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Doctor Who Showrunner Recalls Reviving the Show With a “Less Pompous” Time Lord and “That Pop Star”

Summary

  • Russell T. Davies is returning to Doctor Who to save the series once again, just like he did in 2005 with the introduction of the Ninth Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston.
  • Davies wanted to remove the pompousness and pretentiousness associated with the Time Lord character, and Eccleston’s portrayal successfully broke away from that stereotype, surprising audiences.
  • Ncuti Gatwa is the new Fifteenth Doctor, following David Tennant’s return as the Fourteenth Doctor in three 60th anniversary specials. Gatwa’s arrival signifies a shake-up of the franchise and hints at exciting changes to come.


Russell T. Davies’ return to Doctor Who has been a long time coming, but some would say that he is back to save the world’s longest running sci-fi series for a second time. Back in 2005, Christopher Eccleston burst out of the TARDIS with a leather jacket, plenty of secrets and an attitude unlike many of his previous incarnations. And this was something Davies planned from the start.

When dealing with an alien race that calls themselves Time Lords, it is not hard to see that the title lends itself to some very pompous beings who think a lot of themselves and their abilities. This was true of many of the classic Doctors, with many of them looking down their noses at their companions and other humans. The arrival of the Ninth Doctor changed this. And it wasn’t just The Doctor that proved to be a surprising addition to the franchise. As Davies explained in Imagine: Russell T Davies: The Doctor and Me documentary (via Radio Times):

“I had to keep all the good iconography but dust off all the rubbish. Part of the rubbish was kind of pompousness around the character. He’s a Time Lord, so in people’s minds, he’s become a lord, someone loquacious and pompous and ostentatious and posh. So Chris singlehandedly, in one moment, shook that off. You forget, 2005, 2004, people were laughing, going, ‘Oh, you’ve cast that pop star. What’s Billie Piper like?’ Like, thinking she’d be dreadful. I can remember all of us on the production having this massive silent smile thinking, ‘You wait. You wait ’til you see her. It’s phenomenal.’”

Related: Doctor Who Season 14: Release Date, Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know


Doctor Who Prepares for a New Re-Invention

David Tennant & Ncuti Gatwa as Fourteenth & Fifteenth Doctor in Doctor Who
BBC

Almost two decades later, Davies is back to steer the Doctor Who (space) ship on a corrected course. Following the declining viewing figures, reduced budget, and general lack of interest in the show during Jodie Whittaker’s time as the Thirteenth Doctor, the series needed something to regenerate excitement about the series. That came in the form of the return of David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor, with a familiar face but new number.

Three 60th anniversary specials later, and Ncuti Gatwa is now in charge of the TARDIS as the Fifteenth Doctor. Gatwa will make his full debut on Christmas Day in an episode entitled ‘The Church on Ruby Road,’ an adventure that will introduce new companion Ruby Sunday – played by Millie Gibson – and a host of baby-eating goblins. Sounds like the perfect Christmas treat.

Gatwa’s arrival in the show’s first “bi-generation”, which resulted in Tennant’s Fourteenth Doctor surviving his expected regeneration and being allowed to go on his own TARDIS adventures and live out the rest of his life as he wishes, has already caused a stir and shown that Davies is once again planning on shaking up the franchise as he did back in 2005. With bigger budgets – thanks to the backing on Disney Branded Television – Davies back as showrunner, and the energetic Gatwa in charge of the TARDIS, it seems that Doctor Who is ready to set its sights on its next milestone anniversary.

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