Doctor Who News 9th Doctor and Rose

Published on August 25th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

Christopher Eccleston Loves The Doctor!

Yesterday’s Doctor Who @ 50 event at the BFI saw Bad Wolf and The Parting of the Ways screened before an audience of fans who had gathered to celebrate the 13 episodes of the Ninth Doctor’s era.

While Christopher Eccleston wasn’t available to join the panel (which included Phil Collinson, director Joe Ahearne and Dalek and The Long Game actor Bruno Langley) he did send a message, which was read by host Justin Johnson:

I love the BFI. I love the Doctor and hope you enjoy this presentation. Joe Ahearne directed five of the 13 episodes of the first series. He understood the tone the show needed completely – strong, bold, pacy visuals coupled with wit, warmth and a twinkle in the performances, missus.

If Joe agrees to direct the 100th anniversary special, I will bring my sonic and a stair-lift and – providing the Daleks don’t bring theirs – I, the ninth Doctor, vow to save the universe and all you apes in it.

We think it’s a lovely message, one that underlines that Eccleston does have affection for Doctor Who, despite what certain fans might think. There have been several stories over the years describing his encounters with younger fans that portray an actor who is more than happy to be associated with the show. While we may never learn the truth behind his departure (or this year’s sudden withdrawal from the 50th anniversary episode) there is no need to allow the limited length of his era tarnish this.

Let’s just remember – Christopher Eccleston doesn’t owe us anything. In fact given his importance to the return of Doctor Who in 2005, it could be fairly argued that we owe him a lot. The sooner this bad attitude goes, the better.

(Via Radio Times.)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author


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+.

80 Responses to Christopher Eccleston Loves The Doctor!

  1. avatar drewboynton says:

    Both 8 and 10 are coming to their BFI screenings…9 could only send a little letter? That Mr. Eccleston is one complicated dude.

    • avatar Spider-pope says:

      To be fair to Eccleston, he’s in the middle of doing promotional stuff for “Thor 2″.

  2. avatar Bob James says:

    Let me first qualify my next statements. These are my feelings and opinions. Christopher Eccleston is a brilliant actor who was brilliant as the Doctor, and brought back the character as probably no one else could have. But Christian, don’t hold your breath on the bad attitude going, because I did nothing to foster it. Nothing tarnishes what he gave us in his performance as the Doctor. He tarnishes his own legacy with his standoffishness, and his arrogant, and pompous attitude. You obviously know more than the average fan about what went on behind the scenes, in regards to his initial departure as well as his dropping out of involvement with the Anniversary Special. You have hinted at this several times, but have chosen for your own reasons not to disclose anything. And that’s fine, as you have to make editorial calls like that on a regular basis with Kasterborous. The statement read at the BFI screening stinks of a condescending air, and I wish he wouldn’t have bothered. Just let the episodes and the story peak for themselves. He had the opportunity, if he did actually care, to have closure. He had the opportunity to work with the writer whom he has openly declared wrote his favorite stories of his series “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”. The “upper management/production” elements or individuals that he “did not see eye to eye with” are long gone. He could have come in, did a few weeks work, and made a lot of fans very happy. And then he could have gone. He wouldn’t have to do conventions, signings, or remain associated in anyway with the program, other than he was once in it. He didn’t. If there is a genuine reason for his attitude and actions that remains undisclosed, I don’t care. He is an ingrate, and a condescending snob of an actor who has no respect for Doctor Who or its fans. He will never be part of anything as unique and powerful as Doctor Who ever again, and he showed us all how little that registers with him, and how little he appreciates that by his actions. I agree with Richard Franklin’s statements in last month’s DWM that he finds Eccleston’s attitude “absolutely abhorrent”. I agree with Peter Davison’s assessment a few years back that Eccleston let down the fans by staying for only one series. Franklin spoke of Doctor Who being a “heritage” role, and that a show towards which the fans show such a high level of dedication, deserves to be shown a little back. Eccleston’s gone, and I am now seeing this as a good thing. What he left behind with his performance will last forever, and I am grateful to him for that. That Doctor Who fans everywhere are going to be rid of one more pompous self serving actor is also a good thing. He spoke of the “management/production” people being “happy to see his back” upon his departure. Now we have so many other things to see in the future. I’m happy to see his back too, and I wish he’d refrain from condescending gestures and just keep walking.

    • avatar Mary1 says:

      Goodness Bob. Get over it. I’m sorry, but he has been nothing but lovely the many times I have met him. He was also more than happy to speak of the show.

      For whatever reason you seem to hate the man. Whatever. Your right. It’d be nice though if you quit seeing ‘condescension’ in what was a lovely note.

