Monday, July 16, 2007
Christopher Eccleston: The Ninth Doctor
Christopher Eccleston (born 16 February 1964) is an English stage, television and film actor. He is well-known for his roles in several high-profile films, and in 2005 he became the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who.
On 20 March 2004, it was announced that Eccleston was to play the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the revival of the legendary BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, which started airing in March 2005. The series executive producer and writer Russell T. Davies has said that Eccleston was always the first choice for the part. Despite this, the British tabloid press ran reports that Bill Nighy had been offered the role first, but declined (and in the 2005 documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, Davies said that he "wouldn't have thought Chris [Eccleston] would be interested").
Eccleston was the first actor to play the Doctor on television in nine years (since Paul McGann in 1996) and the first actor to play the Doctor in an on-going series in 16 years (since Sylvester McCoy in 1989). He was also the first actor to play the Doctor who was actually born after the start of the original television series; he was born two weeks after the famous first Dalek story was first broadcast in the UK.
The new series of Doctor Who premiered on 26 March 2005. The show received praise for its opening story and its special effects. Given the very high ratings, the BBC immediately announced that Doctor Who would be renewed for two more series and two Christmas specials. However, on 30 March 2005, the BBC released a statement, ostensibly from Eccleston, saying that he had decided to leave the role after just one season, owing to fears that he would become typecast. On 4 April, the BBC revealed that Eccleston's "statement" had been falsely attributed and released without his consent. The BBC admitted that they had broken an agreement made in January not to disclose publicly the fact that he only intended to do one season. The statement had been made after journalists made queries to the press office. Eccleston's three-month tenure makes him either the shortest or second-shortest serving Doctor to date, depending on how one counts Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor. (McGann appeared once, but was not "replaced" for nine years on screen, as no Doctor Who series was ever made at that time. Eccleston appeared in the role thirteen times, but his successor, David Tennant, appeared at the end of Eccleston's final episode, "The Parting of the Ways".)
On 11 June 2005, during a BBC radio interview, when asked if he had enjoyed working on Doctor Who, Eccleston responded by saying, "Mixed, but that's a long story." Eccleston's reasons for leaving the part continue to be a subject of discussion in Britain's newspapers: on 4 October 2005 Alan Davies told The Daily Telegraph that Eccleston had been "overworked" by the BBC, and had left the role because he was "exhausted". Ten days later, Eccleston told The Daily Mirror this was not true, and expressed some irritation at Davies for his comments.
9th Doctor opening:
9th Doctor Episodes
The End of the World
The Unquiet Dead
Aliens of London
World War III
The Long Game
The Empty Child
The Doctor Dances
The Parting of the Ways