‘Doctor Who’ Showrunner Shows Solidarity for Writers Strike Across the Pond

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies standing in front of the Tardis with WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike behind him, writers strike

Credit: ITM

If the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is waiting on support for the current Writers’ Strike to wane, they’re going to be waiting a while.

Solidarity with striking writers has ranged far and wide, with other guilds showing up to let the AMPTP know that unlike last time, they won’t be able to get out of this by forcing a deal with a different union.

Now, they’re even getting support from across the pond – that’s right, even all the way in the UK, there are writers and other film professionals banding together to show The Suits in charge that writers will not be treated as mere tools in an industry that literally cannot exist without them.

Russell T. Davies of ‘Doctor Who’ Says “We Need To Get Rid Of” Studio Execs

Doctor Who Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday and Ncuti Gatwa as the fifteenth doctor
Credit: BBC/Disney/Bad Wolf

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Famed Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies – who made waves when he announced that he would be returning to helm the next season of the popular BBC series – addressed the strike at the Screenwriters Everywhere protest in London earlier today.

Davies told Deadline that he believes the real problem in the industry today is specifically people sitting in boardrooms at the executive level, “who I’m not even sure are listening.”

“That’s the problem. We need to get rid of them.”

Writers picket a studio
Credit: Variety

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Some may wonder why a writer in the UK would be worried about strikes in the US, but Davies looks at it this way:

“I know that what happens in America happens here. These problems will be coming this way. It’s literally about solidarity with the people over there. Some of them are starving and are having to take second jobs to just work on shows. It’s wrong, it’s a fight, and I’m behind it.” 

Davies also mentioned that if they – the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) – could strike in solidarity, they would. Unfortunately there is a UK law that prevents unions from striking on behalf of other unions, so they are doing the next best thing: “lining up and hashtagging.”

Why Is the Writers Strike Happening?

Picketers outside Disney Studios
Credit: USA Today

Related: Inside the Writers Strike Bringing Hollywood to a Halt

Davies’ apprehensions are wise. The main reason the writers are striking – aside from the gross decrease in relative pay that has happened as inflation has gone up – is the uncertainty of a future that now includes Artificial Intelligence, which poses a very real threat to writers’ jobs.

The WGA is on strike because the studios would not agree to a ban on using AI to pitch, ideate, or write shows in lieu of real writers. The best offer that the AMPTP could come up with was for a yearly meeting to “discuss advancements” in the technology – which means that at any point, writers could be out of jobs and replaced by robots.

If AI is meant to be used as a writing tool, then the studios should leave it up to the writers to decide how and when they want to employ it. If you leave it up to the executives in the board room, writers will inevitably cut out of an industry that was literally created around them, and TV as we know it will forever change – and if you’ve ever seen an AI attempt at a script or a plot, you know it will be for the worse.

How do you think the Writers’ Strike will end? Chime in with your opinion below – we’d love to hear it.

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