Russell T Davies is stepping down from his executive producer and lead writer role on the BBC's pride and joy Doctor Who, no doubt to a mixed chorus of grateful cheers and sardonic smirks. According to the Beeb, Davies - dubbed "spectacularly talented" by BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter - will remove himself after a Gatesian …
Bye bye RTD
I like Torchwood, but I agree that many of the episodes that Davies wrote have been bad. Love & Monsters was maybe THE worst Who episode in history.
Moffatt should be an exciting executive producer.
They've been repeating the Christopher Ecclestone, Billie Piper episodes here in NZ... My, she makes a great sidekick and he did make a bloody good doc.
Davies should get back to writing
Some of his episode had a lot of potential, Gridlock for example. But the fix for this is he just goes up, plugs in Face of Bo and bingo all is fixed. (Gee and Bo couldn't tell Nurse Cat this? Oh, you can plug me in before I get too tired and I'll open the doors, it's an easy fix, look the cables over there, and opening a door is a lot easier that powering a city....)
Even as exec producer he should have sent some very near classics back for finishing. Remember Family of Blood? Doc's been running away from the family of blood across the galaxy, transforms to escape them, and at the end, flips a few switches and bingo fixed. What?
That could have been an amazing story, there should have been something he learned as a human that finally enabled him to win, maybe the camaraderie of humans, they would sacrifice themselves in large numbers in some horrible fashion and that would enable him to win. But no, he knew how to flip switches at the start, so why didn't he simply flip switches at the beginning and win?
And the ending? He wanted that human life so why didn't he live it? (no he had a duty to live it, after they sacrified their lives for him!) He could have lived that life, watched his wife grow old and die, and an old rinkled Dr Who could have stood over her grave, a moment of weakness/pain, (is that a tear?) a shaking off of the old age, he's young again, the Tardis comes into the background with Martha and a unsmiling Doctor, ripped apart by the experience of loss, heads to the Tardis. Perhaps a nod back to the Sarah Jane episode with a 'human die but I live on' comment.
Damn I watched that and thought Russel should have told the writer he sooooo nearly has a mega story there if only he could fix the last 2 minute ending and lose the scarecrows.
And the final episode of that series, if enough people wish and you can magically do anything? Oh you lazy ****, another half finished episode with potential but bad delivery. Someone else should have told him to go back and rethink that ending.
Anyway enough of my rants, Davies was spread too thin, he should get back to writing and expend more thought per story, just think of what gridlock could have been! What if people found they PREFERRED gridlock because it was what they were use to, it was less scary??
Perhaps Moffat will do better, but perhaps he will be spread too thin too. Moffats episode is on this week I think.
Perhaps the next series will have fewer men in silly masks going 'gurrrrr'?
Praise be to RTD for bringing back the good Doctor with Chris Ecclestone.
But RTD needs to go - his increasingly cloying, overly sentimental, generic, American style sci-fi is becoming increasingly threadbare. Also his ability to extract ham from talented actors and over reliance on the sonic screwdriver is painful.
All it needs is for Tenant, Tate and Piper to go and I might start watching it again.
glad it's not just me then
loved the idea of a new doctor who.
Loved the high(er) production values, and there have been some really good moments, but overall it's a just a bit... oh, I dunno.. piss poor..
lets not forget the little pilsbury doughboys from the start of season 3
nor the arrival of Catherine Bloody Tate.
Nor the piss poor storylines that have marred every single episode this season (so far)
I never really understand why Britain can't do good Sci-Fi... it doesn't have to the "mickey mouse" genre that we seem to make it.
I for one welcome our new Time Travelling overload, he can't be worse than the current one surely!
Thank f*** for that
I'm sure he's a lovely guy and all but he really has churned out some tripe. Funny how the only episodes worth watching are the ones he wasn't involved in.
It's a shame they didn't push him before he eventually got round to jumping...
Can they replace the casting director next pleeease?
Dr Who used to be good when i was a child, actually I think the whole being a child thing helps as it really does stink now.
Does that mean no more Torchwood ? please god it really is god awful.
How about some Dr Who bashing it would make a change from the ass-kissing drivel usually printed on the BBC site about it.
Most over hyped crap since boy-band reunions
There are some very silly people around
And it appears the Reg employs a few of them.
