Doctor Who News 9thdr-rose-bomb-hp3

Published on April 5th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Eccleston “Pulls Out” of 50th Anniversary

Well, we at Kasterborous are pretty gutted by this news. Despite being surprising likely to return for Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary, reports today suggest that Christopher Eccleston is not involved.

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Eccleston’s possible return is something that Doctor Who fansites have been keeping under their hats for some months now, but it took an article in today’s Daily Star to prompt a BBC “source” to react to the claim that the actor had quit the production in the last few days.

The source told Digital Spy:

Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven’s plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode.

After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best.

Our understanding a couple of months ago was that Christopher Eccleston had agreed to appear “in principle”, but that his presence in the episode was largely down to the schedule of Thor 2, in which the actor plays the villain.

Clearly things have changed since then, but we doubt that Eccleston would have pulled out at the eleventh hour.

Regardless, if true, this is a heavy blow for fans of Doctor Who.

(Thanks to Robert, Ian, and Turquoise Tarquin)

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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+.



37 Responses to Eccleston “Pulls Out” of 50th Anniversary

  1. avatar Francis Cave says:

    Hmm..pity but perhaps not a total surprise.

    Might be a good opportunity though to use some of those first series deleted scenes that were missed off the DVD box set but apparently do exist…

  2. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I always thought it was a long shot to get him back, given the things he’s said in the past about not being happy with the politics behind the scenes while he worked on the show.

    I’m still hoping that there will be some McGann action for the anniversary.


  3. If Eccleston has pulled out, then does that leave a big door swinging wide open for another past Doctor to fill the space he leaves???

    Wishful thinking, I know, but… :)

  4. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    After the Baker debacle in ’83, which irritated a young Moffat to no end, I’m betting he’s figured out ways to work around missing Doctors. CGI, that’s all I’m saying.

    • avatar Francis Cave says:

      Well I am sure with a bit of jiggery pokery it will all come together….


  5. Um, no, DIGITAL SPY says the BBC says…there has not been any official confirmation of this from either the BBC or Eccleston or anyone more reliable than Digital Spy.

    • avatar Philip Bates says:

      Sadly, it’s apparently since been confirmed by the BBC PR team over the phone and email. :(

  6. avatar Simon says:

    While this is disappointing, to be fair, I think it was expected. I really hope that this doesn’t mean the other living Doctors are coming back though.

  7. avatar Bob James says:

    Normally I’d say respect his decision. But here, let me echo Steven Moffat’s comments regarding Tom Baker’s refusing to be involved in the 20th Anniversary. Christopher Eccleston ought to be ashamed of himself, and hang his head in shame everytime he recalls walking away from this opportunity. One more time, in appreciation of having played the part, and the fans who loved his portrayal, and he says “No”? First of all, this is not about integrity, because this guy was in G.I. Joe, for God’s sake. Nothing speaks ingratitude like pomposity, and it’s obvious now that Eccleston doesn’t give a shit about Doctor Who, or its fans. Thanks for a great Series One Chris, really, but keep your head stuck up your own ass, because obviously you prefer that particular view………

    • avatar francis cave says:

      Right Bob so you know Chris personally then?

      You know exactly why he left the role and has chosen not to return for the 50th?

      Has he ever said he hated being in the series and playing the character?

      No.

      He did it for a year (and quite brilliantly) and decided not to continue.

      He has referred to some unspecified negative experiences he had making it at the time but was still glad he did it and that’s pretty much all he’s ever said.

      Yes its a great shame he chose not to make an appearance in the special but at the end of the day he’s an actor and its his choice whether or not to take a job.

      He has his reasons and we should all have the good grace just to accept them, not insult the man.

      Ok?

      • avatar David F says:

        Well said, Francis.

        It’s very sad he won’t be in the special, but it’s his life and his career, and is entirely his decision.

        Good luck to the man.

  8. avatar Bob James says:

    And bring on Paul McGann, because it probably, in retrospect, should have been him anyway.

  9. avatar Bob James says:

    No.

  10. avatar Bob James says:

    To the “Ok” question, that is………

    • avatar francis cave says:

      Fine, I’ll just say you said “hi” when I speak to him next then…

  11. avatar Gareth says:

    I did like the ninth doctor alot but I don’t like Eccleston constantly giving the middle finger to Doctor Who. He has moaned and groaned about it eg having a Tardis in his head for 8 months, disagreeing with BBC management etc. All other actors have embraced and reprised their roles as The Doctor. I am just grateful that we have Tennant and Smith who are both excellent ambassadors for the show.

