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Published on March 31st, 2005 | by Christian Cawley

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The Tenth Tenure….

So the lanky Manc chav regenerates into a camp cheeky Scots bohemian? In an astonishing turn of events, the Ninth Doctor – played wonderfully by Christopher Eccleston – has quit the show after his first season. Why on Earth would he want to do such a thing? And how certain are the BBC of hiring David Tennant?

Much has been written over the past two days about the commissioning of the 2nd series and the sudden departure of Christopher Eccleston. But how sudden is it, exactly? I’m still waiting for Russell T Davies to come out and thank Eccleston for his hard work and that he respects and understands his decision and wishes he could change his mind. I’m waiting for Billie to declare that she too is leaving, as Eccleston was the only Doctor as far as she is concerned and she couldn’t bare to join anyone else in the TARDIS. But neither of these are forthcoming, for one simple, obvious reason. Christopher Eccleston made this decision months ago, and no doubt Russell T Davies and Billie Piper were aware of this. Thankfully Billie Piper is believed to be staying for the 2nd series.

It would be unfair to criticise Christopher Eccleston for leaving fans in the lurch. We’re all adults, we’re used to it now from Doctor Who as an entity. However I’m more concerned about the NEW fans, the young boys and girls who are going to be looking up to the Doctor over the remaining 12 weeks. While regeneration is part of Doctor Who, so is building trust with the audience – that is part of ANY television show.

Meanwhile, the BBC have made a move to sign David Tennant into the role. Just like that? Surely he’s working on something? He can’t be expected to drop everything all of a sudden to work on Doctor Who for 9 months can he? Of course, if the production team had a few months notice on this then they’ve been planning a replacement for Eccleston for some time now. It’s even possible that David Tennant has said “Yes” already and all they’re doing now is ironing out contracts!

Now what about this Christmas Special? Will Eccleston appear in this? Or is that a bit much to ask? We are of course nearing the realm of treating Mr Eccleston as a bit of an acting snob, who wanted a new challenge, became Doctor Who and then decided he’d overcome the challenge. Whatever his reasons for not carrying on, we all expect him to appear in the Christmas Special (if it is to be broadcast Christmas 2005 as expected) at least in order to hand over to David Tennant and allow his young Doctor Who fans to witness their first proper regeneration.

(Alternatively, there’s a very tightly-shrouded scene at the end of this series that we don’t know about…)

Now one thing is for sure – Mr Tennant hasn’t rang Mr Davies and said “I want to be Doctor Who!” He probably hasn’t got an urge to change how people see him as an actor, and is more interested in securing work for himself for the next 3 years. So as a 10th Doctor Who, what have we got?

David Tennant is best known for his roles in “Bright Young Things” (2003), “Blackpool” (2004) and currently stars as “Casanova” in the eponymous BBC show. He’s also appeared in a second series episode of “Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)” in 2000. He’s approaching his 34th birthday and appeared in the BBCi Ninth Doctor webcast The Scream of the Shalka which starred Richard E Grant.

However he approaches the role, there is bound to be a level of innocence and sensitivity about his Doctor – these are both aspects of Tennant’s character that are betrayed by his looks. What we can expect from his time as the Doctor, only Russell T Davies can tell us.

My Two Penneth

Awaking this morning to find Christopher Eccleston quitting the series was a little surprising and sorry to say a little disappointing. Of course all’s fair in love and war and he has every right to the way he feels, I just thought it was so premature in the life of the new Doctor Who, it made it that more disappointing.

Surely he could have gave another season to flesh out his character and a bit of stability? Surely it was worth one more shot? But then of course I am not an actor, and in this day and age with lots of upcoming projects it can be tough for an actor not to be stuck in the mainstay of one role. I think also, the fact that Christopher himself was not an avid fan about Doctor Who in the beginning may have made his decision a little easier. We will never know.

What I am sure about is the rest of this season we will see a great Christopher Eccleston Doctor; of course he is a fine actor and has already provided a lot of joy to fandom with his portrayal and i wish him all the luck in his future career and thank him for rekindling the fire, nice one Chris! :).

Replacements? Well David Tennant seems a good choice and of course is a self confessed fan, but I cant say I have seen much of his work so would have to hold fire. Personally I think Alan Rickman, Richard E Grant or Anthony Head would be ideal choices – especially Alan Rickman, who would bring a wealth of diversity for the role. I would be apprehensive over the likes of Alan Davies whom i think people only connect him with the role because of his Tom Baker locks.

It’s certainly going to be interesting…

Anthony Dry

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About the Author

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A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




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