      • I LOVE Eccleston. He’s my favorite of the new Doctors… and given how much I love 10 and 11, that is saying a lot.

        • avatar Mary1 says:

          He’s my favourite as well..

          • Good taste!! :D

      • avatar Bob James says:

        I see condescension in almost everything. No, not really. Just in condescending acts, words, and gestures.

    • avatar David F says:

      Why does Bob James treat paragraph fans with such condescension? His standoffishness towards gaps in the text shows contempt for those of us who appreciate them. He could have come in, done a few seconds’ work inserting breaks, and then he could have gone. He is an ingrate, and has showed how little the feelings of his readers matter to him.

      Christian, you clearly know more than the average fan about why Bob detests paragraphs so much. Don’t hold back on . . .

      (and so on)

      • avatar Bob James says:

        That was awesome! Stellar! You have a singular wit, David F. But I don’t detest paragraphs anymore than I detest Christopher Eccleston. I tried using paragraphs once, and it didn’t suit my ranting, and I never bathe in the same paragraph twice. I did enjoy my attempt at using paragraphs, and felt that I could have done much more with paragraphs, but paragraphs and I didn’t see eye to eye. You do know that is my choice, right? I don’t owe the paragraphs of this forum anything. Perhaps I’ll just send along a note to the paragraphs. All these thumbs down are cool as well, because at least that means people aren’t putting them somewhere else. Or at least not into the paragraphs located within their backsides.

        • avatar David F says:

          OK. Well, I think everyone here now understands your point about Ecclestone. Most of us don’t understand quite why it matters to you, but that’s fine, it’s just what you think and is valid. But you aren’t going to persuade anyone who doesn’t already agree with you by continuing to rephrase your point. Your work’s done.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            And its Eccleston, people, not Ecclestone. I know we all misspell words (not just you David F) here in the forum (and now we can’t correct them in the comments section), but that’s a big one. Look at how his name is spelled in the article, in all the issues of DWM, and on the dvd set boxes. Eccleston. It’s Eccleston. Rhymes with “done”.

      • avatar Arlundee says:

        I really would have to agree with David. The lack of paragraph use typically ends with a TL;DR attitude. .

        That being said, Mr. Bob, condescension is a two way street. I found absolutely nothing useful from your rant other than a rather obvious show of disdain for an actor who has been nothing but graceful towards his fans. We are all , of course, entitled to our own opinions, but I’m afraid the 2 minutes spent reading your rant is 2 minutes wasted.

        By the way, someone that refuses to acknowledge how to properly construct paragraphs probably shouldn’t be correcting anyone’s spelling mistakes.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          Two grammatical lessons in the comments under one topic. I am in some esteemed company here. Thank you. But what you do with your time is your business, and is no concern of mine. Nor is your advice.

    • You are, maybe, little harsh… but t the same time I feel exactly like you… I think he could solve all the problems but just show up for 5 minutes on the 50th. everyone will love him back and we all will sush. But he choose the bad path… the I dont carea f**ing s**t about the fans and don’t do anything.,. And yes… he’s nice with the fans personaly… so does Manson…

    • avatar docwhom says:

      Be fair, Bob. It sounds like it’s you and not CE who needs closure. You scream for a gesture and, when you get one, you complain that it’s condescending. After the hysterically abusive way that many fans treated CE when we learned of his departure, what conceivable claim do you imagine that you or any of us have on the man’s conscience?

      You use the silly line used by the hysterics in 2005: self-serving. He only did S1 to boost his career. Some of us remember that no-one outside the world of fans was taking the reboot seriously until CE’s casting was announced. DW got far more from him than he got from DW.

      As for Richard Franklin, I’m surprised that he could find time in his busy schedule to say something so comically stupid. What reason could an actor who trod a path into oblivion after leaving DW have for exaggerating the importance of the convention circuit? DW deserves to “be shown a little back”? How about leaving behind a show assured of success for years to come?

      • avatar castellanspandrel says:

        Hi Docwhom. Just to let you know: the user you’re responding to was served a permanent ban from the forum a while back in relation to their comments on another thread, and if memory serves, they won’t even be able to access the site to see your response.

  3. avatar Bob James says:

    I never once stated that I hated the man. Other than what I expressed (and prefaced) above, you have no place making any call on how I feel, let alone ascribing hatred to my feelings or comments. I don’t know him, and have never met him. I’m glad that he was lovely to you on the many occasions that you met him. He didn’t understand what he was getting involved with, and hasn’t shown any sign of wanting to learn. It would be interesting if every actor who portrayed the Doctor, or does so in the future, were to follow his lead. That they would talk about it (and remember, there was a time when he wouldn’t, at least to the media), and then turn their backs and walk away. “How many years did you say? It’s endured for that long?”, they could all offer, “I can’t be bothered, as I am an ACTOR, and it was just another job”. Then we’d see how tired everyone got of actors making excuses for wanting to wash their hands of any ongoing involvement with Doctor Who. Even if they were nothing but lovely everytime you met them.

