‘Doctor Who’ Showrunner Russell T Davies Dismisses Critics Of His Decision To Focus Series On Queer Themes: “In Dark Little Corners People Might Argue, But That’s Not The Real World”

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) makes the call to save the babies of Space Station Beta in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 1 "Space Babies" (2024), BBC
The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) makes the call to save the babies of Space Station Beta in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 1 "Space Babies" (2024), BBC

In the opinion of showrunner Russell T Davies, the bevy of criticisms leveled towards his decision to make ‘queer themes’ a central focus of Doctor Who are not only inconsequential, but ultimately detached from fan sentiment in “the real world”.

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) takes Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) to see the dinsoaurs in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 1 "Space Babies" (2024), BBC
The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) takes Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) to see the dinsoaurs in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 1 “Space Babies” (2024), BBC

RELATED: ‘Doctor Who’ Star Ncuti Gatwa Pushes Disingenuous Narrative That Critics Of Latest Series Are Racists: “It’s Just Really Sad For Them”

Davies offered this defense of his latest take on the Time Lord during a May 2024 interview given to Collider’s Samantha Casey in promotion of Doctor Who‘s return to the airwaves.

[Time Stamp: 02:34]

At one point making note of how the show “just keeps leaning more into queer themes and everything, especially since the specials”, Casey eventually asked Davies if he could “speak about leaning into that more intentionally”, to which the showrunner replied, “It’s funny, because to be absolutely honest, it’s almost not that deliberate [because] that’s the life that I lead.”

“I wrote a series called Queer as Folk in 1999 that broke down many barriers and I’m never going to step back from that,” he continued. “In fairness, no one’s ever asked me to step back from that – and I just think it doesn’t even feel particularly queer to me. It feels natural, it’s 2024, and we’re all embracing this – Twitter might kick off, and in dark little corners people might argue, but that’s not the real world, the real world is one of acceptance and with battles to be fought and votes to be gained.”

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) attempts to sus out The Maestro's (Jinkx Monsoon) plan in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 2 "The Devil's Chord" (2024), BBC
The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) attempts to sus out The Maestro’s (Jinkx Monsoon) plan in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 2 “The Devil’s Chord” (2024), BBC

Closing out his thoughts on the topic, Davies added, “I’m not naive to the problems that exist, but God, it’s a more welcoming world.”

“In schools we now have people who can come out and be happy and thrive, which when I was that age was literally impossible,” he asserted. “So that’s got to be a better world. So I simply write quite naturally. I don’t think about it that much, that is my world, and I’m trusted by my bosses to put my world and my writing on screen.”

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) learns that The Beatles are in trouble in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 2 "The Devil's Chord" (2024), BBC
The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) learns that The Beatles are in trouble in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 2 “The Devil’s Chord” (2024), BBC

RELATED: ‘Doctor Who’ Actor Jinkx Monsoon Rejects Critics Of Series’ New “Queer” Direction: “If They Don’t Watch It, Then Who Needs ‘Em?”

Notably, Davies is not the first production member of Doctor Who‘s latest season to specifically dismiss critics of the series new ‘queer’ direction.

Asked by Slate’s Isabelle Kliger what kind of responses they expected to their casting as newly-introduced villain the Maestro would draw, transgender drag queen Jinkx Monsoon declared, “Russell T. Davies brought Doctor Who to everyone. He brought it back because he was passionate about it. To the people who have issues: The show that you love was created by a queer person. Get over it!”

“A lot of people are going to really love this, and I think this season is going to create a lot of new Doctor Who fans,” Monsoon continued. “And if we lose some of the transphobic ones, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”

The Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon) appears before their son Henry (Kit Rakusen) in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 2 "The Devil's Chord" (2024), BBC
The Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon) appears before their son Henry (Kit Rakusen) in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 2 “The Devil’s Chord” (2024), BBC

Continuing in their thoughts, Monsoon added, “There’s a lot of toxicity around the gender and the trans conversation. In the ’70s, it was the conversation of queerness, the gay conversation. We overcame it once and we’ll overcome it again. To the people who are upset about it, boohoo, cry your fucking tears. It’s not your world exclusively. We all live here, so get over yourself!”

“I know a lot of people might not even watch this season of Doctor Who because it’s taking such a decisively queer step,” the actor concluded. “However, if they watch it, I think they’ll see that we’re just actors playing characters. And if they don’t watch it, then who needs ’em? I truly believe that for every fan we lose to transphobia, we’re going to have two to three more coming in because they’re excited for trans representation.”

The Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon) attempts to steal the soul of Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 2 "The Devil's Chord" (2024), BBC
The Maestro (Jinkx Monsoon) attempts to steal the soul of Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 2 “The Devil’s Chord” (2024), BBC

Unfortunately for both Davies and Monsoon, as well as Doctor Who as a whole, it seems such criticisms of the series’ more aggressively-progressive direction are more representative of viewers’ opinion than they would like to admit.

Per reported numbers, the first two episodes of Doctor Who‘s latest series debuted to staggeringly low numbers, pulling in just 2.6 million viewers for its first adventure, Space Babies, and 2.2 million for The Devil’s Chord (BBC iPlayer numbers have yet to be reported, but are likely to contribute not-insignificantly to the episodes’ final ratings).

In an example of just how far interest in the series has fallen, by comparison, current lead Ncuti Gatwa’s first full episode as the 15th Doctor (and the last Doctor Who adventure prior to the debut of Series 14) the 60th anniversary special The Church on Ruby Road, managed to pull in a total of roughly 4.73 million viewers.

Ruby (Millie Gibson) prepares to take her first step inside the TARDIS in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 0 "The Church On Ruby Road" (2023), BBC
Ruby (Millie Gibson) prepares to take her first step inside the TARDIS in Doctor Who Series 14 Episode 0 “The Church On Ruby Road” (2023), BBC

The next new episode of Doctor Who, Boom, is on schedule for a May 18th landing on Disney Plus.

NEXT: ‘Doctor Who’ Showrunner Confirms Upcoming Season To Feature Heavy Focus On Progressive Messaging: “If You’re Not Writing That In 2024, What On Earth Are You Doing?”

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