Many Doctor Who fans will know that former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has made a surprising return to the world of the Whoniverse (although he’d argue he never really left), with the Welsh screenwriter illustrating a book of Doctor Who poems (written by James Goss and on sale now) after putting his old drawing talents on the back burner for decades.
In a recent interview with RadioTimes.com, Davies pondered whether in a different life he could have been a full-time illustrator – “I think I’d be rather good by now, if I’d had a solid 30 years,” he said – but it’s now emerged that drawing wasn’t the only creative career choice Davies passed up to become the worldbeating screenwriter we know him as today.
And bizarrely, this other alternate passion was encouraged by none other than Princess Diana, the iconic royal figure who died tragically in a car crash in 1997.
“I last wrote a poem when I was 18 years old,” Davies recalled in a recent episode of The Doctor Who Fan Show (via DoctorWho.tv), where he was interviewed alongside James Goss.
“This poem was for, and presented to (and I was there), Princess Diana on her inaugural tour of Wales in 1981.
“They put on a show in Swansea. Marvellous show. A Youth theatre in West Glamorgan, brilliant youth arts, youth dance, youth band, youth orchestra. So they needed some poetry for the second half linking it all together and I wrote a poem.”
And Davies’ involvement didn’t end there, with the young creative acting as God in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ one-act ballet Job: A Masque for Dancing and actually meeting Diana after the performance.
“So I’m in a leotard standing there as Princess Diana comes down the aisle and she literally turned round to me and went, ‘Oh, it’s God!’” Davies recalled.
“And she said, ‘What are you going to do later on in life?’
“And I said ,’I don’t know, I haven’t made my mind up yet,’ and she went, ‘Dance, dance, dance!’
“That was my career advice from Princess Diana, to be a dancer! One day I’ll go back to this. I’ve gone back to drawing, one day the dance will come back.”
Of course, Doctor Who fans will be glad that Davies originally hung up his dancing shoes to bring cutting-edge drama to the screen instead – but if he does ever fancy returning to the world of the soft-shoe-shuffle, we’d be the first in line for tickets.