Doctor Who 9th Doctor

Published on October 13th, 2013 | by Christian Cawley

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Eccleston’s Anniversary Absence Explained in SFX!

The new issue of SFX magazine is out on Wednesday 16th October, and is a veritable The Three Doctors The Day of the Doctor festival!

Along with striking cover art and yet to be seen images, we also learn from Steven Moffat just why Christopher Eccleston turned down the chance to return to Doctor Who for the show’s 50th anniversary special…

I had an initial contact with Chris and, in a very amiable and gentlemanly way, he didn’t feel that he could come back to it.

There wasn’t any big fuss about it – I had a couple of meetings with him, and he was perfectly pleasant, and indeed quite enthused about the show, but he just doesn’t do that, it’s just not him.

Except, Mr Moffat, in Cracker - right?

Sadly, we don’t feel that this is the whole truth, but perhaps it’s the best we’ll get for a few years. In the meantime, don’t miss the next issue of SFX!

(Via Invasion of Time. | With thanks to 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+.




109 Responses to Eccleston’s Anniversary Absence Explained in SFX!

  1. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    As recently as just a few years ago, regarding When Tom Baker decided not to return for the 5 Doctors chastised him for not returning for it. “shame on you” I believe he said. Not sure why Eccleston gets a pass from him……

    • avatar Bob James says:

      He shouldn’t get a pass. And I too, believe there was more to it. We’re never going to know, and it’s time to move on, because there’s so much for Doctor Who fans to appreciate. If he wants nothing to do with it, that’s on him. I have never believed RTD’s assertion that it was always the intention for Eccleston to do one series in the first place. If that were the case, then why would Christopher later say things like “if” I had stayed on, or one series wasn’t “enough” to develop the character, or make the vague explanations as to why he left, i.e. not “seeing eye to eye” with senior management, etc.? For some reason, we’re being handed a story, because no one wants to go into it. Doctor Who was never and never will be about one actor, whether that be Tom Baker, or now, Christopher Eccleston. If Eccleston wants a quiet, low profile career, that’s his right and choice. I know, for my part, I’ll be seeing him in “Thor: The Dark World”, because he just happens to be in it, and then I won’t be going out of my way to watch his work ever again. So Long and Goodnight Christopher Eccleston.

      • avatar docwhom says:

        “So long and goodnight Christopher Eccleston”. My god! I bet that hurt him. He must be feeling particularly small and ashamed of himself after reading that. Maybe now he’ll start to think that maybe DW fans are the sort of people whose opinions are actually worth something, after all.

        When you say “it’s time to move on”, what you actually mean is “first I’ll throw my toys out of the pram and then I’ll move on.”

        If you value his work as an actor so little, why would you want him to return to DW in the first place?

        • avatar Bob James says:

          docwhom, are you off your prescribed medication? It’s not wise not to take your meds. It was no part of my intention in my comments to make Christopher Eccleston feel “small and ashamed of himself”. And you don’t honestly think he’s reading any of this do you? I valued and greatly appreciated his work in Doctor Who, and haven’t seen him in much of anything else. I would have greatly enjoyed his brief return as part of the 50th Anniversary Special, which would have been a gracious thing for him to do, for the fans, yes, and out of appreciation that we was a major part (at least, to my thinking) of something completely unique and the likes of which he will never be part of the like again. His stance and attitude make any of his future work of no interest to me. This will in no way effect his career, nor do I wish it to. I am moving on, as I said, because again, as I said, Doctor Who is much bigger and much more than any one actor. Babbling on about throwing toys out of a pram. Take your meds docwhom, and maybe get back in your own pram, and play with your own toys.

          • avatar docwhom says:

            My arse, it wasn’t. Your post lacked only one thing. A “so ner” and a pouty Smiley at the end.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            docwhom, your “arse”, so ner”, “pouty Smiley”, what’s up with that? What you do with yourself or others in the privacy of your own bedroom is none of my business, and nothing to do with this topic.


    • Amen. Chris has been negative about the show since he left. As to Tom Baker, he’s seemed ashamed of Doctor Who till he realized it meant a pay check once again.

      • avatar Francis Cave says:

        “Chris has been negative about the show since he left”

        Actually he has been the complete opposite.

        Apart from saying the reason he decided not to continue in the role was due to certain work practices, everything else he has ever been quoted about the series has been very positive.

        Its certain vocal fans who have decided that he clearly hates the series…

        • avatar DocRob says:

          I saw an interview in which he was asked about his opinion on where the show was headed at that point and he basically said he had no opinion because he didn’t really care about the show at all and didn’t watch it at all.. It is possible he says positive things because he is supposed to say nice things publicly? I don’t know, he didn’t say he hated the show but gave the impression he could care less about it in any way.

          • avatar Sabrina says:

            So he doesn’t watch the show? OH DEAR GOD HOW DARE HE!!!11 Seriously, fans are complaining about this like it’s the worst sin ever and decided that since he’s not a DW fan like David Tennant or Peter Capaldi he must hate it.

