The BBC’s 2005 relaunch of Doctor Who continues to be a success. Since it began, we’ve seen the show go through many different Doctors, build a fervent international audience and show us a whole bunch of juicy capers spanning time and space. But the series’ return didn’t go as smoothly as the producers hoped.
Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston was praised for his performance, though left the show after just one season due to conflicts with the production staff. Of course, the nature of Doctor Who meant it was fairly easy to regenerate him into David Tennant, but that bad blood ensured that Eccleston has been absent from every multi-Doctor special – he was particularly missed in the 50th anniversary spectacular. But now, 15 years after he vowed never to step into a TARDIS again, he’s back.
The actor’s returning as the Ninth Doctor for a series of Big Finish audio adventures and their Twitter account has marked the beginning of recording by posting an image of Eccleston with the script. The outing is titled “Sphere of Freedom” and written by Nicholas Briggs (executive producer of Big Finish and famous for also voicing the Daleks and Cybermen). When complete, the series will span twelve new stories across four volumes. The first is called Ravagers and will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally in May 2021.
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So, could this audio series bode well for a spectacular 60th anniversary episode in 2023? Maybe. I mean, who wouldn’t love to see this famously abrasive and grumpy Doctor interacting with Tennant, Smith, Capaldi and Whittaker? Let’s hope the wheels are already turning and as all the people that Eccleston fell out with in 2005 have long since departed the show, there’s certainly a possibility that he’ll be back on screen.
In the meantime, the long-awaited special “Revolution of the Daleks” will air on New Year’s Day, while season 13 is expected to be here in late 2021, though the series has been hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK and this next run will only be eight episodes rather than the usual eleven. Still, after a brief hiatus, it’s good to know that more Doctor Who is coming in 2021.