Posted by Chloe Gale @chloegale
"I'm not just selling the script. I'm selling me!"
Chloe Gale

Christopher Eccleston represented a new era for Doctor Who. The ninth doctor's performance reignited old-school fans' love for the show while simultaneously bringing in a new generation of audiences, and that's no mean feat. Playing such a prestigious role under a brand such as Doctor Who would arguably be any actor's dream, so it came as such a surprise when Eccleston chose to leave the show after just one series.

Eccleston Vs The Director

There was no mystery as to the reason he chose to leave, however. Eccleston and the director, Keith Boak, clashed massively. When asked about the directorial decisions in an interview Christopher had this to say:

Chris didn't just stop there, in another interview with The Daily Record, he cited 'creative differences' created a feud, telling the paper this:

“I’d had enough. 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 […] It’s very easy to stay in one job and make that your comfort zone, and I want to resist that temptation.”

It a shame that Chris and the production team couldn't reach an agreement, as we loved what we saw in season one and would have loved to have gone on more adventures with Eccleston.

Regrets, He's Had A Few

It seems that Chris now regrets his decision somewhat, and calls his choice to leave the show tragic. In retrospect, Eccelston feels like he may have been a tad hasty giving up on the show and said in a recent interview:

“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.”

Is the Time Lord wishing he could turn back the clock? When talking to the BBC Radio 4 show Loose Ends, Eccleston was quick to voice his regrets once more:

"I think I over pitched the comedy. If I had my time again I would do the comedy very differently. But I think, where I possibly succeeded was in the tortured stuff."

What we would give to see Chris as the Doctor again, and offering up something different. Eccelston realizes he created something great and that his leaving and the difficulties with the director are often used against him. In an interview with the Radio Times, Chris had this to say on the whole matter.

"What’s interesting in this country is that wherever a story like this emerges they concentrate on the negative. I don't think it’s important why I left, I think it’s important that I did it in the first place. I’m still there in spirit. Myself and three individuals at the very top of the pyramid clashed, so off I went. But they are are not here to say their side of it, so I’m not going to go into details."

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An Argument A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Regrets were not enough for Christopher to return to the series for the 50th anniversary. It has been revealed that the BBC did approach Eccleston to reprise his role in the cross-over special that would have ideally featured all the new doctors, in the incredible episode 'The Day Of The Doctor'.

Chris sadly declined the offer as he wanted to keep his distance from the TV show. The first draft of the script did include Christopher, but the piece had to be rewritten, which is where the idea of the War Doctor, played by John Hurt came in. Listen to Christopher talk candidly about the Doctor Who legacy.

Fans of course are still hoping that he might change his mind and return to the show in some form, but that remains to be seen. Come on Chris, quit snubbing the show and do it for the fans, please!

Did Eccelston make the wrong decision to stay away from Doctor Who?

(Sources: Daily Record, Drive with Raf Epstein, Radio Times)