Doctor Who's Russell T. Davies Talks Emotionally Candid Reason Why Sci-Fi Fave Has Given Him 'Comfort' Following Husband's Death

Russell T. Davies on The Graham Norton Show on BBC
(Image credit: BBC)

Russell T. Davies is officially back in as the showrunner of Doctor Who and has been hard at work on the 60th anniversary specials and Season 14 of the beloved BBC series. Many longtime fans are excited to see Davies back for another stint, though their passion is not entirely what's driving him on the show. Davies was emotionally candid in a recent interview and said the show has served as a "comfort" to him following the death of his husband. 

The Doctor Who showrunner recently spoke to Radio Times about the upcoming release of his three-part biographical miniseries Nolly and was asked if it has gotten easier coping with the death of his husband, Andrew Smith, who passed away in 2018. Russell T. Davies gave a very open response, followed by how returning to Doctor Who has helped him in a way: 

No, and I don’t expect it will... It isn’t killing me. I’m quite glad that I’ve gone back to writing Doctor Who because psychologically, I’m thinking, ‘He knows what I’m doing now’. It gives me comfort. It’s when you do new things he never experienced that it feels odd and you don’t enjoy it so much. In some ways, it has got worse because it’s ‘Oh, you’re still not coming back?'

The familiarity of working on Doctor Who has been a comfort to Russell T. Davies, as it was something he worked on when his husband was still alive. Davies confessed that doing new projects that Smith wasn't a part of hasn't provided as much fulfillment, which would certainly support his enthusiasm about returning to Doctor Who after originally departing as showrunner with the last of the Tenth Doctor specials (starring David Tennant) in 2010.

Why I'm Most Excited For Russell T. Davies To Return To Doctor Who

The Guardian reported that Russell T. Davies first met his husband in 1998, with the Doctor Who showrunner sharing that he'd like to use the TARDIS to return to the moment they first met. Smith was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011, and the couple officially wed in 2012. Davies stepped away from the spotlight to care for his husband during his sickness in the years that followed, up until Smith's passing in 2018. His first installment upon his return to Doctor Who will air later this year. 

Russell T. Davies' return to Doctor Who couldn't have come at a better time, as it seems he'll have more territory to play with than previous showrunners of Doctor Who. The show's move in the United States to Disney+ will reportedly lead to bigger-budget seasons and even more consistency in the release of new episodes

We're also getting rising star Ncuti Gatwa as the new Doctor, as well as the unprecedented return of David Tennant as The Doctor for the 60th anniversary. The cast list for the 60th anniversary looks jaw-dropping, and past Who showrunner Steven Moffat teased big things for Davies' return, so hopefully, Davies can find joy in all the content he's going to deliver to fans in the coming years.

Doctor Who's 60th anniversary specials are slated to premiere in November of 2023 on Disney+. Stream Doctor Who with an HBO Max subscription in the meantime, and be ready for the exciting return of one of science fiction's best series.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.