It’s a Wibbly Wobbly Minisode! We interrupt our break between seasons for a short chat between Talia and Lucia about the return of Doctor Who’s old flame Russell T. Davies! Listen in on our conversation as we talk about our hopes for RTDs new era, where we think things have gone wrong in the past, and what we hope to see go right in the future.
Talia Franks: Hello and welcome to a Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Minisode!
Lucia Kelly: I’m Lucia Kelly.
Talia Franks: And I’m Talia Franks! and we’re coming to you outside of our regularly scheduled episode for some breaking news!
Lucia Kelly: So Talia,
Talia Franks: So Lucia.
Lucia Kelly: Have you heard? (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: The big news?
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Oh my goodness.
Lucia Kelly: This is crazy. Crazy wild, but breaking news, RTD’s coming back to Doctor Who
Talia Franks: He’s back! (Lucia makes noises of excitement)
Talia Franks: Okay. All right. So, thoughts, what do you think? He’s coming back.
Lucia Kelly: I’m cautiously excited. I think one of the things that we, as a fandom deal with is the fact that we look at Russell T Davies era with rose tinted glasses because Steven Moffat was so bad (Lucia and Talia laugh) because Steven Moffat was so bad. We look back at Russell T Davies with this fondness and this nostalgia that as we’ve seen, as we’ve been analyzing it, is not like 100% accurate. I do think he’s better than Steven Moffat. I’m not qualified to talk on him in comparison with Chris Chibnall, I’ve only seen
Talia Franks: see
Lucia Kelly: I think five episodes,
Talia Franks: that’s, that’s exactly my thing. And I’m not sure if the microphone is picking up my snapping, but this is exactly my thing is I think a lot of people are excited about RTD in particular because they never gave Chibnall a chance. Because Moffat burned them. (Lucia laughs) And they never gave Chibnall a chance.
Lucia Kelly: Chibnall was the rebound after the toxic boyfriend. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: Yes Chibnall was the rebound
Lucia Kelly: They never considered him an actual person. They were just there for their own emotional growth.
Talia Franks: Yes, exactly.
Lucia Kelly: And now the old flame’s come back and it’s like, (Lucia puts on a dramatic tone of voice) “he’s interested in me.” (Talia laughs as Lucia continues) “It’ll work out this time I swear!”
Lucia Kelly: The one thing I am like really, one thing I’m excited about is that. The show going back to its roots of being grounded in everyday humanity. That is something that Russell T. Davies does incredibly well. And I’m excited to see that I’m also excited to see, you know, queer representation that doesn’t make me cry inside, which is another thing Russell T Davies is good at.
Lucia Kelly: I mean, it does make you cry, but in a good kind of way, as opposed to the I’m angry at the world and why the fuck can’t we just get good representation kind of way.
Talia Franks: Yeah. But at the same time, I’m like, I feel in terms of representation, I don’t know that Russel T. Davies did a great job.
Talia Franks: I don’t know. The Chibnall did a great job. I feel like for white men, they both did as good jobs as they could without hiring writers who actually came from those backgrounds.
Talia Franks: And I think, you know, Chibnall did a better job of it actually, because he actually, you know, made the step of actually hiring writers of color and actually hiring more women writers and shocker of all shockers. He hired women writers of color, but he also did a lot of co-writing, which really bothers me.
Talia Franks: I wish he like let people write their own episodes instead of like co-writing them all the time. Yeah definitely. But anyway that’s not, that’s neither here nor there. The point, I mean, I know that writing is a collaborative process. I just wish that, you know, there was a Black woman who had her own episode that wasn’t co-written.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah, definitely diversity has to start in the writers room. It has to start with the crew. It has to start with the production team. It’s great to see diversity on the screen because that’s the most sort of direct view that the average viewer gets. But if
Talia Franks: the thing is
Lucia Kelly: the foundation isn’t there, it leads to all kinds of complications.
Talia Franks: But the thing is, if there, yes, there’s diversity on the screen. And like the words are coming out of the mouth of a Black person, but if they’re not written by a Black person, it’s just, I don’t know, it’s it’s not Blackface, but it feels like it. Cause it’s not like a Black person actually wrote that. It’s not like they said that, like they’re saying it because.
Talia Franks: But it’s just there being a vehicle for some white person’s words.
