Doctor Who Whirlwind

Hell of a week to be a Doctor Who fan.

First, the new series premiered in the UK on Saturday, to huge ratings.

Then, yesterday, with only one episode of the new series aired, the BBC announced the go-ahead for a second series, as well as an hour-long special episode to air at Christmas. (I’m not calling it a “Christmas Special”, since here in the US, that would bring to mind visions of an animated puppet Doctor singing about snow and toys.) This is it. Doctor Who is officially back, as more than just a one-shot.

Then, today, the shocker hits: Christopher Eccleston is quitting the role. Talk about your ups and downs! My friggin’ head is spinning.

There are precious few details. Some UK papers report a fear of typecasting, some report it’s a salary issue. Part of me thinks that it might be a ruse — it had earlier been announced that Eccleston had signed a two-year contract, after all…and the final episode of this season supposed ends in a cliffhanger where we don’t know the Doctor’s fate. What better way to preserve tension than by putting a big question mark over the lead actor’s participation?

But, in the end, the reality of it probably is that Eccleston is leaving at the end of the season, and that next season we’ll see a new Doctor. I’m hoping that they’ll sign Eccleston to do the Christmas episode, so that they can film a proper regeneration sequence (and, in fact, that may be why the special episode was commissioned, given the fact that the show never had a special in-between-seasons episode for any of its original 26-year run).

Rumors are floating around about the identity of the 10th Doctor. Current front runners are David Tennant (currently staring in BBC3’s Casanova(written by the executive producer/writer of the new Who, Russel T. Davies) and appearing as Barty Crouch, Jr. in the forthcoming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), or Bill Nighy (“Billie Mack” from Love, Actually and Slartibartfast in the forthcoming Hitchhiker’s Guide movie). Personally, I’d love to see Nighy do it.

So, in the space of a week: elation and disappointment.

But still, in the end, the core fact remains: Doctor Who is back, there are 12 more episodes of Eccleston to enjoy, and another season on the way…..and that’s a good thing.

10 Replies to “Doctor Who Whirlwind”

  1. Nighy (who can also be seen in “Underworld”) would be a great choice.

    I’m also fond of Anthony Stewart Head for the part, assuming he’s interested.

  2. Nighy was also great in “Shawn of the Dead.” He’s my preference, since I’d like to see a return to an older Doctor, which we haven’t had for a while.

    As far as David Tennant, though……A member of the Outpost Gallifrey forums (the largest Doctor Who forums on the ‘net, which I frequent) recently posted a photoshopped image of David Tennant (in the 9th doctor’s costume), though, and I have to admit, he looks “Doctor-ish” enough….

  3. Nighy could be great as Dr. Who. Man, I’ve seen so few episodes, I feel like hunting some down.

    How many seasons have been released on DVD?

  4. The sad thing is, with the exception of the “Key to Time” boxed set (which compiles every episode of Season 16 (which had an over-arcing story)), they haven’t released any complete seasons on DVD….just individual stories.

    Which, I suppose, is OK, since they stand alone. The problem, of course, is that they’ve released a ton more in the UK than here.

    Here in the US, they’ve released:

    1st Doctor: The Aztecs, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Lost in Time (a collection of surviving episodes from lost stories (the BBC deleted a bunch in the days before re-runs))

    2nd Doctor: Tomb of the Cybermen, Seeds of Death, Lost in Time (as above, shared with 1st Doc).

    3rd Doctor: Spearhead from Space (his debut), The Three Doctors, Carnival of Monsters, The Green Death

    4th Doctor: (most famous in US, hence, most releases) The Ark in Space, Pyramids of Mars, Robots of Death, Talons of Weng-Chiang, and the Key to Time Boxed set (season 16…episodes also available separately: The Ribos Operation, The Pirate Planet, Stones of Blood, The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll and The Armageddon Factor).

    5th Doctor: The Visitation, Earthshock, The Five Doctors, Ressurection of the Daleks, The Caves of Androzani (his last, where he regenerates into….)

    6th Doctor: Vengeance on Varos, The Two Doctors

    7th Doctor: Remembrance of the Daleks, The Curse of Fenric.

    …and that’s all for the US so far.

  5. Yeah, it’s just insane how all this stuff happened at once.

    What happens when they hit 12 regenerations? We blew through 8 and 9 awfully fast.

    I would still love to see Rowan Atkinson as the Doctor.

  6. While I am, admittedly, not a big fan of the series, I’d love to see them take a real left turn for the next Doctor. My choice would be Paterson Joseph

    He played the Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere, a character Gaiman claimed was very much a Dr. Who analog, and I thought he rather nailed the part brilliantly.

  7. OOh, that would rock on toast…

    But it’s an actor proof part, pretty much, as long as you avoid comedy casting.

    And I say again, I am available for long shoots and have my own scarf…

  8. According to the BBC Who site Eccleston IS doing the Christmas special and Tennant is pretty much a cert if they can make the deal (though others are being considered).

    I guess I’m wondering whether someone with quite a young-looking face can pull off the moments of gravitas when needed. But I haven’t actually seen him in anything, so that’s speculative.

    General spin on Eccleston is (a) fear of typecasting and (b) the punishing production schedule. There might be an undercurrent of serious actor taken aback by genre fandom.

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