Russell T. Davies Is Returning To Doctor Who As Showrunner In 2023

Turns out the future of "Doctor Who" was hidden in the past all along — Russell T. Davies is returning as the series' showrunner!

True Whovians know the significance of this announcement. Davies is the writer-director who helmed the series relaunch back in 2005, when "Doctor Who" first returned from its 16-year hiatus. He ushered Christopher Eccleston and then David Tennant into the Tardis as our Ninth and Tenth Doctors, steering one of the best eras in the series history. Now, Davies returns for the 60th year anniversary and, according to BBC, "series beyond."

Following his successful run with Tennant, Davies departed in 2009 to make room for new voices. So began the 7-year reign of Steven Moffat, who was later succeeded by the most recent showrunner, Chris Chibnall. Earlier this year, BBC announced the departure of both Chibnall and the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker. The pair are set to leave following the six-episode thirteenth season and a trio of specials scheduled for 2022. According to The Hollywood Reporter, they'll be followed by Davies in 2023. Davies himself is plenty excited to return to the series, but in the official announcement reminded fans that there's still another year before that transition comes. Davies said:

"I'm beyond excited to be back on my favorite show. "But we're time-traveling too fast, there's a whole series of Jodie Whittaker's brilliant Doctor for me to enjoy, with my friend and hero Chris Chibnall at the helm — I'm still a viewer for now."

In the years since leaving "Doctor Who," Davies has continued to write, produce and direct beloved series including "A Very English Scandal," "Years and Years," and most recently, the critically acclaimed five-part miniseries "It's A Sin."

Looking Backwards To Find the Future

The only thing more important than nailing the casting of the Doctor is choosing the right mind to steer the series into its next era. Fans love to speculate about what's to come with guesses that mostly amount to wishful thinking, but not even in our wildest dreams could anyone have imagined the return of Russell T. Davies.

Many "Doctor Who" fans are surely rejoicing to see the show return to trusted hands. After all, Davies was instrumental in getting the series revived and his four-year tenure was popular enough to launch two spin-off series, "The Sarah Jane Adventures" and the more mature "Torchwood." 

Fans fondly refer to the first four seasons as the "RTD era," a remnant of the time when new-Who seemed to exist as two distinct eras divided by their showrunner. Discussions of the "Moffat-era" vs the "RTD-era" often devolved into the characteristics that separated the two and which reigned supreme. Both receive their fair share of criticism but there's a certain nostalgia for the Davies-helmed seasons, given that they came first.

Davies' run with the show presented a number of challenges: he was tasked with introducing the Time Lord to a fresh faced crop of fans, and updating the series to keep them locked in. The first seasons were plagued by low budgets and early 2000s CGI, but ultimately none of that mattered with heart guiding the way. Plus, as the groundbreaking producer and writer behind "Queer As Folk," Davies has always been a champion of queer representation and injected that into early "Who" where he could. Davies created the foundation that "Doctor Who" leapt off of — so what will he accomplish now, with a well-established fanbase and a serious tech upgrade? 

Davies episodes tended to be soapy, family-oriented and sentimental, but  he's spent a decade producing new work that veers into all sorts of different directions. It'll be interesting to see where our old pal brings into the newest era of "Who."