Doctor Who: Russell T. Davies returning as showrunner to celebrate series' 60th anniversary

It's A Sin
(Image credit: Channel 4)

Russell T. Davies is returning to Doctor Who to mark the series' 60th anniversary.

The writer, who was responsible for reviving the BBC series back in 2005 and acted as showrunner until 2009, will once again be in control of the beloved sci-fi show. 

Davies takes over from Chris Chibnall, who leaves Doctor Who after spearheading the series through the Jodie Whittaker years. Whittaker herself is also leaving the title role, though a replacement has not been named. It has also been confirmed that Davies has not just been brought back for an anniversary special, but also a "series beyond" any celebratory episodes.

"I'm beyond excited to be back on my favorite show," Davies told the BBC. "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."

Since leaving Doctor Who, Davies has written numerous award-winning shows, including the A Very English Scandal, Years and Years, and, most recently, It's a Sin. In fact, one episode of It's A Sin featured an imagined episode of Doctor Who.

Speaking to SFX at the time, Davies said that he had no particular interest in returning to sci-fi. "Not particularly love, to be honest," he laughed. "I don't understand it all these days. Literally."

He also said that Olly Alexander, the lead of It's A Sin, would make a good new Doctor Who. "Oh stop it! This’ll just be all the headlines. You just want SFX headlines everywhere," Davies replied while rolling his eyes and giving a withering look to SFX's editor Darren Scott. "Yes, Olly would make a marvelous Doctor Who. You tart! You enormous tart! The trouble this causes! They’ll be banging his door, his agent will be saying, ‘What have you done now…’ On your own head be it."

Whether Davies will now use his position to bring Alexander into the Doctor Who fold remains to be seen... 

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

Piers Wenger, BBC Director of Drama added: "As the 13th Doctor prepares to embark on new and extraordinary adventures, the winds of change are blowing… bringing with them news to delight Doctor Who fans across the globe. We are thrilled that Russell is returning to Doctor Who to build on the huge achievements of Chris and Jodie. Thank you to the two of them and the team in Cardiff for all they continue to do for the show and hello Russell, it’s wonderful to have you back."

Before Davies begins work on Doctor Who, a new series with Whittaker and Chibnall will air on the BBC and will be followed by three special episodes. In the meantime, be sure to check out the best British shows to watch right now.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.