Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 18:22 UK

Doctor Who guru Davies steps down

Russell T Davies
Russell T Davies oversaw the 21st Century relaunch of Doctor Who

Russell T Davies is to step down as executive producer of Doctor Who, the BBC has announced.

Davies is credited with breathing new life into the show he brought back to television screens in 2005.

Bafta-winning writer Steven Moffat will succeed Davies as lead writer and executive producer of the fifth series of Doctor Who.

Moffat, who was behind Coupling and Jekyll, said the whole of his career was "a secret plan to get this job".

Children's Ward (1993-1995)
Touching Evil (1997)
Queer As Folk (1999)
Casanova (2005)
Doctor Who (2005-2008)
Torchwood (2006-2008)
BBC Fiction controller Jane Tranter said the past four series of Doctor Who had been "brilliantly helmed" by the "spectacularly talented" Davies.

"As lead writer and executive producer, he has overseen the creative direction and detail of the 21st century relaunch of Doctor Who and we are delighted to have his continued presence on the specials over the next 18 months," she added.

Davies will remain in charge of four specials to be shown in 2009.

The fifth series, with Moffat at the helm, is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One in spring 2010.

Moffat has already written some of the most memorable Doctor Who episodes of recent times, including The Girl in the Fireplace and The Empty Child.

Steven Moffat
Press Gang (1989)
Coupling (2000)
Jekyll (2007)
Doctor Who (2005 onwards )
Tintin (2008 onwards)

Earlier this month, he picked up the best writer Bafta for the Blink episode of series three, which featured terrifying weeping angels.

Moffat said: "I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven.

"Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television.

"I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."

Doctor Who's return after a 16-year break from the screen received praise from critics and fans alike.

Speaking after the first series of the revamped show in 2005 - which starred Christopher Eccleston as the Time Lord - Davies said Doctor Who had been in desperate need of regeneration.


Russell T Davies on the cult of Doctor Who

"I love Doctor Who and I love the old Doctor Who," he said.

"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."

He added: "It's been everything we planned and more, and it's very rarely in life you get the chance to have that happen."

The programme originally ran from 1963 to 1989. In that time, the lead role was played by seven different actors including William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Peter Davison.

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