Doctor Who: Russell T Davies promises “bigger plans” for Tales of the TARDIS

Leon Miller
The Fifth Doctor embraces Tegan in Tales of the TARDIS.

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies just teased that spinoff series Tales of the TARDIS will play a key part in the franchise’s future.

Tales of the TARDIS launched on BBC iPlayer alongside the Whoniverse portal on November 1. It reunites several classic Doctor Who duos, including the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) and Tegan (Janet Fielding), the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and Peri (Nicola Bryant), and the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred).

Each Tales of the TARDIS installment focuses on a different pairing and combines footage from old episodes with new scenes written by Davies and veteran Doctor Who writers Phil Ford and Pete McTighe. Episodes repurposed for the six-part spinoff include “Earthshock,” “The Mind Robber,” “Vengeance on Varos,” “The Three Doctors,” “The Time Meddler,” and “The Curse of Fenric.”

In a recent interview with SFX, Davies admitted that Tales of the TARDIS came together “very last minute.” Yet despite the series taking only two months to develop and six days to shoot, the showrunner is adamant that fans shouldn’t write off Tales of the TARDIS as inconsequential to the Doctor Who mythos.

Russell T Davies promises “bigger plans” for Tales of the TARDIS

On the contrary, Davies hinted that Tales of the TARDIS may actually prove integral to his wider vision for Doctor Who. “There are bigger plans behind this that we can’t talk about yet,” he said. “Eventually, [Tales of the TARDIS] will begin to make more sense as the series next year unfolds, you will see. But it’s really a lovely thing to do for the 60th [anniversary of Doctor Who].”

Davies also addressed fan confusion around Tales of the TARDIS’ canonical status, making it clear that the spinoff is “absolutely” part of official Doctor Who continuity. At the same time, he acknowledged that franchise purists may never accept Tales of the TARDIS. “Well, it’s going out on the iPlayer. So some fans will be completely justified in saying, if it hasn’t been transmitted on BBC One, then it’s not canon. I mean, welcome to your life. I have nothing to say to you,” Davies joked.

Aside from setting the record straight regarding Tales of the TARDIS’ place within the Doctor Who tapestry, Davies spoke at length about how much he enjoyed producing the spinoff. He even went as far as declaring the six-day shoot “one of the greatest weeks of [his] entire career,” as it involved dining out with iconic Doctor Who cast members every night.

Doctor Who Series 14 gets a “Season 1” rebrand

The emphasis on Doctor Who’s legacy in Tales of the TARDIS comes as the BBC and Davies are gearing up to celebrate the sci-fi show’s 60th anniversary. Three Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials will air in late November and early December to mark the occasion, all headlined by returning star David Tennant.

That said, both the broadcaster and showrunner appear keen to shift their focus to the future once the anniversary festivities wrap up, starting with rebranding Doctor Who Series 14 as “Doctor Who Season 1.” Davies announced this change in the SFX interview, describing it as part of an effort to “reset” the franchise when Tennant’s successor, Ncuti Gatwa, takes over as the show’s lead.

Not sure where to stream Tales of the TARDIS? Check out our guide on how to stream all Doctor Who episodes.

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