C is for Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston who played the Ninth Doctor was my first Doctor and he’s still one of my favourites. Part of me thought it might be childhood nostalgia since he was my first experience of Doctor Who so naturally every other Doctor I then saw I’d compare to him, but on my rewatch last year I realised, no he really was that good.

I’ll be talking about this episode very soon (as in tomorrow) but I have to mention Christopher Eccleston’s performance in “Dalek”. His fury and fear are palpable and for someone like me who had heard of the Daleks having grown up in the UK but have never seen an episode with them before, it’s his performance that made me feel scared of them.

His Doctor is one forged by war and loss and he’s abrupt and rude but is also kind and almost yearning for the normal life he has lost. One of my favourite lines of his is in the episode “Father’s Day” when he learns about how the bride and groom met, “Who said you’re not important? I’ve travelled to all sorts of places, done things you can’t even imagine, but you two? Street corner, two in the morning, getting a taxi home. I’ve never had a life like that.” Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor is lonely and prickly and it’s meeting Rose and finding that connection to humanity again that helps him to start to move on from his grief and pain.

I was a Doctor/Rose shipper while the Doctor was Nine and it only got stronger once they regenerated. Honestly if you ship Ten/Rose, you have Nine and Christopher Eccleston’s performance to thank for that because all the groundwork was laid there. Plus, upon rewatch I was more OK with how Rose’s story ended in series four because the Metacrisis Doctor really does have echoes of how the Doctor was like in his Ninth regeneration when he’d just met Rose. He was born of war like Nine was and was righteous and dangerous and it Rose that helped him be a better person.

While we’re unlikely to ever know the full story about why Christopher Eccleston left after just one series, and Eccleston’s issues with the BBC makes it unlikely that he’d ever return to the show like other past Doctors have, I know if he did, I’d absolutely lose my mind. I’d also have loved if he’d done another series, but at least his one and only series – the series that brought Doctor Who back to the world with a bang – is so good.


  1. The show wouldn’t be where it is now without him! As someone who wasn’t at all familiar with the show before I began watching this new series, he really pulled me in especially with Dalek and Father’s Day!

      1. And like he said in the panel I was at in Gallifrey One in February 2020, “Everyone only wanted to talk about why I left, why I left, why did I leave… no one cared about what I DID as part of the show, that i WAS the Doctor, it was always about why i left” [it was 3 years ago so obviously I’m paraphrasing 😅 but that was the general gist]

  2. He’s spoken about the reasons why he left… basically the environment was toxic and he couldn’t turn a blind eye to how set people were being treated. The BBC released a false statement as if it was from him that could have severely damaged his reputation as an actor. And then the press hounded not only him but his ailing dementia-suffering father as well.

    All that aside, I agree, we have Eccleston to thank for the rest of it all, and no one’s sass even comes *close* to his.

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