When Christopher Eccleston parted ways with “Doctor Who” in 2006, in his mind it was for good. And even when fans were clamoring for him to return at least for this year’s 50th anniversary special, it was a no, no, no, no, and a no.
But something seems to have changed Eccleston’s mind as he is now reportedly returning to “Doctor Who” just in time for a special that will celebrate (and include) all 11 Doctors. Even the ones who have already passed away.
The Birmingham Mail broke the news about the script being penned by showrunner Steven Moffat that will have current Doctor Matt Smith meeting up with all of his predecessors. That includes William Hartnell, Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton, who have died since playing their characters in the 1960s and 1970s.
There is no specific word on what brought Eccleston back. But according to the newspaper story, Eccleston had always conceded there was more he could’ve accomplished with his version of The Doctor, which led the resurrection of the series in 2005. Eccleston left after a single season in what many described afterward as an acrimonious relationship with the franchise.
Eccleston was replaced by David Tennant, who would then lead the show through some new golden years, before stepping aside for Smith in 2010. Even before “Doctor Who,” Eccleston was a popular actor, especially in the United Kingdom. American audiences got one of their first major glimpses of Eccleston in the 2001 horror film “The Others” with Nicole Kidman. Huge genre fans with a very discerning eye, however, would’ve seen Eccleston a couple years earlier in David Cronenberg’s “eXistenZ,” which also starred Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe and what would become another familiar face on “Battlestar Galactica,” Callum Keith Rennie.
Of course, this is not the first or even the second time that BBC has attempted to bring the Doctors all together for an anniversary special. In 1973, the 10th anniversary included Pertwee and Troughton as well as Hartnell, who could be seen in monitors, who at the time was in failing health.
For the 20th anniversary in 1983, new Doctor Peter Davison joined in along with a Hartnell lookalike, although Tom Baker declined to take part. “Doctor Who” was off the air by the time the 30th anniversary rolled around in 1993, but many of the remaining actors appeared in an episode of “EastEnders” to celebrate.
Smith, the current Doctor, has remained mum about the special.
“We’re as much in the dark as the majority of other people,” he said. “I haven’t seen the script, so I have no idea what is happening. One thing’s for sure, we’ll make it the biggest in the show’s history.”
Just to note that this has not been confirmed by Eccleston, Moffat or BBC, so it should be treated as any rumor would.
For more discussion about the anniversary episode, check out the interview Airlock Alpha and Cox Media did with showrunner Steven Moffat back at 2012’s San Diego Comic-Con by clicking here.