Happy birthday Russell T Davies!

Russell T Davies in 2008
Russell T Davies in 2008

Stephen Russell Davies (photo ©Tony Hassall) was born on April 27, 1963 in Swansea, Wales, UK.

Since his childhood, Russell T Davies was called almost always with his middle name. His family already had a TV-set in the ’60s and one of his earliest memories is about the classic “Doctor Who” adventure “The Tenth Planet”.

As a boy he wanted to become a comic artist but that kind of career was discouraged because of his color blindness. He started cooperating with the West Glamorgan Youth Theatre (WGYT) as an actor and working with the group helped him in the discovery of his homosexuality.

Russell T Davies went to study English Literature at Worcester College, Oxford, but kept on working with the WGYT submitting screenplays. After graduating from college, he started working for BBC Wales Children’s department. He did various jobs for the show “Why Do not You?”, up to being one of the producers.

In 1991, Russell T Davies created his first science fiction show for children, “Dark Season”, consisting of two stories of three parts each and aired on BBC One. The cast included the young Kate Winslet, who contributed to the success of the series.

In “Dark Season” for the first time he used the name Russell T Davies. The “T” means nothing, it’s just a way to avoid being confused with journalist Russell Davies.

In subsequent years, Russell T Davies wrote and produced stories for other TV shows and in 1993 created another science fiction series for kids, “Century Falls”. In 1996, a story he wrote for the series “Children’s Ward” won the BAFTA Children’s Award for Best Drama. In the same year he published the novel “Damaged Goods”, part of the “Virgin New Adventures” series dedicated to “Doctor Who”.

Over time, Russell T Davies devoted himself more and more to adult productions that addressed topics that included religion and sexuality. He was among the creators of the series “Revelations” and “Springhill” but he also wrote several episodes of other shows.

In 1999, the series “Queer as Folk” started, created, written and produced by Russell T Davies, a success that led to the creation of an American version which had a much longer lifetime than the British one.

In 2003, “The Second Coming” was broadcast, a two parts miniseries created, written and produced by Russell T Davies, with Christopher Eccleston as its protagonist.

In 2005, “Casanova” was broadcast, a three episodes miniseries created, written and produced by Russell T Davies  with David Tennant as its protagonist.

Thanks to the successes achieved by his productions, Russell T Davies’s was chosen for the honor, but also the burden, of being the executive producer of the new “Doctor Who” series. The BBC management had changed: in the ’80 its managers had strangled the classic series with budget cuts and shifts in the schedule, after more than a decade, their successors had decided to produce a new series with an adequate budget and support.

The great worldwide success of the new “Doctor Who” series has shown that the old fanbase wanted new adventures but the many new fans came also thanks to Russell T Davies and the other authors’ skills. In 2006 the first spinoff, “Torchwood”, made its debut telling the adventures of the team led by Captain Jack Harkness, introduced in the first new season of “Doctor Who”. In 2007 the second spinoff, “The Sarah Jane Adventures”, made its debut telling the adventures of Sarah Jane Smith, the historic Doctor’s companion played by Elisabeth Sladen until her premature death.

In September 2008 “The Writer’s Tale” was published, a collection of e-mails between Russell T Davies and journalist Benjamin Cook concerning in particular the development of various scripts for “Doctor Who” episodes.

In 2009, Russell T Davies moved to the U.S.A. continuing to oversee the production of “The Sarah Jane Adventures” and in particular running the one of “Miracle Day”, the fourth “Torchwood” season, produced in collaboration between the BBC and the American channel Starz.

In August 2011, Russell T Davies moved back to the U.K. after his partner was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After a break, he helped create the TV show “Wizards vs. Aliens”.

This year, Russell T Davies has written two stories for the TV show “Old Jack’s Boat” but many fans are hoping that he’ll be able to produce a new “Torchwood” season. The series is currently in a sort of limbo but if it’s possible Davies will go on with it. In the meantime, we can expect him to start other projects as well.

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