Doctor Who | Russell T Davies on the pressure of coming up with a Doctor Who script

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Russell T Davies and his thoughts on writing Doctor Who, with the pressure that comes along with it. More here.

Taking to the stage at the UK premiere of the new series of Doctor Who last week, showrunner Russell T Davies was part of a Q&A session, along with stars Ncuti Gatwa and Millie Gibson. Given that he knows what’s coming long into the future of Doctor Who, it’s perhaps no surprise that so many questions were aimed in his direction.

After a screening of the first two episodes of the new run – Space Babies and The Devil’s Chord – Davies was asked about the process of coming up with a new Doctor Who script. In particular, the pressure he must feel, not least in an era where Disney+ is pumping unheard of amounts of money for Doctor Who into the show.

“Also the joy”, Davies said, when specifically asked about that pressure. He talked about one of the two episodes – things in it that I want spoil – but used that as an example of “the freedom” that the show affords.

In particular, he highlighted how The Devil’s Chord allowed him to pen something where “there’s almost no plot. Just some subplots. There’s hardly anyone else on it… I’ve never quite written like that before. It feels very… liberating. It’s an absolute joy”.

Russell T Davies has given an insight into just how difficult things can get in the excellent book The Writer’s Tale of course, that he co-authored with Benjamin Cook. Yet at the launch – appreciating he’s hardly going to sit there and say everything is terrible – there was a sense of someone enjoying the moment, and enjoying being back at the controls of Doctor Who.

The first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who are debuting on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 11th May.

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