RTD did a spectacular job in bringing back Doctor Who. Unlike that tiny minority of very loud fans who like to whine, he knew that for the series to succeed, it had to be *popular television*, not just designed to appeal to hardcore fans.
The problem with those loud fans is that they make a level of noise completely out of proportion to their numbers, which leads to journalists thinking that they represent a significant proportion of the population, which they don't.
A lot of these people (for an arbitrarily "12" value of "a lot") spent the time between the 1989 cancellation and the 2005 return reading a pile of Doctor Who books which took more adult and mature routes than the TV show ever did (or could, given its intended audience). So when the show came back and dared to be, well, *fun*, some of them got upset and whiny. And unlike the 80s, when whiners were confined to fanzines that nobody read, now they have the internet, and they get to expose many more people to their nonsense.
Steven Moffat is the best possible choice for a successor to RTD, but without RTD's work to date there wouldn't be a job for Steven to take.
And I give it half a series before the whiners start complaining about Steven Moffat.
 In the 1980s, John Nathan-Turner was the target of the same kind of tedious whining
 I had a computer with one of those once, it was very annoying
The headline is the SECOND BEST news I've had this week...
I thought it was the BEST news until I read the article and learned that Moffat is taking over - that was the perfect trump to an already brilliant bit of news.
I want to turn handsprings and cartwheels but my manager's in the office - CURSES!
What are those things near the console that David T sits on every other week then?
Mine's the one with a stick of celery in the lapel.
Yes, yes, frick yes!
Admittedly, I quite enjoyed Love and Monsters, although not for Peter Kay. Thought the casting of Marc Warren and Shirley Henderson was brilliant.
Stephen Moffat's writing has long stood out high above the others (loved Blink, and Family of Blood was fantastic), and it'll be interesting to see where he takes the series.
Love Live Doctor Who!
... actually, the Abzorbaloff was created by 9 year old (at the time) Blue Peter competition winner William Grantham.
Human Nature/The Family of Blood was written by Paul Cornell, not Steven Moffat.
Good night. Get out. Don't let the door hit you in the bum on the way out.
The TARDIS does have seats. And a pool, and some huge storage areas, and bedrooms...
And anyone else remember that funny little food dispenser thing?
As for RTD saying good night... Hooray! Good on him for bringing the series back, but I really think they should have watched a few stories from the old days before they got going again.
I'm also hoping the doctor might wake up from a dream at some stage and realise the entire lot of new episodes were a dream... Gallifrey and the Time Lords should still be out there, and things like aliens in London in the current (our) time period are silly.
Is it therefore time...
...to revisit La Stob's sublime "Under Torch Wood"?
I must confess to being somewhat underwhelmed by the Dokta Oho revival, the more so once the sublime Ecclescake was replaced by a gurning muppet. Also, there haven't been enough Daleks.
I had that William Hartnell in the back of my cab once.
Lorks a'mighty: since when did El Reg open a Children's Section????
"Doctor Who" is a TV series for kids and simpletons who believe in Crop Circles starring (if that's the word) actors who failed to negotiate adolescence, still less drama school, and centres upon the journeyings of a device whose name derives from the word "retard".
We watched it a couple of times when the man with the funny voice and a long scarf was in it. Then the series vanished, much like Dixon of Dock Green and Z Cars.
By accident we encountered it again last year when some actor called Tennant was trying to recover from a personality by-pass operation and a monster called The Piper was struggling, but failing, to manage any kind of credibility.
The only reason "Doctor Who" gets any kind of mention is thanks to Caitlin Somebody or Other who set up the puerile PopBitch website and has a job on the nowadays pre-pubertal Sunday Times writing about the other parents she meets when she picks up her kids from primary school. Apparently, half the cast of "Doctor Who" is associated with that school, though whether as parents or pupils isn't always clear.
Lots of journos are in thrall to Caitlin PopBitch because she seems very sophisticated and also because they live in the same part of Norf London and next door to BBC drama commissioning editors.
Well, fair enough, but that's no reason for El Reg to start mentioning "Doctor What?" in its esteemed pages.
I've no idea who RTD is and couldn't care less but am happy for him to feature here as long as El Reg makes room for mention of programmes of infinitely greater worth.
