Christopher Eccleston says it’s “very doubtful” he’ll return to Doctor Who on TV

Eccleston explained why it's unlikely we'll see the Ninth Doctor on screen again.

Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor in Doctor Who

With Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary coming up in 2023, fans have been hoping the historic event will bring a multi-Doctor story to our screens, Day of the Doctor style.

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One name who was missing from the 50th anniversary special, which featured primarily David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, and John Hurt’s War Doctor, was Christopher Eccleston.

Eccleston, who played the Ninth Doctor in the series’ 2005 revival, has since revealed he didn’t think the story did his Doctor justice. He has, however, reprised the role for a series of Doctor Who audio dramas produced by Big Finish, which has made fans wonder whether a 60th anniversary TV appearance will be possible.

Sadly, it’s unlikely. Speaking during a Q&A as part of Dragon Con, Eccleston explained why a 60th anniversary return was “doubtful”, saying “my relationship with the BBC over Doctor Who has not healed.”

He added: “I left because my relationship with Russell T Davies, [producers] Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson completely broke down during the shooting of the first series.

“I think it’s fair to say… that the first series nobody knows what they’re doing and the politics are raging. The shooting of the first series was a nightmare.”

Eccleston explained the circumstances surrounding his exit, saying: “I agreed with Russell that I would go, quietly and respectfully, and I would look after the show publicity-wise, in terms of publicising it.

“And then, without saying anything to me, they announced that I was leaving. They didn’t tell me they were going to do that. I was walking down the street and suddenly I got quite a lot of aggression. And more importantly… they created a quote, and they attributed it to me, which said I was tired.

“Now the thing is about that, ‘Oh I found it too tiring’,  I didn’t find it too tiring. I found it too tiring working with Russell, and Phil and Julia. I didn’t find it physically too tiring.

“When they said that, any other producer reading that would go ‘Oh, we’re not going to employ Christopher Eccleston because he gets tired’. So it was a lie, and it was in quotation marks, and I’m from Salford, you don’t do that to me.

“So they issued a kind of apology, but it’s not enough, so no.”

Eccleston did, however, tell the crowd he would continue doing Big Finish and attending conventions, so there’s definitely more Ninth Doctor in the sci-fi show’s future.

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Doctor Who will return to BBC One later in 2021 – visit our Sci-fi hub for more news and features or find something to watch with our TV Guide.