2005 was a big, big year for Doctor Who. Resurrecting the show after 16 years of being in limbo was a brave decision.
If the series was to have any sort of lasting appeal, it had to be done properly. It needed to shed its tainted reputation of wobbly sets, silly storylines, and eccentric acting. The revived Doctor Who had to come out of the gates with an almighty start. It had a prolific writer at its helm: Russell T Davies. But, most importantly, it needed a prolific Doctor. Enter Christopher Eccleston.
His casting announcement reassured audiences that the show was going to be in safe hands. Eccleston was already an established actor before taking on the role of the Time Lord. He starred in films like Let Him Have It and Jude. Because of his more “gritty” beginnings though, it seemed surprising that he was to play the more family-centric Doctor. It was a challenge that Eccleston not only admitted, but relished. The Ninth Doctor was more down to earth (perhaps literally!), more so than any of his previous regenerations. Eccleston’s performance as the troubled traveller displayed exactly why he was the right man for the job. Of course, there were plenty of lighter moments too that reminded us why we fell in love with The Doctor in the first place.
“I can feel it. The turn of the earth…”
Despite being one of the shortest serving Doctors, Eccleston’s time in the TARDIS was definitely one to remember. His 13 episode run contained some of the best episodes that the revived show has seen. Rose, Dalek, The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, and Bad Wolf/Parting of the Ways, to name a few. There were also some sinister farting Slitheen along the way as well. Not too shabby for a first series! We were certainly left wanting more by the time he bowed out.
Eccleston may have left after only one series, but his era left a huge impact on Doctor Who. Without his contribution, the show may not have survived its first outing. Quite possibly, there would have been no Tenth, Eleventh, or Twelfth Doctor eras. Even if he never returns to the show, Eccleston’s legacy continues in novels, comics, and our imaginations.
So, please join us today as we extend a Happy 53rd Birthday to the Ninth Doctor himself. We wish Christopher all the best for his projects in the future.
Oh, and before we go, Christopher, we just want to say: you were fantastic!