    • avatar Andrew says:

      I agree, and Peter Davison was right in slating Eccleston for “letting the fans down” by doing only one season. He should have known what he was expected in terms of baggage in taking the role in the first place. It’s been 8 years, he should just get over it. Both Tennant and Smith would have had similar negatives, yet have embraced it by attending conventions, interviews, DVD commentaries, narrating audios etc, and will always be willing lend their support.

  12. avatar Bob James says:

    Thanks Francis, and please tell him I loved him in G.I.Joe. He almost singlehandedly turned it into something on the level of, well, anything the Bard ever wrote, for starters. It’s always nice to encounter an actor who has his priorities straight, along with such a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunities he’s given.

    • avatar francis cave says:

      I think you’ll find he’s been in a hell of a lot more than just GI Joe which was, what four years ago now?, and I hardly think the St Trinians movie David Tennant was in was Hamlet either.

      Remember, when the series came back there were no guarantees it was going to be a success.

      It could have been a complete mess and he would have been known as the actor who fxxked up Doctor Who.

      When pushed to talk about the series since he left he has made the odd reference to being unhappy at the time but its hardly a case of “I hated the job and everyone who worked on it.”

      He just gave an honest answer to the question being asked.

      “It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience.”

      Yeah he clearly hated the job……

      • avatar David F says:

        Bob, come on. Ecclestone’s body of quality acting work is greater than pretty much any other person who’s played the Doctor. It’s totally disingenuous to randomly pick out GI Joe. (Speaking of the Bard, did you see him as Iago? He was exceptional.) If there’s anyone who doesn’t need the gig, it’s him. And it does nothing to back up any point of any significance.

        He doesn’t owe it to us to be in our favourite show just because we decide he should be. He simply doesn’t. He hasn’t been insulting Doctor Who fans, as you allege. He’s just a quiet, private man, who is getting on with his work and leaving his past jobs to speak for themselves.

        Perspective, please.

  13. avatar Bob James says:

    And you know, I had quite forgotten about David Tennant in Fright Night. But at least he loves and respects Doctor Who and its fans. Granted, he came in a Doctor Who fan, but his gratitude and graciousness about being identified with the show and willingness to celebrate it with continued involvement (again, it’s just one special, just one story), displays a class that Eccleston completely lacks. And now he need not worry about connecting with the audience, because this is a big disconnect, and now he’s just history book. Tom Baker came around after a very long period of arrogance and disrespect (some of which I heard at conventions spoken by him with my own ears)towards anything but his era of the show, and it’s a different picture for him now. Eccleston may as well, one day, I hope, leave behind whatever bad taste his time in the role left with him. But you only ever get one opportunity to celebrate a milestone like 50 years, and he has let us down, and perhaps one day, he’ll realize he deprived himself of something well worth being a part of. And for the record, I didn’t even suggest that he hasn’t done quality work since Doctor Who, or anything else since G.I. Joe. He’s a brilliant actor, and he was a brilliant Doctor. But I also suspect that “too good for that”, and “higher than thou snob” can be added to his resume.

  14. avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

    A great shame, but we came agonisingly close as I understand it.

  15. avatar Bob James says:

    I think it would have just been gracious and respectful on his part. He has been on record stating his appreciation for Steven Moffat’s writing (The Empty Chld/The Doctor Dances), citing these as some of his favorite stories. He has to know that Moffat would have given him a choice part, and an opportunity to go further with the character, as he has previously stated one series did not give him enough time to do. Moffat’s not writing a “Five Doctors” redux just to get everyone in the pool. It would have been closure and an opportunity to bid farewell on a better note than he left on. And it wouldn’t have been a sell out move either. Most of all, he would have made the fans happy, just one more time, and he could have moved on. I stand by my previous statement that he just doesn’t care. What could have happened between him and the BBC that was so bad that no other actor has cited or complained of, before, or since? Did they steal his lunch money? Beat him up everyday? Insult his family? If there was a bad atmosphere, or tensions, it had to be a situation he himself helped create and foster, perhaps with his “higher than thou, I’m above this” mentality. I’m not respecting him or giving him a pass on this, period.

    • avatar Francis cave says:

      Again neither you or I know what he was unhappy about and why he passed on the 50th.

      We are on the outside looking in and can only guess from what little he has said in interviews (the few that he’s done over the years).

      Maybe one day it will all come out and we will understand or maybe it will be a mystery except to those involved.

      From what is being reported now it does seem like he at least considered it rather than just turning it down right from the start.

      I for one respect that. Others don’t, that is clear.

  16. avatar Bob James says:

    At least in my case, yeah…….

  17. avatar callinton says:

    That’s sad news. Still, it keeps his Doctor golden and untouchable.

