; Date: Sun Sep 26 2021
Tags: Doctor Who
Who among us expected Russell T. Davies to return to Doctor Who? But, that's what is happening, with Friday's announcement that RTD would make an explosive return to Doctor Who with the 60th anniversary show and beyond. Now that the initial excitement has worn off, let's ponder what this will mean.
Earlier this year The Radio Times had interviewed Russell T. Davies about the various shows he had launched during his tenure as Doctor Who show-runner. That is, he launched Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures alongside Doctor Who with lots of cross-over episodes, and shared history, between the three.
In that interview, earlier this year, RTD said: “I was in the middle of running an empire. And my God I did that 10 years too soon, didn’t I?” He went on to suggest that “There should be a Doctor Who channel now. You look at those Disney announcements, of all those new Star Wars and Marvel shows, you think, we should be sitting here announcing The Nyssa Adventures or The Return of Donna Noble, and you should have the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors together in a 10-part series. Genuinely.”
In other words, RTD's actions the last time he was Doctor Who show runner was to launch shared universe stories. He talked glowingly of the idea just a few months ago. It seems likely he'll want to do the same thing again.
The lore of Doctor Who contains many many things that are worthy of additional exploration. In fact, the success of Big Finish Productions (audio adventures based on Doctor Who) is based on exactly that premise.
RTD named off some interesting ideas.. but, dude, modern fans have no idea who Nyssa is. I don't see that specific concept working. That's a shame because Nyssa was such an excellent character.
One huge decision RTD must face - and is surely already facing - is who gets to play The Doctor next?
Jodi Whittaker is set to end her time as The Doctor at the end of 2022 with the last of the three specials slated for that year. It will also be the last episode handled by Chibnall. We already know who's replacing Chibnall, but who will replace Whittaker?
There is of course lots of speculation in the press.
One pattern is that RTD has a circle of actors he apparently prefers to work with. It's likely that Doctor Who will draw from that same circle of actors.
I think the only kind of actor who could follow the first female Doctor would be a black lesbian. Why cause Doctor Who to revert to the norm of The Doctor being played by white straight guys? The glass ceiling has broken, let's make sure it stays broken.
It probably means a return to Wales. In the BBC's announcement we are told "BBC Studios are partnering with Bad Wolf to produce", and "Bad Wolf" is a production company started in 2015 by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, who had worked with Russell T. Davies on Doctor Who back in the day. The name of the company obviously references a major plot point of Doctor Who shows during that period, a kind of multidimensional entity named Bad Wolf that's associated with the Rose Tyler character after she swallowed the heart of the TARDIS.
Bad Wolf Productions has its own production studio in South Wales. It therefore seems a likely place for Doctor Who production to take place.
Is the return of Russell T. Davies the best thing for the future of Doctor Who? I surely hope so. As much as he went over the top with certain aspects of the show, his tenure included a lot of truly excellent Doctor Who stories.
It seems to me that Doctor Who has lots its way. The decisions made by Chibnall weren't all that good.