Exclusive: Russell T Davies halts TV work after partner’s brain cancer diagnosis

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Russell T Davies has revealed he has put television work on hold indefinitely and returned to the UK after his partner was diagnosed with cancer of the brain.

In an exclusive interview with PinkNews.co.uk, Davies says his and his partner’s lives in Los Angeles, where he had moved to pursue a new US show, had “closed down overnight”.

The Queer as Folk writer, acclaimed for his re-imagining of the Dr Who series and for its spin-off Torchwood, says he and his long-term partner Andrew Smith visited doctors after he experienced chronic headaches.

He explains: “When we got the results they told us he had cancer of the brain. They needed to operate straight away. Three days later he was having surgery.”

“That’s where we are now. He’s had thirty consecutive days of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and we’ve got six months of chemotherapy ahead of us.”

Davies and Smith have returned to their old home in Manchester, but on coming home Davies adds: “Lo and behold, we’re now a ten minute drive from Europe’s best cancer hospital.”

The writer says he has not worked since August, with projects on hold including the new BBC Worldwide series Cucumber he was developing with the Showtime network.

He tells PinkNews.co.uk today: “It was a simple decision: he’s more important.

“Who gives a f**k about writing scripts if I can stay at home with him and make his day a bit happier?”

He says Cucumber had been at the casting stage when the diagnosis was given.

“Showtime was lovely. They were like: your boyfriend needs to get well. The BBC was the same.

“I don’t know when I’ll start work again. I’ve got see how Andrew’s health goes.”

Interviewer Laurence Watts said: “I was so grateful to Russell for taking the time to talk to me. He didn’t have to grant me an interview. I think he was grateful for an opportunity to communicate with friends who perhaps weren’t aware that he and Andrew had left Los Angeles and were back in Britain.

“I imagine he also appreciated being able to update his fans on the state of the various projects he’s been working on, especially the highly anticipated Cucumber. Having given this interview, I think it’s appropriate that people respect his and Andrew’s privacy to allow Andrew to undergo his treatment.”

In 2008, Davies received the OBE for services to drama, but he said he was initially uncertain whether to accept the honour.

He tells PinkNews.co.uk: “I’m not a big fan of the monarchy, but I did think it was a good thing for a gay man to be publicly given. In the end I think that why I said yes. Then when they published the full honours list I found out they’d given Paul O’Grady one as well!”

Read the full interview with Russell T Davies here.