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Dr. Who Series Star Quits 513

TinheadNed writes "The day after the BBC confirmed there will be a second Doctor Who series next year, as well as a Christmas special, new Dr Who actor Christopher Eccleston has revealed he will not continue in the role, for fears of being typecast. Billie Piper, who plays his assistant Rose, will probably continue in her role."
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Dr. Who Series Star Quits

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  • Oh, no! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xaroth ( 67516 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @09:49AM (#12099147) Homepage
    Now they'll have to come up with some sort of complicated plot device to explain why the Doctor looks different next season! ...oh, wait.
    • Re:Oh, no! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @09:59AM (#12099213) Homepage
      Taking your comment in a fashion a lot more po-faced than I should be doing...

      They might have to come up with a plot device quite soon though. No doubt an expert will correct me, but I thought the Doctor got twelve regenerations? Let's see, we've had...

      1. William Hartnell
      2. Patrick Troughton
      3. John Pertwee
      4. Tom Baker
      5. Peter Davidson
      6. Colin Baker
      7. Sylvester McCoy
      8. Paul McGann
      9. Richard E. Grant (audio, accepted as canon by the Beeb apparently)
      10. Christopher Ecclestone

      Arguably, you could include another: Peter Cushing from the films (doubtful though, I'd put him down as a Hartnell'a'like).

      So now we've got another series to go which needs another regeneration, that puts it up to eleven minimum and twelve potential (Peter Cushing). Better watch out for those Daleks, Doctor...


      • Re:Oh, no! (Score:3, Informative)

        by 2sheds ( 78194 )
        13 regenerations isn't it? Anywaym IIRC there is precedent for Timelords to be 'given' more lives - as this is what The Master is offered in 'The Five Doctors'.

        So no problem really...
      • Re:Oh, no! (Score:4, Informative)

        by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:08AM (#12099283) Journal
        Both you and 2sheds are wrong.

        12 regenerations, but William Hartnell doesn't count. He's the original Doctor, not a regeneration. Patrick Troughton was the first regeneration.

        By the way, the films starring Peter Cushing definitely don't count.
      • by d_p ( 63654 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:10AM (#12099299)
        ...make a prequel.
      • 9th, not 10th (Score:4, Informative)

        by Doktor Memory ( 237313 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:14AM (#12099334) Journal
        The official word from Russell Davies has always been that the processions was McCoy -> McGann -> Eccleston.
        • Re:9th, not 10th (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mccalli ( 323026 )
          The official word from Russell Davies has always been that the processions was McCoy -> McGann -> Eccleston.

          Skipping quickly over his authority to say that (the Beeb own the character, the Beeb accepted Richard E. Grant , but I digress..), why not have Richard E. Grant in for the next series then? He'd be good I think, and it would round the problem off.


      • Not only that, but wasnt the Valeyard from the "Trial of a Time Lord" supposed to be some future variant of the Doctor?

        Either way, its 12 regenerations but there are ways around that, it seems the Time Lords are capable of taking away or granting regenerations as was the case with the Master. I doubt the good Doctor would go in on Body Snatching the way the Master did.

        Ok... now I feel like a major nerd, thanks.
      • Re:Oh, no! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by misterpies ( 632880 )

        so how many regenerations is James Bond allowed?

        (Surely this whole regeneration whizz was only dreamed up because back in the 60s viewers were unused to lead characters being played by different actors. These days regeneration is rather more strained than simply dropping a new actor into the role. Maybe it's time to let that part of DW lore slip away quickly.)
    • He can only make 12 regenerations (13 bodies)... the BBC must be slightly frustrated with having used this body for only the 1 series and burning yet another regeneration to do so.

      I guess they'll balance that with feeling smug that they pulled off the comeback.

      Wonder what they'll do when they run out of them though?

      Probably think of a complicated plot device to explain why it's suddenly possible to have any number of changes as revenue streams dictate ;)
      • by karrde ( 853 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:12AM (#12099310) Homepage Journal
        How about an eaiser explination. There was a forum I was reading where they were complaining that Rose looked to be a love intrest for the Doctor. I'm not sure I saw it that much just in 'Rose', but we'll see. But my though was it's getting to the point where he needs a love intrest so he can have a child, which he can then play geames with time, pick him up when he's older and then go off to "die".

        No reason the son can't just be called "The Doctor" as well.
      • by Kanon ( 152815 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:24AM (#12099409)
        It's sci-fi. All it takes is one good writer and he can have as many regenerations as he likes.
      • by mikael ( 484 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:32AM (#12099465)
        There is a plot device. It's called the "Eye of Harmony" and was used by The Master" [] in the story "The Deadly Assassin" [] to get past his twelfth regeneration cycle.

