One of the biggest “what ifs” in the realm of the convoluted, confusing and ridiculous world of BBC’s Doctor Who is what the show would have looked like if Christopher Eccleston had decided to stay on as the Doctor for at least another season. Make no bones about it, Eccleston had a contentious relationship with those in charge with the show and found himself frustrated by his lack of control, leading to his early departure, but still, imagine if he was allowed to do things a bit differently?
Looking back at that first season with Eccleston as Nine, it was almost entirely different in tone than what the show turned into after David Tennant took over as Ten. Eccleston — outside of Paul McGann as Eight — was the shortest-lived Doctor of them all and still has a strong base of fans who consider him their favorite. As iO9 points out from a recent interview, he seems regretful at leaving the role so early, wanting to do so much more with it.
“It was kind of tragic for me, that I didn’t play him for longer. He’s a beautiful character and I have a great deal of professional pride and had I done a second season, there would have been a marked improvement in my performance. I was learning new skills, in terms of playing light comedy. I was not known for light comedy and, again, production did not allow for that.”
It’s difficult to blame him considering how goofy that first season was. The production wasn’t as polished as it would go on to become, the effects were dreadful and the team helming the show were still trying to figure out exactly what the show was supposed to be. It would have been nice if he felt this way when they were preparing the fiftieth anniversary special that was written around his character before he refused to do it, though, wouldn’t it?
No matter what, though, Nine’s regeneration into Ten is still probably the hardest to watch. You were fantastic. Really.