I remember when word surfaced back in 2005 that Doctor Who was going to be revamped by the great Russell T. Davies. Unfortunately, naming an actor to play the Doctor and then who would be cast as his companion pretty much stops not only the UK, but fans around the world, about as much as the current World Cup in South Africa.
After much speculation, well-known British actor, Christopher Eccleston was cast as the Ninth Doctor and British pop-singer, Billie Piper was tagged as his time-traveling companion, Rose Tyler. As anyone can imagine, expectations were very high given then talent on both sides of the camera putting the series together again.
All-in-all, this regeneration of Doctor Who was very well done with Piper becoming one of the most popular companions in the history of the series and Eccleston breathing new life and energy into this new version of “the Doctor”, putting his own take and talents on the character. Unfortunately, Eccleston announced shortly before the beginning of the production of the second season that he was leaving the series, ultimately, to be replaced by David Tennant. At that time, according to the BBC, Eccleston was leaving because he “…feared being typecast.”
In a recent interview with Radio Times, we now learn that the BBC never talked with Eccleston regarding his departure issuing an follow-up apology. Now, according to Eccleston, while rightfully proud of his work on the series, he didn’t enjoy the environment and the culture that the cast and crew had to work in. Not being comfortable in the role, he added, “I think it’s more important to be your own man than be successful, so I left.”
While I was a big fan of David Tennant and am now liking Matt Smith more and more as each episode airs, I did like Eccleston and am really looking forward to his next project for BBC 4, Lennon Naked, which focuses on the years from 1967-1971. Hopefully, this will be coming to PBS and KERA this November leading up to the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death in New York City.