Listen to Russell T Davies talk about why he came back to Doctor Who

Originally published at: Listen to Russell T Davies talk about why he came back to Doctor Who | Boing Boing


Bringing back one of the strongest recent writers and the most popular modern actor in the role is a lovely pallet cleanser from the abysmal writing and poor treatment of the first woman doctor. He gave far better lines and direction to her “fam” than her, which was a shame since I think she’s a very skilled actor. She got done wrong, which I’m sure will be blamed on “woman doctor doesn’t work” which is about as good an argument as trukk not munky in another niche genre with a VERY intense fanbase (Transformers).


I really gave Jodie Whitaker a chance, partially in defiance of the incels who freaked out over a “female” being the time lord. But the writers made this 1,200 year old a wide-eyed child-like character which really rubbed me the wrong way. No authority. No gravitas. I want a time lord who can act like they’re in charge. I tuned out after Whitaker’s first season.

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i loved Jodie Whitaker’s take on the character, although i have some catching up to do. i think i only saw the first season, and then i got distracted by some other shows and forgot to check back in.


I’m going to bet that like so many times when women and or minorities get high profile superhero, sci-fi or action roles that the complaints and “concerns” won’t be coming from them.


What does Jodie think? Anyone know?

Series 13 Thirteenth Doctor GIF by Doctor Who


I would have loved to see what Davies would have done with 13. I hope she goes on to do some audio adventures. Big Finish (a company that creates most Doctor Who audio books and plays) has changed my opinion of several of the Doctors for the better. I think they could help make up for some of the uneven writing that dragged down many of 13’s televised adventures.

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Funny how these responses have generally been about the 13th Doctor, when that’s not the topic…

Reaction GIF by MOODMAN


To be fair, the post itself raised it (“Although still massively popular, the last few years have seen the reboot series lose much of its momentum and quality”), so it was inevitable, although I disagree with this assertion. Personally, I rate at least two other seasons of the reboot below any of Whitaker’s 3 (one of which is by RTD) but I admit there are only individual Whitaker episodes that I really like, rather that seasons (but I do like those episodes a lot!)

The interesting thing for me will be to see how RTD (and the Bad Wolf production team) are planning for the longer term. Because we’re heading towards 20 yrs of the reboot already, and even allowing for the unique format of Who, it can still get tired. It needs an entirely new team, preferably of folk who came of age during this new reboot, just as happened in 2005.

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Weird how down on Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor some of you are. I stopped watching Doctor Who after the weird interruption the BBC made, but I thought, after a bumpy start, that some of the most powerful episodes that Doctor Who has ever aired were on her watch. The episode set during Partition, for instance, was fantastic by Who standards.

Also I don’t really think that Russell T Davies’ Doctors really had greater authority or gravitas. Most of his series’ were campy, cartooonish stories and the relationship with companions often mawkish.

That said, I think Davies has an all-round capability that has been lacking with later showrunners. Moffatt in particular had no business being as flawed a showrunner as he was (of Doctor Who or Sherlock), given that he was responsible for Blink, under Davies’ tenure, which was possibly the high point of the Davies era. Capaldi’s doctor was such a disappointment for me (having watched him avidly in The Thick of It) that I nearly stopped watching entirely, and Mat Smith probably wasn’t quite such a disappointment only because my expectations of him were initially so low.

The difficulty I think is that Doctor Who fans-cum-writers often have a lot of baggage with regard to how they relate to Who, which can affect their writing considerably. New Trek has a very similar problem.


To be fair… not as if the entire run (from the 60s, I mean) has not been up and down, too. Honestly, her run has been no worse, and as you note, in some cases better, than any other run of the show…

Agreed. Do we know if RTD is staying on once Gatwa takes over?

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Huh. I haven’t watched her run, but that would be welcome for me. I’ve always felt that the doctor should be at least a bit child like – after all they are 1000 years old, but they keep getting reborn in new bodies. I thought at times the whole new series veered too much into the modern superhero gritty vibe for my taste.


Also, not like other Doctors did not have a “child-like” quality…

Matt Smith Dancing GIF by Doctor Who


Yes, he’s staying on as the showrunnner and a writer for Gatwa’s Doctor.


… it can be fresh, or it can be the same, but it can’t be both at the same time, and either way somebody won’t like it :robot: :door: :flying_saucer:

there was also a little world wide pandemic in the midst of it all. it’s no wonder to me that the series lost momentum.

team matt for me all the way. at first i thought him too much like david tennant, but he really grew on me over time. and river, amy, and rory were great companions. the series was at a high point for me then.

like you, i tended to find davies a little too campy and cartoonish. but i know that not everything is made with me in mind. ( although it should be! :cat2: )

i do like his comment that it’s a “self renewing show” – lol. ( and also the cyberman head on his couch. )

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Each Doctor will always be someone’s favorite and someone’s least favorite because each Doctor represents a different genre in story telling, going back to the start of the series. Do you like comedy? Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker, and David Tennant are your Doctor. Horror? Second half of Tom Baker and Peter Capaldi. Everyman as Doctor? Peter Davidson and Matt Smith. Action? Jon Pertwee and Christopher Eccelston. And flavors thereof.

I thought Jodi Whittaker did an excellent job as the Doctor. Her Doctor wanting a “fam” was a logical step after the Doctor’s loss of Rose, Donna Noble, and Nardole, and the “deaths” of Amy and Rory, Clara Oswald, River Song, and Bill Potts. And the greater emphasis on the personal horror of the Doctor and her antagonists was a nice touch too. In previous incarnations the villains were far more abstract. In Whitaker’s tenure it felt more personal, almost intimate.

I can’t wait to see what the new doctor brings.


My problem with RTD is that every companion wanted the doctor as a romantic interest, except Donna Noble, who was “too old.” His treatment of POC also left a bad taste in my mouth. His one episode Asian companion was focused on being a successful millionaire. Martha Jones behaved so, well, not like the intelligent medical student she was supposed to be. Mickey Smith was a bit of a dullard. It isn’t until Bill Potts that we have a really good POC companion.

I’m hoping he doesn’t bring back these bad old tropes.


yeah. both noel clarke and freema agyeman are great. fwiw, i think martha and mickey became much better characters by the end than they started so maybe davies has learned some over time. ( moffat went the opposite direction. the end of bill’s arc was just plain wrong. )

one thing i think is left unsaid about the most recent series: all of the companions seemed more believable to me as real people. the companions across all the modern writers often seem as outsized as the plots themselves.

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Not that I’m not grateful to RTD for bringing back Doctor Who to begin with, but I hope if he’s going to “reinvent” it he does it in a way wholly distinct from the first time around. His style was always a bit too shallow and silly for my tastes, with far too much focus on puppy love romance and some truly awful episodes. That’s not to say later seasons didn’t have terrible episodes too, but when they were good they were much more atmospheric, interesting or thought-provoking. Though I thought the 13th Doctor had a fairly awful first couple seasons, it felt to me like the show was rapidly improving and I’m disappointed that Jodie Whittaker is getting the boot right as she was finally getting a chance to show her potential. It reminds me of how Colin Baker got screwed over as the 6th Doctor.

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