Well, I’ve been half expecting this. Russell T Davies will be standing down as Executive Producer and Head Writer of Doctor Who after completing the four specials to be shown next year. There have been vague hints dropped here and there, and the timing is much what I expected. What I didn’t entirely expect was for it to be announced midway through the current series, but I’m sure there’s a reason behind that.
While there is a vociferous minority of Doctor Who fans who appear to generally dislike Russell’s scripts and pretty much everything he does, for me he’s been aboslutely wonderful. He knew that if Doctor Who was going to be a success, it had to appeal to a much wider audience than the ageing fanboys who missed the original series, or the subset of fanboys who bought the numerous “new adventure” books, which seemed to take a more “adult” approach to things. By making a series that appealed to huge numbers of, err, normal people as well as the kind of geeks who would have watched anyway, Russell has led Doctor Who into its commanding and secure position in the public’s affections and the TV schedules. As I’ve mentioned before, the Doctor Who Christmas Special has become a tradition in just a few years, which is both strange and quite marvellous.
So, Russell, thank you. No, really. Thank you from the bottom of my geeky heart for not only bringing it back, but bringing it back with such force that it’ll be a long time before anyone thinks about making it go away again. You’re a hero!
And yes, I know a lot of other people played huge parts in making Doctor Who the success it is today – not least the cast, but without the imagination of RTD, it could very easily have crashed and burnt in the first year. Instead, we have a guarantee of a moderate dose of Doctor Who next year, and a new full series in 2010. And to put that in perspective, that’s the first time in the history of the show that its future has been ensured on anything more than on a year by year basis.
But what of the future? Well, in a bout of incredibly good sense, the BBC have appointed another writer with a known history of loving and cherishing Doctor Who. A writer whose episides have won awards, scared the wossnames out of people and impressed even the most cynical of cynical old fanboys, a writer who those fanboys mostly want to have running the show. Yes, the new head writer/showrunner person will be Mr Steven Moffat
Steven’s previous work for Doctor Who:
- The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances – in which we learned to fear the words “Are you my Mummy”, and first met Captain Jack Harkness.
- The Girl in the Fireplace – in which we met some nasty clockwork robots, and more
- Blink – in which we learned that closing your eyes can be dangerous
- Time Crash – in which we met another Doctor, and had a lot of fun
And of course, he’s the writer of the forthcoming two-parter, rumoured to be even scarier than his previous work.
Will he take the show in a different direction? Quite probably, as he’ll have his own ideas, and that can’t be a bad thing. The great strength of Doctor Who is that it can twist and turn and change and grow, and still remain at its core the same show that we love. I’d say it’s in a safe pair of hands for the future.
All of this, of course, opens up the other question: will David Tennant be sticking around for another year? Last I heard, he was committed for the 2009 specials, but not beyond. Personally, I love his performance, and I’d be happy for him to stay on for as long as he’s still enjoying himself. But maybe a change of management will also see a change of Doctor? Only Time will tell…
 Probably getting in ahead of a better than average leak to the tabloids…
 Like me
 Allow me the delusion of imagining that he reads this rubbish
 Of the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey variety, of course