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Russell T. Davies Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (15)  | Personal Quotes (30)

Overview (4)

Born in Swansea, Wales, UK
Birth NameStephen Russell Davies
Nickname RTD
Height 6' 6" (1.98 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Often described as a genius, Russell T. Davies is one of the leading British television writers of his generation, who specializes in emotional dramas, frequently with gay and sex-related adult themes. He was born in Swansea, Wales (UK) in 1963. After initially taking a BBC Television director's course in the 1980s, he briefly moved in front of the cameras to present a single episode of the BBC's version of Play School (1964) in 1987, before deciding that his abilities lay in production rather than presenting.

Working for the children's department at BBC Manchester, from 1988 to 1992 he was the producer of summertime activity show Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead? (1973) which ironically showcased various things children could be doing rather than sitting at home watching the television. While serving as the producer of "Why Don't You?" he also made his first forays into writing for television, creating a children's sketch show for early Saturday mornings on BBC One called Breakfast Serials (1990).

In 1991, he wrote his first television drama, a six-part serial for children entitled Dark Season (1991) for BBC One, which effectively comprised of two different three-part stories based around a science-fiction / adventure theme. The production was very low budget but nevertheless successful, and noteworthy for showcasing the acting talents of a young Kate Winslet. Two years later he wrote another equally well-received science-fiction drama in the same vein, entitled Century Falls (1993).

In 1992, he moved to Granada Television, producing and writing for their successful children's hospital drama Children's Ward (1989). One of the episodes Davies wrote for this series won a BAFTA Children's Award for Best Drama in 1996. At Granada he also began to break into working for adult television, contributing an episode to the ITV crime quiz show Cluedo (1990), a programme based on the popular board game of the same name, in 1993, and also working on the daytime soap opera Families (1990). He continued working on "Children's Ward" until 1995, by which time he was already consolidating his position outside of children's programming with the comedy The House of Windsor (1994) and camp soap opera Revelations (1994).

After a brief stint as a storyliner on ITV's flagship soap opera Coronation Street (1960) (for which he later wrote the straight-to-video spin-off Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas! (1997)) and contributions to Channel 4's Springhill (1996), the following year he wrote and created the hotel-set mainstream period drama The Grand (1997) for prime time ITV, winning a reputation for good writing and high audience figures. He contributed to the first series of the acclaimed ITV drama Touching Evil (1997), before beginning his fruitful collaboration with the independent Red Productions company.

His first series for Red was the ground-breaking adult gay drama Queer as Folk (1999), which caused much comment and drew much praise when screened on Channel 4 in early 1999. A sequel followed in 2000 and a US version, which still runs successfully in that country to this day, was commissioned by the Showtime cable network there. In 2001 he followed this up with another popular mini-series with a gay theme for Red, Bob & Rose (2001), this time screened on the mainstream ITV channel in prime time. After writing an episode for a Red series he had not created, Linda Green (2001) (shown on BBC1) in early 2003 he wrote the religious telefantasy drama The Second Coming (2003) starring Christopher Eccleston, which cemented his position as one of the UK's foremost writers of TV drama.

His other work includes another Red mini series for ITV, Mine All Mine (2004), a series about the life of Casanova (2005) which made a star of David Tennant and the screenplay for a film version of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1998) cheating scandal. Most famously, he is the chief writer and executive producer of the BBC's big budget revival of Doctor Who (2005), as well as the spin-offs Torchwood (2006), The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007) and Wizards vs. Aliens (2012). He subsequently created more gay drama with Cucumber (2015) and the sex-themed documentary series Tofu (2015). He has also written A Very English Scandal (2018), which stars the legendary Hugh Grant as gay Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe, whose political career was destroyed by conspiracy to murder allegations.

Outside of television and film, his prose work has included the novelization of Dark Season (1991) and an original "Doctor Who" novel, "Damaged Goods", for Virgin Publishing in 1996.

He lives in Manchester, UK.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: taylor_mayed

Trade Mark (1)

Writing about gay characters and gay issues

Trivia (15)