        It's a real shame though - After seeing the first episode, Christopher Eccleston seemed to be ready to match Tom Baker's mix of eccentricity, creativiy, and insanity (not forgetting that wild-eyed grin). The other doctors never seemed to have that edgy psychotic attitude, that would justify wanting to escape from the home world and travelling between random locations in space and time.
  • Typecast... (Score:2, Funny)

    by kria ( 126207 )
    Yeah, how horrible to be typecast as one of the most beloved sci-fi icons! I mean, we see how much the previous doctors cried over that... (with the possible exception of Patrick Troughton - I get the impression that he went far enough into character that fan gatherings and the character/real life dichotomy produced were terribly difficult for him.)
    • Re:Typecast... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BigBadBus ( 653823 )
      Not quite true. It is true that Troughton was reluctant to appear at UK conventions. I recall he appeared at only two- one of which was Longleat in 1983.

      However, he was more than happy to go to multiple US conventions. Makes you wonder why, eh?

  • by CleverNickedName ( 644160 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @09:51AM (#12099157) Journal
    You play one eccentric, British Time Lord, and central casting want you to play them all.
    • You play one eccentric, British Time Lord, and central casting want you to play them all.
      Unfortunately, I am not Wil Wheaton [].

      Hmm... I wonder if we have any actors around here with television experience looking for work who could be the next doctor? I hear he gets to work with spiffy toys, and nobody will be telling him to shut up! :-)

  • Damn (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Foss ( 248146 ) <> on Thursday March 31, 2005 @09:51AM (#12099159) Homepage Journal
    I thought Eccleston made a very good Doctor Who - A great actor with just the right amount of humour. I didn't like *any* of the previous Doctors - excepting Tom Baker - to the point where I couldn't watch the show. Just when I start getting back into it, the guy leaves.

    Chris Evans would agree, that's what happens when you spend too much time with Billie Piper!
  • by SlashDread ( 38969 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @09:52AM (#12099163)
    I recommend the show. Lovely! Completely ridiculous technofobia in a modern coating! The best of old and new! Great show, ill be watching.
    • I tried to watch it, but tuned out 10 minutes from the end of the show. I thought it was awful.

      Having no prior experience with "The Doctor" I did watch the "The New Doctor Who Countdown"-programme which went through who had played all the previous doctors and what not. That didn't turn me off. Then some joker of a journalist(?) said "You can forget about Buffy now, the Doctor is alive!"

      Yeah.. I'll forget about the wonderful Buffy for this... riiiight.

      More like I wish I could forget Dr. Who. Mannequins

  • Promote Rose? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Raleel ( 30913 )
    Was there ever a female Doctor? That might be cool.
    • Was there ever a female Doctor?

      Not yet, and I seem to recall some part of the mythos that means there won't be, but it's been several decades since I read the books/hid behind my sofa.

      Promote Rose?

      Sorry, wrong species! Rose is human; Time Lords need to come from Gallifrey.

    • Was there ever a female Doctor? That might be cool.

      Well, you can't promote Rose to be the Doctor (they're two different beings!), but a friend (who I didn't even know was a fan of Dr. Who) told me Ace, my favorite Dr. Who assistant of all time (no, I'm not forgetting Romana), became the first human Time Lord in some of the novels and stuff. Rose could apparently become a Time Lord, but I'm not sure if that fits her character, having only seen her in one episode (in which she was pretty clueless about

    • Re:Promote Rose? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:33AM (#12099479) Journal
      There have been female Time Lords, but the Doctor is a guy. The last thing we need is a gender-bending regeneration to lose all the former fans due to fanservice.

      Unless, of course, you mean have a DIFFERENT Doctor, who is female, in which case you could do the whole Highlander-the-series protege-dies-then-comes-back-to-life revelation, 'Rose, you're actually a Time Lord that was left on this planet as a baby etc. etc', perhaps the love child of the doctor and Rose's mother, and we could turn it into a space opera with Daleks.

      Actually, this is starting to sound weird enough that it just might work. After all, they only have two Doctors left anyway. Personally, I'm hoping that when they get to their last Doctor, they make a feature film, hugely dramatic, the Doctor sacrifices himself and dies his final time to save the universe. Then at the end, the companion lays dying with the secondary character(s) around, then suddenly, we see the regeneration effect, and s/he changes into a new form.

      'Rose..? Is that you?'
      'Yes... But please, call me... Doctor.'

