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What would it take to get the Ninth Doctor back? For years, fans of BBC’s iconic sci-fi series have all but despaired of ever seeing former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston taking another ride in the TARDIS. But despite famously staying away from the role he embodied through one season in the mid 2000s, Eccleston’s recent remarks suggest he’s not entirely opposed to a return — so long, that is, that the current creative team does things his way.
Speaking recently at Australia’s Supanova Comic Con & Gaming convention (via Screen Rant), Eccleston said he’s not interested in teaming up with present-day Doctors, because, as he put it, “multi-Doctor stories are a bit of a cash-in.”
“I’ve never been a fan of multi-Doctor stories,” said Eccleston. “You know, when I worked on the series I had really strong ideas — surprise, surprise — about what works and what doesn’t, and I always think that multi-Doctor stories are a bit of a cash-in, and a bit of exploitation. Creatively they never work for me.”
Eccleston added that he’s always envisioned the Ninth Doctor as a lone wolf in the series. Getting involved in any current Doctor Who projects, he added, would pretty much come with that same stipulation: No crossovers with any of the other numbered Doctors allowed.
“The Ninth Doctor in particular is a one-man band, definitely,” he said. “So, he doesn’t work with other doctors. If you want me back, you get me on my own.”
There’s no announced project on the near horizon that would put Eccleston back in the Who-verse. But fan demand to see more of the reluctant actor has remained strong ever since his single-series turn as the Ninth Doctor, which came in a 2005 TV revival after the franchise had lain dormant for nearly a decade. That appearance earned Eccleston a British National Television Award, and made his portrayal the definitive introduction to Doctor Who for a host of younger fans.
Though he’s stayed far away from Doctor Who for most of the period since his mid-2000s departure, Eccleston has recently inched closer to the series once again, voicing his original role last year in the audio-only drama Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures.
As for the upcoming 14th series, BBC hasn’t yet said who’ll replace outgoing star Jodie Whittaker to take up the role of the Fourteenth Doctor. But showrunner Russell T. Davies, who’s returning to the franchise after previously working with Eccleston on the series' 2005 revival, told The Guardian late last year that he’s aiming for a November 2023 release date — “the 60th anniversary of the show.”