Russell T Davies ‘kills off’ fan favourite Doctor Who character

’He’s absolutely not coming back,’ showrunner said

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 11 May 2024 12:18 BST
Moment Ncuti Gatwa makes Doctor Who debut in shock regeneration twist

Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies has “killed off” a fan favourite character in a move that might upset viewers.

Davies, who spearheaded the long-running science-fiction show’s revival in 2005, has returned as showrunner for what is expected to be miltiple new seasons.

The acclaimed first two episodes of the new era are now available to stream on BBC iPlayer before being aired at 6.20pm on Saturday (11 May), in a move that controversially caters to US audiences for the first time

New episodes are being led by Ncuti Gatwa, who made his debut at the end of a series of specials that welcomed back former Time Lord star David Tennant. At the end of the specials, Tennant regenerated into Gatwa – but, this being Doctor Who, fans were hopeful that Tennant might return one day in the future.

According to Davies, though, Tennant will “absolutely” never come back, with the writer sharing an off-screen conclusion to his version of the character. For fans of Tennant’s iteration of the character, it’s sad news.

“I think he died,” Davies told The Times. “I’m going to start saying that. He went to Venice, 2063, when the city sank, and he went into a whirlpool, which is really sad.

“David is parked and retired and it’s all Ncuti’s show now. Genuinely. Not that David might be coming back – he’s absolutely not coming back.”

Davies also reflected on Whittaker’s tenure in the series, which was overseen by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.

David Tennant will ‘absolutely’ never return to ‘Doctor Who’
David Tennant will ‘absolutely’ never return to ‘Doctor Who’ (BBC)

Whittaker was the first woman to play the role, and the three series and five specials she starred in are considered the show’s most divisive since its 2005 revival.

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After both Whittaker and Chibnall left, fans claimed that the show was in need of saving when Davies signed on to return – and the writer has now addressed this belief.

“I know people were saying that and it’s not really fair for me to comment. But I loved Jodie. My friend Chris Chibnall was writing it.”

He suggested that “public opinion” of those series is more positive than what you would find online.

“I think we’re having to cope with an internet age in which fandom is very critical, but it’s not public opinion,” he said.

Jodie Whittaker in ‘Doctor Who’

Earlier this year, Davies liked posts from angry Doctor Who fans concerning the release plans for the new series.

When the return date was announced, it was revealed new episodes would debut at midnight on BBC iPlayer before airing in its usual time slot on a Saturday night.

This move comes after the series struck a deal with Disney+, where new episodes will become available globally at the same time as the UK.

While this is very good news for fans of the show outside of the UK, some viewers have been left saddened by the move as they’re concerned social media will be filled with spoilers.

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