            Truth is, he wanted the job because the character intrigued him and he was eager to work again with RTD cause he loved his writing – and in result that’s what he always praised about his work on the show. This sort of praise has always been consistent in all his interviews so I think faking it would be a ridiculous long term commitment and I can’t really see him doing that. For the most part he’s very straight forward with his opinions and doesn’t shy away from trashing his own work when he’s not satisfied with it. And at the same time he does dish out a lot of praise to whoever he thinks deserves it. Like in one interview where he was asked about Matt Smith as the Doctor (could be the same you were talking about) he admits that he doesn’t watch the show but he has seen Matt on stage and thinks he’s brilliant.

          • avatar lara says:

            exactly.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        To be fair to Tom, if not necessarily complimentary, he seemed to initially have a real sense of ownership about Doctor Who. It was “his” role. I think that time and age mellowed him quite a bit, and he realized that Doctor Who was bigger than Tom Baker, and that, David Tennant was possibly bigger than Tom Baker. David was the first NuWho Doctor to overtake Tom in popularity with the UK public. I think, by his own renewed sense of involvement, he seems to be aware that he is a big part of something unique, this half century old (young) British institution. I’m glad he’s back onboard, but I just wish he could overcome his fear of flying and come to the US for a convention or two.

  2. avatar Al says:

    I don’t get the Cracker reference. Can someone explain? I don’t understand why people are hellbent in suggesting strife behind the scenes. Eccleston was booked to work on Thor 2 and probably other movies and one of which would pay him 10 times what the BBC would. End of story.


    • I included a link…

    • avatar Vicky says:

      Chris returned to Cracker after his character was killed off as his twin brother ( albeit briefly… )…

      • avatar David F says:

        No, he didn’t “return”. It was part of the same shooting block. He was still around anyway.

  3. avatar simon magellan says:

    I’m unclear about the Cracket reference too – his character was killed off in that, so he couldn’t have returned to it if he wanted to (and as far as I know, never did in any flashbacks/dream sequences!).

    Look, the man’s an actor – he was asked and, as Moffat says, politely declined, It’s up to him – we don’t own him, he has every right to do as he wishes. I’m getting a bit tired of fandom’s desire to complain about everything and to act like everyone owes them something.

    Let it go.


    • He returned twice. Click the link. ;)

      • avatar Simon Magellan says:

        Fair enough, I missed the link.

        But my point remains – he’s an actor, not fandoms personal property and it’s up to him if he does the show. It may well be, as is said elsewhere, that he hates it and wishes he’d never set foot in the Tardis – would all the whiners prefer he came out and said that? Maybe he’s just trying to be diplomatic. Matt Smith has said that he was hurt by sone of the things said about him online when he was cast, maybe CE was too?

        Anyway, frankly I’m far more interested in what the future holds with Peter Capaldi than obsessing about the past.

  4. avatar docwhom says:

    Eccleston returned a couple of times after his Cracker death to film cameos for the series.

    I do wonder what the people forever whingeing about Eccleston really want. Has it occurred to them that the reason he won’t return yet is willing to do stuff just for the money (GI Joe, etc) is not because he’s a hypocrite but because he actually loathes Doctor Who but is too polite to say so. Maybe he was happy to return to Cracker but not Doctor Who because he enjoyed and respects the former but hates the latter.

    Maybe the naggers won’t be satisfied until he finally gets nagged to the point where he comes out and says: “OK, the true reason why I won’t return is that I loathed every minute of being in Doctor Who and I especially can’t stand the hysterical fans and their needy sense of entitlement.” That would make us all feel so much better than not knowing, wouldn’t it?

    The real arrogance of this attitude among fans is this. If they’re so keen on him returning, they must have loved his performance as the Doctor. Well, if he gave them so much enjoyment, don’t they feel any obligation to give him something in return? Such as respecting him enough to leave him alone. You appear once in Doctor Who and you’re forever under an obligation to pander to us but we’re under no obligation to you.

    • avatar Josh Howell says:

      It’s a cameo… It’s not like he would have been in production for months or years of time. It’s also the 50th anniversary which only comes around once. There won’t be a chance most likely for any of these actors and the 100th.

      To many fans it’s now or never, and faced with that choice most people would assume getting paid for a little work and a lot of love from fans would be more than worth it. Unless there’s something seriously wrong.

      If there’s something seriously wrong with the culture of Doctor Who or those making the show etc… that bothers Chris Eccleston so much, how can he just “politely decline”? Why would he bother going to meetings in the first place?

      The whole thing just doesn’t make a lot of common sense.

      • avatar docwhom says:

        There goes that arrogant sense of entitlement again.

        If he dislikes being associated with Doctor Who, then it doesn’t matter whether they ask him to film for 5 minutes or for five months. He doesn’t want to do it.

        You call it a lot of love. Some would call it a lot of clingy neediness and the renewal of the assumption that DW fans have any rights on Eccleston’s time or career. And Eccleston has had lots of experience of the “love” that DW fans display. Maybe he remembers one week into his tenure when the BBC leaked that he was only doing one series and he was ttacked from every side by fans attacking his professionalism, his honesty, his career, etc. And it’s exactly the same fans who now demand that he return to experience their “love”.

        • avatar docwhom says:

          P.S. Maybe he did the meetings with Moffat because he was having second thoughts. And maybe those meetings just served to remind him that he was right in the first place.

          • avatar Winston says:

            I agreed with some of the things that you said but how could “You” Mr.docwhom possibly know that. How could you even come to the assumption of something like that? Don’t ask why I put you in quotations. Just something I needed to do.

