Who is Russell T Davies? Acclaimed writer set to return to Doctor Who as showrunner

Davies’ revived and ran the Doctor Who franchise after the show’s 16 year hiatus

Russell T Davies is returning to Doctor Who to serve as showrunner after he departed the show back in 2009, the BBC has announced.

The It’s A Sin writer, who was behind the 2005 revival of the Time Lord, will replace Chris Chibnall when he leaves the show next year, alongside star Jodie Whittaker.

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Who is Russell T Davies?

Stephen Russell Davies OBE, better known as Russell T Davies, is a Welsh screenwriter and television producer from Swansea.

The 58-year-old, whose works include Queer as Folk, Casanova, A Very English Scandal, and Years and Years, revived and ran the Doctor Who franchise after the show’s 16 year hiatus between 2005 and 2010.

Christopher Ecclestona and David Tennant starred in the title role during his tenure, with the first episode of the show attracting 10.8 million viewers.

Davies’ stint as executive producer saw the show gain a huge surge in popularity which later led to the production of two spin-off series, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

In 2008 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to drama, which coincided with his announcement he would be stepping down as Doctor Who producer, with his final script ‘The End of Time’.

Now more than 10 years on from his departure, Davies is set to return as showrunner in 2023.

His most recent drama, It’s A Sin on Channel 4, explores the HIV/Aids crisis in the 1980s.

The show stars Olly Alexander and follows a group of young gay men who move to London in the 1980s at the beginning of the crisis.

Doctor Who anniversary

Davies will make his comeback to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who in 2023.

Speaking about his return, he said: “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.”

Chibnall has served as executive producer and head writer since taking over from Steven Moffat in 2017 and was responsible for casting Whittaker as the Time Lord.

Commenting on Davies’ return to the franchise, Chibnall said: “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.”

In July, it was announced that Whittaker and Chibnall would both exit the sci-fi drama in the new year.

Whittaker is due to star in the next series of the programme later this year, before making her final appearances in a trio of specials in 2022.

The first special will air on New Year’s Day, with the second to follow in spring and the third, when the Doctor will regenerate, will air in autumn 2022, forming part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.

It’s A Sin star Alexander is currently the favourite to replace Whittaker as The Doctor, meaning he and Davies could reunite on the show. However, his manager recently released a statement dismissing the reports.

Piers Wenger, BBC director of drama, added: “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.”

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