The 'T' in his name doesn't stand for anything. He added it to distinguish himself from the BBC Radio 2 D.J., Russell Davies.
He claims his old friend Christopher Eccleston emailed him and asked to be put on the list of possibles for the title role in his take on Doctor Who (2005).
He was a fan of the science-fiction series Doctor Who (1963) since he was a child. His favourite Doctor was Tom Baker and his favourite story was Doctor Who: The Ark in Space: Part One (1975).
In the Independent on Sunday 2006 Pink List - a list of the most influential gay men and women - he came no. 18, up from no. 73. In the IoS Pink List 2007 he came #1, in 2008 - #2, in 2009 - #14.
He was ranked #42 in the 2008 Telegraph's list "the 100 most powerful people in British culture".
He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honors List for his services to television drama, making him the first writer of the Doctor Who television franchise to be recognized by the Honors system since the series' beginnings in 1963. In 2015, his successor, Steven Moffat, was also given the award.
As executive producer and writer of Doctor Who (2005) he broke some of the conventions of the original series, Doctor Who (1963), by the introduction of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) characters and the use of flatulence jokes.
He was educated at Olchfa Comprehensive School.
He began his professional television career in 1985 after a friend suggested that he should talk to a television producer who was seeking a temporary graphic artist for the children's show ''Why Don't You?''.
He is a big fan of Charles Dickens.
He wanted to be a Comic book artist in his teens but was advised against it due to being color blind.
He has admitted to being an intense procrastinator and has said that he often doesn't even start writing projects until weeks after the deadline has passed.
He saw his mother experience a psychotic episode when he was younger and has said it would later influence his writing.
He is a huge fan of the American screenwriter Joss Whedon and cites his series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996) and Angel (1999) as being major inspirations in his re-imagining of Doctor Who (2005) and the spin-off Torchwood (2006). He even cast James Marsters, who played Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996), in Torchwood (2006).
According to broadcaster and journalist Mark Lawson, Davies's transformation of Doctor Who (2005) was such that he "turned into a global cash cow a series that had come to be ridiculed by many for cheap and creaking representations of planets and aliens. To play the two-hearted Time Lord from Gallifrey, he cast the sort of actors - Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant - who play Hamlet on stage".

Personal Quotes (30)