"Magic Roundabout", for example, was always superior in its narrative arc, dialogue, acting, and production values.
As was Shaw Taylor in "Police 5".
"The Girl in the Fireplace" - another Moffat special - was an absolute blinder; I'd have hired him on the strength of that one alone, or indeed "The Empty Child" from series one. Top notch. I look forward to more actual plot substance and less tremble-puny-Earthlings-before-the-might-of-the-Sontarans-muahahaha.
Russell T Davies -
Russell T Davies ..... YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED!
I hope Moffat breaks us away from these soap opera episodes, and gets Billy Piper back in. And it may be time for David Tennant to move on... I liked him at first but he's beginning to grind on my nerves now. How about a real actor - James Nesbit?
I remember Dr Who being pretty scary when I was a kid, and that was the beauty of it. Kids still love scary, fear sells. The next episode looks like Moffat may show his penchant for natural fear again (Stay out of the shadows!) - it's all very nice, but can he craft a season into a cohesive story.
Wouldn't it be nice to have a solid story without filler episodes?
Frankly I think RTD gets far to much credit for 'reviving' Dr. Who.
The fact that so many people had fond memories of the series from their childhood (and will therefore get their own kids to watch it) and the fact that it is just clearly such a great idea/concept for a TV series, meant that it would have taken an massive amount of incompetance to make the 'come back' a failure. I'm not saying anyone could have done it, but pretty much anyone with a modicum of talent could have.
My biggest grip with RTD is that he clearly does not really understand the sci-fi genre, as can be seen with his attempts to turn the series into sort sort of time travelling 'soap opera'. i.e. too much time spent exploring Doctor/assistant love stories, attemps to 'humanise' the doctor and make him 'vunarable', painful polical correctness, 'bisexual' characters, all taking up so much time that the plot has to be cramed into some gabbled technobabble spewed by the Doctor while running away from monsters.
And don't even get my started on why a time lord with a ship that can take him to anywhere in the universe spends every episode on earth!
Lets hope things improve.
easy to be critical..
totally agree with Les.
fans cried out for years for the return of the series, when we eventually got it the fanboys came out in their droves, yes the series felt scary when I was six , but then that was 1974 and Tom Baker was(is) god.
the new series is a different doctor and a different Doctor Who, its success, despite the BBC constant interference is scheduling is continuing. At the end of this series we'll have long gaps as the specials are aired and bugger all to watch bar the repeats on BBC3 - moan all you want then.
Re: I had that William Hartnell in the back of my cab once.
Gosh, AC. How long did you spend crafting that comment about an article you weren't interested in?
Funny old thing, the internet.
I think you will find that there are at least 1 if not 2 seats in the current incarnation of the TARDIS.
Mines the one with the miniture K-9 in the left hand Pocket
His episodes (1 a series) are dark and much more gritty than the norm, which is what you want. Blink scared the "£$%£"$% out of me and I am 32. :)
I think doctor who is more of a kids program, and you have to bear that in mind when reading this and other forums. My four year old Nephew thinks it is the best thing ever and he hides behind the sofa.
So Russel did something right.
Re: Er ...
True - it was Davies who realised the concept but strictly speaking it wasn't his own idea. Apparently the poor wee lad was upset that it was only the size of Peter Kay, and not the size of a double-decker bus as he had originally imagined.
I note my kids reaction is very similar to the one I had to Doctor Who..
..when I was a kid. They laugh at the funny bits and get scared at the scary bits. So it's pretty much doing it's job then.
A fair few of Russell T Davies scripts have been toss, but the show overall has been great. All credit to him and his team for making it fun and bringing some drama to Saturday nights, instead of Ant and bloody Dec. (Bringing back Dr Who also gave us Primeval, which is good fun as well.) Also, just think about the utter shite the BBC show on a Saturday night when Dr Who isn't on.
I like Catherine Tate in Doctor Who as well and Torchwood has improved immensely since it's first season. So there.
Does this mean we can get some plots that don't centre on humans in some way?
Last of the Time Lords?
Isn't there something inherently contradictory about someone who can travel in time constantly whining that he's the 'last' of something? Hey Doc, just pop back a few millennia...
And as for Billie Piper as 'companion', the only good thing I can say about her is that Catherine Bloody Tate is worse.
