I was actually able to see a couple of the Ninth Doctor Episodes today. He comes off harder than the Tenth or Eleventh but apparently he has good reason to. Did this darker approach work in your minds?
I love Amy Pond and Clara is a cutie but then there's Rose...
This Time Lord does know how to pick them!
It took awhile for me to notice, but Christopher Eccleston, between his tall, skinny form and beady eyes, and harsh antisocial attitude, AND black outfit, is like a younger version of William Hartnell. And he slowly opens up and becomes friendlier, and more likable as he goes. What a perfect way to start the show all over again after so many years.
I also love how when it started, the focus was on "normal" people, and The Doctor was a mystery. Great way to get a NEW audience who had never seen the show before, without alienating longtime fans. (In other words, the exact opposite of the Paul McGann film.)
It's a shame he had some kind of nasty falling-out with the producer... I understand when it was announced he was leaving the show, it had only been on the air in England for about ONE WEEK! That apparently scared the hell out of longtime fans... the show just came back, and it was already in danger of ending again too soon.
I've often wondered what it must have been like for someone who had never seen the series before, if "Rose" was the first Doctor Who they ever saw. Eccleston was so different from the old series Doctors that it took me a while to get used to him. I just re-watched the Ninth Doctor episodes recently, and was impressed once again with how good they are. I've had my criticisms of RTD and I still stand by them, by and large, but he really did do an excellent job bringing the show back.
I knew a number of people who came in with Tom Baker or Peter Davison. When the William Hartnell stories finally made it to America (at the same time as the Colin Baker stories-- no kidding), several people I knew apparently were TURNED OFF in the extreme. They saw one story, maybe two, maybe less... and decided this wasn't what they wanted to watch at all. A shame, as The Doctor really evolved over time to become the hero he later became... but they couldn't be bothered investing the time to see it happen.
I think I read in RTD's published book on his Dr Who experience that Eccleston was only ever really committed to one season of Doctor Who, and he just was really turned off by how quickly the show and the personage of the Dr became a mass-media phenomenon overnight again. That's not the kind of actor he wanted to be, it seems.
Eccleston is really a movie star (albeit a minor one) and it was a huge coup to get him to do the role, and he did bring star power to the part, not to mention passion and intensity. Some actors aren't cut out for ongoing TV too, and I also heard the constant filming was affecting his health. The Doctor was in practically every scene after all, and not everyone is up to that level of commitment for several years.
Perhaps RTD was covering his own ass, but I don't think the falling out was that nasty. Just, to borrow a phrase, 'a parting of the ways'.
There's a great series of essays on Dr Who on Mindless Ones and this week they've just got to the first season on New Who.
A quick quote:
"Eccleston, in particular, was a marvel, playing a character that was almost a remix of the original Doctor — every characteristic in his portrayal was an element of the earlier versions of the character, but in different proportions, so that he seemed totally different while still familiar."