Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

I quit as Dr Who

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CHRISTOPHER Eccleston has quit Doctor Who after only one episode has been broadcast, it was announced last night.

Despite the immediate success of the sci-fi programme's revival, Eccleston has decided he will appear in only one series.

The news will be a blow to the BBC, which has spent millions filming and marketing the Saturday night show.

However, it will still go ahead with a second series, with up-and-coming actor David Tennant tipped to play the Doctor.

He would be the ninth to play the Time Lord.

Only last week Eccleston said the role was a 'poisoned chalice'. It is thought the 41-year-old actor's main concern was that he would become typecast.

Last Saturday, the programme attracted ten million viewers, won rave reviews and beat ITV rivals Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway in the ratings.

But Eccleston has also appeared in more highbrow work such as TV drama The Second Coming and a stage production of Hamlet.

In an interview days before the first episode was screened, Eccleston said he wasn't 'completely sure' he would return in a second series. The current series runs for 13 episodes.

He said: 'I know Russell (Russell T Davies, Doctor Who's writer) has been asked to write another six and that other writers are on standby.

'But I need to think about it. It's more than a huge responsibility to shoulder. And no, I don't want to be thought of as The Doctor to the exclusion of everything else I've done or may do.

'So I'll have to think long and hard about it before I make the final decision. I am keenly aware that the whole thing could be a poisoned chalice.' Last night, a BBC spokesman said: 'I can confirm that he will not be returning for a second series. He does not want to be typecast and he's always looking for new challenges.' Eccleston had found the eight months of filming, split between London and Cardiff, 'gruelling'.

'I'm sure we will find someone good for the role,' the spokesman said.

He confirmed that the programme makers were in talks with Casanova actor Tennant.

No firm decisions had been made but Billie Piper will reappear as Rose.

Announcing his departure, Eccleston said: 'The audience's response to the new Doctor Who has been incredible.

I'm really proud to be part of it.' Eccleston had previously been approached to play Doctor Who in a film version eight years ago. He turned it down because he did not want to be associated so early in his career with a 'brand name' that could rule him out of other parts.

The BBC also said it was planning a Doctor Who Christmas special.

Jane Tranter, head of drama commissioning, said: 'I want to make Doctor Who again, but there is a mischievous element to it, in that you can keep regenerating (the Doctor).' The programme, which first appeared in 1963 and attracted huge audiences, was scrapped 16 years ago.

Who's next?

DAVID Tennant, the man being tipped to take over from Christopher Eccleston, set his sights on acting at an early age.

Appropriately, Doctor Who and the BBC sci-fi series Blake's 7 were great childhood sources of inspiration for the actor, who is 33.

Tennant (pictured) is widely regarded as a rising star of film and TV and is playing the lead role of Casanova alongside Peter O'Toole in the BBC drama. He will also hit the big screen later this year in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The son of a church minister and the youngest of three children, Tennant was raised in Renfrewshire, Scotland.

In a recent interview, he revealed that he told his parents when he was three that he intended to act.

At 17, he entered the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow where actors Emma Fielding and Greg Wise were classmates.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Jenkins, Elise (2005-03-31). I quit as Dr Who. Daily Mail p. 5.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Jenkins, Elise. "I quit as Dr Who." Daily Mail [add city] 2005-03-31, 5. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Jenkins, Elise. "I quit as Dr Who." Daily Mail, edition, sec., 2005-03-31
  • Turabian: Jenkins, Elise. "I quit as Dr Who." Daily Mail, 2005-03-31, section, 5 edition.
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