Russell T. Davies

By: Matthew De Abaitua
April 27, 2010

RUSSELL T. DAVIES (born 1963) is a Welsh television writer and producer who changed the portrayal of gay life on TV with Queer As Folk, which once featured a cameo from the robot dog K-9, a gift from the libertine Stewart to his Doctor Who-loving mate Vince. The scene showed Davies’ commitment to his own idiosyncrasies, a quality rarely rewarded in British television. Davies then led the revival of Doctor Who, which had petered out in the 1990s. Every decision he made for the revival, both as writer and producer, was bold and definite: he killed off the Doctor’s people, both simplifying the story and giving the Doctor a tragic recent past; he invented Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), grounding the Doctor in a London estate and giving contemporary viewers a way into the science fiction world; and he started the action in media res, poised between a back story about a Time War and upon a narrative arc that would tie together the series. Davies’ Doctor Who was telly of grand gestures, unceasing daring, and the frenzied larceny of great pulp. This aesthetic reaches its height during the penultimate episode of his third season. Above a flying aircraft carrier, which is a dead ringer for a S.H.I.E.L.D heli-carrier (Phillip Pullman is on record as an admirer of Davies’ thefts) a chasm opens up in reality. “Here come the drums, here come the drums” announces the start of “Voodoo Child” by Rogue Trader, a soundtrack of pulsing high energy techno. Six billion steel alien balls stream through the chasm. “Down you go kids,” waves John Simm’s ravishingly insane Master, and you shiver at his glee regarding the daunting scale of his own evil invention. Something of that glee comes direct from Davies himself.


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READ MORE about those born on the cusp between two generations. Russell T. Davies was born between the Boomers and the Reconstructionists.

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