Russell T. Davies Wants to See Doctor Who Get More Ambitious

From the Doctor Who New Year’s special.
From the Doctor Who New Year’s special.
Image: BBC

Russell T. Davies presided over a big era in Doctor Who, managing spinoffs, creating a big franchise with a big impact. He’s no longer a Who guy, but he still has ideas. And he thinks that maybe the BBC should be taking nods from the other big sci-fi franchises.


“I was in the middle of running an empire,” Davies told Radio Times. “And my god I did that 10 years too soon, didn’t I?”

He’s, naturally, referring to the heyday of the MCU and the blossoming of a big franchised universe for other science fiction franchises—Star Wars and Star Trek. He thinks Doctor Who should follow suit.

“There should be a Doctor Who channel now. You look at those Disney announcements, of all those new Star Wars and Marvel shows, you think, we should be sitting here announcing The Nyssa Adventures or The Return of Donna Noble, and you should have the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors together in a 10-part series. Genuinely,” he said.

It’s not a stunning idea, but it’s one that BBC hasn’t quite pursued yet. Not that BBC hasn’t delved into spinoffs now and then, especially under Davies, but he seems pretty insistent that there’s real space to get more ambitious here.

You laugh, but did Star Trek fans ever think they’d be getting a Captain Pike series? Ever? That’s insane. The whole science fiction world is so creative and so money making right now, I think your wildest dreams can come true,” he said.


Are your dreams of a big Doctor Who universe? It could work. Or maybe not. I’m not sure. Tell me what you think.

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The problem here is with the BBC. The BBC inherently has zero interest in Doctor Who, but keeps doing it because it makes money. You’d think they would like money and the fact that they can license the show to other countries (like with HBO Max), but RTD wrote extensively in The Writer’s Tale about how he had to persuade the BBC not to cancel the show after Davies left it.

Both Davies and Moffatt tried to make spin-offs work. Davies had more success with Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, because he was able to anchor both series to strong actors (John Borrowman and Elisabeth Sladen), but the one spin-off Moffatt tried (Class) was given almost zero promotion by the BBC and pushed off onto BBC Three online. If you didn’t have the BBC iPlayer, good luck! You’d have to wait three months for the episodes to air on BBC One. And this was a spin-off written by famous young adult author Patrick Ness.

(The only other spin-off was K-9, but that wasn’t even done by the BBC, it was by Disney XD because the rights to K-9 aren’t owned by the BBC.)

By all rights, the BBC should want to make as many spin-offs as possible. HBO is making two (at most) spin-offs of Game of Thrones and Doctor Who has much more crossover potential that GOT does. You can make content for adults and young adults and children. You don’t even need to make it live-action — you can make cartoons, for god’s sake. We should have a Doctor Who cartoon series where all fourteen Doctors regularly interact.

Hell, right now, I want:

  • The main show (with Jodie Whittaker)
  • The Fugitive Doctor (the adventures of Jo Martin’s Doctor)
  • UNIT (the adventures of Kate Stewart and Osgood as a weakened UNIT fights for Earth)
  • The Master (the evil adventures of the Master)

And that’s just off the top of my head!