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  1. #1
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    Default Did He Jump Or...?

    Considering he became one of the most popular Doctors in his very short tenure, I wonder if we'll ever find out the truth about Eccleston's departure from the series? Was it planned or did things simply not go to plan and he walked out/ was pushed out of the series.

    I've heard all sorts of theories over the years, and the unfortunate timing of the announcement of his departure set all sorts of conspiracy theories in motion, didn't it? Whether there was any truth in those theories, only time will tell.

    Reasons given over the years vary. Officially, RTD said that Eccleston was only ever signed up for one season, and that the regeneration was planned all along with the hope being that it would come as a shock ending to the season (if news of his departure had been kept quiet). Others suggest that Eccleston was unhappy with certain aspects of the production (what exactly seems unclear) and decided to walk.

    What do you think really happened? Is RTD telling the truth, or is there really more to the story than meets the eye?

  2. #2
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    I read late last year that Eccleston was unhappy with the way things were going and jumped ship. That sort of ties in with other things I read with regards to RTD answering criticism about not inviting McGann back to the role. He claimed at the time that it wouldn't be fair to the audience to introduce them to the Doctor just to change him in a short space of time.
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  3. #3
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    I suspect we'll never know the truth, which means we'll be speculating forever. One thing that's clear is the Eccleston wasn't comfortable with the show- he's interviews in DW Confidential over the series are quite telling from that POV. The stress of it is made quite plain by him.

    Si xx

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  4. #4
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    I wasn't that surprised, to be honest. Eccleston has always struck me as being primarily interested in the challenge of acting, rather than any of the peripherals. I can certainly see him not wanting to get 'cosy' in a role - that's partly the reason why I was so surprised that he was cast in the first place.

    I think the whole "we were planning to change him all along" spiel is a bit of face-saving on the part of the BBC, etc as that would be a crazy plan wouldn't it - you cast an actor who then turns out to be the most popular Doctor Who, but then force him to go?

    I expect one day we'll find out - probably not for a long time, but just as we now (for example) know that it wasn't just Hartnell's illness that made him go (the Producer had already tried to get rid of him, so it was only a matter of time) and that one of the reasons for Pertwee's leaving was simply money... so one day, Andrew Pixley (or Andrew Pixley Jr) will reveal the truth.

  5. #5
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    We will know one day - there has to be fascinating production paperwork in a cabinet somewhere that will be unearthed and published in a technical monograph from a niche publisher. My own belief is it was planned for him to do one year and establish regeneration early into the New Series and prevent a backlash from the new audience when popular Chris Eccleston goes after three or four years. Furthermore, I think RTD wanted David Tennant all along but wasn't allowed a no-name actor in the first season and this compromise worked for all sides. The only bit that wasn't planned was the leaking after "Rose".
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

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  6. #6
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    The truth may not be known for some time, but a few things that sring to mind:

    RTD uses bulls**t a LOT. Watching some of the interviews with him it is clear he talks a lot of crap to publicise things (the one that particularly sticks in my mind is his spiel on an episode of Torchwood: Declassified where he justifies killing Owen by saying how important it is to have the characters genuinely threatened and reminded that death is a real possibility, then promptly resurrected him in the next episode and kept him around for the rest of the season).

    Would any producer early on like to admit that things didn't work out as planned after making such a big fuss about how great it would be?

    How professional would it have been to say 'we need a new Doctor 'cos Eccleston left us in the lurch'?

    Eccleston, as far as I can tell from various interviews, never likes to stay in one part too long anyway.

    The regeneration itself as shot looks tacked on and makes very little sense. Why did absorbing the Time Vortex for all of five seconds and then just putting it back where it belonged kill him, while Rose was able to absorb it, use it, wipe out the Daleks, resurrect Jack and generally hold onto it for a few minutes, and then she wakes up with just a bit of amnesia?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
    We will know one day - there has to be fascinating production paperwork in a cabinet somewhere that will be unearthed and published in a technical monograph from a niche publisher.
    OMG - I get the feeling you're working on the new Brenty Four already ...
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

  8. #8
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    Eccleston seems to be the kind of actor who gets jittery in long term roles, who likes to keep his privacy and who likes to mix up one-off TV work with plays and what not. So I think he said to them "I'll do one year" and they said "Ok", gambling on him changing his mind. He didn't, so they cast Tennant who would have hoved into RTD's radar as "Casanova" was made in the meantime.

    Then the BBC went and released a press release attributing things to Eccleston that he never said, so he stormed off and never darkened Doctor Who's door again.

    I still don't really get why he is out of question for a return though. There's a completely different production team now. Is he so small minded that he just hates the show generally just because of one PR bod who wrote an over enthusiastic press release?

    Si.

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    A very interesting subject for sure...

    The only thing that is really certain in all of this is that the truth has yet to be told, but as Lissa says, one day it will come out.

    As Jason says, RTD lies a lot, and as far as I can see it's been shown that the "only ever signed for 1 year" is clearly that. It goes against other comments and facts from the time, and I don't believe that the BBC bosses would have backed the idea to get rid of it's star after just one series. It's a crazy idea. If there really had been a grain of truth in that, why didn't they just come out and say that when his departure was announced, rather than putting out a story that they had to quickly apologise for a couple of days later when Eccles complained.

    A few interesting things :-

    Eccleston talked about doing two years in interview

    Scripts were being written for S2 featuring his Doctor

    Something happened in "Boakgate" on the Rose shoot. Something that RTD & Collinson allude to in the commentary, that they say can't be talked about for years. Some people who were close by on set claimed at the time there was a falling out between Boak & Eccles, and this silence only serves to make that look quite possible.

    Eccleston finally broke his silence recently when being interviewed about Lennon, saying that he was unhappy with certain aspects of the show/production.