          • avatar James says:

            Do you have to offer a scathing reply to so many people? I’m tired of seeing your name :3
            *awaits very witty and scathing reply*. I probably won’t read it, so congratulations in advance, you are very very clever. I hope my validation filled the need :)

    • avatar Jenn Besonia says:

      Docwhom, I agree with you. He doesn’t want to do it and people should respect that. Just like how Neil Gaiman said that [George R.R.] “Martin is not your bitch”, people need to learn that Eccleston is not their bitch either.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        I agree, he’s nobodies bitch but his own.

    • avatar mommyme says:

      My fiance did a bit of research. Apparently Mr. Eccleston did Doctor Who because it was something from his childhood that he wanted to bring back. He grew up with it and it inspired him. Mr. Eccleston didn’t want to do it long term, just long enough to rekindle the fires of delight that he knew as a child and possibly bring that joy to others.

    • avatar Amber says:

      I agree if he dosnt want to thats his choice i am a bit sad because he was my fav doctor but in the end its his choice on to return or not and if he dosnt want to than he dosnt want to

  5. avatar Rusty says:

    I wish Billie Piper would do the same – I am SICK of the boomerang blonde!

    • avatar David F says:

      I think it’s fitting that she’s in this particular episode, so long as it’s a pre-Doomsday version of Rose. Another crossing over from the other universe would kick yet another dent in the effectiveness of her original departure.

      And I just hope the Eleventh Doctor shows that he’s affected by seeing her again. It’s always bothered me that, in The Five Doctors, the Fifth Doctor is reunited with his granddaughter and reacts as though it’s insignificant.


      • That was down to an edict from JNT – The Doctor was sexless, so he COULDN’T have had a granddaughter, right? Bothered me, too. The damage is somewhat repaired by Paul McGann in Big Finish’s “An Earthly Child”. For me, anyway.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      It’s a fair bet that Billie Piper is not at all concerned about the obvious minority of folks who don’t want to see her portray Rose again. It’s obvious that Stephen Moffat isn’t either, since he chose to include her. If you’re sick, see a doctor.


      • I lay the blame for the whole “Boomerang Blonde” nonsense on squarely on RTD and his soap opera roots – his stories tend to come off as bad fan fiction and Rose is his “Mary Sue” – look it up. He ignores the basic rules of writing. and insults the intelligence of anyone watching his drivel. I was glad to see him go. Okay fine, he ‘brought Doctor Who back” doesn’t mean he should be given a free pass to change the rules of his own canon whenever he feels like it. If you say “Rose can’t come back without destroying two universes,” and give her a big sendoff, then you can’t bring her back FOUR MORE TIMES just because YOU need more validation for “Look how great I am”

        • avatar Sabrina says:

          lol @ your comment. But this in particular:

          “If you say “Rose can’t come back without destroying two universes,” and give her a big sendoff, then you can’t bring her back FOUR MORE TIMES just because YOU need more validation for “Look how great I am””

          He only brought her back one time – and that was only because the universes were at the brink of destruction already.

  6. avatar Eternalgreenknight says:

    I think when you choose to take up the mantle and be the Doctor, you should already know it is inevitable you will be sought out for return appearances. It should be part of the contract before you start filming that you might do a couple such appearances down the road.

    • avatar docwhom says:

      Yes. That makes so much sense. Let’s draw up a contract which binds someone to returning to work for us whenever we snap our fingers. Again we get this divorce from the real world among fans which allows them to say something like that with no conception of how silly it sounds.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        I agree that it might not be a wise practice, but anyone here ever heard of Marvel? Superhero movies. Some of those folks are locked in for at least a decade.

    • avatar David F says:

      It turns out the Doctor Who fans weren’t represented by Whizzkid after all. Apparently, they were actually represented by the Gods of Ragnarok.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        And I’m getting nervous about that. I took it on faith that Eccleston would be excellent in “Thor: The Dark World”, and I hope and trust that he is. But judging from some of his lines heard in the trailers, I’m left thinking, oh, no………..

        • avatar lara says:

          i can only hear one line where i recognize eccleston’s voice because there is not a northern accent, so it is hard to tell if he is going to be any good or not. and i can only find one trailer, are there more?!

          • avatar Bob James says:

            There are about three at my count out there, a few now extended, that I’ve seen. He looks great, but there’s a line about Thor’s world “disintegrating” that makes me think of camp and lumber. I really hope I’m wrong. I’d love to be wrong. He’s not using a northern accent, as he can shift when he needs to. Everything else about the film looks awesome, and I hope he is too, as he’s more the capable of being.

    • avatar Matt Walker says:

      I don’t think many people would sign a contract like that! I am just thankful that we’ll get to see 10 and 11 in action. That’ll do for me.

    • avatar Neu 75 says:

      Eccleston knew what he was letting himself in for when he signed up to play The Doctor. He was a success, but in light of Tennant and Smith, a qualified one. If he doesn’t want to be involved anymore, then fair enough, but it does make you wonder why he bothered in the first place…

  7. avatar John says:

    It would be interesting if – as 10 and 11 are flying off to their respective time lines that we see 8 regenerate into 9 somehow – in the last few frames of the episode. They must have some stock footage of Eccleston that they could use just for that.