Lucia Kelly: Hmm. And that’s definitely like, it has been, it has been 20 years. I’m gonna I’m gonna put faith in the fact that the industry has kind of developed and also that Russell T Davies as a writer, as a showrunner has developed and advanced with the times I’ve liked his recent projects and what he’s been doing. I like the sort of things he’s said in interviews and things like that. What I’m not as excited about, and this is more of a problem with NuWho as a whole, but Russell T. Davies definitely set that precedent, is the Hanky Pankey the, uh, the, the canoodling the,
Talia Franks: you know, the doctor being a romantic interest for the companions. I also am not, I’m not interested in seeing another conventionally attractive white man doctor, who is romancing all the companions and who is like the center of the whole show and is you know, some sort of lonely God has to save the day all the time.
Talia Franks: I feel like one of the good things about the 13th doctor is that in her run is that she’s been de-centered as The Doctor and that the stories have been about The Doctor and the companions as a unit.
Talia Franks: But the thing is is that if we go back to The Doctor being centered again, And The Doctor being like the focus of the show and it being a male doctor again, that’ll mean that the only time the doctor was de-centered the only time the Doctor was not the romantic focus of the story will be when it was a woman Doctor
(Lucia mhmms in agreement)
Lucia Kelly: I find it very interesting that when The Doctor is a man, he can have romantic interest in his female companions. But when The Doctor is a woman, she can’t have romantic interest in her female companions or male companions right? That it’s a desexualization of The Doctor, which is again what I want, but given that we’ve introduced this element. It has to be removed with care.
Talia Franks: I feel like Peter Capaldi’s Doctor was definitely, I feel like the desexualization of The Doctor begin with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. That was something that I remember reading Peter Capaldi when he took on the mantle of The Doctor was very firm about, that he didn’t want any hanky-panky in his Tardis.
Talia Franks: So that was actually really refreshing for me when I saw season eight, but it was very much not for all the misgivings I have about season eight. And honestly, I’m starting to come around on season eight. I’m starting to think, you know, season eight wasn’t that bad. But for all my misgivings about it, I really do.
Talia Franks: I think that’s definitely why Peter Capaldi is like my Doctor and why I love him so much is because I feel like he definitely didn’t have any of that. And it’s funny that I loathe Moffat so much and yet I love Twelve so much. It’s, it’s an interesting cognitive dissonance in my head. My love of Twelve and my dislike of, my dislike of Moffat.
Lucia Kelly: Well, from all I’ve heard, Peter Capaldi was very vocal about the way that his doctor was going to be represented. And I think you can see that in the finished product (Talia mhmms in agreement) yeah I’ve heard several interviews where he like, put a stop to certain things in the writing or in episodes, or fought back (Talia mhmms in agreement) against certain representations of what The Doctor would be doing. (Talia mhmms in agreement)
Lucia Kelly: And.
Lucia Kelly: My heart. I love that. I love when actors are given the space to and given the authority and that the culture of the set and the environment is open and collaborative enough that that’s possible because it’s so important. (Talia mhmms in agreement) Of course the showrunner is thinking of a hundred different things at once.
Lucia Kelly: It’s it reminds me a lot of my experience as a role-player in terms of like RPGs and stuff, (Talia mhmms in understanding) the role of DM or GM of game master and of player, a very different The end, depending on, you know, the skill of the player and the game master, you’re going to have different levels of games (Talia mhmms in understanding) just as with the TV show.
Lucia Kelly: You have this showrunner and you have the actor and the game master is thinking of a hundred different things at once. They’ve got, you know, a hundred different strings on the line and that leads to a very cohesive view, but not necessarily a specific view. (Talia mhmms in understanding) The player, the actor is the one who’s thinking about the character, the motivations, the story 24/7 they’re in the role, if they’re, (Talia mhmms in understanding) you know, treating it with respect. (Talia mhmms in understanding)
Lucia Kelly: And so they’re more often going to have a much clearer view of those things because they spend more time thinking about it. The game master the show runner simply does not have the time to think about each character and their journey with the same level of dedication and thought, (Talia mhmms in agreement) and that’s perfectly normal and human.
Lucia Kelly: So the best stories come from when you can have a truly collaborative experience and everyone can pitch in. (Talia mhmms in agreement) And from everything that I’ve read, everything I’ve heard. That was very much the vibe of the Capaldi era, (Talia mhmms in agreement) which led to a better Doctor, surprise surprise. (Lucia laughs)
Talia Franks: But we’re not here to gush over Capaldi, who (Lucia laughs) I will happli I will happily gush over Capaldi when, whenever and wherever, but however, I think we were supposed to be talking about, Russell T. Davies.
Lucia Kelly: We were supposed to be talking about Russell T. Davies.
