Russell T Davies on "comfort" of Doctor Who return after his husband's death
The Nolly screenwriter has revealed what returning to Doctor Who means to him.
As we prepare for the launch of Nolly on ITVX, it's safe to say that the screenwriter at the helm of it, Russell T Davies, is a fan of the beloved soap and its classic stars.
But elsewhere in the near future, we have Davies's big Doctor Who return to look forward to, as he comes back as showrunner for the 60th anniversary episodes and beyond in what he has described as "the next stage for Doctor Who".
In an exclusive interview with Radio Times magazine ahead of Nolly's premiere this week, Davies revealed that the decision to return to Doctor Who is one that has some emotional personal ties.
When asked whether dealing with the loss of his husband Andrew – who passed away in 2018 – has got any easier, Davies said: “No and I don’t expect it will."
During his husband's illness, Davies gave up work to be his carer. Now, he revealed: “It isn’t killing me. I’m quite glad that I’ve gone back to writing Doctor Who because psychologically I’m thinking, ‘He knows what I’m doing now’.
"It gives me comfort. It’s when you do new things he never experienced that it feels odd and you don’t enjoy it so much.”
He went on to say: “In some ways, it has got worse because it’s ‘Oh, you’re still not coming back?’
"Maybe it’s why Andrew keeps popping up in everything I write. Even in Nolly with the scenes of her cancer, I found myself visiting hospitals. There’s been death in a lot of the stuff I’ve written over the past few years. I don’t mind that. I’m glad. It feels richer.”
In the interview, Helena Bonham Carter also agreed, saying: “We have to incorporate it into our lives and talk about it. And even with divorce, too – people don’t talk about it.
"For those of us who are grieving a divorce or someone who has gone... our heads are full of that person. So this thing of ‘Don’t mention it...’”
In the run-up to the anticipated 14th season of Doctor Who, Davies has hinted at archive episodes being made available for free on iPlayer, spoken about plans for spin-offs and has also discussed the bigger budget, which comes from the involvement of Bad Wolf Studios as a co-producer and Disney Plus as an international broadcast partner.
Alongside new cast members like Yasmin Finney and Neil Patrick Harris in season 14, fans can also look forward to returning Doctor Who icons David Tennant (who will be playing the 14th Doctor) and Catherine Tate (Donna Noble), who will be starring in three specials for the 60th anniversary.
Ncuti Gatwa will of course take over the keys to the TARDIS, with Millie Gibson (Ruby Sunday) as his companion. While details about Gatwa's Doctor have remained a closely-guarded secret, Davies has previously teased that the actor's first read-through was "beautiful in every sense".
Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.
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