In September 2021, the news landed that Russell T. Davies would be returning to the TARDIS as Doctor Who Showrunner and Head Writer, 12 years after leaving the show in 2009.
How, and why, did Russell return? The writer reveals in Doctor Who Magazine that it started way back in 2020, during the Pandemic. Catherine Tate was part of a live Doctor Who Tweet-a-long, where fans would all watch the same episode at the same time, sharing their views on the episode along the way on Twitter.
Catherine texted former showrunner Russell T. Davies about how much she loved re-watching the show. Davies replied: "God, let's get David [Tennant] to do some more Doctor & Donna."
In early 2021, Tennant, Tate and Davies continued to keep in touch, asking Davies if there was "any news?". "But, to be blunt, it wasn't top of our lists" Davies wrote in the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine.
Russell admits knowing that then Showrunner Chris Chibnall only planned on staying for three series. So, Russell emailed the BBC to see what their plans were for Chibnall's succession...
On 25th March 2021, Davies received an email from the then BBC Head Of Drama, and former Doctor Who producer, Piers Wenger. Wenger asked if Davies would be up for a Zoom meeting with him and the BBC's Chief Content Officer, Charlotte Moore.
"I cannot tell you what was said because we talked about things you've yet to see. Plans we are still unfurling. Ideas that have not even begun" Davies revealed in Doctor Who Magazine.
Davies praises the BBC for its ongoing support of Doctor Who: "I wish you could've seen that call. To see the show being so deeply loved, by the people right at the top. It was exhilarating and inspiring, and crucially, fun!"
Davies reveals that it soon became clear that the BBC were asking him if he was interested in a permanent role on Doctor Who... to return as showrunner. "They weren't just asking me to make an anniversary romp for the 60th. They meant, running the show again."
He continues: "But in truth, as I considered this show's future in a brand-new TV environment with a mighty quest ahead, I thought... I'm needed. Yup. There are times in life when you have to put modesty, insecurity and doubt aside, and know what you are capable of... But not on my own!"
When the BBC announced Russell T. Davies' return in September 2021, it was accompanied by the news that Doctor Who would be a co-production with Bad Wolf Studios, which was founded by former Doctor Who producers Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter in 2015.
Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Doctor Who Magazine is available in WHSmith and Newsagents in the UK.