Christopher Eccleston says Doctor Who return felt like “putting on a pair of old shoes”

The popular actor is returning as the Ninth Doctor in a new series of audio adventures for Big Finish

Christopher Eccleston - Doctor Who

The news that Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston was returning for a new series of Big Finish audio adventures was met with tremendous enthusiasm earlier this year, and with production on the comeback now underway the excitement has been dialled up further.

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Now, in a brand new interview on the Big Finish podcast, the popular actor has revealed just how excited he is about reprising the role – 15 years after he last played the iconic Time Lord in the first series of the revived show.

Speaking to Doctor Who’s voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs, who is an Executive Producer at Big Finish and has also written scripts for the new stories, Eccleston revealed that his return had been “seamless” thus far.

Christopher Eccleston
Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor in Doctor Who (BBC)

“I really enjoyed playing him again,” he said. “He was always a joy to play, somebody with that amount of optimism, enthusiasm and brains – and heart… two hearts!”

Eccleston went on to praise the scripts, which he described as “beautiful” – adding that the care and knowledge that had gone into them had played a huge part in easing him back into the role after such a long time away.

“That’s what made it feel seamless,” he said. “I felt that you [Briggs] understood what he was all those years ago – and so it was like putting on a pair of old shoes. Running shoes!

“Doing the scripts, you do get the sense of somebody who’s completely immersed in the lore of the show. I think what I realised, with all my writers, when I did the 13 episodes – and with this – is basically you’re playing the writer.

“You’re playing Steven Moffat, you’re playing Russell T Davies, you’re playing you [or] Rob Shearman… you’re playing them, their projected self, as the Doctor – and that’s what’s nice, because he has a slightly different voice from episode-to-episode while having continuity, of course. You all wanna be the Doctor!”

Eccleston revealed that production had begun on the new audio series last week by posting a snap of a script to his Instagram account, and it didn’t take long for dedicated Whovians to search for clues in the image – with Briggs’ script seemingly titled ‘Sphere of Freedom’.

Fans also spotted details of a character who will appear alongside the Ninth Doctor, a skilled chef from the Sphere of Freedom enlisted by the Time Lord to stop a dastardly plan.

Eccleston’s return to the character was announced in August this year and came as a welcome surprise to fans, given he had previously appeared reluctant to reprise the role after a fall out with superiors during his time on the show.

Fans had been calling for his return for a number of years, but many thought the opportunity had passed when Eccleston turned down an opportunity to reprise the Ninth Doctor for the show’s 50th anniversary special in 2013. However, he was more positive about the show when writing about it in his 2019 memoir.

The actor was the first person to take on the role after the show was revived in 2005, but he lasted only one series in the role before stepping down.

And while his audio return might be imminent, it seems a return to the TV series is not so likely – he claimed during an appearance on Lorraine last week that he would only return, “when hell freezes over!”

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Each of the four volumes in Big Finish’s Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures will be released as a four-disc collector’s edition box set or download containing three brand-new full cast audio adventures and a selection of behind-the-scenes extras. The volumes are already available to pre-order in a range of formats from the Big Finish website.

Looking for more to watch? Check out our guide to the best Christmas TV 2020 or find out what to watch tonight with our TV Guide.