; Date: Mon Apr 19 2021
Christopher Eccleston is returning to the role of The Doctor, by dint of an audio production with Big Finish. With the release coming up in May 2021, they have published a video with Eccleston answering fan questions about his return.
To learn more about Eccleston's return, see:
We know from reporting elsewhere that Christopher Eccleston understood that the BBC had blacklisted him, and that he would only return to Doctor Who when hell froze over. This is our opportunity to learn from him something about his return, and what we can expect in the future. I must say that some of the answers Eccleston gives here are very frank and open.
We should expect Christopher Eccleston to continue producing Ninth Doctor audios with Big Finish. But, keep in mind that Eccleston is a working actor seeking to support his family, and his career direction choices are not made to support our whimsical fantasies, but to fulfill his career and financial goals. In addition to Doctor Who audios with Big Finish, he might talk them into a MacBeth story. Do not hold your breath for Eccleston to return to televised Doctor Who any time soon.
As an example of a frank answer, he was asked about Nicholas Briggs' impersonation of Eccleston as The Doctor. He replied that he hadn't heard that video, but he believes Briggs' impersonation of The Daleks and The Cybermen needs a lot of work. Which - is - surprising? Briggs is widely thought to have excellently captured both those characters, and has been the primary voice of the Daleks in New Who. One wonders what more Eccleston wants out of the Daleks, then.
And maybe we'll see Eccleston do MacBeth for Big Finish? Wouldn't that be groovy?
One question started with "After being somewhat distant from the role since leaving..." at which point Eccleston brusquely interjected with "That's your opinion." This gives the impression that Eccleston feels he never left the role of The Doctor, but perhaps that conditions were such that he couldn't continue in the television series. For the rest of his answer we should remember that Actors, like Christopher Eccleston, do not exist to fulfill any whimsical fantasy we have. They have to work to support themselves and their families, just as the rest of us do.
The rest of that question asked about the reasons Eccleston had for returning. He started by pointing out that he is an Actor, that he supports himself and his family through taking Acting jobs. Reading between the lines, the Pandemic limited what he could do, since obviously audiences have a hard time attending stage play productions at this time. Therefore a gig with Big Finish is a way to have a job which is more compatible with Pandemic conditions.
But the other reason for returning is the quality of writers at Big Finish. Again reading between the lines, it sounds like he did not appreciate the scripts he had for the televised Doctor Who episodes.
He later expressed the belief that Big Finish writers have immersed themselves in Doctor Who, and they know how to handle all the voices and mannerisms of each character. As a fan of Big Finish audios, I have to agree.
The last question I want to address is Climate Change. Apparently, Eccleston has been using his role as an Actor to give himself a platform from which to advocate for various issues. That's wonderful, but of course we shouldn't be depending on Celebrities to grok things and use their platforms for activism. We should be doing our own activism.
So let me use this platform of mine to applaud Eccleston for his endorsement of the serious importance of tackling Climate Change.
As he said, this is a very Doctor-Who-y thing to care about the planet and what Big Powers are doing to harm the planet. So many stories in Doctor Who featured some evil dictator or powerful businessman or whatever destroying beautiful planets. What did The Doctor do? The Doctor did not sit back and applaud the destruction. Instead, The Doctor stepped in to set things right.
That's what we all should be doing.