It's like the whole Tarantino phenonomon
Many, many great films owe Tarantino a great deal, but his own films generally aren't that good. Same with RTD. Dr Who was brought back wonderfully but now it's back others can do his thing better than him.
By the way, there are supposed to be six chairs in the TARDIS control room. One for each crew member, only a total maniac would try to pilot a TARDIS solo.
Oh, and for the person waiting to make the inevitable snipe about the gay influence in Dr Who, I will remind you that the title of gayest companion ever sill remains with Harry Sullivan.
Re: Moffat rocks
Absolutely. Top notch. Deserved the BAFTA for Blink, and Jekyll was cracking.
Creating something that atmospheric with nothing more than a bunch of statues is a work of pure genius.
Always found RTD's episodes had an unfinished, rushed feel to them. Like he got bored halfway through writing them.
Girl in the Fireplace
Girl in the Fireplace gets overlooked because of how scary Blink was, but for me it is the best episode of Dr Who in the programme's history. It was a Moffat one too.
I do worry, however, as to whether being a great script writer makes someone a great script editor. I guess we'll find out.
So long and thanks for the TARDIS
While RTD had quite a big hand in bringing back Dr Who (yay, thanks), some of the story arcs/progression drive me nuts. If you have a craft that can travel anywhere in time/space (as the TARDIS is), then why more often or not does it end up somewhere in London (usually a South-East London housing estate)? AAAARRRGGGHHHHH! Just once it would be nice to dump them in a quarry somewhere and claim it's the planet Squargos 9 in the Foozbane system.
The other big annoyance of RTD's tinkering is the obvious soap-opera type facination with the Doctor's female 'companions' and their bloody families. I don't watch Dr Who to see if he will/won't get off with Rose Tyler (whichever dimension she may be in) but to outiwt nasty aliens (or sometime humans) out to do bad things in the universe*.
Some of this is a bit academic for me at the moment as I'm boycotting the current series due to the inclusion of Catherine Tate, who I loathe with a passion. This wasn't helped by the fact that a few months back every time I went to the cinema there was the BBC ads that consisted of a Tate-centric Dr Who trailer and that git Chris Moyles attepting to be funny by jacking off to the sound of his own voice (business as usual then).
*Note that universe does not always have to be within the congestion charge zone or even the M25.
The fanboys whinging on about how bad Doctor Who is now really p*** me off.
I didn't like the Peter Kay episode much, but my kids loved it, and guess what, it's a kids show. Well, a family show anyway.
RTD has done a great job, and I'm fascinated to see what SM does with it because Blink and The Empty Child were so good.
It's better sci-fi now than the classic show as well; far more intelligent stories than it
used to be and of course better production values.
I even like Catherine Tate (miles better than Martha Jones). And Torchwood.
Kids, families and Dr Who
Smallbrainfield is spot on - Dr Who does what it's supposed to do - and it's the one programme on Saturday nights that we can watch as a family. Blink was as scary as I'd want it to get for my boys. Furthermore, a drama that doesn't have an entirely predictable story arc is welcome. (Excepting that the Dr always survives).
Regarding Torchwood - amazingly, I think lots of people have a 'thing' about it being set so ostentatiously in Cardiff. It's of mixed quality, but if the choice is potentially-mixed-home-brew vs mass-production-US-based imports, I'll take the local product. Certainly it doesn't (can't) have the huge investment that a Firefly would get, but then neither is it going to get cancelled halfway through a season because it might not turn a dime.
Not that this will change DW.
They brought it back. They filled the thing with pathetic, stupid politically correct nonsense, and gay heroes, garbage stories, appallingly bad effects. I know - I know, DW is reknown for it, but its not excusable today.
Its a BBC primetime blockbuster, or should be. It lacks totally the true quality of real sci fi - by that I mean the sets and effort applied to other sci fi. Battlestar G and Star gate show far more depth and quality in the sets they use - the equipment, and backdrops.
The real problem is the BBC thinks its making a drama, and all the card board toilet roll and gaffa tape special effects are cute. It meant to be sci - fi not drama, and the bog roll and gaffa tape went out in 1970.
They struggled to sell Dr Who with the sci fi channel taking it in the end with reluctance. That says it all.
