Episode 4 saw the words Bad Wolf appear for the first time. I just made it up on a whim, cos I liked the idea of the TARDIS being graffiti’d. But then I spent the rest of the episode idly wondering who that kid was, why he wrote those odd words. And, having dismissed notions of Evil Super Villain Kid, a plan began to form, in mid-production. Knowing that Rose would become the Time Goddess at the end of the series, I wondered if a Time Goddess would imprint herself on the universe, creating things in her image, like the face of Jesus in a bagel. Better still, these signs would actually summon her into existence. That’s the sort of thing you think about in this job, late at night. And then I worked backwards, inserting Bad Wolf references into almost every script. Funnily enough, I never told anyone what I was doing, in case it didn’t work, but the design department picked up on it—they didn’t even ask what it meant, they just offered to stencil it on Captain Jack’s bomb, in German. The idea spread without anyone knowing what it meant. Which is very Bad Wolf in itself.
Russell T Davies, Doctor Who: The Shooting Scripts
A few years ago when Billie Piper was playing Rose, I was very worried because the next week’s episode was called something like The Day Rose Died. I can’t remember exactly what it was called. Well, my children were in love with Rose as a companion, and I was worried about her. So I sent an e-mail off to Russell T Davies, who of course had grown up on the classic Doctor Who series, and I said “Could you just reassure me that Rose does not, in fact, die because my children shouldn’t watch it if that happens,” and he sent an e-mail back to me saying, “You killed Adric. What do you care?”
Since Steven Moffat took over as Doctor Who showrunner in 2009, he has never hired a single female writer. Only once has he brought on a female director, back in season five. Needless to say, this track record only adds fuel to the ever-growing number of fans who say Moffat is taking Doctor Who in a more conservative and sexist direction.
Historically, Doctor Who has been a socially progressive show. That’s surely why so many viewers have singled out Steven Moffat for hiring such a vast number of white, male writers while female characters kept turning into flirty sidekicks and the number of non-white characters plummeted. The most popular explanation is that the vast majority of British science fiction TV writers are white men, and only the cream of that crop can be hired to work for the BBC’s flagship show.
This explanation doesn’t hold up when you consider the number of unavoidably bad episodes that were written by the show’s existing (male) writers. And besides, other successful British sci-fi/fantasy shows like Being Human, Torchwood and Merlin have all hired women to write multiple episodes in the past, and that never seemed to do them any harm.
They must have thought you were so…radical! I just imagine everyone else at the time were middle-aged men wearing demob suits! You were wild, you lot! 26 year old woman, gay Asian director… they must have thought you were bananas!
Russell T Davies to Verity Lambert on the conception of Doctor Who
I always think of David’s acting like liquid, I keep using the word liquid about him. It can flow across his face, there are depths underneath. Whatever he’s saying at the moment might not be what he’s actually thinking, and even when he’s silent there’s a hundred things going on under the surface. That’s what you ask for from any actor.- Russell T Davies
There’ve been a lot of interesting discussions about how Russell T Davies depicts women compared to Steven Moffat, notably, the titles that he gives them. “The Woman Who Walked the Earth” and “The Most Important Woman in the Universe” vs “The Girl Who Waited” and “The Impossible Girl.”
With that in mind, it’s interesting that Davies had Gwen say this. To me it indicates that he quite deliberately desired the female characters to be powerful individuals in their own right.