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The World Doesn't End Because the Doctor Dances

BBC Confirms Christopher Eccleston’s Role As It Pertains To Doctor Who’s Anniversary

There’s been a lot of speculation as to whether or not Christopher Eccleston would return to Doctor Who for their 50th anniversary celebrations. Well, we finally have solid information from the BBC itself. If you’d like to know whether or not you’ll see Eccleston, hit the jump. 

In the last few weeks we’ve gotten more solid information about who will be taking part in Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary episode. We know for sure John Barrowman will not be but that he’ll likely be taking part in satellite celebrations. Tenth Doctor David Tennant as well as Companion Rose Tyler, Billie Piper, will definitely be in the anniversary episode. There will also be some classic villains appearing.

As for Eccleston, all signs pointed to the actor being fairly adamant about his lack of desire to return to the Whoniverse but we’ve been holding out hope. Digitial Spy contacted the BBC for a statement about the rumor Eccleston had been involved, but pulled out of, the anniversary episode. An official source from the BBC said:

Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven’s plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best.

So, that settles it, right? I mean, barring this being a huge, misdirecting ruse of course. I’m a little bummed, it would have been fun to at least have all three modern Doctors together in one episode.

(via Blastr)

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  • Anonymous

    It wouldn’t make sense, but I guess the Doctor Who writers can make sense out of anything if they wish.

  • Anonymous

    Well Eccelston apparently didn’t like his time on the series, and I know John Barrowman said he was kind of difficult to work with. Maybe he just didn’t have any real desire to return to that environment.

  • John Wao

    He’ll regret it later.

  • Anonymous

    I guess he’s no longer making a secret about how much he disliked his time on that show and has no desire to have anything to do with it again, so it’s probably a good idea to just leave well enough alone. The last thing anyone wants is to see him turning up looking like the show is the last place on earth he wants to be. It’s too bad for the Eccleston fans, though…

  • Anonymous

    Nobody asks Paul McGann to see if he’s involved. Sad face.

  • Robert J. Guadagno

    I often wonder why Eccelston took the role of The Doctor in the first place – It is not as if he had no idea what the part was – and in spite of any bad feelings he may or may not have with the BBC, he should just get whatever is stuck up his nose out and do it for the fans; considering how rude he’s been to fans/press who have asked him about his “Doctor Who” time.

  • Michelle Mista

    I was never a fan of Nine but it’s still a real disappointment. I’m sure many fans would have loved to see a special with all the new Doctors. :(

  • Theresa

    Nine + Donna would have been so fun!

  • Paul Giachetti

    It’s a shame that, as the one who brought many new fans to the series (myself included) that he has to be such a dick about it. He really need to just get over himself.

  • Tamara Brooks

    I think he considered it. For a good 2 minutes. Maybe his displeasure was in how Rose was written as a petulant child with very little growth in the 1st season?

    Sorry, I have Rose issues. Love her in post-companion appearances though.

  • Sabrina

    Okay, I’m getting really tired of all the Eccleston bashing in the
    comment sections everywhere. For goodness sake give the
    man a break! He came to DW because he wanted to work with RTD again
    and because he loved the scripts. He left DW because some ugly things
    going on behind the scenes and because the production of series 1 was a
    mess. The production of a show like DW isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
    It was a toxic environment for him so he left. This isn’t really a well
    guarded secret.

    He also said time and time again that he loved
    playing the character and that he’s proud of the work he’s done for the
    show. Fans who’ve met him also say he’s a fine chap, doesn’t mind
    talking about DW and he happily signs DW stuff with “The Doctor”.
    Whatever qualms he had with certain individuals from his time on set he
    doesn’t take it out on the fans.

    So now we know he was at
    least willing to listen to whatever Moffat was offering him. According
    to the article they met several times but it didn’t work out. This could
    be because of him having bad memories of the S1 production. But this
    could also be because he didn’t like whatever Moffat was planning for
    the anniversary which strikes me as more likely seeing as there would be
    no reason to meet with Moffat a couple of times if he was dead set on
    not coming back.

    That said, I absolutely wouldn’t mind if this turned out to be a ploy be the BBC. Not likely to happen but the thought is entertaining enough, haha.

  • Starman

    Until recently, he’d never said anything specific beyond not wanting to get trapped in the role and conflicts with the BBC Higher-Ups. He did expand upon that in a recent interview with Bad Wilf.

    “I left Doctor Who because I could not get along with the senior people. I left because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye with them. I didn’t agree with the way things were being run. I didn’t like the culture that had grown up around the series. So I left, I felt, over a principle.