  8. avatar Dee says:

    We really shouldn’t be the ones to judge. Maybe he had scheduling conflicts, maybe he doesn’t particularly like the script, maybe he hated the show, maybe he’s just a terrible person, whatever. As we don’t know the whole story, it seems really wrong to judge an actor we really respect by a limited perspective that we have


  9. “We don’t feel this is the whole truth”? Come on. Eccleston had already stated that eh didn’t want to come back for the 50th as soon as people started asking him months and months ago. What exactly are you digging for? It\s what Chris says and it’s what Moffat says, so just leave it be. He wasn’t that great a Doctor IMO anyway.


    • He said nothing of the sort.
      A strange comment, given the wealth of articles on this website about this subject alone.

      Last November, Eccleston said:

      Would I like to be involved? If I told you that I’d have to shoot you.

      and

      I’ve not even thought about it. It’s so long ago for me that I haven’t even thought about it.

      Neither of these are denials. I think everyone reading would appreciate you supplying a link to a denial – I know I certainly would!

      And let’s be realistic he really didn’t want to be involved, he wouldn’t have had two meetings.

      It would, instead, have been a very short phone call.

      • avatar Matt Walker says:

        Reading between the lines, these sound pretty much like denials. Eccleston is no fool, and would be well aware that if he said “no” regarding potential involvement in the 50th, the next question would be ‘why not?’. And so he simply dodged the question whenever asked. And it’s understandable why he’d want to avoid that question.

  10. avatar Molly says:

    Doctor Who is an iconic show, i find it mildly selfish of him to decline work (one milestone episode, where he would make very short appearances). There are thousands of doctor who fans who would love him to be a part of the 50th anniversary and for what it would take, I think hes being stubborn and childish towards the BBC when they have done wonders for his career. Lets face it, he would never have been in Thor 2 had he not appeared on Doctor Who and the Doctor Who fans are not just a small part of his success. (Docwhom) I understand people in fandoms thinking Eccleston owes them something, because, well, he does.

    • avatar Dale says:

      This comment was satirical, right? Please tell me it’s satirical, because otherwise I’ll have to believe that I’ve aligned myself with a fandom full of complete nutters.

      • avatar TonyS says:

        Hopefully not full. But I am beginning to worry also…

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Than perhaps you should think twice about that alignment and align yourself with something else. Be creative, I’m sure you’ll find something.

    • avatar docwhom says:

      Exactly what wonders have the BBC done for his career?

      I don’t know if Maths is your weak point but, in exchange for DW fans liking him, Eccleston spent a year of his life reviving their favourite show. We can worship Tennant as much as we like but we may never have seen him at all had Eccleston not been a success in Series 1. Any reasonable person might suppose that the two halves of that equation cancel each other out. Some might even have enough of a sense of proportion to suppose that the fans are still hugely in Eccleston’s debt rather than vice versa.


    • Molly, please, please go to IMDb and Wikipedia and read about Christopher Eccleston’s career before and after Doctor Who. It’s pretty fair to say that (perhaps his Heroes appearances aside) he would have had more or less the same career if he’d been in Doctor Who or not.

      Doctor Who getting Eccleston in 2004 was a Big Deal. Not vice-versa.

      • avatar docwhom says:

        Yes, if anyone became a huge star because of DW, it was Tennant, not Eccleston. Tennant was just an emerging talent in 2006. In 2005, the general reaction of the fans (and more importantly the media) to Eccleston’s casting was one of the jaw hitting the floor – and it was only then that the media started taking the revival of the show seriously.

        • avatar James says:

          there he is again

          • avatar Bob James says:

            Blurry Bluto?

      • avatar lara says:

        absolutely christian. the only difference in eccleston’s career might be in his bank account. i am sure the continuing residuals from repeated showing of his time AND royalties from all the ninth dr merchandise gives him the freedom to pick and choose what he wants to do. he even said something once that the money was not a good enough reason to do a second season.

        if mr. eccleston didn’t want to do the 50th as the doctor, i can respect that, but i am disappointed he wasn’t in the doctor’s revisited nor was mcgann. that seemed odd. but maybe chris was just tired of talking about it! in almost every interview he has had since his DW days someone brings it up. i wish i knew why mcgann wasn’t part of the doctor’s revisited. it seems so logical.

        personally i thought eccleston was fabulous and will see thor only because he is in it. and i have sought out other films he has been in just for the pleasure of seeing the man work.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          I do think Doctor Who may well have influenced and opened doors in regards to the kind of roles he later took on. I don’t think for example, that he would necessarily been on the radar for “Heroes” if not for Doctor Who, and certainly not “Thor:The Dark World”. “G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra” is somewhere in there, but we need not go there. So while his career would certainly gone forward on its own strengths, I don’t think that would have also comprised the SciFi/SciFantasy genre had it not been for Doctor Who. I may be mistaken, but being unfamiliar with much of his pre Doctor Who career, I don’t recall it being mentioned he was ever in anything, perhaps except that zombie film, what was it, “28 Days” or something like that, that placed him within the genre.

    • avatar Merrill says:

      Molly Eccleston was acting in feature films long before he did who. In fact he was the big bad in a Nick Cage film called “Gone in 60 Seconds” So your who “Doctor Who Made Him What He is Today” Argument is rediculous.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        A film in which he was virtually gone in 60 seconds………….


