It has been officially announced that Christopher Eccleston, who portrayed the ninth Doctor in the series reboot, will be returning—but only in audio-drama.
When the reboot of Doctor Who launched in 2005, then showrunner Russell T Davies chose Christopher Eccleston for the iconic role. This was a smart move on the BBC’s part as it signaled that this time around the studio was all about the recruitment of top talent for the show. As it turned out, Eccleston was a hit, with his touching portrayal of the emotionally scarred Time Lord, who was still feeling the effects of the all too horrific Time Wars.
Unfortunately, for both the series and the fans, Eccleston’s tenure as the Doctor only lasted one season, and as fans found out later, he and the BBC did not part ways amicably. As revealed in his autobiography, the actor has suffered from anorexia for most of his life, and was even struggling with the disease during the filming of Doctor Who.
When he decided to depart from the series, a statement was issued by the BBC that he was “tired.” This prompted the actor to sue the studio, as the comment was seen as damaging to his reputation, and in turn, affected his chances of acquiring any other demanding roles.
Although Eccleston asserts he doesn’t harbor any ill will towards Doctor Who, there is the fact that he chose not to return for an appearance in the 50th Anniversary special. In fact, Eccleston has shown no interest in ever reprising his role of the Doctor—that is, until now.
Eccleston is now returning to Doctor Who’s universe but only in upcoming audio-dramas produced by Big Finish. There will be 12 full-cast audio adventures featuring the ninth Doctor, which was reportedly recorded during the pandemic lockdown. Eccleston declared that:
“After 15 years, it will be exciting to revisit the Ninth Doctor’s world, bringing back to life a character I love playing.”