Russell T. Davies
Source: Getty Images

Russell T. Davies was 'Doctor Who's" Showrunner From 2005-2010 — Why Did He Leave?

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Sep. 24 2021, Published 7:36 p.m. ET

After stepping down as Doctor Who's showrunner back in 2010, Russell T. Davies is returning to oversee the beloved British television series once again in 2023. It was Davies who revived Doctor Who back in 2005, after the popular television series about a time-traveler from the planet Gallifrey had been on indefinite hiatus since 1989. Russell originally left Doctor Who in 2010 after four seasons with two Doctors and multiple specials.

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Reviving Doctor Who could've been a massive failure. After all, the show had been off the air for 16 years. The fact that Russell managed to successfully revive Doctor Who and prevent it from being canceled yet again was an impressive feat. So why did Russell originally leave Doctor Who back in 2010?

Russell T. Davies
Source: Instagram
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Why did Russell T. Davies leave 'Doctor Who' back in 2010?

Back in 2009, David Tennant had been playing the fan-favorite 10th Doctor for three seasons of Doctor Who. Russell had been triumphant in bringing the story of a centuries-old Time Lord and his travels back to life, and the show was in no danger of being canceled. However, Russell announced in 2008 that he would be stepping down as showrunner after four seasons.

There was no dramatic backstory to Russell's departure. In true Doctor Who fashion, Russell had simply concluded that the time had arrived to pass the showrunner's torch to someone else. Russell chose Scottish writer Steven Moffat as his successor. Steven had written several popular Doctor Who episodes during Russell's tenure as showrunner, including "Blink," and the two-parter "Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead."

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David Tennant as the 10th Doctor in Doctor Who
Source: Instagram

David followed suit and decided to leave along with Russell. The actor told BBC One in 2008 that Russell's decision to step down influenced his choice to end his tenure as the 10th Doctor.

"I'd always thought the time to leave would be in conjunction with Russell T. Davies and [former Doctor Who executive producer] Julie Gardner, who have been such a huge part of it all for me. Steven Moffat is the most brilliant and exciting writer, the only possible successor to Russell, and it was sorely tempting to be part of his amazing new plans for the show."

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Russell's time on the show, or the "RTD era" as fans like to call it, wasn't popular with everyone. There were certain episodes that were lambasted for poor execution, such as the Season 2 episode, "Love and Monsters," that Russell himself wrote. However, it's to be expected that a long-running series like Doctor Who would have certain episodes that are generally disliked by viewers.

Russell started the show back strong by casting Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor, and kept up the momentum with Tennant as the 10th iteration of the famous character. Not only that, but Russell created excellent female characters to balance the Doctor out, including Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). Russell also created two Doctor Who spin-off series: Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

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Christopher Eccleston as the 9th Doctor
Source: Instagram

With Jodie Whittaker stepping down as the 13th Doctor in 2022, it will be interesting to see who is cast as the 14th Doctor in conjuction with the second Russell T. Davies Doctor Who era in 2023.

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