DOCTOR WHO Showrunner Russell T Davies Talks Bigger Marvel-Like Budget And "Timeless Child" Inspiration

DOCTOR WHO Showrunner Russell T Davies Talks Bigger Marvel-Like Budget And "Timeless Child" Inspiration DOCTOR WHO Showrunner Russell T Davies Talks Bigger Marvel-Like Budget And "Timeless Child" Inspiration

Returning Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has talked about the difference a bigger budget will make to the long-running series and confirms the controversial "Timeless Child" arc comes into play.

By JoshWilding - Apr 18, 2024 04:04 AM EST
Filed Under: Doctor Who
Source: EW (via

When Doctor Who returns this May, it will be with a "season 1" meant to serve as an entry point for new and lapsed viewers. 

However, showrunner Russell T Davies - who first took charge of the series when it was rebooted with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper in 2005 - isn't looking to alienate longtime fans. In fact, he tells Entertainment Weekly (via that the divisive "Timeless Child" arc is a key source of inspiration for Ruby Sunday's story. 

During Jodie Whittaker's stint in the TARDIS, we learned that the Doctor wasn't born on Gallifrey and may have hailed from another universe altogether. The planet's leaders stole the orphan's ability to regenerate and the "Timeless Child" (whose memories were wiped by the Divison) became the basis for the Time Lords.

"That story’s going to be the spine of the whole show," Davies teases, confirming that despite tabloid speculation, Ruby will also be a huge part of season 2. "We’re heading into season 2, and my God, Ruby Sunday is important to that. There’s good stuff to come."

With no knowledge of his past, it seems the Doctor and Ruby will bond over the mystery surrounding their respective childhoods and the fact they're both orphans. 

Elsewhere in the interview, the showrunner reveals that after originally agreeing to write a few specials revolving around David Tennant's Doctor and Catherine Tate's Donna Noble, the BBC came to him with an offer he couldn't refuse. The biggest selling point? A proper budget.

"They sprung the trap on me," Davies laughs. "They said, 'We want to make Doctor Who bigger. We want to take it to a streamer. We want to go worldwide. We want it to have a bigger budget. And we want it to be up there with Stranger Things and Star Trek and the Marvel shows. We think that it’s good enough, and we believe in the show to know that it can have that heft, weight, and swagger.'"

Calling the pitch "music to my ears," he adds, "Finally, we can afford for different members of an alien race to have different faces!"

"It was one of those times in my life where people said, 'Oh, you can do anything you want now.' It’s very rarely true for a writer, but actually, that was one of those moments when I thought, 'Okay, I can do whatever I want.' So, to turn around and tell my agency, 'I’m going back to Doctor Who,' it was quite a moment."

You can check out some stills from Doctor Who's upcoming return, along with a cool new banner, in the X posts below.

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Apophis71 - 4/18/2024, 5:09 AM
Need to clean up the timeless child stuff one way or another as regardless if for or against the idea of it wasn't handled well prior.

I do not have a problem that the Timelord stols the Doctors powers and erased his memory thus more regenerations prior to the 1st. The Timelords were arrogant a-holes most the time, and antagonists most the time so it fits the way they were most oft used. However more important is means we can get a new Timelord race in effect, his revealed race he came from in another universe but as in another universe makes more sense you don't encounter them very often so...

...anyway, get why some didn't like it, as I say it wasn't handled well and folk don't like retcons generaly but if cleaned up it can fit and work well and can help fix some of the muddy origin that oft changed to varying degrees of the Doctor and the Master as well as whilst doing so explain how the first had a Granddaughter when so little mention of who her Mother (don't recall much reference at all to prior lovers of the Doctor or children, passing references sans details at best). Beyond that, with the comment from the Toymaker having made a mess of the Doctors past expecting that will be run with to 'reveal' some of the messed up bits were down to him and cleaned up beyond just the Timeless child stuff.