Talia Franks: Got into a little tangent there.
Talia Franks: Yeah, I am looking, I am looking forward to seeing what Russell T. Davies brings back. I think also bringing him back was honestly a really smart choice on the part of the BBC, just because I feel like after everything that has happened with, and the thing is, so much of what, so much of what the modern era of Doctor Who has done hasn’t even been that progressive, or it hasn’t even been that like people often call Doctor Who too like “woke” or whatever.
Talia Franks: And the thing is, one is not even that woke, like having a white woman Doctor is not, having the one white woman at the end of a long line of white men is not revolutionary.
Lucia Kelly: And the show having moderately leftist viewpoints from a political point of view is also not woke. Like they’re barely scratching the surface of what they could do.
Talia Franks: They’re barely scratching the surface.
Lucia Kelly: It is a very moderate, leftist, show that’s it.
Lucia Kelly: It’s not breaking any boundaries.
Talia Franks: It’s not breaking any boundaries. And it’s honestly not going nearly as far as many people, including myself wish it would. And honestly, Like to the extent that it is like woke or whatever Doctor Who has always been political, it’s always been pushing what boundaries they decided to push.
Talia Franks: Like it’s always been. So people saying that it’s too political when it’s always been political, it’s always been saying things like way back to classic who, so like people complaining…
Lucia Kelly: Sci-Fi as a genre is inherently political because Sci-Fi as a genre asks the writer, asks the creator, to envision new worlds.
Lucia Kelly: So when you’re envisioning new worlds, you are inherently looking at our current world and creating a new one. You are creating it from the old and. Very often they use it to explore different avenues of the, what if question, (Talia mhmms in agreement) what if this happened? What if this happened? Whether that’s, what if this happened in the future or what if this happened in the past, asking those questions inherently looks at the interweaving enmeshed threads of what makes up our universe.
Lucia Kelly: And as much as people who have the liberty and privilege to do so to say that things aren’t political, that is not true. The world is inherently political because it is inherently human and humans create society. Society creates politics, right? Like it’s all about our connections and our communications and our relationships to each other.
Lucia Kelly: And the categories that we put ourselves in
Talia Franks: Yeah
Lucia Kelly: And that is what builds the world. And that is what builds our fiction. And that is what builds scifi. There is no aspect of our media that is not political.
Talia Franks: Yeah and
Lucia Kelly: It’s not making a statement, whether that’s inherent, whether that’s on purpose or whether that is the implicit subtext of where the writer is coming from.
Talia Franks: Yeah and also, I think it’s very telling, that a lot of people think it’s “too political” to have a world that’s not made up of and ruled by white men.
Lucia Kelly: Yup!
Talia Franks: And that’s, I’m going to leave it at that.
Talia Franks: The thing that I was trying to get at is that, because people think that Chibnall’s era, which is just a little bit too leftist for some people is too political and too woke, and because it was so divisive and because so many people fled after Moffat, I think that bringing back RTD was the really smart choice, because if they’d gone a bit farther and brought on, you know, shocker of shockers, a woman, or a person of color to be the show runner, or even just you know, another white man who’s an unknown, like that would be chaos and open up a whole can of worms and people fighting over, “is this person good enough” or “this person’s politics are this” or “this person’s politics are this”, or “this person is too much”. Like RTD is you know, he’s the only one everyone can agree on. He’s like the bridge, the peacemaker, the like, the one that people can all be like, okay, like he, he’s the one that we can let go forward with.
Talia Franks: So,
Lucia Kelly: Hmm.
Talia Franks: I feel like, I feel like we don’t really know what’s going to happen in the future, but it makes sense to bring him back, at least for a couple of years, like maybe 2, 3, 4, max, probably just, just smooth over the transition before we try again, hopefully with someone not Moffat.
Talia Franks: Yeah.
Talia Franks: Not Moffatty.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. We’re not asking for the whole cycle to renew
Talia Franks: For the whole cycle to renew
Lucia Kelly: we’re just asking for this one.
Talia Franks: We’re just asking for a soft reboot. (Lucia cackles)
Talia Franks: I think also the issue with Moffat isn’t even that he’s a bad writer because he’s not, he’s a great writer.
Lucia Kelly: He’s not, we’ve established that he’s a brilliant writer
Talia Franks: We’ve established that he’s a fantastic, brilliant writer. I think his issue was that he was split in too many different directions. Like you said, the show runner, the game master, has to have their eye on the ball and has to have has to have the cohesive vision of everything that’s going on.