      *Cue badass Dr Who theme*
      • Re:Promote Rose? (Score:4, Informative)

        by philkerr ( 180450 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @03:39PM (#12102974) Homepage
        *Cue badass Dr Who theme*

        The thread is quite old now so I doubt many will see this but for more info on one of the key people involved in the creation of the badass Dr. theme tune have a look here.

        Delia Derbyshire Website []

        Delia created the theme tune from Ron Grainer's original score. On first hearing it Grainer was tickled pink: "Did I really write this?" he asked. "Most of it," replied Derbyshire.

        In an age when women were not "allowed" in recording studios she is pretty much responsible for one of the most recognised TV theme tunes ever.

        /Mad props, Delia.

    • While there are female Time Lords, I don't think a female Doctor would work (either in a the current or a new character entirely).

      And if you promoted Rose, might as well just call the show Dr. Buffy, The Dalek Slayer.

      Though why the Beeb isn't considering Anthony Stewart Head is beyond me, I think he would do a much better job than all the other candidates.

      Dr. Wu
      "I've never met Napoleon"
  • Other contenders for the role include Bill Nighy and comedian
    Eddie Izzard.

    Eddie Izzard as the Doctor could be the best thing to happen to television ever.

    If it ever happens though, I'm sure the BBC will go out of their way to cock it up in a typically British fashion; though the new series does give me some hope.
  • by fatgeekuk ( 730791 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @09:58AM (#12099204) Journal
    ... that he would have considered the typecasting possibility earlier ...

    could it be that he could not agree with the Beeb as to how much he would be paid for a second season?

    He had nothing to fear about a second season typecasting him. he was typecase at 17:05 last saturday when he poked his head around a door and said "hello, I'm the doctor"...

    A friend of mine was in London on Saturday, when he came back in to work on Tuesday he said, "guess who I saw in london on Saturday?, Doctor Who", not Chris Eccleston, Dr Who... jobs already done...
  • I call B.S.! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:00AM (#12099223)
    I doubt he's afraid of being type cast. This is a negotiating tactic, plain and simple. Let it be known that you won't be around for a second run if you're not already contractually obligated to do so, and then they come at you with more money right out of the gate.
    • No, what's really dumb is that the BBC didn't sign him up for the first series with a contract that optioned him for other series if they wanted to carry on the run. All the cast of ST:TNG were signed up for one year with the option of a further six, all the cast of X-Men were signed up for one movie with the option of another one (although I bet the producers wish that had been another three or four now).

      How hard is it to draw up a contract that says if we want you for another year or two then you're ours
      • No, what's really dumb is that the BBC didn't sign him up for the first series with a contract that optioned him for other series if they wanted to carry on the run.

        It does look like the BBC have dropped the ball here on more than one level. Firstly yeah, when casting a part like The Doctor the contract should include multiple series if it proves popular[*].

        Secondly, was it really necessary to confirm that the new series is in the planning before the second episode of this one has even aired?
        Letting people know there's a new series before the current one finishes is a good thing, but confirming it this early seems a little bit overkill to me.

        Finally they really dropped the ball by having it known that the lead actor isn't in the next series before we're even really into this one.
        Surely something like this kind of announcement you leave until as late in the series as you can. All announcing it this early does is make it harder to want to get used to the current actor as you know there's be a new one next year. Not a great move, I think.

        [*] Although it might simply have not occurred to them. In an interview I heard, it seems that neither Eccleston nor Watson had thought past this current series. If true, then this was possibly shortsighted on the planning front.

        I guess the real problem here was that if no-one was sure that a second series was going to happen - or when it would happen - it'd be harder to get someone to commit to multiple series.

    • If it were a negotiating tactic, it went wrong - both Ecclestone *and* the BBC (not Netcraft, though) have confirmed that he's not coming back for a second series.
    • If you're right, it's a dumb choice. Everyone here is mad at him, especially as he was saying 'I want to be the Doctor for a whole generation of kids' only a few months ago.

      Also, a friend of a friend is writing an episode right now, and apparently extremely pissed off, cos now he is writing for a completely different character that he doesn't even know! So I doubt your theory, I'm afraid.

    • Look at his career. He didn't want to be the pretty boy on "21 Jump St" or anywhere else. He quit. Now, he's considered to be a well respected actor and is very successful. If he stayed on 21, I don't think he would be where he is now. Granted, I don't think every actor can do what Johnny did. Look at Denise Crosby(Tasha Yar) of ST:TNG. She quit because she didn't want to be type casted and she hasn't done much - I don't know if that's by choice or not though.
      • I've always thought it was talent. In the case of Johnny Depp, he's a very good actor, while Denise Crosby is just Bing Crosby's granddughter, with marginal acting talent.
      • Depp was on Jump Street for a number of years. It wasn't until the show was in decline that he jumped ship.
  • by glrotate ( 300695 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:00AM (#12099225) Homepage
    In other words, Christopher Eccleston is an idiot.
  • Gods know getting a chance to play a beloved character with a strong history and dedicated fandom is the last thing any actor wants.

