Since the announcement of his return to Doctor Who, Russell T. Davies has been dropping hints about his much-anticipated upcoming era, making patient audiences all the more excited. Davies was announced to be returning as Doctor Who’s showrunner in September 2021, taking over from Chris Chibnall from the 2023 60th anniversary specials onwards. Davies previously revived Doctor Who in 2005, after the series spent almost two decades off the air (aside from the 1996 TV movie), but was replaced by Steven Moffat in 2009. His return has brought a lot of excitement to fans who widely regard his previous four seasons of the show as the strongest since the revival.
Along with the confirmation of Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa becoming the Fifteenth Doctor (after David Tennant’s next go at the role), Davies has also introduced Coronation Street’s Millie Gibson as the new Doctor’s companion, Ruby Sunday. On top of these exciting announcements, Davies has revealed in an interview for Doctor Who Magazine that he plans to produce more consistent content for the series, and bring back the annual Christmas specials, which had been missed throughout the entirety of Chibnall’s run on the show. Davies’ promises of big plans for Doctor Who make the future of the series look very bright after a divisive few years under Chris Chibnall.
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Why An Eight Episode Season Will Be Perfect For Doctor Who
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During his interview, Davies mentioned that “the Fifteenth Doctor’s first full season will be eight episodes long, with a Christmas special,” suggesting that nine episodes of Doctor Who will be released yearly when Ncuti Gatwa officially takes his place as the Doctor. This is quite a departure from Davies’ previous work on Doctor Who, which saw the production of thirteen episodes in each season, as well as a Christmas special, and although season lengths did differ during the eras of Moffat and Chibnall, only season 13 (which was produced during the COVID-19 pandemic) has seen a number of episodes fewer than eight, but this surprising figure is certainly not a bad thing.
A shorter season of Doctor Who will enable the production to spend more time getting each episode perfect, and will spare the audience from becoming fatigued by a season going on too long with a lot of filler episodes. This could also suggest that each episode might be longer than viewers might be used to, especially now that Doctor Who will get bigger budget and the opportunity to distribute the series on Disney+. Davies also revealed that this would be the case annually and that there’d be no more gap years, meaning there will be a regular and consistent stream of Doctor Who content, which has recently been a problem.
Chibnall Avoided Christmas Specials, Davies Will Embrace Them
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Aside from plenty of other criticisms that the Chibnall era of Doctor Who faced, one of the biggest was the lack of a Christmas special, which had been a staple of many households on Christmas days during the Davies and Moffat eras. Chibnall himself has spoken about how he actively tried to avoid making Christmas specials, instead going for the less-festive New Year episodes. Even so, Davies will be bringing Doctor Who’s Christmas specials back with a bang. Since Doctor Who hasn’t brought the festive cheer since 2017’s “Twice Upon a Time,” many fans are desperate to see the Fifteenth Doctor get involved in more Christmas adventures in the future.
What “Plans” Could RTD Have For The Doctor Who Universe?
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During his interview, Davies went on to state, “it takes a while to get the empire in shape, but that’s a serious plan: annual Doctor Who, no gap years, lots of content, on and on.” This suggests that Davies has greater plans for the series than just the main Doctor Who season, perhaps adding extra weight to speculation that he wants to create a Marvel-style Doctor Who universe. This had been done previously with Doctor Who spinoffs including Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and Class (canceled after only one season), but Davies’ new direction for the series seems to suggest that the universe will expand at a much greater rate.
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Russell T. Davies’ plans for the Doctor Who universe probably won’t involve the revival of these those spinoff shows, especially since Class flopped dramatically and Sarah Jane Smith actor Elisabeth Sladen sadly passed away, but similar shows could branch out from the new Doctor Who. There’s a wealth of material at Davies’ disposal when devising spinoff ideas, since the entire history of Doctor Who is up for grabs, so some exciting new projects could be produced alongside the main series once Ncuti Gatwa’s first full season kicks off in 2024. Davies’ new promises for Doctor Who have certainly got fans on the edges of their seats, waiting to see the story unfold.