Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston on the 50th anniversary

News Louisa Mellor 29 Nov 2012 - 08:41

The ninth Doctor has said (literally) a few words about Doctor Who’s forthcoming 50th anniversary…

In the interests of being upfront, you’re urged not to expect much from the following (seasoned Who fans will understand why, and for anyone else, this may go some way to explaining).

Caught at a gala screening of Hugh Laurie’s new comedy The Oranges by Red Carpet News TV, Christopher Eccleston, was quizzed about the forthcoming Who fiftieth anniversary, and responded in a characteristically tight-lipped manner.

“Would I like to be involved? If I told you that, I’d have to shoot you” Eccleston told the interviewer, answering the question of what he’d like to see in an anniversary special with, “I’ve not even thought about it. It’s so long ago for me that I haven’t even thought about it.”

Has he seen what Matt Smith’s doing with the character? Is he a fan? “I’ve seen Matt on stage, I’ve not seen him as the Doctor, but I’ve seen him on stage, he’s an excellent actor.”

So there we have it. Eccleston is currently filming Thor 2: The Dark World (or 'Dark Skies' according to him), and it seems as though - unless this is the mother of all fake-outs - chances of his return to Who next year remain as slim as ever.

You can see the video below, with thanks to Blogtor Who and Red Carpet News TV.

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"Chances remain as slim as ever?" Going by the little smile he had and his response hinting more towards "I probably will be involved but I can't say yet" instead of "I have no interest in appearing" I'd say chances of his appearing are extremely positive!

I could be wrong of course but just look at how he has reacted over the years when asked that question, he went from no interest in reprising the role, to not having heard anything from the producers about the role to now saying if he told them about whether or not he was involved he would have to shoot them.
When actor's give those sort of vague answers it tends to mean they are in the running for a particular role, or they have one already, if he was not involved more likely than not he would say so.

Christopher Ecclestone really frustrates me. He could be the nicest guy in person yet any interview or quote he gives appears laced with arrogance and almost contempt for the role he's in particularly when he is in pop corn films etc. he never sticks with any project beyond 1 film or series (or just into the second) which can be unfair to everyone else envolved. I don't know if it's because he gets boared easily, it certainly can't be fear of being typecast as he never changes his performance.
What did he think would happen when he joined a sci-fi hit like Doctor Who. he could do 1 series then never hear of it again. surely he's not that naive.

Curious about what the experience of playing the character would be like again for Mr Eccleston considering he wouldn,t have the pressure that he had when he played him initially although he'd obviously have to cope with the same scrutiny.I would be really delighted if he changed his jumper again and put on his coat to go back to his TARDIS.He has said that Moffats' scripts were his favourites of the ones he worked on.I think his portrayal of the character was as strange and authoratative as anybody elses and he also could be dangerous and intimidating but he always retained a quality of intelligence and curiousity.I would love to see how his version of the character would function in a story where Rose wasn,t around.

He seems to be a man who places his personal pride and integrity above almost everything. He once said (of Doctor Who) 'Never go back to the same well twice', which is the mantra of someone who doesn't want to risk tarnishing what he's already done, or seem like he's selling out by taking a second paycheck for the same character. Leave them wanting more.

While this may seem honourable, it doesn't endear him to me particularly, because it does demonstrate a degree of selfishness. It doesn't consider the fans, it doesn't consider what it takes to make an epic story (namely, episodes), and it doesn't consider the art of developing a character over time. He's a proud man, and perhaps rightly so, because he's very good at his art. But unfortunately 'leave them wanting more' is an epithet that is always going to be hardest on 'them', who are in theory why he's in the business in the first place.

Considering most of the Doctor Who producers have changed over since 2005 (his main issue), this is making me quite optimistic about a return.

As much as I believe the success of the show isn't dependent on past Doctors returning, it would be a wonderful surprise (and pretty awesome) if he did make an appearance in any anniversary show. I think he's gone on record as saying he's immensely proud of the work he did on "Doctor Who" and in spite of the circumstances that led to his leaving I don't think his opinion has changed.

I'm one of the "fans" who wished he'd stayed on for another season but I'm not upset or annoyed that he didn't because I wouldn't have that great feeling of "what if..." otherwise (and considering how some characters in the show long outstayed their welcome I fully appreciate the "leave them wanting more" mindset).

As for certain individuals thinking he's arrogant or selfish by not returning to the role, I can't help but be reminded of the wonderful interview with Colin Baker on the "Trial Of A Timelord" DVD boxset where he discusses how "fan ownership" of the show became "top heavy". I mean, if you had grown men in their 40's constantly obsessing and asking you about a children s show you starred in 7-8 years ago (at the expense of all the other critically acclaimed stage and screen work you've done) wouldn't you feel a little frustrated?

I like Christopher Eccleston and long may he continue to take on new and interesting acting roles.

I don't think it's too unfair to say that the VAST majority of the current generation of Eccleston fans know him and like him because of his stint in the TARDIS.
Mate, just get over yourself and shoot a five minute cameo or something for us... not asking much, is it?

I only began watching Dr. Who because eccleston was involved, Tennant was a tit, and Matt Smith, well, he's very good. If Eccleston came back, I think the show would take a very good turn that could polarise people, but, for critical review, it'd be amazing

I honestly do think he'll return in some capacity, I just hope it isn't as a waxwork for the promotional material

I thought Eccleston had a falling out with RTD, but was relatively cool with Gran Moffat. Was I misinformed?