I genuinely love the old series of Doctor Who (1963) and I especially went back in my mind to the 60s - you know their imagination back then was limitless. It's just now that we happen to have a chance that we have a nice budget and that we can actually show some of these things. In its heart Doctor Who (1963) was always this imaginative and it was always this big.
I love Doctor Who (1963) and I love the old Doctor Who (1963). But, even with all that love, you have to admit that the name of the programme had become a joke and its reputation had become a cheap joke at that - you know rubber monsters and shaky sets. And Chris (Christopher Eccleston), as one of the country's leading actors, by being willing to step up to the line and take on that part has proved himself to be magnificent and has turned it around. So now you get actors like David Tennant who is the next generation and just about one of the best actors in the world. David himself says he wouldn't have touched this part if Chris hadn't done it because the part had become a joke. But Chris has salvaged it and made it new.
[on Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang: Part One (1977)] Take The Talons of Weng Chiang, for example. Watch episode one. It's the best dialogue ever written. It's up there with Dennis Potter. By a man called Robert Holmes. When the history of television drama comes to be written, Robert Holmes won't be remembered at all because he only wrote genre stuff. And that, I reckon, is a real tragedy.
Before we started, we talked a lot about "eccentricity". Well, the Doctor's got two hearts. He's 900 years old. And he travels in time and space. He doesn't need funny clothes.
[on the death of Verity Lambert] There are a hundred people in Cardiff working on Doctor Who (2005) and millions of viewers, in particular many children, who love the program that Verity helped create. This is her legacy and we will never forget that.
If you channel-hop on a Saturday night, you're up against the big Light Entertainment shows, like Ant (Anthony McPartlin) and Dec (Declan Donnelly), with a shiny black floor and a huge audience. With background music behind everything. They're phenomenally loud, those shows, and I believe that's what draws an audience. So we decided to make Doctor Who (2005) really noisy.
[on Newsnight (1980)] I very rarely watch it, but, when I do, I end up throwing stuff at the screen. I think they're hugely pretentious. I saw them once reviewing The Lion King (1994), which is one of the most brilliant films ever made. And the snobbery, talking about Disney. I couldn't believe it.
There are still thousands closeted, but they are a proper little subset of gay life: 'out' 15-year-olds. It's the most magnificent shift in the whole culture.
[on introducing gay references to Doctor Who (2005)] I keep thinking, 'Where are the headlines about this in The Sun?'. There has been a cultural shift.
I was a child when Jon Pertwee handed over to Tom Baker. I was 11 when Jon Pertwee left and it broke my heart. But then along came Tom and he was just spectacular in it. We change our cast every year, and our viewing figures go up. It just proves that Doctor Who (2005) is bigger than any actor. I couldn't say David (David Tennant) was the best Doctor ever because you are talking to an old Doctor Who (1963) fan, and I love them all.
I have got about 27 ideas boiling in my head and that is the main reason why I've left. I love Doctor Who (2005) and I never want to go off it or get bored. Right now, I want to go and work on [Season] 5, but I know that means it is the right time to leave. I get a lot of people who want me to come and make a family drama for them, but having done Doctor Who (2005) I have done the best ... anything else would pale in comparison.
I'm ever so happy with Mine All Mine (2004). I suppose I could have written a depressing drama about cancer, but, instead, I wrote something lively, sexy and very Welsh.
[on reality TV shows] I love them, they are just fantastically riveting and anyone who suggests otherwise is a pretentious arsehole.
[on Queer as Folk (1999)] So there I was, having to defend myself against all manner of idiotic shock jocks on the radio and some very stern journalists, as well as the people of Gay Land who were horrified that I chose to depict homosexuals as people who liked drinking and shagging. I remember thinking I could either sink or be brilliant in this situation. I chose to be brilliant.
I hate the idea that I have to represent any particular section of society; I just write good telly, that's all.
[on casting for the part of Doctor Who (2005)] It's 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for 9 months of the year. If we cast someone who was 50 they'd be dead now.
[on Doctor Who: The Ark in Space: Part One (1975)] Nothing creates terror and claustrophobia like the good old-fashioned walls of a BBC studio. You can almost hear the cameras hum. The regular cast make bubble-wrap truly terrifying, but in the unfamous, unsung guest cast, there are heroes. An actor called Wendy Williams creates a character who is frigid, humourless, ruthless, and eventually, through contact with the Doctor, completely human. I must have watched this a hundred times. It's not enough.
It seems a bit easy to condemn both John Inman and Mr Humphries for the failings of a bygone age. As a young, gay viewer, back then, I loved that character, and even watching it now, it strikes me that in a sitcom full of failure and frustration - as the best British sitcoms are - Mr Humphries was the only one with an active, successful sex life. He's the only character in Are You Being Served? (1972) who is essentially happy. And that's how I will remember him.
Drama's not safe and it's not pretty and it's not kind. People expect the basic template of television drama where there might be naughty villains, but everyone ends up having a nice cup of tea. You've got to do big moral choices and show the terrible things people do in terrible situations. Drama is failing if it doesn't do that.
[on the death of Barry Letts] The whole of the Doctor Who (2005) production team took pause when we heard this sad news. None of us would be here without Barry's brilliant work in the 1970s. As a child, his show filled my eyes and my heart and my mind; he fostered the imagination of an entire generation, and his work will never be forgotten.
I've watched all 26 years of the show's original run - I have, literally, seen just about every episode there is to be seen - so I'm quite adept at the shorthand of science-fiction. I know my way out of situations. I might accidentally find myself writing something that the Third Doctor did in 1972 - you know, to help speed up the plot, if a character is stuck in a room or a conversation is going on too long. There's like 26 years of research that went into Doctor Who (1963) before I did it. That's a great pool of talent and resources to rely on.
The marvelous thing about Doctor Who (2005) is that it tells stories that no-one else can tell.
I've never been to a convention. As much as I love Doctor Who (2005), I'm not giving up another weekend to it - I lost every weekend for six years.
I remember the regeneration of William Hartnell, so I've seen all 11 Doctors and it's always slightly contradicted itself. If you're determined to be rigid in your continuity, it doesn't make much sense to be a Doctor Who (2005) fan because you're never going to be happy. It's almost 50 years old but essentially it's still the same story without a reboot or cannibalization. We're so lucky as fans to have that.
It transmitted the day after September 11 and no one wanted to watch an ITV comedy drama - we all thought we were getting anthrax in the post. The first episode of that is the best thing I've ever written. They repeat every other show on ITV3 but where's Bob & Rose (2001)?
He was brilliant in that role and that show changed my career - I wouldn't have had Doctor Who (2005) without it. We auditioned every male actor under 30 in Britain for that and Aidan Gillen stole it.
It's tough and it should be tough - it should never be easy to be given millions of pounds to make a drama. The coalition government is doing terrible things to the BBC but drama will survive even if we end up putting on a play in a backroom of a pub.
I don't want to do more science fiction but I get offered a lot of it. Every week someone phones up saying: 'Do you want to reinvent Lost in Space (1965)?'
[on Doctor Who (2005)] There is no way you could go back to the old production values, and they worked very, very hard under very difficult circumstances, bless those people who made the old show, but now you've got Buffy [Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996)] and Smallville (2001) and all those wonderful shows, and Harry Potter films and my nephews and nieces have watched the Harry Potter films just on constant rewind, and so you've got to be able to match that and give something new to it as well.
[on why Doctor Who (1963) acquired a big gay following despite its sometimes poor production values] It takes a lot of nerve and a lot of work to love Doctor Who (1963). I'm going to be really bold now and say you've got to be cleverer than the normal viewer. You've got to take more of a risk, you've got to invest in it. Because you need to fill those gaps where it's looking cheap or it's looking poor. It's a very imaginative act to watch Doctor Who (1963). And I think gay people are better and cleverer and more imaginative than anyone else!

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