    Eccleston became ill whilst shooting the show, under such a heavy schedule.


    I think it all comes down to one of two things, which is in this thread title. I think everything points towards him stalling on signing up for S2, and the million dollar question is did he just say no, or had it taken away from him by RTD forcing the situation. I suspect the latter, as Eccles appears to have never mentioned RTD's name ever since, which I find odd after he could never stop singing his praises beforehand.
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    At what stage in the production of Series 1 was "Casanova" filmed?

    Si.

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    It started broadcasting the week before the series debuted, so it must have been in production around the same time.

    Remember that first documentary that aired just before Rose. That was narrated by David Tennant, which could or could not mean something insignificant or something significant. Who knows.

    Si xx

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    David Tennant's narration means the whole season was basically Logopolis with nobs on.
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

    #dammitbrent



    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

  13. #13
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    If you re-arrange the letters in "DOCTOR WHO SERIES 1 OOMF" you get "CAST TENNT DOG CADDY".

    Who knows what this means.

    Si.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lissa View Post
    David Tennant's narration means the whole season was basically Logopolis with nobs on.
    Blimey! So it does. We should have realised!

    Si xx

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    Let's revisit series 1 and see if we can spot Tennant lurking in the background all in white....

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    I suspect (mere speculation) that RTD technically isn't lying about the 1-year contract. Eccleston probably signed on for one year with an option for an extension* if the show continued. So although not an actual lie, in context and meaning I agree it's totally misleading/wrong.

    *When they wouldn't build his extension, he quit the show. This may have lead up to Billie Piper's 'Unlimited Free Cosmetic Surgery Clause'.
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    I've assumed Billie's lips regenerated as a result of the Doctor's kiss in Parting of the Ways- from normal ones into two giant pillow-based aliens...
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Vale View Post
    Scripts were being written for S2 featuring his Doctor
    and that much is obvious in S2 - in some of the episodes, the dialogue for The Doctor would have sounded perfect with Ecclescakes saying it.

    Ant x

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  19. #19
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    My own suspicion is that having worked with RTD on 'The Second Coming', Eccleston leapt at the chance to work with him again and have a shot at a unique role which he could play his own way. I recall there being talk at the time that his schedule would be organised so that he could work in the theatre in between seasons, but I don't think Eccleston really appreciated the extra work in terms of publicity and fan attention that the role would involve, and I don't think that's his thing at all.

    As regards the contract, it wouldn't surprise me if everybody on the ongoing crew hadn't been given a one-year contract with options for further years- that way if the series had flopped, the BBC could bury it quietly without having to pay anybody off. The way the story broke probably ruffled some feathers in the BBC management because it didn't allow a proper cover story to be released and I suspect RTD went into damage limitation by saying it was only ever planned for him to do one year.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Thompson View Post
    The regeneration itself as shot looks tacked on and makes very little sense. Why did absorbing the Time Vortex for all of five seconds and then just putting it back where it belonged kill him, while Rose was able to absorb it, use it, wipe out the Daleks, resurrect Jack and generally hold onto it for a few minutes, and then she wakes up with just a bit of amnesia?
    I must admit, that's always kinda bugged me.
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Thompson View Post
    The regeneration itself as shot looks tacked on and makes very little sense. Why did absorbing the Time Vortex for all of five seconds and then just putting it back where it belonged kill him, while Rose was able to absorb it, use it, wipe out the Daleks, resurrect Jack and generally hold onto it for a few minutes, and then she wakes up with just a bit of amnesia?
    I know. It's very unlike RTD to write something inconsistent and illogical isn't it.

  22. #22
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    Whilst I don't like the idea of RTD being called a liar, he is a bit of a bullshitter on some subjects.

    And I really wouldn't buy a car from him (I don't think he drives anyway). Can you imagine him as a user car salesman?
    Remember, just because Davros is dead doesn't mean the Dalek menace has been contained ......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Thompson View Post
    The regeneration itself as shot looks tacked on and makes very little sense.
    That's probably because it was tacked on, quite literally. They had already filmed an ending where Rose "dies".

    RTD called this a "dummy" scene, but going in to pure speculation mode, if that had perhaps been meant to be the planned ending and Rose was dead/dying, what would the Doctor need to do next? Go to the best hospital in the universe perhaps? One that has a cure for everything? Like the one in New Earth....?

    Going back to the pure plot elements of the Time Vortex "killing" The Doctor whereas Rose survives it, I find that very easy to explain, or fit in. It destroys The Doctor because there's no way of getting it out of him, whereas Rose has it removed. By The Doctor.
    Last edited by Perry Vale; 3rd Mar 2011 at 11:51 AM.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Thompson View Post
    The regeneration itself as shot looks tacked on and makes very little sense. Why did absorbing the Time Vortex for all of five seconds and then just putting it back where it belonged kill him, while Rose was able to absorb it, use it, wipe out the Daleks, resurrect Jack and generally hold onto it for a few minutes, and then she wakes up with just a bit of amnesia?
    As I saw it, it wasn't the vortex energy that was dangerous; it was the grounding of that energy back out of its receptacle.

    So, Rose takes on the energy, passes it on to the Doctor, who then grounds the energy back into the TARDIS. Rather like jumping in the air, then grabbing an electric fence and your friend at the same time.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Vale View Post
    That's probably because it was tacked on, quite literally. They had already filmed an ending where Rose "dies".

    RTD called this a "dummy" scene, but going in to pure speculation mode, if that had perhaps been meant to be the planned ending and Rose was dead/dying, what would the Doctor need to do next? Go to the best hospital in the universe perhaps? One that has a cure for everything? Like the one in New Earth....?
    That's actually quite plausible.

    Si xx

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