Return to Doctor Who contents page
Return to site index

The ninth Doctor Who


The announcement that Christopher Eccleston would be the ninth Doctor Who came as a complete surprise. Known as a heavyweight actor, with a reputation for dour and gritty roles, I couldn't imagine anyone further from my conception of the Doctor. I shouldn't have worried. Eccleston turned out to be a revelation, playing the Doctor completely against expectation - with off-the-wall humour and a manic, madcap energy, which even sees him grinning in the face of danger. He seemed more aloof and detached; rushing into action without thinking of the consequences to individual human lives. Yet he was also concerned for peace and justice, being ready to negotiate with an alien menace rather than just destroy it. His Northern accent, and casual manner of speech and dress really weren't issues, but part of a brilliant reinvention of Doctor Who for the 21st Century. As the series progressed, we learned more about what drove this Doctor. He had fought in the last great Time War, that had seen his world and his people completely destroyed. We were seeing a man who was war-scarred and shellshocked, his odd mixture of compassion and recklessness the result of survivor guilt. From the broadcast of the first episode, the new series took the nation by storm. Sadly, even as the BBC was announcing the commissioning of a second series, the news broke that Eccleston would be leaving the role at the end of the first - which was far more shocking than the original news of his casting had been! We may never know what behind the scenes shenanigans may have prompted his sudden departure. Executive producer Russell T Davies tried to furiously backpedal, claiming it had been planned all along - but the BBC's mishandling of the announcement might seem to suggest otherwise.

Best and worst TV stories

Adventures of the ninth Doctor Who