    • avatar LadyDaffney says:

      “I don’t know him, and have never met him.” Then why are you ranting about him so much? Eccleston is a decent actor. Are you aware that he might not have been ALLOWED to talk about the show during that period of time because he might have had legal battles going on with them? Are you aware that he’s a very busy guy? I can understand why he had to drop out of the 50th, he’s busy with premieres and filming of Thor 2 as well as other films or guest TV spots. He is an actor and actors have to find a way to keep money coming in so they can raise their families and live. You have apparently forgotten that actors and actresses are people too. They are busy with work and families.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Because I feel like ranting about him. And he is much better than just a “decent” actor. He is an exceptional one. Just apparently not so exceptional in the gratitude, appreciation, and thinking of others beyond himself departments.

  4. avatar Mary1 says:

    “I am an actor and it was just another job.”

    Yep. That’s about it. As much as I love the show it is is just a show. I don’t feel that anyone should have act like it is the only thing they’ve done of note.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      You’re quite the sensitive and thoughtful sort, aren’t you?

      • avatar David F says:

        Bob, remind us what you were saying about condescension . . . ?

        • avatar Bob James says:

          I thought you just said my work is done. Every time I try to get out, they just keep pulling me back in. But you’re correct, David F, and my apologies for my flippancy to Mary1.

      • avatar Mary1 says:

        Sensitivity has not one whit to do with it. I’m a realist.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          I’ve got it. See apology above.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          No, you are just silly.

          • avatar Mary1 says:

            I thought you were done responding to me.

            By the way, if telling me I am silly is the best that you can come up with in regards to an insult then you really do need to try harder.

  5. avatar John Shandler says:

    Christopher Eccleston- brilliant actor, brilliant Doctor. Sad he’s not back for the 50th, but he has his reasons. A mate met him and said he was lovely and talked very positively about the role. Well written piece Christian!

  6. avatar David F says:

    Well done, Bob. You’ve drowned a nice, positive little news story in a swamp of negativity.

    Eccleston is not obliged to be as in love with a TV show as you are. He’s an actor for hire, and he’s entitled to feel however he wants about it. And we don’t even know what that feeling is, because he has been very dignified in his silence about whatever reservations he might have.

    Seriously, get some perspective. We all love Doctor Who, but most of us draw the line at letting it make us angry.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Thank you.

  7. avatar Al says:

    My 2 cents: Tom Baker wanted nothing to do with DW after he left. It went so far as him saying to heck with being in the 20th anniversary special. By 1993, he felt comfortable enough to do Dimensions in Time. By about 2009, he was doing audios and soon after he was with Big Finish. The point I’m making is the hatred some are showing towards Chris is no different than some fans showed Tom Baker 30 years ago. But he eventually came back. Just because Eccleston would rather do movies and left the show because he didn’t care for some of the behind the scenes stuff is no excuse for hating on the guy. It’s just a dang TV show, not religion or public office.

    • avatar Ian says:

      To be fair, Tom played the role for seven years and even then was effectively forced out by the production team (with the same producer that effectively sacked him then expecting him to come back two years later). Not quite the same as buggering off after one year. ;)

      Not that I have anything against Eccles, either, by the way. Not really the same though.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        I think Tom jumped before he was pushed. As for “The Five Doctors”, he had had meetings with JN-T and agreed to participate. I believe the original story was something along the lines of Borusa making it appear that the Fourth Doctor had gone insane and was the force behind the events in the story within the Death Zone. That the Fourth Doctor was after Rassilon’s Gift (Curse, as we discover) of Immortality. The other incarnations of the Doctor work this out and join with the Fourth Doctor to see Borusa defeated. Tom then backed out several weeks prior to the story entering production. I think Tom was a bit caught up in his sense of ownership towards the role. He has since said he wished he had participated, and it’s obvious he’s very present in the world of Doctor Who now. He seems very happy to appear alongside the other Doctors, and has, after years of rejecting Big Finish, finally gotten involved with the audioplays as well.

  8. avatar Sally Ann Price says:

    I agree with you. Christopher is my Doctor Who. People should just leave him alone. I understand him. That is his own choosing. He gave a delightful interview, and he did not have to be there. I just love him.

  9. avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

    I will happily grab this nugget of joy from Mr. E and run with it!

    I look forward to the Ninth Doctor’s return in 2063…..

