Russell T Davies: The BBC is heading for oblivion

Russell T Davies at the 2019 Edinburgh TV Festival.
Russell T Davies at the 2019 Edinburgh TV Festival.

Screenwriter Russell T Davies says the BBC is heading for oblivion.

The writer behind hits such as Doctor Who, Queer As Folk and It’s A Sin said that drama is enjoying a golden age.

But he suggested that UK broadcasters, under threat from US streaming giants, are in a perilous position.

Davies made the comment when presenter Gaby Roslin asked him how he felt about being credited with “saving” television “from extinction”, thanks to the success of his TV shows.

“Is it heading that way (to extinction)?” Roslin asked.

“I think the BBC is, right now in front of us,” the screenwriter told That Gaby Roslin Podcast.

“I don’t think it (TV) is.

“We’re in a golden age for drama, the amount of author-owned, personal drama pieces that are being broadcast is 10 times the number than in the Sixties.”

He said: “People say Play For Today was the height of television. We’re getting series like that every week now, not quite every week. But it’s in a glorious state.”

But the former Doctor Who writer added: “The state of the broadcasters is not so magnificent… I’ve given up fighting (for it).”

Davies said that his warnings that the “BBC is doomed” had gone unheeded for “so long that now I’m sitting back thinking, ‘I’ll be 60 soon, I had the best of it, well done, bye bye’.”

Russell T Davies spoke to Gaby Roslin
Russell T Davies spoke to Gaby Roslin (Ian West/PA)

He said he welcomed “the fact the job of a writer” is more “visible now”.

“You can sit at home and think, ‘I’ll be like Sally Wainwright, Paul Abbott and Michaela Coel’,” he said.

“To be seen is a great thing, it encourages children growing up to do the same thing.”

Davies’ credits also include A Very English Scandal, and Years And Years.

It’s A Sin, his most recent drama, on Channel 4, explores the HIV/Aids crisis in the 1980s.

“There has been this great release of memories and joy,” Davies said.

“It’s been bottled up because the deaths were so horrible.”

And he added: “It’s a cruel illness, opportunistic and vile. Sometimes the deaths were so awful that a silence settled over us.”

That Gaby Roslin Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all podcast streaming platforms.