  11. Uh, no. Eccleston owes fandom nothing. He did the work he agreed to under contract to the BBC. There’s no further requirement of him. I, too, would enjoy seeing more of the Ninth Doctor, but he doesn’t owe that to me or anyone else in fandom. We don’t always get what we want.

    • avatar David F says:

      Exactly.

  12. avatar vortexter says:

    I think we will see Eccleston return. Matt Smith has Clara, We all assume Rose is with the 10th but a recent rumour suggests otherwise so that leaves Rose with the 9th in my opinion.

    • avatar authorman94 says:

      That’s exactly what I’m thinking. But then again, could just be another bit of wishful thinking like the constant McGann/Davison/classic Doctors rumours. We’ll only know when it airs next month.

  13. avatar Ardath says:

    Well, yes, he came back in Cracker, but only because the producers had promised to kill his character off with marvelous drama. This is something that really doesn’t work when the character in question is an immortal Time Lord who has already had his quasi-death scene. This also caused a similar trouble for the producers of Heroes, who weren’t able to get him back to reprise Claude Raines… but fortunately, since the character’s super-power was invisibility, they could claim that he was in scenes even if he was unseen (and they did!). As much as I love Eccleston’s work — and I really really do — I think I’d be very hesitant as a casting director to hire him for any part that had even the slightest potential for longevity, because once he decides he’s done with a part, he’s solidly done with it.


    • Sorry Ardath, but you’re missing the point. Find the link :)


  14. It’s hardly unwise as an actor to disassociate yourself from a part after having done it, because ultimately you want other roles to play. Even David Tennant initially distanced himself from the show after he left. I don’t see the fuss; Tom Baker didn’t return for the 20th anniversary. I’m sure Chris will change his mind down the line.

  15. avatar DonnaM says:

    He’s quite entitled to move away completely from Doctor Who; he owes the show nothing. It doesn’t mean he holds the show, or its fans, in contempt because he doesn’t return for what (to us at least) is a big deal. Quite frankly if his heart isn’t in it, it’s better for all concerned that he politely declined the chance.

    Perhaps he was unhappy with things during his time as Nine. Perhaps it was simply another job; I don’t know. It’s not my business.

    Al I would say is, thanks Chris for helping to revive Doctor Who. Good luck in the future. And if that doesn’t include the show I love, well – so be it!

  16. avatar TonyS says:

    The point of the article seems to be that we are probably not being told the whole story. Or maybe even that it is not the truth at all. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time and I doubt it will be the last.The special is recorded now and we will see it next month. There is nothing we can do to change that.

    As for Christopher Eccleston not appearing in the special (and see my above comment about next month), that is his decision and we should respect that. He helped the revived show become a great success. To us it is extremely important. To him it is a job. Lots of the actors associated with the show have tried to distance themselves from their roles in the show. That does not mean that they are showing contempt for the fans. It simply means that they wanted careers afterwards. DonnaM, your post above is spot on. Well said :)

  17. avatar GallifreyanFallenAngel says:

    I will judge the 50th for itself after I see it. Just because one person chose not to be in it, yes, by choice, does not mean it is going to be bad.

  18. avatar Colin says:

    I haven’t read all the comments so sorry if I’m repeating what someone else has already said. My take on the Eccleston situation is that he was never really a fan of the show to begin with. He did it because RTD was writing it, and it was an acting challenge that would push him. He hadn’t done anything for kids before, and he knew Who came with a lot of history and fan interest. I think he was enticed by the acting job, not necessarily by the part itself. Which is fair enough. There may well have been other factors, but even if all had been well, I don’t know that he would have returned. By contrast, did they even need to ask David Tennant? :)

    • avatar Bob James says:

      And one can take the example of Bill Nighy, who came forth recently, and stated that he had been offered the part at one point. He declined because he understood the “baggage” that came with the role, and didn’t want to deal with that. There are roles that are so iconic, that, pass or fail, an actor will never be able to disassociate himself or herself from. There’s a lot that may come with the territory, and I don’t think Eccleston even caught a whiff of that, until now, perhaps.

  19. avatar Vinny says:

    Echoston wanted too much money – much more than the BBC could afford to pay him.

    • avatar lara says:

      the facts you have supporting that argument?

  20. avatar Andrew G. Dick says:

    Much as I loved the 9th Doctor, I really wish Christopher Eccleston would just let things go. Not appearing in the 50th is one thing, but not turning up for the BFI screening and shunning the whole Doctor Who world is a bit sad. He must have known when taking on the role, the amount of baggage. I’m just grateful that we have two great ambassadors in both David Tennant and Matt Smith, whom have both been great to the show and the fans. They are always there for us, and willing to give back to Doctor Who in any way they can. Both would have faced similar negatives, but neither would let them get in the way of creating any animosity to the show or the fans, and would never let us down.