  10. avatar Geoff says:

    I think we shouldn’t get too worked up about Bobs block column rants, it’s a style he’s developed and hes taken the ribbing with good humour. However I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum on the message from CE. I’ve always liked his work but never loved his Doctor, I think because I liked 10 so much 9 sort of paled for me. Recently though I’ve watched his whole series on BT vision for the first time since it was aired and to quote the man I think he’s fantastic. He has a depth and energy that I really really enjoyed. I know he’s a bit prickly but to be fair it’s his career and he can do what he likes so I’ve never had a problem with that. With that in mind I was surprised and delighted with his letter and think its great that he still refers to himself as the 9th Doctor with obvious pride. When he took the part he said he partly did it because he wanted to do something in his career that made children think warmly of him which is a sentiment I find quite appealing and revealing about him.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      I think it’s a bit of a toss up. If Eccleston hadn’t departed, we might not have ever gotten Tennant. Who knows where David would have been in his career, if he would have even been available, had Christopher stayed on by the time he would have left. I really think that the Ninth Doctor would have been even more brilliant had there been more time spent developing him over the course of a few series, and Christopher could have done much more, and been even more brilliant than he was. Christopher has said so himself, that one series wasn’t enough, and he could have done and would have liked to have done much more. I thought the Anniversary Special could have gone some way to redress this. It probably would have been a pre-Rose Ninth Doctor we would have encountered, fresh from the War. We never saw Nine as he was before he met Rose, and she as the Tenth Doctor later stated, “fixed” him. It would have been interesting to see how Rose might have dealt with his not knowing her, because he hadn’t met her yet. Could have been. Not to be.

  11. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I think the most likely answer is that Eccleston is simply not the kind of actor who’s comfortable with the mega-level fan stardom a show like Doctor Who attracts. It puts you in a certain kind of fishbowl and some actors fully embrace it and others really want to just focus on the work and the challenge and stay out of the limelight when off camera. I think the *only* reason he took the job in the first place was because of his respect for RTD’s writing. I also think after he started filming, he realized the whole thing was much crazier and more absorbing than he thought but probably made it clear that he’d be doing only one series anyway. Thank god he did do that one, short series though because a different guy in the role at that time in that place…who knows what might have happened.

    I don’t think he’s a big “interview” guy and maybe not that comfortable in social situations–maybe an introvert like many actors. Seems reasonable. He probably sent the letter just to appease a part of the fan contingent but I don’t see him ever coming back in any way, shape or form. I’m guessing since we may never know the whole story but I’d bet it’s a simple as what I’ve said.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      I agree, rickjlundeen. I don’t think Eccleston had any idea about what he was in for. RTD can’t be faulted for not warning him, because although he was very aware of fandom being a fan himself, I’m sure he had a lot on his own mind bringing it all back. But here’s the thing. The actor who gets involved with Doctor Who has to learn. Take Paul McGann for example. He thought Doctor Who was over for him when the 1996 pilot didn’t go to series.The very thought of doing conventions terrified him. He came back in 1998 to read some stories as the Eighth Doctor for the BBC. I once talked with him later on at a convention (once he had had his “epiphany” about them in 2003 and started attending them), about the BBC EDA’s, and he had actually looked in on them and observed that they were at least in part, taking the Eighth Doctor where he wanted to take him, had there been a series. Then, in 2001, along came Big Finish, with which he has been involved for a dozen years. He had Sylvester McCoy, Gary Russell, Jason Haigh-Ellery and India Fisher to guide him in, and he came around. I can’t relate to this “Christopher Eccleston doesn’t owe us or Doctor Who anything” rationale. He will never again be part of anything like a half century enduring British Institution, that is now seen and loved by the world as never before. I would venture to say that a lot of doors have opened for him in his career because of Doctor Who. It’s about gratitude, and being part of something bigger than oneself. This is Doctor Who we’re talking about! Yes it’s just a television show, but it’s not! I will conclude by stating the heart of what I was trying to state from the beginning. Christopher Eccleston could have brought about closure, shown some gratitude, and made a lot of people happy by doing one last principally small thing. A few weeks more of his time to say thank you and goodbye. However he claims to have appreciated his time on the show, he obviously didn’t appreciate it in regards to anyone beyond himself. He can say he cared all he wants, but actions speak louder than words, and he obviously didn’t.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      You make some good points there, Rick. It might be worth remembering the CE was once in “Cracker” and, just as it became a huge hit, left (in one of the most dramatic story lines if the series, murdered by a young Robert Carlyle). It is actually quite a brave thing for actors to walk away from successful shows – the money and the guaranteed work. Maybe he felt he had done what he could with the part, and didn’t wish to continue in a role he could no longer explore?

