Russell T Davies explains how his "accidental" criticism of Loki led to the Marvel show's director writing a Doctor Who episode

doctor who rogue
(Image credit: BBC)

When popular MCU show Loki hit Disney Plus, many described it as Marvel meets Doctor Who, so it wasn't much of a surprise when season 1's director Kate Herron signed up to write an upcoming episode of the beloved BBC sci-fi series.

However, the journey to that collaboration wasn't actually simple at all. In fact, it all started with current Doctor Who boss Russell T Davies making headlines with a criticism of Loki. 

As reported by Uproxx, during a virtual Pride month panel at Swansea University, Davies described the queer representation in the MCU show as being a "feeble gesture". As you may recall, Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief became the first openly queer lead character in MCU canon thanks to a reference to the character's love life in the first season, but at the time Davies wasn't impressed by the inclusion: "Loki makes one reference to being bisexual once, and everyone’s like, ‘Oh my god, it’s like a pansexual show.’ It’s like one word. He said the word ‘prince’ and we’re meant to go, ‘Thank you, Disney! Aren’t you marvelous?’ It’s a ridiculous, craven, feeble gesture towards the vital politics and the stories that should be told.”

Reflecting on that statement now, Davies admits that his comments were a mistake, explaining that he reached out to Herron immediately to apologize. Little did he know that they would continue chatting, striking up a friendship, which would then result in working together on Doctor Who.

Sharing the love for Loki, Davies divulged to GamesRadar+: "I love Loki! I actually found Loki very Doctor Who-y and wasn’t surprised to find that there was a British sensibility behind it. I actually made contact with her because there was a terrible set of circumstances where without thinking, I accidentally criticized Loki in what I didn’t realize was an interview! I thought it was one of those online sessions talking to students. And of course, when any showrunner criticizes any other show, it suddenly becomes a headline."


(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Davies continues: "So suddenly, poor Kate Herron is being confronted by reporters saying 'what do you think about what Russell T Davies has said?' I had never met her, so I contacted her to say 'I’m so sorry and you know, maybe I might disagree with this or that in Loki, but I would never put you in an embarrassing situation, how unprofessional of me.' She was absolutely delightful about it and so kind and so lovely - so, we became friends. We started chatting to each other and eventually I said 'look, we both agree on so much, we’ve got very like minds, and we love our science-fiction, do you want to write an episode of Doctor Who?' And here she is!"

For the upcoming season, Herron and her co-writer Briony Redman have penned episode 6 which is titled 'Rogue'. Of course, since the Doctor Who team like to keep their cards close to their chests, little has been revealed about the episode, but we do know that it is set in the Regency era and will feature Mindhunter star Jonathan Groff.

Showrunner Davies also doesn't want to dive into the episode's secrets, but he can reveal that working with Herron is one of the best collaborations he's every experienced on Doctor Who. And rather excitingly, Herron and co-writer Redman have a tie-in book related to 'Rogue' releasing soon too. 

As he concludes: "It’s really turned out to be wonderful. She brought in her writing partner, Briony Redman, who I didn’t know before, but if you work in improv or comedy, everybody leaps up at the mention of Briony. She’s a star and very well-known. 

"That turned out to be one of the happiest working relationships I’ve ever had on the show. They’ve also written a novel of their own story! They enjoyed themselves so much that’s coming out in the few weeks after that episode, the novel of 'Rogue', written by Kate and Briony, with lots of behind the scenes stories that there wasn’t time for in the television script. So, that’s how much they enjoyed it."

Doctor Who season 1 will premiere simultaneously on BBC iPlayer on May 11 in the UK and Disney Plus internationally on May 10 with a double bill. New episodes will then air weekly – stay up to date with exactly when with our Doctor Who release schedule.

For more from our interviews, here's whether we will one day see a musical episode, Gatwa on why Steven Moffat's 'Boom' is his favorite one of this season, the cast on how a new companion will shake things up for season 2, the team revealing their all-time favorite Doctor Who villains, and Davies explaining why it's important to continue with the Timeless Child arc.

Emily Murray
Entertainment Editor

As Entertainment Editor at GamesRadar, I oversee all the online content for Total Film and SFX magazine. Previously I've worked for the BBC, Zavvi, UNILAD, Yahoo, Digital Spy and more.