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Russell T Davies Honours LGBT+ EastEnders Character in New Doctor Who Script

As the 60th anniversary specials and the upcoming Series 14 rapidly approach, we’ve just had news of another new character that will be on-screen soon. And Russell T. Davies has honoured an LGBT+ character from EastEnders by naming his character after her.

The showrunner said:

“I’ve just put a social worker into an episode of Doctor Who. I’ve called her Ruth Lyons”

For fans and particularly long term fans of EastEnders, you might remember Ruth Lyons, played by Judy Liebert who was a social worker on the series and the first LGBT+ character on the show.

While this doesn’t sound like a lot of information, it might reveal more than we first think: we know that the upcoming companion Ruby Sunday is going to be quite young (actress, Millie Gibson is 19 years old) so maybe she has a social worker called Ruth Lyons who is also going to be an LGBT+ character. This could offer us some insight into the character of Ruby — perhaps she’s not happy at home, or maybe she’s been adopted and Ruth Lyons is her social worker because of that. Maybe she’s worried about Ruby because she’ i’s keeping her adventures with the Doctor a secret?

And this wouldn’t be the first time that Davies has had references to other characters from other shows: let’s not forget that the surname Tyler, used for Rose, Jackie, and Pete Tyler, is something he’s used in a lot of things from Dark Season to Queer as Folk to eventually Doctor Who.

“I can remember EastEnders then referring to a social worker called Ruth Lyons, and Dr Legg just talked all ‘she lives with another woman.’ She was only in like two episodes.” 

Sure, two episodes doesn’t good LGBT+ representation make, but it was a massive move for the Eighties at reflecting normal life. And the character is obscure enough for normal viewers to not even know that it is a homage to anyone; but for die hard fans it’ll be a cool little Easter egg. Doctor Who has had a number of former actors from EastEnders in it before and while I doubt it will be the same character across both shows, thus setting them in the same universe, (and yes that would make Dimensions in Time canon!), it’s nice that Davies is still giving us these little nuggets of information before the show is due to air in November 2023 and then Spring 2024.

Jordan Shortman

Russell T Davies Honours LGBT+ EastEnders Character in New Doctor Who Script

by Jordan Shortman time to read: 2 min
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