      RTD always claimed, of course, that it was it plan all along to have CE for only one season so they could have a surprise regeneration. Whether that is true, of course, is another matter. If it is, presumably it would have applied to whoever they got, whether it was CE or Bill Nighy or Hugh Grant…

      Oh, and as I understand it, he didn’t “withdraw” from the special (which is how the papers reported it) but rather had talks with SM and decided not to do it.

  12. avatar GallifreyanFallenAngel says:

    Well, actors have jobs and lives outside of the roles they are famous for too, just like any non-celebrity. Actors need work and change at some point. That doesn’t mean the actors should be dismissive to anyone about the roles they are in, but there is a point where people need to remember, like I said, actors have roles and lives outside of what they are famous for. I have never heard an account where Christopher Eccleston has been rude or dismissive to any Doctor Who fan.

    Like others have said, Tom Baker seemed very wanting to separate himself from the Doctor after he left, even refusing to reprise his role in The Five Doctors. That doesn’t mean he was being rude or anything, he just wanted to separate and do something new.

    Besides, I remember rumors of Eccleston being sighted in Cardiff just as 50th filming began. It was probably not related, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Eccleston was still represented in the special somehow, along with all the other classic Doctors. I’m just going to try to keep calm and wait for the special to judge for myself.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      It would be a cruel, an evil cruel joke if he does appear in the 50th saying, “Ha! I’m here after all, just having everyone on! Fantastic!”. And Paul McGann turns up as well and says, “Now that’s funny!”.

  13. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    Yeah, I don’t think I’ve any reports of him being rude to fans or anyone else, either. Perhaps Eccleston thought he could pop into the world of Doctor Who and then simply exit cleanly and we as fans would respect him and his decision, tip our hats and expect nothing more. Unfortunately, many fans always want more and sometimes too much.

  14. avatar DonnaM says:

    Blimey, controversial!

    My feeling was always that CE took on the job as precisely that – a job. He had no emotional attachment (such as DT did) to the Doctor; he knew Russell T Davies was writing the show and he wanted to work with him. Fair enough; it’s as good as reason as any!

    Perhaps the hullaballoo about the show took him by surprise; perhaps he wasn’t comfortable with that. He wouldn’t be the first actor to be proud of a part without feeling the attachment to it the fans do.

    His successors have all come into it with that hullabaloo as a given: Tennant understood the part is not “just” a part to a lot of people; Smith didn’t know the show as a child, but he understood how “big” it had become. Capaldi’s a fan too, so starts with a grasp of both issues.

    I’ve no idea what Eccleston’s relations with others involved at the time were; he wasn’t one of my favourite Doctors. But I appreciate his importance in re-establishing Doctor Who on television, and I’m grateful to him for that.

  15. avatar Caredroia says:

    Why did they ever pick Eccleston for the part? My personal opinion, and it is only an opinion, that it was a really lacklustre performance. It was an attempt at a brooding Tom Baker-esque Doctor, which felt lazy. A take the money and run approach.
    Everything that has been said on this, both the Pros and the Cons about his acting, his season, and his treatment of fans, and by better well-informed people then I.
    The point I wanted to bring up is, why didn’t they bring back Paul McGann. One of the best things about the 1996 TV movie was Paul’s acting (that, the music, and the TARDIS) I’m sure Paul would have come back for a full series. Then we could have skipped straight to Tennant, Smith, and now Capaldi.
    Let’s be honest…aren’t we all still waiting for Paul to make an appearance.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      No. Not all of us.

  16. avatar matthewstott says:

    He’s great; he was exactly the sort of serious name-actor needed to re-launch the show as a serious proposition. He left and moved on, happy to talk about the show if asked, but not the sort to dive into fandom, or to go back to something once he’s done with it. It’s great to hear that he looks back with fondness on his involvement.
    He owes us nothing, we owe him a lot.

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      I was watching “Dalek” the other night – I hadn’t seen it for several years – and was taken by how good he was in it (and how different the show felt in it’s first season back).

  17. avatar lisakaytate says:

    Here’s my commentary on why Nine will always be my favorite.
    Hope you all enjoy it!

  18. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    I rate Eccleston highly as an actor, based on his performances in Our Friends in the North amongst others. But I still don’t think he understood Doctor Who or the character of the Doctor, and he still doesn’t feel like ‘the Doctor’ to me.

    I hate to sound old-fashioned and class-obsessed, but the clue is in the name ‘Time Lord’. There was nothing remotely lordly about him and I wasn’t convinced. I will always think of this incarnation as ‘Divorced Hollyoaks Dad’.