    Full remarks are at:

  • WheelchairNinja


    Ten and Eleven are walking down the corridor deep in conversation, talking animatedly, laughing, both very excited. They exit stage right. Camera pans left, revealing Nine leaning against a wall, arms crossed, watching them go. His face is a mixture of bemusement and mild annoyance.

    So, these are my replacements—a dandy and a clown.

    He shakes his head sadly, then exits stage left.

    That’s all it would take. One scene, one shot really, and one line. (Here’s the reference for those who don’t recognize it: That’s all it would take to make us Nine fans happy. They could get it done in 45 minutes, including time for Eccelston’s hair and wardrobe…

  • ©ArtistDoctorJohn ©

    wow he begged RTD for the role of The Doctor did one series and left…

  • Tamara Brooks

    Ah…makes so much sense. I always got the sense that it had been something…office politics-y that drove him away. Usually the overly general comments on a gig anyone leaves boils down to bosses and/or co-workers.

  • Tamara Brooks

    And yes, I realize me general distaste for Early Rose will get me downvotes but I stand by it and will gladly list my perfectly reasonable reasons for it. :)

  • SomeRandomBint

    Christopher Eccleston. The Tom Baker of our time…

    And, as someone who foresaw him leaving fairly quickly (I remember hearing a Radio 2 doc which aired at the start of the reboot and thinking “Yeah, he’s not into this”), the thing that occurred to me at the time was that he was an actor who was used to doing one off series – 6/8 episodes, then onto the next project. I wasn’t surprised when the idea of returning to the same role again and again (and relocating to Cardiff – was the location the thing that the big wigs wouldn’t budge on, perchance?) didn’t grab him.

    I like him. And I’ll forever be grateful to him for making Doctor Who a role worth fighting over. He made it credible to be included in that article speculating on who the next Doctor might be.

  • Travis Fischer

    Even a cameo would have been nice :(

  • Kim Pittman

    The thing is… It’s not about him. It’s not about how he left, it’s not about his time as the Doctor. It’s about the SHOW. It’s about celebrating 50 years. 50 years that would not have been possible without the jumpstart he was a part of. It’s about the fans. The fans don’t care if he objected to the production schedules or the treatment of the workers, the fans care that he played one of their favorite Doctors.

    He should have sucked it up, done his day or two of shooting, smiled for the cameras, and gone back to whatever. He was a part of something huge, and he needs to acknowledge that and support the fans and the show.

    Nine was my favorite Doctor. I loved his fantastic. But this feels like him saying, screw you, I don’t care. Looks like I am jumping on the Ten train.

  • Abel Undercity

    Somewhere in Time and Space, William Hartnell is smiling. :-)

  • Melynda

    I don’t see why an actor should make himself miserable or inconvenience himself because of a tv show he worked on for a year. We don’t know why he decided against doing it but it was his prerogative to say no. I’ve always read that he enjoyed the part but left because of behind the scenes issues that others here have mentioned. I don’t see the point of bashing someone because they decided against a project. I really don’t think it was intended by him to give his DW fans the finger. He had a career before DW and he’s had one after. I really don’t think he owes anyone anything.

  • Melynda

    It’s a shame that Christopher Eccleston decided to not participate in the 50th anniversary, but I’m sure he has his reasons. I really don’t see the point of acting as if he owes Whovians everywhere some kind of debt that can only be repaid by working on this episode. It would have been nice, though. I won’t deny that. It also would’ve been nice if Nine had been around a little longer, as I really think he didn’t really shine in the role until near the end of his run (some of Nine’s episodes were a little ‘eh’). C’est la vie.

  • Cy

    I really tried to give DW a chance and Nine was the first one I watched. I just couldn’t get into it and while I don’t watch the series I love watching Whovians. All of you get so excited for your series and I think it’s awesome. I find myself wanting you to get everything you want from this 50th anniversary.

    I’ll probably end up watching the 50th even though I’ll be totally lost. It’ll be interesting watching the net based Whovians fill me in on everything and everyone that was important.

  • Perla

    I wish I could up vote this so much more! Sadly, I don’t known if Moffat would’ve done it this way. I wonder if your idea had been given to Eccleston, would he have agreed? We’ll probably never know, but I feel like he’d say yes (wishful thinking on my part :) )

  • Stargazer0118

    While I liked Nine and the first season, it was until the tenth Doctor (Tennant) that I completely fell in love with the show. Have you seen series 2? I recommend “The Christmas Invasion;” it is a strong and fun intro to Tennant as the Doctor and he is just perfection in the role (more funny and interesting). Also watch “The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit” and “Human Nature/Family of Blood.” Those are 2 of the best episodes, and if you don’t like them, well then Who is just not for you.