  18. avatar Bob James says:

    David F.,yes, it’s true that G.I.Joe does nothing to back up any point of significance. Other than, in regards to an actor who takes himself far too seriously (“I don’t bathe in the same river twice” or some nonsense like that he once spouted)participating in it. And in answer to the request for perspective, request denied. It’s Eccleston who is short on perspective, as he obviously had no idea what getting involved in Doctor Who would entail. Neither did Paul McGann at first, but he learned. Thank God he’s not riding some high horse, because we would be without a great continuing contribution to Doctor Who. Paul has an excellent career going and he generally doesn’t spend time trying to put Doctor Who behind him, he doesn’t have to. So here’s the perspective Eccleston lacks. Doctor Who is not just another “job”, or “role”, or “fun experiment”. It’s an uniquely iconic role, and has earned that status. Christopher shouldn’t have dived in the first place if he felt he was too good for water.

    • avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

      Have you never had a job you didn’t enjoy, despite being well thought of? I can think of several and wild horses wouldn’t drag me back. Why should he feel obliged? Acting and production seem highly pressured and personalised industries and if he’s not enjoyed the experience for whatever the reasons, then that’s his call. Personally, I love his Doctor but it works too as a self contained storyline and performance. He’s done his time and owes us nothing.


      • These are excellent points by Gareth.

        Let’s not get into Eccleston bashing – any more and I will be forced to bring a forcible end to the conversation.

        This is sad, disappointing news, but no one should be attacking the actor. Let’s speculate instead of possible workarounds and generally look forward with positivity.

      • avatar Coopergreg says:

        Agree! I had a job I loved, but still wouldn’t be dragged back to it now. When it comes down to it acting is a job as much as any other. Much as I would have loved him in the special it’s his decision and his alone, so some people just need to get over it. He owes us fans nothing.

  19. avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

    I’m guessing this Bob James guy won’t be sending Eccleston a Birthday card this year then!

  20. avatar TonyS says:

    The role of the Doctor is iconic to us. This is because we are Doctor Who fans. That’s my “ronseal” moment done. All the actors are entitled to treat it as a job. I have read nothing that suggests that Mr Eccleston regrets having played the part. Naturally, I am disappointed that he has chosen not to come back. However that is entirely his prerogaive and does nothing to diminish my respect for him as an actor. Let’s enjoy that David Tennant and the Zygons are returning. (David Tennant and the Zygons- possible successors to John Smith and the Common Men?)I am beginning to have confidence in Steven Moffat once again and am looking forward to what will be in the special. Let’s remember what being fans is about and enjoy the programme :)

  21. avatar Bob James says:

    I have no fears that the anniversary episode will suffer from Eccleston’s not be involved. It just would have been much better had he been. I know that Steven Moffat will work out something wonderful, and it’s good to know that the other surviving Doctors were so enthusiastic about the possibility of returning, even if they are not. And if the bringing a “forcible end” to this conversation was directed at me, Christian, fear not. I’ll go stand in the corner and have my “time out” and really think about how bad I was being speaking out on this, and expressing a passionate point of view. Really, dad, I promise I won’t “bathe in the same river twice”, so you don’t have to set the Kasterborous stormtroopers upon me.

  22. avatar Bob James says:

    It’s true, Andrew, we do have a wealth of actors who loved being on Doctor Who, and are enthusiatic about continuing to lend their support. That’s something to be greatful for, ans well as the show’s last two showrunners and its last producer (JNT) actually having love for the show. There were five surviving Doctors that all would have been involved in a shot, and no doubt many companions would have climbed aboard as well. Well, except for that John Barrowman guy who just isn’t interested at all, because he’s been there and done that, and perhaps simply won’t “bathe in the same river twice” , or at least more than several times. My ranting had nothing to do with not being really appreciative of what we have and what we’re going to be getting. I was simply targeting an individual who doesn’t really share in any of this.

  23. avatar Elisabeth says:

    I am truly saddened by this as I am still not over Eccleston’s too short run as the Doctor. He was brilliant and I was so excited when it was intimated that he would be back. I’m still holding out a ridiculous hope that this is all just some giant Moffat-contrived blind and he really will be in the anniversary, but I know that is just a pipe dream. That being said, I am sure whatever and whoever we are blessed with for the special will be worth the wait.

  24. avatar Bob James says:

    I’m coming from the same place as you, Elisabeth. This actor, so vital to Doctor Who’s return and success, not seeing fit to return one more time, just one more time, to celebrate 50 years of something much bigger than himself or his excellent career, really hit me hard.It will still be wonderful, but I just wish Eccleston could have seen past himself, because his prescence would have made it even more so.


  25. But then we have Paul McGann who would like to return and hasn’t even been asked! His DW screen career was cut even shorter than Chris’s and NOT by his desicion. It boggles my mind that it looks like the production team haven’t asked McGann because there are so many of us that would like to see him back.

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