Saturday, 31 August 2013

Christopher Eccleston

Because his name definitely does not have an e at the end.

I've wanted to do a blog post on Christopher Eccleston for a while. I was going to write one about his lack of appearance in audios and so on, but instead I'm going to incorporate that into this, which will be a general overlook of his Era and my thoughts.

Christopher Eccleston is my Doctor. Yes, I have had the fortune of being a fan from 2005 meaning that I've had three - now four, and possibly four and a half/five if we count John Hurt - Doctors so far. But I'm only a fan because of Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper and Russell T Davies.

I don't watch modern Doctor Who that much at all - and when I do, I don't normally watch a Ninth Doctor episode. Part of that is possibly because subconsciously, I want to protect his era. In my mind, I consider it as the best series so far - and though I know that opinion won't change, perhaps I still want to keep it as special.

I'm such a fan of "Series One" because it is superb. Yes, there are weaknesses. There's the Slitheen. But I used to be a huge fan of those episodes, and so I can't say I dislike them at all. Boom Town - it's set in Cardiff Bay, which I love, so there are elements of each episode that I adore. Rose is one of my favourite episodes EVER, as are The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. All of these are held together by the consistently fantastic performance from Christopher Eccleston. He is amazing.

I constantly go on and on, in these blogs and probably life, about how Doctor Who should be a drama. Not a kids show, not a sci fi show, but a proper drama, with emotion and strong character. Oh and in Doctor Who's case - aliens. Series One fulfills this, and the casting of Christopher Eccleston allows it to be a drama. He and Billie Piper act superbly together, and it is their show. That's right, Mr Moffat, Series One wasn't just Rose's show - it was the Ninth Doctor's too.

The best thing about Christopher Eccleston, despite meaning we get only thirteen appearances from him, is that he only did one series. Because if he did two, he would've been sucked into the beginning of complacency and soap storylines that started around the time. Maybe Series Two would have been better if he stayed - because maybe RTD and the other writers would've kept to the more serious side. David Tennant's casting perhaps gave them the opportunity to make it more soap like. But there is a sense of complacency in Series Two, a sense that some of the episodes haven't had the effort put into them that all of Series One had. It's good that Christopher Eccleston was superb and in a superb and consistently great series. He's free from the more relaxed writing that appears - and the drama remains good.

There's also a sense of mystery around Eccleston. Think if Tom Baker had left before he started to get a bit rubbish, it's like that. There's a mystery about Baker as a man and in his performance - and the Ninth Doctor is the same. He's not the same as the other Doctors - he's distant, he's interesting to watch, and he gives the show credibility. Eccleston also gives himself and his Doctor mystery - and I don't think anyone, except the writers of Series One episodes, have got him right. I remember the novel The Deviant Strain being quite accurate, and I plan to finish that one day, but apart from that, Eccleston remains a mystery. Because his performance is so serious and drama is there, no one can get an accurate impression of him.

And thank God, that means that no Figure Adventure maker or Fan Film maker can ruin him - because they don't get him right in the first place. No one can, and this protects his performance.

 So I say that Christopher Eccleston's one series is the best of modern Who, it relaunched the series wonderfully, treated it properly and as a drama, and enabled a real sense of mystery. Eccleston's era remains safe and protected from other influences like audios. He has only six (is it six?) novels to his name, and a handful of comic strips.. 19ish adventures, and this Destiny of the Doctor audio that's coming. That's it. And that's perfect.

Because Eccleston is the closest Doctor to Hartnell that the show has ever got.

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