    That said, he had his moments, (the more dramatic ones rather than the clumsy comedic attempts), I understand why he was cast, and it signalled the serious intent behind the rebooted series, giving it a foundation for a long, successful future. But it’s interesting how the ‘working class, council estate’ style of Time Lord has given way to a more traditional, Troughtonesque version of the Doctor (especially Smith) since the BBC have realised that modern audiences have accepted the programme and that a foppish Doctor won’t harm the ratings significantly.

    Re: his non-appearance in the 50th, I was annoyed at first, (despite what I’ve said above) but he’s not a Character Options figure – we don’t own him and it’s his valid personal choice for whatever reason, just as it was Tom Baker’s not to appear in The Five Doctors in 1983 .

    • avatar Geoff says:

      I disaagree Spandrell but I love your Hollyoaks Dad comment!

    • avatar Bob James says:

      I think that the intent was to present a damaged, wounded, war torn Doctor. We didn’t at that point get to see any of the War itself, but we saw what it had wrought in the Doctor, and the state it had left him in. He later said of his Ninth incarnation that he had been “born in blood”. It had left him hardened, racked with survivors guilt, with walls he had built up around himself. This, in my opinion, couldn’t have been conveyed or accomplished with a “traditional” Doctor. From his choice of clothing to the way he carried himself, to the way a smile would just disappear from his face, Eccleston near perfectly as is possible captured this exceedingly well. In the past, after a regeneration, we’ve seen the Doctor in various states of vulnerability, acclimating to his new incarnation, choosing a new wardrobe. The first thing we see Nine do is blow up a department store! From the moment he took Rose Tyler’s hand, the journey back to himself began. She gave him a reason to restore his faith and begin again.

      • avatar castellanspandrel says:

        Fair enough.

        I’m thinking of Terrance Dicks’ New Adventures novel Warmonger now, in which the Fifth Dr is the leader of an army, and how unconvinced I was by that idea. I could see the Ninth Dr doing it, though.

        I’d define most of the TV incarnations of the Dr (not counting John Hurt) as ‘Troughtonish’ to a fair degree, apart from some notable exceptions: Hartnell and Eccleston, who didn’t fit that mold. I could also cite Pertwee, simply because of the ‘dandy action man’ element, but that might be overstating it.

        The closest Eccleston’s Dr got to that kind of ‘traditional’ Dr (i.e. curious and playful in an abesnt-minded professorial way) was when he was playing with the alien musical instrument/communicator on Van Statten’s desk.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          I do agree that Patrick Troughton became a bit of a “template” for future Doctors. Not for all of them, obviously, and not in the sense that anyone would outright imitate him, but just that general approach. His was the first great test of Doctor Who’s future and survival. Had Troughton failed, there would be no Doctor Who now. But that façade he employed, acting the fool, while all the while outthinking and outmaneuvering his opponents, was stellar. We later see the approach used by Tom Baker, Paul McGann, David Tennant, and Matt Smith. Christopher Eccleston also may have employed it a bit, with the clowning, gurning and smiling, but when it came time to get serious, he could turn to steel faster, in my opinion, than any of the rest.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            And not to forget Sylvester McCoy, who took it all proactive, to put it mildly.

  19. avatar Dan Hallett says:

    Without going into detail I tend to agree with Bob here. I think Eccleston has been disrespectful to the show, it’s fans and it’s legacy although not necessarily intentionally. I say not intentionally because I do not think he actually gives it much thought, it was just something he did for a year and that was it done and dusted. Richard Franklin did hit the nail on the head by calling it a heritage role and I think now anyone taking the job is fully aware of and respectful of that fact.

    Christian does sterling work on this site but that does not make him right about all things Who and in this case I have to say I think he has it wrong, Eccleston’s message for the BFI did not indicate his affection for the show but rather highlighted what a small footnote it was for him.

  20. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I appreciate Eccleston for helping to bring the show back, but I don’t have any strong feelings about this. I knew though that something like this would cause a backlash among a certain section of fandom,

  21. avatar francis cave says:

    Surely cannot it highlight that while it was a small footnote for him (less than one years work) but also that he is still clearly has some affection about playing the role?

    When he took the part clearly he didn’t realise what sort of commitment the fans would be expecting from him years later and honestly why on earth should he?

    Yes, anyone taking on the role now would be fully aware of this but not at that time.

    Apart from the TV movie the show had not been made for over 15 years and there was no guarantee it was going to be a success.

    CE didn’t have to write that message but I for one am glad he did.

