Friday , May 17 2024
Christopher Eccleston and moderator Tony B Kim (Credit: Pat Cuadros)

Awesome Con: Christopher Eccleston on ‘Doctor Who’

Doctor Who fans converged on Washington, D.C. over the weekend to see the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston. During his panel at Awesome Con, D.C.’s local comic con, he shared stories about the relaunch of Doctor Who in 2005 and a teaser about a new project.

Hailing from Manchester, England, Eccleston is a huge Manchester United fan. Initially, he had other dreams in mind as a youth. He said, “I wanted to play football for Manchester United. I still do. It’s a true story! I dream I’m playing for Manchester United every night.”

On Putting Together a New ‘Doctor Who’

While he understood the pressure to do well by fans of the original Doctor Who, Eccleston maintained a calm and collected approach, free of distractions. “If you’re playing Hamlet and Macbeth and you start thinking of the baggage that comes with it, you can’t do the job. So I blocked it all out.”

As we know today, the relaunch proved immensely popular. Eccleston remembers being “mobbed” in Manchester at the airport by fans.

He praised showrunner Russell T. Davies’ vision and planning as important factors in the news series’ success. Davies allowed him to use a blue-collar accent for the Doctor and to wear a more pragmatic costume with a leather jacket and comfortable running boots. In this way, Eccleston felt fans could focus on the “two hearts and the mind” of the Doctor, rather than the costume.

Photo of Christopher Eccleston holding a microphone
Credit: Pat Cuadros

Davies directed his energy to retooling aspects of another beloved character, the Doctor’s companion. “There was a time where the female assistant ran around in bikinis, and Russell changed that. He empowered the female character in it, Billie Piper’s role.”

According to Eccleston, Doctor Who is all about humanity, inclusion and equality. He believes successive casts, crew and creatives worked hard to keep those themes front and center through different Doctors.

On Big Finish Productions

In 2013, Eccleston appeared as Malekith in Thor: The Dark World. Incredibly, he spent about eight hours in makeup to become that villain. “Chris Hemsworth is an absolute gentleman. Alan Taylor, everybody was great on it. I was [with] the makeup artist all the time but it was nice to see the reaction to it.”

Even though Eccleston left Doctor Who after one season, he isn’t quite done with the Ninth Doctor. In fact, he records audio dramas regularly with a production company called Big Finish, which holds to a standard of writing he admires. “I can’t believe [that] some of the dramas I’ve recorded for audio have not been used visually in the television series. That’s the thing about Big Finish. Their writers are top-drawer.”

Interestingly, TV series co-star Billie Piper attended Awesome Con as well. Even though Piper also records Doctor Who dramas with Big Finish, as her character Rose, nothing has been confirmed about a reunion for the Ninth Doctor and his companion.

Photo of Billie Piper listening to a question from the audience
Billie Piper’s panel was the day after Christopher Eccleston’s (Credit: Pat Cuadros)

This year marks Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary. Eccleston hinted that he’s contributing something to the celebration. He worked “with one of the greatest British actors that ever walked the planet and one of the most beautiful human beings who has since passed.”

While he offered another small clue, we can only wait for all of the details. “If he had played the Doctor — Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee, you would have not heard of any of them — he’s the definitive actor who should have played the Doctor.”

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros is Pop Culture Editor for Blogcritics Magazine. She frequently covers TV, film and theater. Her portfolio includes interviews with Ndaba Mandela and actors Juliette Binoche, Fran Drescher, Derek Jacobi and Brent Spiner. She's also spoken with notable voice actors Petrea Burchard, Garry Chalk, Peter Cullen and Brian Drummond.

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