    I've not seen the leaked episode, but I've heard rave reviews. It seems this gentleman really fit the role, and it's a shame he's not continuing - unless this is an early and bad April Fool's joke
    • I was going to post the same thing, almost word for word.

      While typecasting can become problem, it really is only an issue for mediocre actors. The good ones will get parts, regardless of their history. Maybe he knows something about his own skill that we don't.
  • I wonder how he rationalized his sudden decision to quit for fear of typecasting with his decision to contact the producer and ask for the role, as described in this BBC article [] and another featured on slashdot [] a couple weeks ago.

    I can't tell from the articles if he'll only be in the one episode, or if they've already shot more episodes from this season. But asking for a role and suddenly discovering that you're too good for it - that's frustrating from the perspective of all the folks out there who wou

  • Knowing that this series could re-emerge into a several series run why on earth would the BBC not have an option on this character for multiple years of the series. He is after all the NINTH Dr. Who dropped the ball, Auntie Beeb lives after all.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "New Dr Who actor Christopher Eccleston has revealed he will not continue in the role, for fears of being typecast. Billie Piper, who plays his assistant Rose, will probably continue in her role." ... for fear of not getting another one.
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:20AM (#12099376)
    Dr Who actor Christopher Eccleston has revealed he will not continue in the role, for fears of being typecast.

    Now everyone will just remember him as "that jerk who quit Dr. Who after one season because he was afraid of being typecast".

  • Who actors typecast (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wing03 ( 654457 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:22AM (#12099395)
    I'd say in my mind, the only actors typecast as Doctor Who are Pertwee and Tom Baker. I hear Troughton suffered for being typecast but he was way before my time. No idea how Hartnell was received and Richard Hurndal was at the end of his life when he played Doctor number 1.

    Davison is more typecast as "nice guy" characters rather than the Doctor, Colin Baker should be forgetable and besides, he now looks nothing like he did in the 80s. McCoy will always be the goofy guy (kinda like Mr. Noodles on Elmo) but chasing a big orange pipecleaner in the kids art show Vision On. McGann with his prosthetics and fake hair is far enough from his real self that I don't think I look at him as the Doctor.

    There are rabid fans of tv shows but I think it's a British thing and not so much so in the US. If he took on more roles in American films, he may avoid worldwide typecasting.

    As far as other actors, Connery was James Bond. In my mind, he's more the Captain of the Red October or the Spanish peacock with a Scottish accent... etc. Walter Koenig was Pavel Chekov but shined as Al Bester and I think I'll have trouble seeing him as Chekov in the upcoming ST:NV episode.

    • by nagora ( 177841 )
      I'd say in my mind, the only actors typecast as Doctor Who are Pertwee and Tom Baker. I hear Troughton suffered for being typecast but he was way before my time. No idea how Hartnell was received and Richard Hurndal was at the end of his life when he played Doctor number 1.

      I've no idea who Hurnal is. Pertwee was a bit typecast but Baker was only typecast as Baker, he seems to have generally played himself in everything he's been in. Troughton seems not to have had any trouble finding work (he was in the Om

  • ...not a moment to soon. For more disparaging criticism, see here [].
  • Mostly Offtopic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 )
    But does anyone else think that the Doctor Who theme song is really really awesome?

    I've watched the old episodes for years and its one of the few shows where i actually bother to watch the intro and credits.

    Just so i'm not completely offtopic, I bet all it took was a few days of people walking around and whispering "its the doctor" to convince the man to drop the role.

    • Re:Mostly Offtopic (Score:2, Insightful)

      by torpor ( 458 )
      Yup, one of my favourite bits of electronic weirdness from the 60's [] ..

      really though, i find myself humming "ooooh-eeeeeh-oooooh" any time i see anything even remotely resembling a tardis.
    • Mostly on topic (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gidds ( 56397 )
      Erm... It's not a song, because it's not sung! It's a piece of music.

      But yes, it's amazing. It's a shame that Ron Grainer gets the only credit for it, because although he wrote the basic tune, Delia Derbyshire at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop did the arrangement and recording, and so much of what we remember it for was down to her. A real unsung pioneer.

      And the new version strikes a good balance between keeping all that made the original great (including several actual samples from it) and making it

  • by autophile ( 640621 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:36AM (#12099504)
    ((Doctor Who)Christopher Eccleston).act(); actor does not want to be typecast.


