Fifth Doctor. The creatures are not to be confused with the Silurians, introduced around the same time as their land-based counterparts. Moffat brought the Silurians back during his tenure, going so far as to make the Silurian Madame Vastra a recurring character along with her wife Jenny Flint and their Sontaran butler Strax.

Doctor Who "Legend of the Sea Devils" does not yet have a release date but is presumably arriving sometime around the Easter holiday in 2022.