Russell T. Davies Will Return to 'Doctor Who' for 60th Anniversary and Beyond

(Photo: BBC)

File this under things I never thought I'd see happen, but I guess you truly can sometimes go home again. Former showrunner Russell T. Davies - the man responsible for modern-day Doctor Who as we know it - is returning to the TARDIS for the show's 60th anniversary. (And beyond.)

Sure, Davies was probably not on anyone's shortlist to replace outgoing showrunner Chris Chibnall. But that's likely because none of us thought such a thing was possible. He'd already done the job! The RTD era was over, and he'd moved on to other things, producing buzzy, critically acclaimed dramas like Years and Years and It's a Sin.  Impossible things and all that, I suppose. 

The BBC announced earlier this summer that Chibnall would be departing the show, along with Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker in 2022, following Season 13 of the show and a trio of specials that would take us through Thirteen's regeneration.

“It’s monumentally exciting and fitting that Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary will see one of Britain’s screenwriting diamonds return home," Chibnall said in a statement. "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.”   

Davies served as showrunner from the show’s revival in 2005 until 2009, finally bringing Doctor Who back to the BBC after the ill-fated 1996 movie (sorry, Paul McGann!) nearly ended the show for good. He introduced the world to Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor and David Tennant's wildly popular Tenth incarnation and was best known for his rich and emotional character work. He also created the spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Per the BBC, Davies will be back in 2023, just in time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the franchise in November as well as "series beyond" after that. 

Is his return a bit of a cop-out? Should the BBC perhaps have tapped someone new, someone unconnected with the series' modern-day roots, perhaps a woman or a person of color, to lead Doctor Who into its next chapter? Possibly. Maybe even probably. But, wow, it's also sort of hard to get but so worked up about that fact, simply because Russell T. Davies is coming back. 


Russell T Davies to return as Doctor Who Showrunner to celebrate the 60th anniversary in 2023, and series beyond. BBC Studios are partnering with Bad Wolf to produce.

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— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) September 24, 2021

The media logline sort of writes itself: the man who reinvented the show for a new audience, who helped launch its wildly successful second act, returning to help right the ship after several years of struggling ratings and disappointing storylines. (Will I forever be mad about the way the Chibnall has wasted Whittaker's Doctor? Probably!)

 “I’m beyond excited to be back on my favorite show," Davies said in a statement. "But we’re time-traveling 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.”

The biggest question on everyone's minds now is probably who Davies will pick as his Fourteenth Doctor, but as we're likely a good year away from any information on that score, there's nothing to be done but simply sit back and back in the joyous realization that sometimes, impossible things really do happen.

How do you feel about the prospect of Davies returning to Doctor Who? What would you like to see from his second go-round? Let's discuss in the comments. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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