A Controversial Story Behind Doctor Who's Ruby Companion Arc, Explained

A Controversial Story Behind Doctor Who's Ruby Companion Arc, Explained
Image credit: BBC

Russell T Davies says Ruby Sunday's arc will reflect a controversial storyline from Season 12.


  • Millie Gibson has become the youngest actor to play a Dr. Who companion.
  • The former Coronation Street actress is the first in Russell T Davies' second stint as showrunner.
  • She's already proven her chemistry with Ncuti Gatwa. Now it seems she has a big role to play.

Russell T. Davies was the man behind the golden age of Dr. Who with David Tennant. Throughout his tenure, ratings were consistently between 7.5 and 8 million per episode. This put David Tennant up there with the Fifth Doctor Peter Davison (1982-84), but behind the Fourth Doctor Tom Baker (1974-80), who at times attracted over 10 million viewers. Of course, it's worth noting that both of these were before the era of so many alternative channels.

First impressions from the Christmas special, The Church on Ruby Road, suggest that Ncuti Gatwa has the personality that the Doctor has lacked somewhat since Tennant left the role. And the chemistry between him and Millie Gibson, who plays Ruby, also gave us something to look forward to when the new season lands on May 11.

Davies brings back a controversial storyline from the Chris Chibnall era

Chris Chibnall, a long-time fan of the series who has worked on Torchwood and some episodes of Dr. Who, took over as showrunner when Russell T. Davies stepped down.

Outside of the Whoniverse, Chibnall has also been involved in the production of:

  • All three seasons of Broadchurch (as creator)
  • Law & Order: UK
  • Who Shot Simon Cowell (from Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway

He made Jodie Whitacker the first female Doctor, which caused a nonsensical (if not unexpected) amount of controversy. But he also created an element of the show that some fans were right to question. Because Chibnall was the brains behind the Timeless Child storyline.

Why was it so controversial?

You don't mess with the canon of a show. I mean, people do...all the time. But every time you do it, you run the risk of upsetting the fans.

Of course, if you go through the whole history of Dr. Who, there is a lot of stuff that doesn't make sense. But we suspend our disbelief and just go with it. Still, some things will always upset some viewers – like messing with the whole background of the protagonist; the protagonist we all know, love, and at least think we understand.

The Timeless Child storyline was so controversial because it revealed that the Doctor was not born on Gallifrey. Instead, it turned out that she (now he again) was an orphan found on an unknown planet. It was the biggest retcon in Dr. Who history. Controversial, indeed.

A Controversial Story Behind Doctor Who's Ruby Companion Arc, Explained - image 1

What's Ruby got to do with the controversy?

We don't know. After all, why would Davies want to give the game away?

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the Welsh showrunner revealed that Ruby will play a major role in season 14.

'That story's going to be the spine of the whole show. We're heading into season 2, and my God, Ruby Sunday is important to that. There's good stuff to come.'

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed another clue in that statement. Ruby is clearly back for a second season. A season that Russell T Davies says is 'important' to him.

The previous Russell T Davies era was known for companions who took on much larger roles than viewers were used to:

  • Rose Tyler
  • Donna Noble
  • Martha Jones

These were characters who played major roles in the development of not only individual episodes, but entire seasons. It seems that Ruby Sunday is primed to follow in their footsteps.

Source: Entertainment Weekly.