When BBC chose to revive Doctor Who, the network did so with Christopher Eccleston as the famed Time Lord. The British actor played the Ninth Doctor, a surly yet lovable iteration of the Doctor who sported a leather jacket and developed a soft spot for companion, Rose Tyler. However, Christopher stunned fans when he chose to leave the show after only one season - a decision that the actor now says was a tragic one.
In a recent interview, Christopher opened up about his decision to leave Doctor Who, saying, "It was kind of tragic for me, that I didn't play him for longer. He's a beautiful character and I have a great deal of professional pride and had I done a second season, there would have been a marked improvement in my performance."
Many fans still consider the Ninth Doctor to be their favorite of the sci-fi series since Christopher helmed the reboot and introduced viewers to the show. When asked about why he left the role so quickly, the actor confessed he had been disappointed with the show's management. And, to be specific, he was quite upset with a certain director.
"It's very important on a first series that you make a very informed and intelligent choice, even if it means breaking the budget," he said. "About getting the first director who is going to set the tone for the season, for the way the actors relate and that did not happen. Disaster." Of course, Christopher didn't name anyone in his comment, but fans know Keith Boak directed the show's first production block back in 2003.
In fact, Christopher has been quite open about his disappointment with the direction of Doctor Who. The actor's animosity has been well-documented through interviews as Christopher explained to The Daily Record that he had was fed up with the show.
"I'd had enough," he said. "I wanted to do it my way, they wanted something else. We were never going to compromise so it was best to be straight about it and just go."
Since Christopher departed Doctor Who, the franchise's popularity has resurged as fans all over the world have come to love the cult classic. David Tennant took over Christopher's role when he became the Tenth Doctor while Matt Smith played the Eleventh. Currently, Peter Capaldi stars as the Twelfth Doctor, but all these casting decisions aren't to say that Christopher was totally cut off from the franchise.
With the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who rolled around, BBC wanted Christopher to reprise his role in a crossover special that would feature all the new Doctors. "The Day of the Doctor" was written around the Ninth Doctor at first, but Christopher ultimately decided to keep his distance from the series and forced Doctor Who to create the War Doctor in the actor's stead.
As Season 10 of Doctor Who is set to return next year, fans are wondering whether they'll ever see Christopher come back to the show. Sadly, it doesn't seem likely, but there is one Doctor who'd love to return to the TARDIS. Matt Smith has recently spoken about his urge to return to the show and take back his beloved fez and sonic screwdriver.
Doctor Who will return to BBC this December for its annual Christmas Special before Season 10 airs next year.
[H/T] Bleeding Cool