It reflects fully everything that sucks royally about the stinking BBC.
I only wish they'd put some decent people into it, make longer shows, and darken the thing up. Oh, and real special effects, backdrops and a little effort would not go amiss. There is so much rich background that could be used in the WHO universe, and all they serve up is this garbage. They did bring a few things back, like the daleks, but even then, their insipid desire to meddle lead to caring, sharing daleks, and stupid idiocy. The BBC is a global media monopoly, its one sci fi show looks like it was made by a bunch of playschool children in their art class, with story lines little better.
And yes, Tom Baker was the best doctor.
It is a good attempt
Problem is that those of us 30+ who were children for the Tom Baker and earlier doctors nothing new is ever going to be as good as we remember it used to be. If you re-watch old episodes you will probably find they aren't as good as we remember them either though.
Christopher Ecclestone did a really good job and I was surprised at how well Billie Piper performed in her role.
But I am not that keen on Neil Tennant and I cannot stand Catherine Tate so I have mostly lost interest.
I did like John Simm as the Master but there just haven't been enough Daleks.
What do we want? Daleks.
When do we want them? Every episode.
More Daleks, fewer cockneys. New Doctor.
The definitive statement on Billie Piper
Came from this letter to Viz magazine a few years ago:
"If I was Dr Who, I'd have that Billie Piper bent over the Tardis console and given what for before you could say Jack Robinson. Then I'd use my time-twiddling powers to constantly repeat the time I was in the vinegar strokes, keeping me in a delicious state of eternally-looped space-time ecstasy. Do any other readers waste their valuable time dreaming up frankly unlikely sexual scenarios involving timelords and their beaver-faced sidekicks?"
@ I had that William Hartnell in the back of my cab once.
mannn, if you dont like it dont watch it. and as for the 'why does el reg have to mention this' what do you want? just loads of articles on linux and phorm?
the reason el reg is so well viewed is that it doesnt just cater for geeks who cant wait to get home to program and play with the latest linux distro.
most of us (i guess) work in IT but out of hours i couldnt give a shit. do builders go home and study new types of brickwork?
am i the only one who thinks david tennant is actually good? and i think billie piper was the best dr who stooge i can remember (not that i can remember much from when i was 10)
its simple escapism... light and accessible. if it wasnt it would have died after series 1. the fact is its probably the best thing the beeb has done for ages. i am glad we can see our license fee going towards something other than bloody come dancing and period drama!
my main gripe is catherine tate (much better than expected) and it not being on the HD channel (ffs torchwood is in HD/dolby digital!)
of course its not scary! i mean kids watch films like saw now, how can that compete? and come on - the blink one? was that really scary? how big a pussy are you lot :)
anyone else slightly worried how many people know all the episode names? :)
of course there is gay references. RTD is as camp as a row of tents. what do you expect?
"And don't even get my started on why a time lord with a ship that can take him to anywhere in the universe spends every episode on earth!"
That would be due to the dark machinations of his ultimate nemesis, The Beancounter...
Even accepting the limitations of the format, the RTD-penned shows have seemed to be generally, weaker, sillier and more reliant on a McGuffin of the week than others. He's good at setting up a two parter but does seem to have problems with wrapping up the second part. He still deserves kudos for getting the show revived.
More Moffattt should be a very good thing :)
"meant that it would have taken an massive amount of incompetance to make the 'come back' a failure"
Good job RTD was up to that challenge then and could inject a suitable amount of incompetence. Like George Lucas with Star Wars, he simply doesn't realise how bad a writer he is. :-( And to be honest, anyone could have restarted Doctor Who at any time over the last 15 years. There was *never* any lack of enthusiasm with the viewing public; the only strange things were (a) that it got cancelled in the first place, and (b) that no-one thought to restart it before now.
I actually like the fact that there's some kind of relationship going on between the Doctor and his companions. And the fact that if he holds onto anyone for too long, he'll have to watch them die - that's an important new idea that the original series never covered. But the whole "Doctor as Jesus" thing which RTD persists in putting in every episode - no. Just no.
As for comedy - there should be some, but the whole thing shouldn't be played for laughs. "Blink" was a classic of that type - the humour is more edgy because what's going on around is so dark. Yes, it's always been a kids programme - but it was always a *scary* kids programme. The moment it stops being scary, it's lost its reason for existing. And the Peter Kay episode was probably the worst piece of TV I've ever seen.
