Doctor Who’s Major Villain Retcon Explained By Showrunner

By Charlene Badasie | Published

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Doctor Who recently saw David Tennant return as the 14th Doctor in a special scene for the charity telethon Children in Need.

While the segment took fans back to the genesis of the Daleks, the Doctor’s greatest foes, it also made a significant change to their creator, Davros, a role Julian Bleach reprised.

But this version of the character was notably different from what series fans had previously seen.

Davros No Longer Scarred

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Doctor Who fans were surprised to see that Davros was no longer scarred or confined to a Dalek-esque wheelchair. Returning showrunner Russell T.

Davies explained the decision behind the retcon, saying it was not a one-time occurrence but rather a deliberate decision to redefine Davros and challenge the association of physical disabilities with villainous characters.

Bringing Davros Back

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“We had long conversations about bringing Davros back because he’s a fantastic character,” Davies said in an interview aired during Doctor Who Unleashed (via Gizmodo).

“Time and society and culture and taste have moved on. And there’s a problem with the Davros of old in that he’s a wheelchair user who is evil. And I had problems with that.”

Need For Change

“And a lot of us on the production team had problems with that, of associating disability with evil,” Davies continued.

The showrunner also acknowledged the need for change, emphasizing the evolving societal perspectives and the show’s responsibility to adapt accordingly.

“I’m not blaming people in the past at all. But the world changes, and when the world changes, Doctor Who has to change as well.”

Other Additions For Doctor Who

Davies, known for his progressive approach to storytelling, has already begun advocating for increased representation in Doctor Who.

His return to the series aims to bring more disabled actors into roles that authentically represent their experiences.

As part of this commitment, actress Ruth Madeley, who uses a wheelchair, is set to appear in the upcoming 60th-anniversary special as a supporting, disabled character named Shirley Anne Bingham.


Davros first appeared in Doctor Who in a 1975 episode called “Genesis of the Daleks.” Davros is introduced as a brilliant scientist and the leader of the Kaleds, a race of humanoid beings on the planet Skaro.

He played a pivotal role in the creation of the Daleks, a race of genetically modified and heavily mechanized beings with a strong desire for conquest and extermination of all non-Dalek life forms.

Daleks Are Ultimate Survivors

Davros created the Daleks to be the ultimate survivors, driven by a deep-seated hatred for all other forms of life. Physically, Davros is often depicted as a disabled and frail humanoid figure, usually confined to a mobile life support system that resembles a metallic chair with a single, expressive eye in the center.

The chair also serves as a control center for the Dalek race in the Doctor Who series.

Davros Over The Years

Davros has appeared in various Doctor Who episodes and story arcs over the years. His various interactions with the Doctor are often complex, reflecting the moral dilemmas and ethical challenges presented by the Daleks’ existence.

The Doctor, who is known for his opposition to violence and the preservation of life, frequently finds himself at odds with Davros and the Daleks.

Doctor Who Mythology

doctor who davros

Davros has been portrayed by several actors over the years, including Michael Wisher, David Gooderson, Terry Molloy, Julian Bleach, and Joey Price, and his character remains a significant and memorable part of the Doctor Who mythology.

The decision to overhaul Davros showcases Davies’ willingness to address past representations within the series. By making such changes, Doctor Who continues to evolve, ensuring that it reflects the diversity and inclusivity of the world in which it is created.