RTD's Next Doctor?

How long has Russel T Davies known he was coming back to Doctor Who? The news broke last week that he was having a second go, along with much of his old production team (Julie Gardner, et al.), after Chibnall wraps his era up in 2022, taking Jodie Whitaker out with him. Questions abound. What does this shift from BBC-made to outsourced mean for the show? Can the franchise's once-saviour save it again? Is it possible to go home again? Will there be more farting aliens? In what proportion will fans cheer and complain? But most of all, WHO WILL BE THE NEXT DOCTOR?

And that's where my use of the Rose novelization cover becomes relevant, and begs another question: How long has RTD known he would be coming back? The novelization of his first episode, which he apparently wrote himself, came out in 2018. Among its embellishments is THIS expansion of Rose's visit with Doctor-tracker Clive:
On the show itself, all incarnations of the Doctor shown were Eccleston's, but here Davies allows himself some hindsight and has Clive tracking the 11th, 12th and 13th Doctors (Smith, Capaldi and Whitaker), PLUS "a tall, bald black woman". Is this his concept for a 14th Doctor? Many fans and observers already hold the belief that the next step in the Doctor's evolution is for her to be played by a woman of color, and among the many, many people touted as possibilities by the media, we find Michaela Coel who MIGHT fit the bill (not that tall though).
She's on a bit of a hot streak, garnering rave reviews for Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You, and has a part in Wakanda Forever, currently filming. She was certainly no stranger to genre fiction even before being cast in a Black Panther movie, having appeared on The Aliens, the Monsters sequel, The Last Jedi (a bit part), and a couple of Black Mirrors (she's the Uhura analog in USS Callister). Is this our new Doctor, or is it just a crazy coincidence, RTD having fun while writing the novelization, with no plans to actually follow through on that promise?

Time will tell, it always does.


misterharry said...

I imagined this description of the 14th Doctor to refer to T'Nia Miller (who played the General in Hell Bent) - after all, she's worked with RTD on Cucumber, Banana, and Years and Years. I'm not sure how tall she is though.

daft said...

Nice detective work, Siskoid. :D Thematically, it really should be David Morrissey. ;)

"[M]y friend and hero Chris Chibnall" RTD's choice of celebratory words would tend to indicate that he feels committed to continuing the general progressive cause and Michaela Coel having proven she's equally adept at comedy and drama would have to be considered a prime Doctor candidate, no matter what the criteria. Although I feel his acceptance of the role is more about promoting Bad Wolf Productions commercial interests in an increasingly globalized TV market, he might also feel like there's a little unfinished business in part due to feeling compelled to pull some of his dramatic punches back in the day to help ensure the revival's success.

Although there seems to be quite the air of optimism surrounding his re-appointment, I'm afraid, I really don't share it. The sci-fi genre genie is fundamentally out of the bottle. Even if RTD deigns to fold the social commentary back into the realms of allegory, people will still feel aggrieved, if not openly hostile. It will be considered a sly attempt at indoctrination viewed through the distorted prism of social media. It won't matter that the science fiction genre has always been a tool for social exploration of the now[, rather than its speculative, spanglely, sci-fi future overlay.

Unfortunately, nothing less than an empty narrative vessel will suffice for some. :|

Siskoid said...

MisterHarry: It is definitely RTD's style to cast someone he's already worked with, and having been in Doctor Who before doesn't mean you can't play the Doctor later!

Daft: A lot of those grumbles come from people who never watch the show, agents of misogyny and racism who look for stuff to spam us with using their 100 Twitter accounts which are just a string of numbers. Fuck 'em. I mean, even when RTD had white blokes playing the Doctor, there were still screams of the "gay agenda". I couldn't care less about what bigots think, honestly.

That said, am I excited about RTD coming back? I'm ok with it, intrigued (in part because this has never happened, where we might just TWO eras and see how a head writer has changed after 12 years, and how he reacts to the changing landscape of television), but cautious (because most people become less creative, not more, with age). Still, end of the day, it's all Doctor Who and I'm there for it.


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