Looks like Doctor Who is hopping in its TARDIS and traveling back to the mid ’00s. In a big surprise, the BBC announced today that Russell T Davies will return as the showrunner for the long-running British science fiction series, bringing Doctor Who back under his control for the first time since he left the series in 2009 and Steven Moffat took over. He will be the first “NuWho” showrunner to return to the series after leaving it and be at the helm for the series 60th anniversary and beyond.
“I’m beyond excited to be back on my favourite (he’s British, that’s how they spell it) 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,” said Davies.
Russell T Davies will be taking over Doctor Who for Chibnall, who took the helm from Moffat in 2017. Chibnall and current Doctor actor Whitaker announced that they would both be leaving the show in 2022 after the current series and three film specials air over the coming year. The announcement of them leaving was met with mixed emotions by fans, as the series has struggled over Chibnall’s run and delivered sagging ratings and blowback from controversial plotlines.
It makes sense that BBC would then try to recruit Davies. The prolific British producer was the man responsible not just for successfully bringing Doctor Who back but turning it into a global phenomenon. His run with David Tenant is considered some of the best of the “NuWho” series, and just putting his name on the show is sure to draw eyes back to the series. Davies also launched two successful spin-off shows, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
“It’s monumentally exciting and fitting that Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will see one of Britain’s screenwriting diamonds return home,” said Chibnall. “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.”
Now that the Doctor Who showrunner has been established with Russell T Davies himself returning, the next big question for the show is who will play the Doctor themselves. Whitaker was the first female Doctor, opening up the casting of the character to a much more diverse cast than “skinny white guy.” Will the series stick with a woman? A minority casting? A red head? An American (heaven forbid)? We’ll probably be waiting a while to find out.