/Russell T. Davies Set to Return to “Doctor Who” in 2023
Graphic by Bell Jackson

Russell T. Davies Set to Return to “Doctor Who” in 2023

by Cady Inabinett 

Russell T. Davies will be returning as showrunner of sci-fi television show “Doctor Who” starting in 2023. Davies, who is credited with reviving the show in 2005, will be taking over for current showrunner Chris Chibnall, who has been showrunner since 2018. 

Davies’s return coincides with the show’s 60th anniversary, as well as lead actress Jodie Whittaker’s exit. This means that one of Davies’s first responsibilities will be to recast the leading role. There is currently no indication of who Davies will pick to fill the role following Whittaker’s historic stint on the show as the first woman to hold the role in show’s history. 

Additionally, under Davies’s control, BBC Studios will be partnering with Bad Wolf production company for production of “Doctor Who,” a first for the show that has always been produced solely by the BBC, with the exception of a TV movie in 1996. Bad Wolf was founded by two of Davies’s previous “Doctor Who” collaborators, Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter.  

The Bad Wolf Twitter account said that the production studio is, “delighted to be joining Russell T. Davies on a looped ontological paradox,” and that, “It is a privilege to be asked to support him in Doctor Who’s future.” 

Davies is credited with sparking the series’ wild popularity after it’s revival. He also spearheaded two spin-off series: “Torchwood” and “The Sarah Jane Adventures.”  

Since his departure in 2009, Davies has produced and written the screenplay adaptation of “A Very English Scandal,” which received an Emmy award nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special in 2019. His most recent project, television drama “It’s a Sin,” won the Best New Drama award at this year’s National Television Awards—a British television awards show.  

In a statement, Davies said he is “beyond excited to be back on my favourite show,” and went on to praise Chibnall’s stint as showrunner, saying, “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.” 

Similarly, Chibnall praised Davies, saying, “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.”  

Chibnall will still be showrunner for another season of the show along with three specials before stepping down at the same time as Whittaker’s departure from the show. 

Fan response to Davies return has been positive, with BBC entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba writing, “His unexpected return to the show has delighted many, because if there is a recent golden era of Doctor Who, it’s arguably when Davies was in charge, with the programme attracting huge viewing figures and racking up awards and critical acclaim.” 

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Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.