  • Stargazer0118


  • Cy

    I did give a couple of episodes in 2 a try. Admittedly because of the cute red head. I found myself missing the general badass-ness of Nine. I don’t recall the episodes I watched having much humor and since Spidey is my favorite comic hero I’d probably favor the funnier episodes. I’ll give the episodes you recommended a try as soon as I’m able. Thank you.

  • Stargazer0118

    Well in my opinion the Tenth Doctor is the funniest of them all but also the darker/more badass Doctor of the revival. He is at his darkest in the ‘Family of Blood’ 2-parter and ‘The Waters of Mars’ (both up there as my fav eps in the whole show) special. You can also see his darker side in “The Christmas Invasion,” it’s a really fun ep, check it out.

  • Cy

    Hmm…I recall a cute red head. Maybe I’m mixing up doctors and series? Google says I’m thinking of Amy Pond. It is quite possible I went a very long time between viewings. I’m guessing she was a companion much later on?

  • Hollyanna

    I miss Donna! I’m so hoping the new companion thinks of the doctor as a weird little brother. I’m tired of the companions pining away for him. I want to see another weird and awesome friendship like Donna and 10.

  • Jelena Stripe

    i don’t believe anything until I see it

  • Jelena Stripe

    It doesn’t matter how workers are treated? I know people who refuse to buy products from certain companies because of the way they treat their workers. Maybe he has morals regarding humanity unlike you.

  • Stargazer0118

    Amy was in series 5-7.

  • Anonymous

    If you like humour, I’d personally recommend Eleven as well as Ten (Eleven’s companion was Amy Pond, the cute redhead, as well as the badass Rory Williams). He was what got me into the show, so… maybe if Nine and Ten aren’t working out for you, Eleven might be more your style?

    The Eleventh Hour is what I used to introduce my friends to DW – it’s Eleven’s first episode, so it’s a good launching-point – and The Lodger is the funniest episode I can remember. A Christmas Carol and Day of The Moon/The Impossible Astronaut are also excellent. Try those, if you have time! :P

  • Dr. Travis Langley

    If that’s how it is, then that’s just how it is. Still, I want Moffat to tell us many lies about the anniversary and then amaze us all.

  • Kim Pittman

    Nice of you to make some pretty big assumptions about me.

    It has been said time and time again, that after he left, when the show got more popular, they corrected many of the issues he had. They stopped cutting corners because they got the funding they needed to do it properly. (Also likely due to risk of lawsuits.)

    So moral about humanity? Do you buy all your clothes made in your home country? Own an iPhone? Own ANY technology at all? Get off your high horse and realize there is virtually no way to be blood free in our world. Do the good where you can.

    Speaking of, it would have been better if he had said “Oh, I’ll do it, once you prove you have corrected those issues with bullying on your staff.” Or even more so come out very vocally about it.

  • Kim Pittman

    Really? I am constantly amazed at the number of people who were completely unaware of him as an actor before Who. I knew him only as the bad guy in Gone in 60 Seconds.

    Regardless, the show made him bigger than he was. It’s not about owing something, it’s about appreciating and respecting the people who help you improve your career.

    Again, it’s not about him though. It’s about the show. It’s about being a part of something larger than yourself. It’s not about going, “What’s in it for me?” It’s about saying, hey this is Doctor Who, and it’s bigger than me, I should be willing to be a part of that celebration.

  • Anonymous

    It’s more about him and what he feels he needs to do with his life and career than it is about you and what you think you need him to do. He met several times with Moffat and decided it wasn’t for him. He owes nothing to us fans beyond what he already delivered, anyone else who thinks they have dibs on how he lives his life and what jobs he takes or not is beyond entitled.

  • Anonymous

    Bigger than him? You are aware that you’re saying a TV show is more important than the wants and needs of a human being? Good grief, you need to get over yourself.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to see your sources, where was he being a dick about it? Or do you mean because he said no?

  • Eddie Mccardle

    @Pretty_Angel:disqus I Completely Agree With You, I Love Eccleston!

  • Melanie Ellis

    Donna Noble. Not as red as Amy Pond, but still a redhead. She was one of the 10th doctor’s companions, that’s who you’re thinking of.

  • Strax

    Rule #1. Moffat lies.

    You can’t trust that man one bit.

  • Callum J W McCracken

    ah, but now we know it was a very well kept secret ;)

  • Anonymous

    Yes! Happy face.

  • Callum J W McCracken

    happy face indeed!