As part of promoting his new autobiography, I Love the Bones of You, Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston has been talking about his time on Doctor Who. Or, rather, his time not on Doctor Who: for the 50th Anniversary story, The Day of the Doctor.
Speaking at a New York Comic Con panel last week, Chris confessed that he was initially unimpressed with the script and so turned it down.
I felt that it was basically myself, Matt and David riffing… I personally didn’t feel the narrative was strong enough, particularly for the Ninth Doctor.
As fans know, Steven Moffat then revised his script to create the War Doctor, although arguably the ghost of the Ninth still haunts that later draft. Chris, however, thinks it was an improvement not having him in it.
I just thought that script was immaculate, and I think it added to the canon of Doctor Who in a way that me coming back wouldn’t [have done]… I think the War Doctor was a brilliant working of Steven Moffat’s imagination, and I loved watching [John Hurt] do that.
It is still a matter of regret that Chris didn’t reprise his role for the anniversary, but there is cause for optimism. After a sour experience making, and then leaving, the series, he now feels much better about it. And this has been helped in no small way by the fans themselves:
Yes, I have felt bitter, and yes, I have felt betrayed, but I know also that Doctor Who was the best thing that, professionally, ever happened to me… These days, I feel nothing but positive about the show, to the extent I have even started doing conventions, something I’d been wary of because I always wanted to earn my money from acting… What I’ve actually found is some amazing people who want to talk to me not only about Doctor Who but Our Friends in the North, 28 Days Later, Second Coming, Shallow Grave, Cracker, and so on… It has healed something in me.
So, could he come back? Keen to start a rumour, Chris points out that 13 plus 9 is 22.