One of the greatest sore spots in modern Doctor Who history has to be former series lead Christopher Eccleston, best known as the Ninth Doctor, quickly leaving the franchise so upset with how things were being run. Throughout time, the franchise has flirted with telling new stories with the Ninth Doctor, using everything from rewrites to archival footage to keep his character present in the Doctor's ever-evolving mythos. The newly announced multimedia event entitled Time Lord Victorious is bringing the character back for a full adventure, so could Christopher Eccleston properly return to the Doctor Who franchise soon?
Recently announced by the BBC, Time Lord Victorious is a massive twelve-week event telling one story across audio dramas, novels, comics, immersive theater, and even escape rooms. (Basically everything but TV specials.) Starting in September 2020 and ending in January 2021, the story arc is set to unite the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Doctors in one massive battle against a threat fans have never seen before. It’s a gigantic undertaking in a landmark sci-fi series, with all of the big guns being brought out. But might there be a Christopher Eccleston-shaped gun in that bunch?
The return of the original Ninth Doctor's isn’t a possibility that’s to be thrown around willy nilly. With Christopher Eccleston being extremely candid about his feelings towards the Doctor Who franchise as he saw it, it’s not like he’d be a pushover when it comes to luring the actor back into the fray. And as we’ve seen in the realm of Whovian audio drams through the Big Finish brand, there’s always room for a soundalike actor to be brought in to substitute Eccleston’s Northern accented Doctor.
That said, Christopher Eccleston’s main beef with the world of Doctor Who centered around three unnamed (but highly speculated) people in particular. So the fact that Time Lord Victorious would be produced outside of the TV universe could help woo Eccleston back to possibly reunite with Billie Piper, whose Rose Tyler companion has also been named as a returning party for TLV.
With a huge event bringing Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor and David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor back to the table, you’ve already got two characters who have seen their portrayers return to the realm of audio dramas. With a huge event like this taking place over a decade since Christopher Eccleston’s departure, there’s a reasonably sound chance that the actor could overcome his distance with the franchise, in the name of the fans, in order to work in a totally different realm of production for Time Lord Victorious.
Should Eccleston not want to return, Time Lord Victorious could handle the actor’s absence rather easily, with either a soundalike actor replacing him as the Ninth Doctor, or a strategy of relegating the character to the non-interactive media present in this ambitious event. But as time has passed, new management is in play, and the fans are obviously still anxious to hear him slip on the leather coat once more, Christopher Eccleston could have the best opportunity to become part of Doctor Who again.
The Doctor Who franchise is in an interesting spot right now. With Chris Chibnall’s tenure as showrunner and Jodie Whitaker’s Doctor being front and center on the TV end, there’s a lot of change that’s happened in the landscape of the BBC’s sci-fi crown jewel. The series is currently in-between TV seasons, and won't be returning until some point in 2021, so Time Lord Victorious is coming at a nearly perfect time to entertain Doctor Who fans who are hungry for new content.
Time heals all wounds, even for a Time Lord, and if this doesn’t bring Christopher Eccleston back to the table, it’s hard to imagine what possibly could. For now, we’ll just ok have to wait and see what announcements are made as we get closer to Time Lord Victorious’s September 2020 release date. In the meantime, check out our Summer 2020 TV schedule to see what new shows are on the way.