Russell T Davies on “obvious doubts” about returning to Doctor Who

Russell T Davies was the mastermind behind the reboot of Doctor Who in 2005, who reinvented the BBC’s classic science fiction show for a modern audience and the architect of a larger universe that includes Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Since he left the show in 2010 he has had huge success as a screenwriter with hits including Cucumber, A Very English Scandal, Years & Years and It’s A Sin to name but a few. It came therefore as somewhat of a surprise to many when it was announced in September 2021 that he would be making a sensational return to be showrunner of Doctor Who once again when Chris Chibnall finished his tenure on the show.

But Davies had admitted that there were “obvious doubts” about coming back to a show where he had enjoyed so much success in the past, with fears that perhaps he wouldn’t be able to replicate what he had achieved with Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth and David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor’s.

“They weren’t just asking me to make an anniversary romp for the 60th. They meant, running the show again,” wrote Davies in the latest edition of Doctor Who Magazine, recalling the moment Piers Wenger and Charlotte Moore asked him to return to the series.

He continued: “What?! But! That would be crazy! Don’t be stupid, I’d just written It’s a Sin, I had a career that meant I could go anywhere and do anyt.. OH YES YES, ALL RIGHT, YES. Yes!”

But he admits that he did in reality have to think about the decision carefully.

“Seriously, I had to think about it,” He continued.

“There were obvious doubts, with everyone lining up to say: can lightning strike twice? (Yes, if you stand in the middle of the storm and hold up a bloody great big lightning rod, oh yes it can!) But in truth, as I considered this show’s future in a brand-new TV environment with a mighty quest ahead, I thought… I’m needed. Yup. There are times in life when you have to put modesty, insecurity and doubt aside, and know what you are capable of.”

And so the rest, as they say, is history and Davies signed up to take over the show in the knowledge that the new deal between the BBC and Disney+ was in place.

Fans now have the excitement of the three 60th anniversary episodes starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor to look forward to, followed by the adventures in space and time of the Fifteenth Doctor in season 14 of Doctor Who starring Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson as his companion Ruby Sunday.