    • avatar Rusty says:

      Where have you been? ALL of the previous Doctors have been wonderful to the fans over the years. Even Tom Baker was sweet to the fans even during the time he refused to play the Doctor. When I went to conventions back in the 80s I spent a lot of quality time (playing cricket, going out to eat, etc.) with Pertwee, Troughton and C. Baker as well as Ainley, Courtney and John Levine. They were always very kind to the fans. Helping with fan films FOR FREE is just one of many such examples of their willingness to be with the fans. Saying that ONLY Tennant and Smith are gracious to the fans is ridiculous. For some reason folks who were introduced to the Doctor via the new series don’t seem to know or care about the classic Doctors (One I spoke to said “Why should they let a bunch of old, fat men be in OUR show”) If there hadn’t BEEN Classic Doctors you wouldn’t HAVE 50th Anniversary.

      • avatar Andrew G. Dick says:

        I mean’t in terms of NuWho that Smith and Tennant have been good ambassadors, compared to Eccleston. It goes without saying the Classic stars have and always be brilliant.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          They have. I’ve been attending conventions in the US since 1981, and I’ve met all the Classic Doctors except William Hartnell. It would have been odd, and more than a bit disturbing had he shown up. All wonderful with fans, and in the bar as well. After I’ve bought some of them drinks, they have returned the favor! Suggestion for a new tie in show, “Drinking With The Doctor”.

  21. avatar Geoff says:

    Re reading those comments he made last November I wonder if perhaps he just hadn’t decided (or even been asked) one way or the other at that point. Clearly he doesn’t hate Doctor Who, he wouldnt have had two meetings with Steven Moffat if he did. By all accounts from fans who’ve met him, even in recent times he is polite, gracious and happy to talk about the show to fans if you are lucky enough to catch him one on one. I imagine that for reasons of his own he simply decided he didn’t want to do it. Steven Moffat might be fully privy to why he’s declined but being professional he’s not going to blurt out details of private conversations and rightly so.

  22. avatar Geoff says:

    I do think it’s a shame he’s not going to appear but maybe Chris believes in quitting on top and leaving the audience wanting more. I’m no actor but if I were that’s what I’d be tempted to do.

  23. avatar vortexter says:

    I have often wondered why the producers of each particular actor playing the role didnt shoot a little 5 minute blue screen segment with their Doctor for use in a future special with them looking just like they did in their prime.


  24. Frankly as far as I am concerned if he doesn’t want to be involved that is his problem, I could care less. I cared more that Paul was not asked to be involved. I am very happy that David is in the 50th.

  25. avatar authorman94 says:

    I think it’s a bit sad Eccleston isn’t returning to the role for either the 50th or anytime soon because I’ve always had a soft spot for his Doctor, and thought he would greatly benefit from some audio adventures, from either Big Finish or Audio Go. But ultimately, it’s his decision for not appearing in it and I respect that, as much as I would have wanted him in it (alongside McGann, but that’s a whole other debate), he wants a career outside Who, and it is a hard part to break free from (ask William Hartnell or Tom Baker), so I wish him nothing but the best for it, and hope he has lots of success with it.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      He had a career before Doctor Who, and his talent means he’ll have one after. I take issue that he somehow wants or thinks he’s going to have a career without Doctor Who as a constant presence of some sort in it, because that isn’t going to happen. He may have done more to put it behind him by participating in the Anniversary, as there would have been closure all around and he could have come off as gracious and reasonable. Nobody would have any place asking for more than that. A celebratory farewell, over and out, and move on. This is not the kind of actor who is ever going to be scraping by for work, or anxious over where his next job is coming from. He’s beyond the typecast trap, too.

      • avatar Geoff says:

        Much as I respect his reasons for not appearing I think this is a smashing point you’ve made. It would also have enabled him to cement his presence in the minds of children who watch the show now which was something he spoke about when he took over. Oh well. Maybe it’s all lies and about 25mins into the special he’ll just suddenly pop up and say “fantastic!”. I’d love that.

    • avatar lara says:

      bob, do you have a link for an extended trailer with more eccleston voice?

      • avatar Bob James says:

        Unfortunately not. I usually get access to trailers on http://www.aintitcool.com. Other than that, on Facebook, I’ve liked places like screenrant, and another I believe, is actually called trailers.com. The actual “Thor: The Dark World” film actually has a Facebook page as well that usually posts them. The one I’m referring to has a lot more visuals on Malekith (Eccleston’s character in the film), including a SPOILERS! bit of a scene where Loki apparently betrays Thor to Malekith. The lines I spoke of are brief, and pretty much voiceover, but they just didn’t sit right with me. So, you can check those out, or even just do a Google search for official trailers from the film. They have implied that there will be more the closer we get to the film’s release. Again, I’m going in hoping for the best.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          One of them is on aintitcool.com. And the word wasn’t “disintegrated” it was “extinguished”. Still a bit stiff for me. Maybe you’ll feel differently.

  26. avatar John Miller says:

    While Eccleston isn’t playing a big role in the 50th Anniversary story, I won’t be surprised if he does a little cameo.

    • avatar lara says:

      boy i would be. after all the news about eccleston not being in the 50th it would look hypocritical to show up even in a cameo

  27. avatar Geoff says:

    I don’t think it would be hypocritical, it would be seen as maintaining the surprise element which would be fine with me.


  28. It’s quite a shame he wants nothing to do with it, though I do understand his position. For some, Eccleston is ‘their Doctor’ and would like nothing more than to see him somewhat in the role again. I agree with what Bob James said though, it could be his (and fans) closure if he were to join in.