The silent minority...
The ratings tell us that people like Dr Who as it is. It's fab.
The ratings tell us that people like Torchwood as it is. It's fab too.
I think the silent majority will not really care about RTD's departure too much other than to thank him for bringing Dr Who back.
Keep the show evolving as it has been and all will be well and we can ignore the whining comments from fan boys and those that over-analyse a kid's show.
(one of the silent majority having a rare non-silent day)
News of the week
WOW! With this news I reckon Doctor Who could be bumped up from: "A show I quite like and will make the effort to download (I pay my TV license but I'm not staying in on Saturdays for it!)" to "Possibly one of my top two shows."
RDT was a clunky writer, and a little nauseating with some of his approaches.
I for one also welcome our new Over(time)lords.
To be fair to Torchwood, it got an awful lot better in Season 2. Other than that, good riddance to running, sonic screwdriving, explosions and reset switches :-)
Surely a small alien made out of Adipose would be more appropriate ;)
Point of order re the Moderatrix
"Apparently the poor wee lad was upset that it was only the size of Peter Kay, and not the size of a double-decker bus as he had originally imagined."
Now, I knew that..but I have a Tardis USB hub on my desk (that makes the noise when you plug a device in), I'm about to build Tardis doors for my workshop that it took me years to build because of illness, and I remember the first episodes with William Hartnell, ie I'm a saddo...like I said, I knew that piece of information regarding the Absorballoff, the question is how did YOU know it?
RTD has profoundly mishandled the Doctor Who model, turning it into a saggy Home & Away with a time machine. Steven Moffat has demonstrated what it *could* be - The Girl in the Fireplace et al - let's home he's up to sitting in the big chair. RTD wasn't.
Get a life
It's only a TV show. I enjoy it, and am interested to hear this news (also the news that the new Lead Writer wrote some of the more interesting episodes), but c'mon. Working yourself into a froth over a TV show? I bet most of the "angered" readers haven't touched a woman since they were breast fed (if indeed they were at all).
Answers to your question
"how many seats the Tardis has, along with their approximate dimensions and the name of the designer,"
1. No seats, or an infinite number of seats. The TARDIS has a room that has a door that leads into the TARDIS...
2. Probably a small park bench dedicated to the memory of Mrs.Trellis of North Wales. 6ft long, 3ft high, 2ft deep.
3. The designer's name would probably be unpronounceable.
Re: Good riddance
Christ at last someone else can see the light! DS is taking sensible pills!
I've been harping on about the quality of Dr Who vs. stateside shows for so long and against so much resistance I was beginning to think I'd fallen through a bloody rift in the universe and landed in stupidland.
Sure enough Dr Who's a kid's program, but that's zero excuse for Torchwood - which could have been bloody fantastic, instead it's "not as bad as the first season" lol. Makes me cringe. Bad sets, bad scripts, bad lighting and direction, bad effects, all ruin what was a great opportunity to do something 'over here' to compete with the unbelievable production standards being shown 'over there'.
View it for what it is.
Dr Who seriously suffers from Star Wars syndrome. I love Star Wars but the majority of people hate it and Jar Jar Binks but the kids love it as they were the intended audience.
The number of times we apply adult ideology and subtext to something which is aimed at kids and is family entertainment.
Dr Who like many shows has its ups and downs and but I go with it and enjoy it for what it is. I have a film degree and deconstruct to a subatomic level but what's the point in that? (Please refer to the Simpson's episode staring Poochy the dog!!)
RTD did a good job and was part of a wider team, who also did a good job. David Tennant is regarded by many as the most popular doctor so that says something about the how the show has developed.
Moffat is an excellent choice to take over and I think Blink was brilliant for its simplicity. It didn't have to have amazing special effects is was just brilliantly executed, but to keep the show going it does need to go to a new direction and maybe explore the time wars more.
There is a dark side to the doctor, but then again if we go too dark it stops being family entertainment which whether we like it or not is its intended audience.
Lets not view the show the adult eyes but appreciate it for what its worth.
At the end of a day a cake is sometimes a cake! (Special browney points if you know where the reference is from!!)