Russell T. Davies returning as Doctor Who show runner

Exciting news as the man behind Doctor Who's revival plots a return as showrunner.

Russel T. Davies will return as showrunner for Doctor Who‘s 60th Anniversary celebrations in 2023.

Responsible for Doctor Who’s revival in 2005, Davies is credited with propelling the show into a global phenomenon.

Davies left the show in 2009, after creating two spin-offs, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

His most recent credits include acclaimed titles Years And Years, A Very English Scandal and It’s A Sin.

Russell T Davies says: “I’m beyond excited to be back on my favourite show. But we’re time-travelling too fast, there’s a whole series of Jodie Whittaker’s brilliant Doctor for me to enjoy, with my friend and hero Chris Chibnall at the helm – I’m still a viewer for now.”

Chris Chibnall says: “It’s monumentally exciting and fitting that Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will see one of Britain’s screenwriting diamonds return home. Russell built the baton that is about to be handed back to him. Doctor Who, the BBC, the screen industry in Wales – and let’s be honest everyone in the whole world – have so many reasons to be Very Excited Indeed about what lies ahead.”

Piers Wenger, BBC Director of Drama, says: “As the 13th Doctor prepares to embark on new and extraordinary adventures, the winds of change are blowing… bringing with them news to delight Doctor Who fans across the globe. We are thrilled that Russell is returning to Doctor Who to build on the huge achievements of Chris and Jodie. Thank you to the two of them and the team in Cardiff for all they continue to do for the show and hello Russell, it’s wonderful to have you back.”

Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker will leave Doctor Who in a trio of Specials, in late 2022.

15 Responses

  1. I’ve seen lots of change in the Whoniverse in the 40 years I’ve watched DW. One of them is the almost complete absence of nuance & subtlety during the Chibnall era (& arguably before it). It’s as if Chibnall said, “Ooh I know! Let’s have a same-gendered partnership in every single storyline, regardless of relevance or likelihood in a 100% alien setting. Let’s cram loads of characters of every conceivable colour, ethnicity & minority into every single episode. Let’s ensure an obvious proportion of “traditionally male” roles & characters are assigned to female actors. Let’s put all this stuff front and centre, over & over & over. And let’s not do it with subtlety. Let’s fly the flag behind every single scene. And let’s not do it to render these current-day earthbound ‘issues’ as non-issues in fictional sci-fi environs, but simply because it works for the woke & fits the public broadcaster’s agenda to tick as many diversity boxes as it can. So much meaningless tokenism for RTD to avoid!

  2. The problem for me with this generation of Dr Who the TV series, is not the ‘Who’ character but that the whole concept and style of the show was developed for the 1960’s, including the Dr’s adversaries like The Dalek’s and Cybermen, in their past form they are very retro and almost a joke except to ‘Who’ fans of course, I guess that’s why the BBC have taken a few plot diversions in recent times to allow for some upgrades. Unfortunately in my opinion these BBC committee experiments including a bit of Americanisation didn’t transform anything into the 21st century it just spruced up the old world 60’s concepts a bit. Like Star Trek Dr.Who needed to get back to making self contained episodes which stick with sci-fi concepts and entertainment and nothing more. With Russell T. Davis back maybe the BBC missed a chance to reinstate the all round entertainment value that has been missing in recent generations of Dr. Who, it’s only meant to be a classic sci-fi tale after all.

    1. What really drove the earlier seasons was that they had 4 part episodes like Terror of the Autons in Jon Pertwee’s day, which of course where only 25 minute episodes, so they were played out in 100 mins (just 20 mins shy of 2 hours). Here as we got the episodes on delay that generally played out Mon-Thu on the ABC, however did so on the BBC weekly. What this created as I remember fondly was we’d talk about the episodes in the School Yard and have our own theories on what was going to happen. It also played out that way in the UK, Russell T. Davis has said himself that is what happened at his School and other Writers have said the same and how they always dreamt of writing Doctor Who. That is what kept Doctor Who going, which the way it has played out means the show was itself regenerating, so without episodic episodes you lose that. Problem is the now 45 min episodes don’t really lend themselves to that and a themed season can seem more dragged out, not sure it can be done well…

      1. Yes, I completely overlooked the 4 part story of earlier ‘Who’ series which used to get me hooked back then as well, but lets also remember that TV entertainment was a luxury for some in Britain during the economic Austerity days of the 60’s and 70’s so there was less critical analysis of storylines or production standards as there is today, but in a schoolyard it was useful to have some knowledge about Dr. Who or whatever was big at the time, that is until Monty Python became popular and that changed everything. Dr. Who also had to go through the transition from Black and White to Colour, which few other TV drama shows in the UK managed to do successfully at the time, overall for a sci-fi show Dr. Who is one of the most successful and longest lasting creations ever made, so hopefully the BBC will get some creative revision started and just concentrate on making good science fiction.

        1. … well, as one who watched the very first episode on the beeb 23 November 1963 (and the repeat followed by episode two the following week) “economic Austerity” was something of history at that point characterised by British PM Harold Macmillan’s famous line in 1957 “indeed let us be frank about it—most of our people have never had it so good” … not to mention (in specific relation to television) the launch of commercial television in 1955 and the opening of BBC Television Centre in 1960 … and “production standards” generally were very different in the 1960s!!!

    2. I think it’s very much a question of who’s done what’s best for the program, versus who’s done what’s best for themselves or their own agenda. Since 2005 in my view RTD maintained a fairly consistent focus (give or take) on what was best for the show itself, the other two not so much. A similar case could be put for the latter years of the classic series, so it’s not a new debate. But everyone’s experience is different. As the first Doctor himself once said, “One ma’s law is another man’s crime”.

  3. I have no problems with a female Doctor and I thought Jodie would have been great if the writers and show runner (Chris) had given her better stories. I’ve recently been rewatching old episodes of Dr Who from the Russell T Davies era on the ABC and they are so powerful and entertaining. More of that please when Russell returns as showrunner. It would also be good to have some more Dr Who spin-offs like we had with Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures in the past. Of course the other important question is, who will be the next Doctor. Personally I’d like to see Welch actor, Michael Sheen (from the TV show Prodigal Son) get the role. – Let’s make the Dr Who show great again.

  4. I liked a lot of what Chris Chibnall did. I seem a lone voice on this, sometimes. And this step backwards seems like desperate course-correction to appease the most annoying fans. I think this is the wrong move, but I guess it’s too late now.

    1. Sounds like they are trying to fix the damage done by the current showrunner! At least bring back the fun to this show! I love Russell, especially his most recent stuff, but hope they foster the next generation of showrunners.

      I can’t understand how Chibnal dropped the ball when he has done some solid work in the past. His era had been an uninspired to say the least. Characters rarely felt authentic or had any agency.

      I’m not confident, but hope he can finish of strong with his remaining episodes. I hope Russell either retcons or never talks about Chibnal’s timeless children nonsense.

    2. You’re not alone, I have enjoyed the recent Doctor Who. I feel like with Sci Fi fans get attached too much and want things to never change so it doesn’t matter if it is good nothing will ever be as good as the past to them

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