  22. avatar Caredroia says:

    Funny thing is, I never felt he understood the role. He thought it was Sherlock in space for kids.
    Too much brooding, not enough character, (although he did kill his own civilisation, so I can understand the guilt) and how people go on how he “saved” Doctor Who!
    Doctor Who did not begin with Eccleston. Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, even Peter Cushion got the character of the Doctor. The best thing about the Rebirth, was RTD’s overview of the scripts.
    Could Eccleston have saved the likes of “Time of the Rani” or “Timelash”
    I understand he sent the BFI letter to placate the fans, but really isn’t that poking a sleeping tiger. We all know how passionate we all feel about “sore points” and how fandom can easily unleash their wrath.
    Like it or not, Chris is part of the legacy now, Until the day we get a frank, involved, interview from him, I feel he is still only a begrudged footnote, in a truly remarkable show.
    After all, he’s still my sore point!

    • avatar Simon Magellan says:

      You seem a bit confused in this argument. You praise RTD’s overview of the scripts but criticise CE’s “brooding” – which would have been written into the scripts as part of the character, by RTD and others. Actors don’t make it up as they go along – they read the lines given to them and do the best they can to develop the character. RTD obviously wanted a darker, guilt ridden Doctor and CE worked with that.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      I think Christopher Eccleston perfectly understood the role, from the way it was written on the page, to the way he realized and portrayed it. It was more of a complete construct than it had ever been before, less reliant on the actor’s personality, and this was nobody’s father’s Doctor, this was a whole new spin altogether. There were no grounds for comparison with past Doctors, because we who had encountered him before had never seen the Doctor in the wake of something so catastrophic, and most new viewers might never have encountered him at all. We can now see a possible follow through if we look in on the latter Big Finish Eighth Doctor Adventures, and what he’s becoming (for those who do, and consider them canon), but we had none then. Christopher Eccleston was not tasked with merely being the latest incarnation of the Doctor, but in many ways, recreating him almost entirely. Yes, this was the same man, but the man had seen and witnessed atrocity as never before, and he had blood on his hands. Nine couldn’t have been in any of the classic stories, because he was no longer that person, at any given point. The journey back to being himself, or whatever it was he was becoming began from the moment he met Rose, and started to move underneath all that scar tissue.

  23. avatar francis cave says:

    Is it not possible that CE sent the BFI letter either because he thought it would a nice thing to do or someone either attending as a guest or at the BFI contacted him and asked if he would like to contribute in some way to the event?

    Why on earth does he have to “placate the fans” in any way?

    What difference would it make to him either way what some fans think?

    Unless you go to conventions, read fan magazines/books or go on fan sites you would have no awareness at all of fandom apart from a vague idea that some people love the series past just watching it.

    He did a job, he finished that job. End of story.

    As it has been said many times before he owes fandom absolutely nothing, no apology, no “warts and all” interview, nothing.

  24. avatar Bob James says:

    At this point, I no longer want an explanation. He should do what his actions have displayed, and his “kind” words have betrayed. He should move on, if that’s what he wants to do. That is his right, that is his decision. Don’t take meetings with Steven Moffat about participation in the Anniversary if he really is done with it and wants to move on. Don’t tease reporters when asked whether he’d like to participate in the Anniversary by saying things like , “If I told you, I’d have to shoot you.”. Don’t send little notes to BFI screenings of your episodes. When someone asks, he should just clearly state that he did Doctor Who a long time ago, and has moved on and doesn’t want to talk about it. Don’t wish the production team luck after he’s declined further involvement. Just move on. It’s just another job on his CV to him. Walk away, and keep walking, and good luck with his thriving career. If he wants out, then he’s out. There’s no need to patronize a fanbase he no longer has any interest (if he ever did) in engaging.

  25. avatar vortexter says:

    I have to say I never enjoyed his portrayal of the Doctor. He seems to walk through the part and doesn’t have that special ‘something’ you need to be the Doctor. He just reminds me of a bloke from the pub. It’s nothing about him as a person. I’m sure he’s the salt of the earth and pleasant to those who mention the show to him but that first series seemed to be distancing itself from the true spirit of the show and the character of the Doctor.
    I cannot for the life of me see the reason why he will not participate in the show anymore. And to say he would do the 100th and not the 50th is somewhat smug in my opinion.
    But saying that, he could yet still appear in the 50th special. It could all be a big secret we haven’t been let in on.

  26. avatar Geoff says:

    Perhaps it’s as simple as this: Busy actor takes part because it will broaden his range and appeal to the public. Actor enjoys part but finds some aspects frustrating and decides to move on earlier than he perhaps thought. Actor is then very busy doing other work and doesn’t really have time or feel inclined to talk about part any more than countless other parts he’s done. Actor slowly realises that public have other ideas! Actor realises that some participation is expected from him and (after all still being proud of his work in show but also still very busy) sends public letter.
    Public crucify actor!

  27. avatar STLShawn says:

    Wow, people seem to have strong feelings on the subject.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      You think? I think so too.

