With thoughts turning to Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary, Christopher Eccleston was recently asked who he’d like to star alongside in a multi-Doctor story. But as it turns out, the Ninth Doctor actor isn’t a fan of numerous incarnations of the Doctor playing off each other.
At a recent convention, he said:
“I’ve never been a fan of multi-Doctor stories. When I worked on the series, I had really strong ideas — surprise, surprise — about what works and what doesn’t. And I always think that multi-Doctor stories are a bit of a cash-in and a bit of exploitation. Creatively, they never worked for me.
“I looked at the script for the 50th anniversary and I felt, as soon as I said I wasn’t doing it, it got better. Because, if I’m not in it, it’s better.
“The creation of the War Doctor introduced a whole new facet to the canon… The Ninth Doctor in particular is a one-man band, definitely, so he doesn’t work with other Doctors. If you want me back, you get me on my own.”
It is, of course, nice to hear him acknowledge the War Doctor, who was played most extensively by John Hurt in The Day of the Doctor, an iteration of the Time Lord who fought in the Time War between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors. But he also paid tribute to William Hartnell (and joked that if there were any Doctors he’d like to star opposite, he’d have to “dig them up”) and the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, who he’s particularly full of praise for.
We have to wonder whether a series of episodes in which we revisit past Doctors on their own could work too. It’d be something different compared to past anniversary celebrations like The Five Doctors and the aforementioned Day of the Doctor, and an opportunity for fans to wallow in nostalgia without having to navigate paradoxes and the like.
As for Eccleston appearing in the 60th anniversary special… don’t hold your breath, folks. Chris was my first Doctor so introduced me to the series, as he did millions of others; it’d be a dream come true to see him again, but maybe it’s okay that Series 1 exists in that perfect bubble of times gone by.