  • He's already typecast as a weird guy with big ears. He takes way out there roles and looks like a right smurf while doing them. Thats what we expect from him and he'll keep doing it.
  • So very planned... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tyroneking ( 258793 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:42AM (#12099570)
    Never saw Eccleston (Doctor) sticking with it - he's a much better actor than the role requires and the writing allows. A recent interview on BBC's Jonathan Ross show saw him looking rather bemused with the whole thing (and with the line of Dr Who dolls due to come out this Xmas) he's probably feeling embarrassed by the first ep.
    The material given to him in the first ep. was p***-poor and the story quickly gravitated towards Billy Piper (Rose) which is one of the many pointers to the soap-like focus that the show will now suffer (after all, the target audience will be young ladies as it is for all drama-based TV shows these days -my sister felt sorry for the Doctor when he pleaded with Rose to come with him).
    Of course even Eccleston wouldn't want to turn down a paying job but I don't expect the BBC even wanted him to continue in the role otherwise they would have tied him to another series already.
    BBC Three (which has all the after-show shows here in the good old UK) transmitted the Dr Who Confidential show after the actual ep. on BBC 1 and the new production team kept banging on about their view of the essence of Dr Who, which boiled down to the Doctor character (but without the traditional dandy clothing - i.e. a time traveller that follows 21st century Earth fashions?), a Tardis (but only the exterior and the bigger-on-the-inside tricks have been kept the same), the space/time travelling (but the first episode was set in the now, and the next is supposed to be set at the end of time), and scary creatures (but the first episode had very unfrightening shop dummies). Nothing more! Ok, maybe I'm not sure what the essence of the original series was but I'm sure it was more about presenting new ideas and challenges to the viewer (e.g. what would we do if the earth was invaded by round tin-cans / human-like tin cans / big flies / etc) rather than wondering how long Eccleston will be able to reel of the names of lame galactic accords and stare meaningfully at Rose.
    The BBC should have looked to the late-70s Quatermass series which resurrected an earlier BBC series with a challenging premise and story line, instead of the long list of Mal Young resurrected soap-dramas. If there is some one in BBC land who is more like Nigel Neale (Quatermass, The Stone Tape*) ( ift/nigel-kneale.shtml []) then please let them come forward and seize the day before Dr Who is cancelled once again.
    Then again, what do I know ...
    * The Stone Tape is superb and highly recommended.
    • I'm not sure what the essence of the original series was but I'm sure it was more about presenting new ideas and challenges to the viewer

      The point of the original series was to entertain by presenting history to young viewers in the context of a science-fiction program. Over the course of 27 seasons it wandered away from this concept considerably, but it was never intended to have a Moral Purpose after the fashion of Roddenberry's Star Trek.
  • Because BBC America won't even show the new series (or the old one, for that matter), so a new doctor has already bitten the dust before I even got to see him.

    Yeah, I could probably download them... but the cardinal rule is that anything new and desireable will get the MPAA/RIAA/BPAA? (What ARE the British Phonograph police called anyways) after me with legal documents printed on wet noodles.
  • by bigbigbison ( 104532 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @10:44AM (#12099595) Homepage
    Rich Johnson (comic book rumor columnist) posted a message over at aintitcoolnews claiming that the plan all along has been to change doctors at the end of the first season as a way of introducing the concept to new viewers.
    • >>Rich Johnson (comic book rumor columnist) posted a [...]

      I'm sorry, I don't want to be offtopic but... Isn't that just one of the saddest job occupations that you've ever heard of?
      I can just imagine him at his "newsdesk" (in his parents' basement) posting up newsflashes (cue Comic Book Guy voice):

      "Attention. I have just received most horrible news. It appears that in the new Spiderman series, they have decided to colour his pants light blue in a spider-mesh pattern, instead of solid dark blue like
  • by The_REAL_DZA ( 731082 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @11:08AM (#12099835)
    If William Shatner didn't get "typecast" then I don't think this guy has much to worry about; OTTOMH, Shatner has played a starship captain, a policeman, and a lawyer (and all THAT after he played a Hitler-type character...or did he actually play Hitler in a movie...? Aha! [] to the rescue!! Holy COW, his IMDB entry is HUGE...ok, I'm seriously OT now, but Eccleston has nothing to worry about.)

  • Giles from Buffy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The OPTiCIAN ( 8190 ) on Thursday March 31, 2005 @07:11PM (#12105307)
    "Giles" from 'Buffy' is another Tom Baker waiting to happen and he comes pre-type-cast. Make it happen, BBC, make it happen!

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. -- Henry David Thoreau