I can't speak for the vast majority, but I can say that I was all like, "hey, look, it's the creepy soldier guy from 28 Days Later!"

Neither I believe, since he still raves about RTD's writing and proclaims Moff's scripts the best he did. Supposedly it was Phil Collinson and one of the directors that had the big tiff with him (or vice versa).

... and knowing is half the battle.

I cannot wait to see him in Thor 2

This seems to be the nicest I've ever seen him in an interview, until that look right at the end when the interview stops, his smile just melts away and a really tired, irritated look comes over. Shows how good an actor he is where I actually believed his jollity at first.

Ecclestone is done with Who. When will the fans realise this. It was an acting job for him. That is all.

Why should he "consider the fans"? The Doctor was just one of many characters he has portrayed. He is under no obligation to return just because its a character that has a cult following.

Really? I find that hard to believe considering his body of work. Doctor Who was just a small part of his acting career. Again, he has no need to "get over" himself "and shoot a five minute cameo. . .for us".

Would die happy if he did make a small cameo in the 50th He was my Doctor. One of this country's best and underrated actors me thinks. Can't wait for Thor either, gotta get my geek on lol.

Don't getme wrong, he's a great actor. No doubt. But for my generation, The Doctor is EASILY his best known role.

That's not even worth arguing over.
A small cameo for the 50th is no imposition. Particulary since the producers that provoked him to leave are long gone and he'd almost certainly be paid handsomely for it.

I wonder what happened on his run that made him so cross. A possible solution could be having the 9th dr trapped somewhere a la Hartnell in the 3 doctors. He could film all his scenes in a day. It'd be a nice thing to do. I'd love to see him come back properly, scaring the eleventh and exasperating his tenth incarnations.

I really like Chris Ecclestone's Doctor in fact after Tom, Pat and Matt he is my favourite Doctor (which isn't bad considering Chris is only in 13 episodes!). The problem seems to be that the real Chris Ecclestone isn't that much like the Doctor which, if true, is disappointing but in no way takes away from his fantastic performance as the Doctor :)

I hope we'll see the 8th Doctor involved in this potential multi-Doctor story. It could even involve the 8th Doctor's actions at the end of the Time War, with Matt Smith and any other Doctors involved helping him out. At the end of the episode we see the 8th Doctor regenerate into the 9th Doctor, giving us a brief Christopher Ecclestone cameo before he runs off to Earth to fight the Autons with Rose.

Why on earth would he, or any actor for that matter, be like the character they play? & why is this a "problem" or "disappointing"? Its called acting

@ 99% of the people who have posted on this topic. His name is ECCLESTON not ECCLESTONE.

Christ on a bike. You people do realise he's an actor. Not the bloody Dr. Of course he isn't going to be like his character, he's an ACTOR. He acts, it's all make believe. All the gimpy fanboys need to get over their wet-blanket dependency on Chris' 9th Doctor. If he comes back, great. If he dosen't. So what. He was great when he first played the part - be content with that.

Well, that confirms it for me!! He's gonna be in the anniversary special. I'd put money on it!!

I think He is Fantastic! Hope they bring all the Doctors they can back for this....and Romana.

Actually, I disagree with you strongly! Once you take on that role, you're associated with it for life. That's the gig! If you can't handle it, there's lots of other actos who'd be happy to take the part. After almost 50 years, an actor would have to be living under a rock to not understand that. Considering Eccleston will likely never have a role that is more famous than the Doctor, I'm sure he understands it deep down as well. An actor needs to consider the fans when it comes to a show like this - bottom line!

Isn't he from up north?

Well even if he did get involved , I doubt he would tell anyone, it would probably be in his contract to be vauge or silent.

I thought Christopher Eccleston did a fine job as the Doctor but I haven't really had much time for him since he gave the Radio Times interview in which he went on about preferring Star Trek as a boy, only watching the regeneration episodes because he was interested in the idea of someone changing like that (what really deep thoughts he must have thought!) and seeing the other Doctors as authority figures with RP accents talking down to working class kids like him. Load of nonsense I thought, so I don't care why he left or if he makes a 50th anniversary appearance, seeing as he clearly holds it all in such disdain.

FYI He was interested in staying on for a second series, but some of us who work in the media industry (& one particular person I know who knows him very well) actually told me that he asked him what the REAL reason was as to why he walked out on the role, and that reason has never been publicly announced. And I don't think it ever will, officially.

But I CAN tell you this, his reasons were justified & honorable. BUT I too would like him to do a regeneration scene with Paul McGann (I spelt that wrong I think! Sorry.) as this is the ONLY regeneration scene in the history of the show that has never been seen. In ANY way.

But hey, if he doesn't want to do it, we just have to get over it.

Popularity and integrity are two different things. I think he did the right thing by leaving. He's done far more interesting things than Doctor Who. It would suck to be most well known for a guy who was in a children's TV series for 10 years. I think a better option would just to have not been in it at all and let someone less famous or well respected reap some genuine benefits from the role. It was an odd choice for him.

Why? It's his life! He can try out different roles if he wants. He's better than Hugh Grant who plays the same role over and over again, himself

here here. The BBC only signed up to do one series, Rtd had already written his character out because they didn't know it was going to return for a second series. That's why he said before that he was glad that he succeded in bringing the show back, but right from the first day of filming he kept quiet when asked whether he'd return for a second series.

And it's not true that he never changes his performance, jp. He's a character actor whose played in a variety of roles such as a little person in the Borrowers, an alien, a Jewish New Yorker

Doctor who is not just for kids

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