Also still expecting they will go there with finaly revealing the details of the origin of the Valeyard and can't wait to see how they handle that if so.
TheVisionary25 - 4/18/2024, 6:06 AM
@Apophis71 - I have somewhat mixed feelings on the Timeless Child…

I think the concept itself is intriguing and certainly puts the “Who” back into Doctor Who since we did know a fair amount about their past now (Chibnall just didn’t really follow through with it)

However , I think making them the basis of Timelord society and regeneration is where my issue lies since it gives too much importance to them and almost makes them a Chosen One type character.

Anyway , personally I hope we delve more into “Ruth” and The Doctor’s time in that Time Lord black ops group “The Division” since that seemed the most intriguing thing for me to come out of that.
Apophis71 - 4/18/2024, 7:29 AM
@TheVisionary25 - As I say, get the issues with it, but then we can explore why/how he was cast out from his own universe and like I say means they can use his actual race to effectively reboot the Timelords cos they were not always used well or consistantly. Having a sort of history repeating itself thing where the Timelords went down a similar path in their own universe and maybe the Doctor led a rebellion against them thus they cast him out only for that to result in the Doctor to effectively cause the same thing to happen in this universe I kinda prefer to the whole running away bit it oft seemed like before.
TheVisionary25 - 4/18/2024, 7:33 AM
@Apophis71 - I get yah ,

I prefer the running away bit too but as you said , if they actually follow through with it this time then it certainly has interesting possibilities.
Apophis71 - 4/18/2024, 7:44 AM
@TheVisionary25 - Also to add, could be fun if they went there and showed that the Master was also from that other Universe and/or his brother, or was from a prior splitting of the Doctor that resulted in the limit to regenerations being put in place :D
TheVisionary25 - 4/18/2024, 8:17 AM
@Apophis71 - possibly

You feel like someone like the Valeyard is a good manifestation of the Doctor’s dark side rather then also making it the Master aswell..

Would rather just keep him his own character.
Apophis71 - 4/18/2024, 8:28 AM
@TheVisionary25 - True
TheVisionary25 - 4/18/2024, 6:44 AM
I’m glad that RTD isn’t just straight up ignoring the divisive Chibnall era and is actually using some stuff from it to fuel stories and flesh out characters…

Such as using the Flux to exemplify the Doctor’s trauma and why they need to rest & heal in the specials or using their newfound background of being adopted and using it create this connection with Ruby to an extent since they are both “foundlings”.

Interested to see how RTD continues with those threads , can’t wait to see the new season (probably the most excited i have ever been for the show tbh).

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Batmangina - 4/18/2024, 8:11 AM
This is still on?

Deleting everything mid Capaldi onward would be a start.

I can't even remember when I was excited to see this show - used to have me hooked by the feels - now, I just watch documentaries about the original show from the old DVDs. Problem solved.
CLTMAN29 - 4/18/2024, 9:22 AM
1. Ruby is clearly of the same race as the Doctor then.
2. Secondly, no idea where this increased budget is going as Tennant specials had some embarrassingly bad CGI.
3. Budget doesn't matter if the writing is terrible. The Christmas special was embarrassing, so were two of the anniversary specials. Was looking forward to Davies coming back, but it's worse that it ever was. This show really needs to just end permanently.
MrDandy - 4/18/2024, 2:09 PM
I smell a recon on the horizon.

Honestly the idea of the timeless child wasn’t a bad idea. It was the answer that was bad by making The Doctor the Timeless Child.

Imo it should have been Susan. The Doctor’s granddaughter and first companion. It would have been a great reveal to have a new companion to be revealed to be a time lord then have it revealed she is his old “granddaughter” who he left on earth, and then another reveal that she is the real timeless child and that is why The Doctor ran off with her: to protect her from centuries of torture and experimentation.

It would have been a more interesting and satisfying answer without upended Doctor Who’s origin.
Radders - 4/19/2024, 2:55 AM
He needn't worry about competing with The MCU and Start Trek, Doctor who is already as bad as them now.

The Timeless Child sucks especially with it being the Doctor

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