t is a new dawn, a new day, a new era! Doctor Who is finally back on our screens and it was about time! After years of being in the wilderness, the Doctor was back once again saving the universe on at Saturday teatime. 15-year-old Terry was ecstatic when the show returned. I still remember it today, rushing home one Saturday afternoon to see Henrick’s department store blown to smithereens as an attempt to slow down an Auton invasion…
In 2004, the BBC announced that Christopher Eccleston was to portray the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the brand-new series of Doctor Who that would help revive the show and bring it back to Saturday evenings. Over the years, the BBC and ITV would be going head-to-head with their shows, which is nothing new! As Doctor Who has always been up against ITV productions throughout the 1980’s.
Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) joined Eccleston’s Doctor through his adventures through time and space. The show’s ethos changed to cater to a brand-new era of audience members. Unlike the Doctor’s previous time travelling companions, this brand new era of Doctor Who introduced us to the companion’s personal life where we saw where they worked, lived, met the mother and the boyfriend. This made it more personal for the audience and suitable for 21st-century viewing. The stylisation too made it more up to date for an older generation of children. Originally, the series was targeted for an audience of aged eight years onwards; the brand-new series was more targeted to younger teens of the age 14+.
If the show hadn’t have been shelved during Sylvester McCoy’s era, I think we would’ve seen the show go down this avenue, as the character Ace (Sophie Aldred) was what influenced the idea of Rose Tyler. We saw the personal side of Ace’s life in Survival (1988) where the Doctor and Ace arrive in her hometown of Perivale.
Like many of the stories based in present-day Earth, they involved the companions’ relatives and partners crossing paths with aliens. This would result in the title character stepping on some toes and maybe receiving a slap across the face from an angry mother. It’s always the mothers.
When the show returned, Russell T Davies made the Doctor the last of his kind, after the result of a Time War. A war between the Time Lords and Daleks, the war would have a long-standing effect on the Last of the Time Lords but also created mystery, as every now and then the Doctor would yet again cross paths with the odd Dalek or 1,000,000. It was always asked that if the Daleks survived the Time War then perhaps another Time Lord did too? But the sheer thought of having another Time Lord was ‘pooed, pooed’ when brought up in discussion. That was, however, until 2007. I would say “Spoilers!” but wasn’t until 2008…
According to then Head Writer and Executive Producer: Russell T Davies, Eccleston was always his first choice to portray the role of the show’s title character. Even though Eccleston only did one series, he left a large impact on the show. Many of the younger audiences today who grew up watching Doctor Who 2005-onwards all refer to him being their personal favourite and if not THE best Doctor of the lot, I personally disagree as Tom Baker is and always will be my favourite.
On March 30th it was announced that Eccleston was to leave the show out of fear of becoming typecast. However, this was followed by Eccleston revealing that the information was false and that he wanted to leave the show due to “politics in the workplace.” It was later announced that Eccleston left the show because the bosses wanted him to portray the role of the Doctor without in Manchester accent.
Eccleston did a tremendous job as the Doctor and it was sad reading that his relationship with Davies is over after their involvement with Doctor Who. It is a shame, as both of them are talented artists in their field of work.
Eccleston’s successor in the show was non-other than David Tennant, who was introduced in the season finale episode The Parting of the Ways (2005) after a run-in with the supposedly last remaining Daleks in existence at that time.