Why is Russell T Davies returning to Doctor Who after 13 years?

Doctor Who: BBC release teaser for series 13

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Russell announced on Friday, September 24, he will be reprising his role as showrunner of Doctor Who after originally quitting in 2010 to allow for more creative minds to take charge of the show. The screenwriter and producer was responsible for reviving the hit BBC sci-fi classic and brought it back to television in 2005. With current showrunner Chris Chibnall leaving the role at the end of 2022, Russell will be returning to the helm and here is everything you need to know about why he decided to make a comeback.

Why is Russell T Davies returning to Doctor Who?

Following Chris’ decision to leave the show with the 13th incarnation of the Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, BBC bosses have been looking for someone to fill the role of showrunner.

Instead of recruiting someone new, they have settled on bringing back the man responsible for the show’s reboot and success in the present day.

The screenwriter was the mastermind behind spin-offs such as The Sarah Jane Adventures, with the late Elisabeth Sladen reprising her iconic role, and Torchwood led by Captain Jack Harkness star John Barrowman.

Russell will be making a comeback at a fundamental time as when he rejoins, the show will be celebrating its 60th anniversary.

With a big storyline needed to mark the occasion, it seems the new showrunner is looking forward to returning to his roots.

Discussing his reappointment, Russell said in a statement: “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.”

It seems the revival mastermind is being brought back to bring the show into a new era, having enjoyed huge success away from the show.

Recently, the screenwriter created the BBC drama Years and Years which was a ratings hit in 2019 and this year, his original work based on the HIV/AIDS pandemic It’s A Sin aired on Channel 4.

Earlier this month, the harrowing drama won the Best New Drama award at the National Television Awards.

Beyond excited to be back

Russell T Davies

Speaking of his successor, Chris added: “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.”

Director of Drama at the BBC, Piers Wenger, commented: “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.”

Why did Russell T Davies leave Doctor Who?

Russell decided to leave the show of his own accord, having been the showrunner for four seasons and numerous special episodes.

With his attention directed to other projects, such as the spin-off series, the screenwriter thought it was the right time to end his chapter alongside the conclusion of David Tennant’s stint in the Tardis.

Discussing his exit, Russell said: “[Me and David] had dinner and chatted about it a few years ago. It just felt right.

“The BBC asked me to do a series five, but I didn’t shift at all,” he continued in an interview with The original David Tennant fansite.

It was announced at the time Steven Moffat would be replacing the man who revived the series and oversaw David and Christopher Ecclestone at the helm of the Tardis.

He narrowly missed the show’s 50th anniversary in 2013, which saw his successor bring back some of his most beloved characters to mark the occasion.

Discussing how he felt about Steven taking his role, Russell said: “I think people half expect us to be rivals and enemies, but we love each other.

“After all, I used to sit and watch our own! On a Saturday night I’d sit and watch it going out like a viewer,” he told RadioTimes.com, expressing his delight at being able to tune in instead of working behind the scenes.

Russell’s work won’t be seen on-screen until 2023 as there is a new season and three more special episodes to come from Chris yet.

Doctor Who seasons 1-12 are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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