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Russell T Davies bows out of Doctor Who

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Russell T Davies is stepping down from his executive producer and lead writer role on the BBC's pride and joy Doctor Who, no doubt to a mixed chorus of grateful cheers and sardonic smirks.

According to the Beeb, Davies - dubbed "spectacularly talented" by BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter - will remove himself after a Gatesian long goodbye. He'll be overseeing four Who specials next year, before at last handing over to Bafta award-winning colleague Steven Moffat.

Davies can indeed be celebrated for dusting off the venerable early-evening drama in 2005, and brilliantly reinvigorating it for new audiences in a way few could have thought possible. He sealed the deal with a raft of nifty production moves, including the controversial casting of Christopher Eccleston as the first new Doctor.

However, in his role as lead writer he all but squandered the heaps of goodwill he amassed through these strokes of genius by tossing off some of the sloppiest, most fan-enraging episodes of this or any BBC drama. A nadir was reached with the execrable Love and Monsters, which bafflingly cast Peter Kay as a great big fat bad unfunny thing. And the less said about his hubris-laden ooh-naughty-rude-words-and-sexy-stuff spin-off caper Torchwood, the better.

Moffat, responsible for the likes of the much-lauded and authentically shit-scary Blink episode, will be in the Tardis hotseat* for the fifth series in the spring of 2010. We'll be interested to see what Davies does next, but if he takes up a pen with renewed vigour, we may have to hide behind the sofa. And not in the good way. ®

*Anyone who can tell us how many seats the Tardis has, along with their approximate dimensions and the name of the designer, will win a small alien made out of blubber.

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