Talia Franks: Moffat was doing too many things at once. He was trying to run Doctor Who and Sherlock at the same time. Those are two massive, massive projects. And, trying to do all that at once is just too much for any one person. Just one of those projects feels like too much for one person (Lucia laughs) and like trying to mastermind all that, like it’s too much.
Talia Franks: It’s just too much. And I feel like both of the projects suffered for it in the end.
Lucia Kelly: Yeah. Oh yeah. We’re not going to talk about how Sherlock ended, that’s.
Talia Franks: I never saw the end of Sherlock because
Talia Franks: I didn’t, I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to deal with that.
Lucia Kelly: Ugh
Talia Franks: No
Lucia Kelly: What I would love to see in this new era with Russell T Davies at the helm is 1. I want a woman of color as The Doctor, I saw a theory that I think might be maybe accurate that they test new ideas by doing it with The Master. So like first they made The Master a woman and everyone loved it. So now they made The Doctor woman and then they made The Master a man of color and I’m like, Ooh, interesting, please. (Talia giggles)
Lucia Kelly: I would love that. And I would also I would also love to see a bigger Tardis. Not the ship, but like the companions. One of the sort of things that NuWho hasn’t really delved into and they delved in a little bit with 13 is extended periods with more than one companion, like two to three. Three to four, like I want a bigger team and because it works, it gives you more story elements.
Lucia Kelly: It gives you more dynamics. And it also, as you say, decentralizes from The Doctor and makes it a much more interesting and compelling story. By doing that, you create so many more opportunities and also reduce the chance of hanky-panky and I would love to see it.
Talia Franks: So I have a lot of thoughts first. I’m going to react to what you said. (Lucia laughs) I would also love to see a person of color as the doctor. However, caveat, RTD needs to hire more writers of color. Full stop. I would love to see for our new Doctor, more than who the new Doctor is, I just in the writer’s room, I want to see more women, more people of color, especially I want to have more queer narratives. I want to have more disability narratives. I want to have, like you said, a bigger Tardis, but I want to make sure that the people in the Tardis are actually given room to have character growth.
Talia Franks: I think the thing that was missing in thirteen’s era, which I know you’ve only seen the first few episodes. So you haven’t had time to fully appreciate the fact that Yaz and Ryan in particular, just don’t. Have a lot of time to develop as characters. I’m sorry to spoil this for you.
Talia Franks: They do not have a lot of character growth in the, in the whole two seasons that we meet them. Like they do have, Ryan has an arc, which is good. Yaz… So I don’t know if you listen to the Queer Archive podcast, but there, and you probably don’t because you haven’t actually cause you actually haven’t watched the seasons that they cover, but the hosts of that podcast have a segment where they talk about whether or not Yaz, can be lifted out of the episode because that’s how bad it is with regard to with regard to (Lucia huffs in disappointment) Yaz’s presence in a lot of these episodes. So when I say that, like the development for the extra characters in the Tardis is bad, it can get pretty bad.
Talia Franks: So I think that’s one of the things that I’m really looking forward to in the new RTD era is getting to know the companions really well. Cause I feel like we talk about Rose and how she has a lot of flaws that aren’t fully examined, but you know, we know what her flaws are. We know who she is as a character.
Talia Franks: We know I feel like we get to know the characters really well in an RTDs era and even but I feel like that’s something that that’s something missing in Chibnall’s era. Is that with so many people in the Tardis, it felt at times. Like I did get to know Yaz and Ryan, I feel like I had an idea of who they were.
Talia Franks: And I was able to fill that in for myself and imagine myself into them in a really full and realized way. But I know for a lot of other people, they felt kind of flat because they weren’t as developed as say Rose or Martha or Donna. And then. I feel like in Moffat’s era, Amy and Clara were defined by the Doctor.
Talia Franks: So that’s just something I really looking forward to in RTDs new era is, as you said, grounding people in their everyday realities.
Talia Franks: This has been the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Podcast.
Lucia Kelly: We hope you enjoyed this adventure with us through space and time.
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Lucia Kelly: You can find out more information about us and our content on wibblywobblytimeywimey.net And full transcripts for episodes at wibblywobblytimeywimey.net/transcripts
Talia Franks: If you’d like to get in touch, you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lucia Kelly: Please rate and review us on apple podcasts and other platforms as it helps other people find us and our content.
Talia Franks: Special thanks to our editor Owen Elphick, who has been a vital member of the Wibbly Wobbly team
Lucia Kelly: That’s all for now. Catch you in the time vortex!