  29. avatar ZeroRoom says:

    Wow. This is one of the most aggressive thread comments I’ve ever read on Kasterborous! Frankly I’m not sure why, go for it with your opinions and debate but why is everyone so hostile over this? Eccleston is an actor. Being an actor is a job like any other. I’m sure we’ve all turned down jobs with better pay or high acclaim at one point or another in our lives simply because it didn’t suit our mood or values at the time. I know I have. More respect to his integrity if he goes with his gut and not external pressures (watch his appearance on the ‘Mastermind’ Doctor Who special that came out during his tenure as the Doctor and you can already see he is uncomfortable and trying to distance himself from the role).
    On another note the press release speak regarding any negotiations or refusals that took place doesn’t mean anything. I used to work in a job that required a lot of releasing information / interviews to the press and the line was always played out as “We have the greatest respect for the work of X and we remain close friends, but the time has come for X to move on to other projects” and 9 times out of 10 it was code for “These guys have been at each other’s throats for months now.” The amount of times outright bitter hatred behind closed doors was publicly presented by all parties involved as congenial career choices would astound you and this wasn’t for an organization anywhere near the public scale of Doctor Who.
    I’m not saying this is the case here necessarily, but press releases are carefully worded pieces of diplomacy that don’t shed any light on the truth of the matter whatsoever.
    We may or may not eventually find out something closer to the truth but whether we do or not it really isn’t our business. As fans our love is for the Doctor and what he gets up to in the TARDIS – not what goes on professionally or personally between private parties off screen.
    There also seems to be a great deal of conflict about what is or isn’t owed to “us” for the 50th anniversary. After living though the ’90s I for one can say I’m just glad there even *is* a 50th Anniversary special. There is no requirement for that to involve multiple Doctors just because the 10th and 20th did (I do enjoy the Three and Five Doctors specials but let’s admit they were fairly weak premises with logic holes you couldn’t patch with a lifetimes supply of concrete). The 25th anniversary didn’t take the multiple Doctors route and yet it contained some brilliant stories and great tributes to the shows history.
    This one happens to use the multiple Doctor trope, but as always it will be in whatever fictional format the show runners desire to use. It’s 75 minutes and it’s a special – that’s awesome – what the content is and how many incarnations of the Doctor are in it is irrelevant as long as it works for the story and makes for great Who. Why even have an expectation that Ecclestone (or anyone else for that matter) should appear in it? Let’s just wait and see if it’s good TV. I mean ‘Blink’ pretty much had no Doctor in it at all and it’s still considered a classic.
    Why all the anger? I say roll on 23rd November and bring more Who joy into my life!

    • avatar lara says:

      just to be clear, i am not angry at all! just disappointed as he is my fave doctor. but i certainly understand his choice and his right to choose and for sure do not think he owes “who” fans anything at all.

      it is rather too bad that once someone has played “doctor who” they will be forever be mentioned in interviews as “a former doctor who …”

      >>>>”it was code for “These guys have been at each other’s throats for months now.” The amount of times outright bitter hatred behind closed doors was publicly presented by all parties involved as congenial career choices would astound you and this wasn’t for an organization anywhere near the public scale of Doctor Who.
      I’m not saying this is the case here necessarily, but press releases are carefully worded pieces of diplomacy that don’t shed any light on the truth of the matter whatsoever.”<<>>> “watch his appearance on the ‘Mastermind’ Doctor Who special that came out during his tenure as the Doctor and you can already see he is uncomfortable and trying to distance himself from the role).” <<<<

      maybe that is why you saw nothing obviously overt, but still there.

      poor guy, even after all these years, here we are talking in detail about christopher eccleston as "doctor who." i swear if i ever meet the guy – not that there is a chance in hades that is ever going to happen, – but i promise i will not mention doctor who!

      too bad his face is covered with prosthetics in the upcoming thor.

      as for me, i am going to watch his "hero" episodes.

      • avatar lara says:

        i accidentally cut something out of my previous reply … i think we want to think everything is all sweetness and light behind the scenes of our favorite shows especially when there is an intense emotional connection between lead characters. to find out later they despised each other is sad. but i think the clues are always there, a shift in the eyes, a flatness in performance, a micro expression that is impossible to control. no amount of good acting can cover that up.

        maybe that is what you saw on the the “masterminds” special.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          Again, to be filed under “We are never going to know”, but something obviously went down that we are being kept in the dark about it. RTD says one thing, Christopher goes on suggesting an entirely different situation. Was it Mal Young? He was gone after Series 1 too. We don’t know. The fact that David Tennant didn’t go running off after a year citing not seeing “eye to eye” with senior management, and not liking the “culture” that had grown around the show, more than suggests that Christopher was at least part of the conflict. Personality clash with someone? Again, we don’t know, and I think it would have been a bad time for controversy with Doctor Who having just returned, and so it was swept under the carpet. It’s a shame. And for the record, as far as I’m concerned, anyone who keeps going on with the “entitled” fan thing can properly screw off. Doctor Who is Doctor Who, and to expect the actors who have gotten to participate in it, especially someone like Eccleston who contributed enormously, to be expected to be gracious and give something back isn’t out of hand. One more time, with the writer who by his own admission, wrote his favorite stories of his one series. A few weeks work, making potentially millions happy (or even just aware of him for the first time, as many NuWho fans aren’t), and the bringing about of closure, for himself and the show. Make any lingering clouds dispel. Celebrate and so long. Anyone who thinks that was too great a thing to ask of Eccleston, and for it to be wrong for fans to be a bit upset about at his attitude of detachment and rejection towards the show, especially in this anniversary year, is nuts.

