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Russell T Davies: ’Freedom of speech is more possible in theatre than TV’

Russell T Davies Russell T Davies
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Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies has revealed early plans to refocus his career on theatre, claiming television has a “frightening” restriction on freedom of speech.

Davies, whose work as a screenwriter has included series including Queer as Folk and The Second Coming, said he had thought about shifting his own career into theatre because “the world is becoming more extreme, but television isn’t”.

“There are a lot of things about the world that you can’t say on TV and that is automatically wrong. For example, if I wanted to write a show right now about how absolutely, ferociously dreadful and frightening Donald Trump is, what channel would show that? None of them. That says something very frightening about television and very important about theatre,” Davies told The Stage.

He added: “That’s generally why I am getting more and more interested myself in trying to find a voice for theatre. I’m definitely heading that way. I think you’ve got to – when you say that television can’t express certain things then you have to move beyond it. And I speak as someone who has got away with an awful lot on television.”

Davies was speaking at the London launch of the 2017 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, for which he is a judge.

He went on to say: “A play for the Bruntwood prize doesn’t have to be about Donald Trump or zero-hour contracts or Amazon factories. It can be about your life in Barnstaple, Dundee or Swansea – or someone’s life in those places in 1860. So long as you’re saying something about that world.”

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