And it just keeps coming… reports this morning (available online) from the BBC and the Daily Telegraph all detail how the BBC was wrong to announce Christopher Eccleston’s departure from the new Doctor Who in the manner which it did – i.e. there was a specific agreement as to how the news would be disseminated.
Jane Tranter, the BBC’s head of drama commissioning, said: “The BBC regrets not speaking to Christopher before it responded to the press questions on Wednesday March 30.
“The BBC further regrets that it falsely attributed a statement to Christopher and apologises to him.”
She added: “Contrary to press statements Christopher did not leave for fear of being typecast or because of the gruelling filming schedule. The BBC is delighted by Christopher’s performance as Dr Who.
It is now believed that Eccleston decided to leave the series in January and struck an agreement with the BBC that news of his departure would not be made public; journalists contacting the BBC Press Office were presented with the wrongly attributed statement.
Of course, we’ve speculated at Kasterborous for the last 7 days whether or not Christopher Eccleston’s decision was taken recently or was made sufficiently early to be worked into later scripts. At icwales.co.uk, the great Russell T Davies has been briefly questioned on the situation:
And Russell T Davies says he wrote the scripts for the 13-part series around Eccleston’s decision to leave once it had been filmed.
It was revealed yesterday that Eccleston has quit as he doesn’t want to become typecast as the Time Lord. But with a second series commissioned earlier this week, the search is now on for a replacement.
“This had all been planned,” said Swan- sea-born Davies, pictured, about the announcement Eccleston is leaving.
“You will see the story [of his departure] unfold on screen and it’s brilliant.
“We’ve got 13 episodes of the best Doctor in the world – he [Eccleston] worked himself to death on the show.”
Again, this points to a thought-out and considered decision rather than a late spur-of-the-moment judgment. We still have the pleasure of watching Christopher Eccleston’s performance for the next 11 Saturdays; perhaps in that time we will know why he felt he had to leave the show, and that particular fan-grievance can be put to rest.