Christopher Eccleston stunned the Doctor Who fandom when he announced a return to the franchise, even if it was only going to be in the form of an audio adventure. The actor had spent so long refusing offers and had spoken ill of his time on the show. Because of this, I assume most fans thought he'd never have anything to do with the franchise ever again.
And yet, Big Finish managed to rope him in for some new audio adventures titled The Ninth Doctor Adventures. When asked what led him back to Doctor Who by the Radio Times, Christopher Eccleston was hilariously blunt in his response.
What convinces a bricklayer to build a wall? What convinces a plumber to plumb? What convinces you to do your job? First of all, I mean, it’s not a fashionable thing to say – and because we’re all English, we don’t talk about these things – but I’m an actor, and the way I pay my mortgage and support my children in by acting. So it’s paid work.
Actors gotta act, and while Christopher Eccleston hasn't felt the need to return to Doctor Who in the past, it sounds like he finally broke when he needed the work and an opportunity came his way. Of course, doing an audio drama and returning to the series for a guest role or arc are entirely different things, and I still probably wouldn't expect he'll do the latter. After all, this decision wasn't necessarily driven by some passion or love for Doctor Who.
With that said, Christopher Eccleston did have another reason for doing The Ninth Doctor Adventures beyond the money involved for doing so. Though he's never spoken too highly of his experience on the set of Doctor Who in his one-season tenure, Eccleston maintained that he has always enjoyed playing the Doctor as a character.
Secondly, as I’ve always said, I have a great love for the character. I’ve always said that... It’s nice to play somebody who has all the answers. It’s nice to play an enthusiast. And it’s nice to play somebody who’s front foot and confident. And warm! It’s a gift to play it, as every actor who’s ever had the role will tell you. This is a hero who doesn’t take himself too seriously, and who is filled with love. It’s a joyous thing to do.
The Ninth Doctor Adventures is scheduled to begin its rollout in May of 2021 and will continue to run up to February of 2022. While it's a little bit of a bummer that Christopher Eccleston isn't planned to reprise his role in any way in television, perhaps Doctor Who knows the proper motivator not to make it happen?
While Christopher Eccleston probably won't appear in Doctor Who Season 13, fans can binge his season right now on HBO Max. For more on the upcoming season, check out the other former star who could make an appearance in the upcoming season here.