  28. avatar Andy Blake says:

    I believe Eccleston’s issues were specifically with Euros Lyn and/or Phil Collinson (though don’t ask me for sources after all this time). If true, it’s not surprising that he won’t share a panel with the latter. Nor that he pointedly says he’d do it if AHEARNE were directing.

    Anyhow, Eccleston’s complaint was about the behind-the-scenes “culture” on the show, and his perception could be that not a lot has changed there.

    Some critics will have to eat a verbal three-course meal if Ecclescake does surprise us with a 50th anniversary cameo. And if not, the 10th anniversary of Rose is just around the corner…

    • avatar Bob James says:

      I’d happily and humbly be eating a whole herd of cows , with an enormous side of crow, if we’ve been had, and he appears in the 50th. Dozens of eggs on my face. Proven completely wrong. I’d own the fact that I was if that proves to be the case. I would love for him to prove me to be a prematurely babbling idiot (I know, setting myself up there, but whoever runs with that, seek out my above comment about the thumbs down, and where they can proceed to stick them), and for him to take a proper bow and bid farewell. But this isn’t going to happen. I hope nobody bothers to ask him about the 10th Anniversary of “Rose”, because he’ll probably have forgotten he even appeared in it. I mean, no actor really wants to bother with something he did so long ago, right? It’s all about amnesia, about amnesia and paychecks, and after that, why should any actor give a toss?

      • avatar Mary1 says:

        Good lord Bob. It is a telly show. Get over it.

        You may want to look up the definition of reality vs fantasy while you are at it as well.

        These folks are ACTORS. Not your property. Not people who exist for you to attack because you perceive they don’t kiss enough bum. What do you want Eccleston to do? He sent a note, he’s been lovely to fans who loved his portrayal. That is more than enough for me and many others.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          And now psychological advice as well! And who said anything about anybody kissing anybody else’s bum? Perhaps this is bit of revelation on your part of personal fantasy? I find you to be a very silly person, Mary1. The only reference I made here to bums, regarded the location where some folks here might place their thumbs. You get over it.

          • avatar Mary1 says:

            I am a ‘very silly person’? You are the one who has been whining about CE for a week. If you want a psychological analaysis I could give you one based on that. But I won’t.

            I only keep responding because I find you rather amusing as you keep trying to be witty yet keep failing.

            Do go on though and tell me more about these supposed personal fantasies of mine.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            I won’t be having those kind of conversations with you. There must surely be other places on the World Wide Web where you could indulge yourself in that sort of thing. Try googling the topic of bums. It’s nice that you’ve found a way to amuse yourself. You and others have kept attempting to respond to my comments, and that’s what has dragged this on. I presented what I clearly qualified as my opinions, and there has been nothing by way of response that in any way challenges or leads me to reconsider my point of view. Instead, I encounter attempts to advise me as to how to feel and what to think. I stand by everything I’ve said, with the exception, perhaps, of my apology to you. Because you’re silly. As to my your statement that I’ve failed to be witty, well you’re not someone whose assessment of such things I would show any regard to. Again, in your own words “get over it”. I shall not respond to you again, as I don’t want to encourage you to continue to be silly.

          • avatar Mary1 says:

            What was that Bob was saying earlier about condescension?

            Yeah. He just won the award for that tonight.

  29. avatar Debbie Moody says:

    CE was great. He has his reasons for turning down the 50th. I suspect that reason is Moffat who has repeatedly spat on everything done in the RTD era to the point where, in Moffat’s own words, RTD will not write for him, Over the last week or so Moffat has back-pedaled after slamming Billie Piper and David Tennant as well as RTD..Guess he’s trying to make like he loved them all along. I think he’s just trying to get on the good side of all the fans he’s alienated with his RTD/Tennant/Billie bashing. I don’t blame CE for not working for Moffat. The man is a troll, a liar and a toad.

  30. avatar castellanspandrel says:

    Dear me! Have you ever met Steven Moffat, Debbie? Do you know him or anyone who does know him? If not, then how can you make such vitriolic, personal comments?

    RTD said he’d never write for the series again when he left; he’d made his mind up at that point. And when exactly did Moffat ‘slam’ Piper and Tennant? Can you quote your sources?

    Of course, your post may be trollery itself, in which case I shouldn’t even have bothered responding.

  31. avatar Bob James says:

    Just completing the retraction of my apology. Done now.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Directed to Mary1, many comments above. Don’t know how it ended up down here.

      • avatar Mary1 says:

        Are you sure you are done responding to me now, Bob? Because at this point you are just coming off as a petulant child.

Please be aware that all comments are subject to adherence to our comments policy.
Back to Top ↑