          • avatar lara says:

            you are certainly entitled to your opinion. but to call others who don’t agree with you “nuts” is simply rude. when people resort to insults, they have run out of logic.

  30. avatar Bob James says:

    Who said anything about logic?

    • avatar David F says:

      Is it that time of the month again already? Seems like only yesterday I read a comment thread filled with Bob’s views on Eccleston, but here we are again. How time flies.

      • avatar Bob James says:

        When isn’t it that time of the month? When people stop defending him and giving him a pass, letting him off for his ingratitude and indifference to Doctor Who and its fans, and this whole issue just departs on the wind, I’ll stop responding.

        • avatar lara says:

          well ok…. it is probably a mistake, but do you have actual facts that support your premise?

          since we do NOT know everything that went on behind closed doors, i am not willing to hang eccleston from the nearest yardarm of the tardis.

          and are you REALLY going to keep responding every time someone actually supports eccleston and his views. oh dear, i would called that an obsession.

          • avatar ZeroRoom says:

            There’s a picture here too which is being skewed by our collective love of the show.
            Making a television program is a job, not a religion.
            *We* may be hungry for as much Who fanboy dreams as we can imagine up but to the cast and crew it’s still a job. Some of those cast and crew (like Tennant and Moffat and RTD) might be fanboys *in addition* to working for the show but some of them might not.
            If I leave my job and go work for another company do I “owe” it to my old employer or their customers to attend their office Christmas party years later? Of course not.
            And Bob, before you consider this another ‘defense’ of Eccleston – it’s not. It’s a defense of all humans. Nobody “owes” anybody anything. You only get one short life and you better make the best of it by doing what is right by you in your heart.

          • avatar lara says:

            yes! you articulated that so much better than i could have.

          • avatar BOJAY says:

            Gee, ZeroRoom, it’s comforting to know that you can rise to the “defense of all humans”. As for all the “it’s just a job” thing, I’m just pleased that the majority of actors who’ve portrayed the Doctor, not all of them “fanboys” as you labeled them, have not adopted the “just a job” attitude. Of course it’s a “job” or “work” for them, but you would be hard pressed to find any of them, or any of the actors and actresses who’ve been part of the show as companions or in other roles, who have not, at least over time had the reality dawn on them that they had gotten to be part of something special and larger than themselves. Maybe you’d rather they all took Eccleston’s attitude and every one of them simply refused to even be associated with the show after they’d departed. No returns for anniversary celebrations, no conventions or signings, and perhaps like Eccleston was doing shortly after his departure, having their PR people warn any interviewer that if Doctor Who was even brought up, the interview would be terminated. Grunt it out, do the time, grab the check, and go home. Is that what you and lara there would prefer? Anyone who has been part of Doctor Who just not caring about it afterwards or anymore, just putting it in the rearview mirror? Been there, done that, it was just another job. Eccleston is in a minority of one. And just keep the life advice to yourself. The last part of your comments bordered on ridiculous.

          • avatar lara says:

            >>>… like Eccleston was doing shortly after his departure, having their PR people warn any interviewer that if Doctor Who was even brought up, the interview would be terminated. <<>”“I was open-minded but I decided after my experience on the first series that I didn’t want to do any more. I didn’t enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in. I thought if I stay in this job, I’m going to have to blind myself to certain things that I thought were wrong.

            “I think it’s more important to be your own man than be successful, so I left. They (the BBC) handled it (the departure) very badly but they issued an apology and I dropped it.”<<>>>”When people stop defending him and giving him a pass, letting him off for his ingratitude and indifference to Doctor Who and its fans, and this whole issue just departs on the wind, I’ll stop responding.” <<<<

            so if you feel you have to respond to everyone that defends him, then yes, i consider that obsessive. just an observation. no advice given.

          • avatar lara says:

            my reply was truncated so trying again in two parts and if that doesn’t work – oh well:

            >>>… like Eccleston was doing shortly after his departure, having their PR people warn any interviewer that if Doctor Who was even brought up, the interview would be terminated. <<>”“I was open-minded but I decided after my experience on the first series that I didn’t want to do any more. I didn’t enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in. I thought if I stay in this job, I’m going to have to blind myself to certain things that I thought were wrong…..“I think it’s more important to be your own man than be successful, so I left. They (the BBC) handled it (the departure) very badly but they issued an apology and I dropped it.”<<<

          • avatar lara says:

            it’s all up to you whether or not you want to expand your universe and read the examples i posted and quit being so angry because eccleston doesn’t want to be part of the huge “doctor who” marketing machine that is the BBC. do you really think the other lead actors are going to cons and tv shows and sitting on panels out of their love for “who” and the fans? or are they being paid well to be there? they are actors, they are going to act as if “doctor who” was the greatest thing ever. ever notice how they say the same thing in interview after interview? almost to the word? it could even be in their contracts they have to make a certain amount of personal appearances. I just hope all of them do not spend the rest of their professional lives being asked about “who” or having “who” mentioned in every interview they do.

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