Doctor Who returns to our screens in May – and at least a few of the upcoming episodes have been in the mind of showrunner Russell T Davies for quite some time.


Speaking at the London launch of the new season, Davies revealed that aspects of two-part finale The Legend of Ruby Sunday/Empire of Death have been brewing for decades.

"There's stuff in the finale that I must have been thinking of for 40 or 50 years," he said.

Though not reaching quite as far back, episode 5 – the curiously-titled Dot and Bubble – has also had a lengthy gestation period, with Davies explaining that he first devised the concept for that particular story around 14 years ago.

"Episode five – I remember talking to Steven Moffat about that in around about 2010... and we couldn't have afforded it," he said.

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Callie Cooke poses at a Doctor Who promotional event, wearing a black crop top and a striped skirt with a visible white waistband, accessorized with a layered gold necklace, set against a backdrop decorated with the Doctor Who logo and BBC iPlayer graphics.
Callie Cooke, who appears in Dot and Bubble, at the Doctor Who launch. BBC Studios/Jonathan Birch

Davies – who originally served as head writer/executive producer between 2005 and 2010 – didn't develop his "vague idea" any further, as he felt at the time it couldn't be achieved on Doctor Who's budget.

"When you see it, you'll go, 'Oh yeah I see what you mean' – visually, it has more effects than any other episode."

The new season follows 2023 Christmas special 'The Church on Ruby Road, which saw Ncuti Gatwa make his Doctor Who debut proper alongside new companion Millie Gibson, playing Ruby Sunday.

The festive episode teased the mysterious identity of a hooded figure – the birth mother of Ruby – with Michelle Greenidge (who plays Ruby's adoptive mother Carla) hinting to that she knows how the story arc will resolve.

"I might know the answer to that!" she said. "What I will say is, when the series airs… I don't think the audience are going to be ready. It is incredible. The story arc, the writing... you'll be gripped. I'm so ecstatic with how things have played out."

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Other returning cast will include Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Anita Dobson (Mrs Flood), Yasmin Finney (Rose Noble), and Bonnie Langford (Mel Bush).

Joining the returnees will be new guest cast, including Aneurin Barnard, Jinkx Monsoon, Indira Varma, and Lenny Rush.

Doctor Who will return on Saturday 11th May on BBC iPlayer and BBC One. Previous seasons are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


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