Russell T. Davies would be the person who would save Doctor Who from disappearing altogether. He’d had some clout thanks to the success of his program Queer as Folk. He brought in several people who’d worked on Big Finish and Doctor Who novels, such as Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, and Rob Shearman. Rather than reboot the universe, he created the Ninth Doctor, having the Eighth Doctor regenerate off-screen. That Doctor would be Christopher Eccleston.
Oh, I did it again. I picked another stupid ape! I should’ve known. It’s not about showing you the universe, it never is. It’s about the universe doing something for you!–“Father’s Day”
About Christopher Eccleston
He was born into a working class family in Langworthy, Salford. He had twin brothers who were eight years older than him He starred in Let Him Have It, earning his first breakthrough role in TV. When Eccleston became the Ninth Doctor, he was the first actor to play the role who was born after the series began in the 60’s.
In a Nutshell
- Catch Phrase: “Fantastic”
- First Appearance of “psychic paper”: “End of the World”
- Doctor Who returned to a 45-minute format, but was no longer serialized. However, there were 6 2-part episodes.
- Due to an arrangement with Terry Nation’s estate, the BBC was still permitted to use the Daleks, but now had to include them in at least one story per series.
- Russell T. Davies introduced a new concept called the Time War, which supposedly meant that the Doctor was believed to be the only Time Lord left, as Gallifrey was now lost to time.
- First appearance of the Slitheen: “Aliens in London”
Rose Tyler (Billie Piper)
First appearance: “Rose”
Last appearance: “Doomsday” (w/10th Doctor, she returned during Series 4 as well)
Rose Tyler introduced a new way of writing companions. In the Classic Era, the companions usually left their old lives behind and lived in the TARDIS with the Doctor. (Jo Grant is a notable exception) Rose, however, tried to juggle two lives–her life on Earth and her travels with the Doctor. This caused estrangement with her mother Jackie and her ex-boyfriend, Mickey Smith. She also helped the Doctor heal his psychological wounds from the Time War.
Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke)
First appearance: “Rose”
Last appearance: “Doomsday (w/10th Doctor, made a cameo in “The End of Time”)
Mickey was Rose’s ex-boyfriend and was jealous of the Doctor. After all, how could he compete with all of space and time? He still managed to be a great help to the Doctor, despite the Doctor’s reluctance to allow him to assist.
Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)
First appearance: “The Empty Child”
Last appearance: “Journey’s End” (w/10th Doctor)
Jack Harness met the Doctor as a “Time Agent”, a man attempting to pull a con on the Doctor. He also helped the Doctor prevent the Daleks from invading a space station, and would become even more important in the next era.
My Opinion on Eccleston
I’m amazed at how well Eccleston’s sole season successfully revived Doctor Who. What was a gamble was also one of the strongest series in both Classic and current who, proving that the show could work in a new format for a new audience. There were only a few weak episodes, and even those were still entertaining. Really, my only complaint is that Eccleston is the only actor who has not embraced his role as the Doctor, as the other Doctors have. He has tried to separate himself form the role as much as he can, and I believe his refusal to participate in the 50th anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor” is why the BBC always skips his era when they rerun the show. I agree with many fans of the revival–“don’t skip Nine!”
- “End of the World”
- “Father’s Day”
- “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”
- “Bad Wolf”/”The Parting of the Ways”