Christopher Eccleston Doctor Who.jpg

The Ninth Doctor returns in early Doctor Who 50th anniversary draft excerpt

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Mar 23, 2018

While Christopher Eccleston recently opened up about what led to his departure from Doctor Who after only one season as the Ninth Doctor, former showrunner Steven Moffat has released an excerpt from his early draft of the 50th-anniversary special. Titled “The Day of the Doctor,” it was meant to feature the return of Eccleston alongside David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor.

As we all know, Eccleston refused to return for the BBC series' milestone episode and was replaced by John Hurt’s War Doctor. The move gave us a much different (and darker) version of the beloved Time Lord compared to his previous incarnations — one who has long engaged in battle against the Daleks during the Time War.

The script excerpt was unveiled in A Second Target for Tommy, a book released to help support author Tommy Danvaband in his battle against cancer by his friends and colleagues. The scene reveals the Ninth Doctor’s first meeting with The Moment, who ended up taking on the form of Rose Tyler in the TV special (while she's dubbed "Raggedy Girl" in the early draft) and was played by Billie Piper.

“While novelising Day of the Doctor, I went back through all the many drafts of the script, and I found this version of the barn scene,” wrote Moffat in his introduction. “The Moment is clearly not Rose Tyler in this draft, and the barn itself has a different, erm, origin. If barns can be said to have origins. But the other big difference is the one that people might get a kick out of. Hope you enjoy, but please do keep in mind this is the roughest of early drafts…”

Without further ado, here’s the barn scene (via Radio Times) as it originally played in Moffat’s early draft for “The Day of the Doctor.”


THE NINTH DOCTOR

Don’t sit on that.

RAGGEDY GIRL

Why not?

He strides over to her, grabs her arm.

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Because it’s not a chair, love – it’s the most dangerous weapon in the universe.

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Listen. A very bad thing is gonna happen here and I’m not sure how it’s gonna work. But I don’t think you want to be here when it does, okay?

RAGGEDY GIRL

…you’ve got a funny face.

THE NINTH DOCTOR

You should see the other fellas.

RAGGEDY GIRL

I like it though.

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Thanks, it’s new. Not sure about the ears yet, they just sort of kept going. Now, you need to get away from here. You need to pick a direction and just run –

RAGGEDY GIRL

You sound clever

THE NINTH DOCTOR

Not clever enough to figure out how this thing works, so could you give us some hush?


The script hints that this version of the Ninth Doctor probably just regenerated in his new body from Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, an era before the first season of New Who. With Eccleston ruling out a return, Moffat changed McGann’s regeneration scene in the minisode “The Night of the Doctor” into Hurt’s War Doctor instead. Which you can see below.

Keen-eyed readers will also notice that the “run” bit echoes the first thing Eccleston’s Time Lord said to his new companion, Rose Tyler, in the first episode of the series revival, titled “Rose.” Then there's also mention of his ears, which he also talked about in the episode.

Even though the script excerpt is not much to go on, the scene does give us a tantalizing “what if” look as to how “The Day of the Doctor” could have turned out if Eccleston had agreed to return for the Doctor Who 50th-anniversary special.

What do you think of the excerpt? Would you have liked to see the Ninth Doctor interact with his Tenth and Eleventh incarnations?

(via Radio Times)