Eccleston Is A Great Actor, But He Never Felt Like The Doctor

I’ve loved Christopher Eccleston for years.

I loved him in Shallow Grave, where he played an unhinged Scot who drilled holes in the attic floor. I loved his brief, disconnected cameo in The Others, and his turn as sadistic Major Henry West in 28 Days Later. His performance in The Second Coming was a literal revelation. I even love him in Gone In Sixty Seconds, in which he makes the most of a dog’s breakfast as Raymond Calitri, a crime boss who gets to stick Nicholas Cage in a car crusher – which is something I think we’ve all wanted to do for years, or at least since 8MM. Calitri eventually falls to his death, but his best scene occurs earlier in the film, during an angry confrontation with Cage: “Am I an a***hole?” he asks directly. “Do I look like an a***hole?” (Cage’s response is a quiet “Yeah.”)

So let me repeat that disclaimer: I love Eccleston. He’s a talented actor and, if the rumours about his on-set conduct are to be believed, a man of great integrity. But I could never get used to him as the Doctor.

These things are always going to be relatively subjective. Everyone has their own ideas of what the Doctor ought to be, and what he isn’t, and what he… never won’t be… sort of thing. And I suppose that my Doctor is always going to be BBC English (all right David, I’ll settle for Estuary), with fashion sense that dallies between elegant and eccentric. Eccleston’s minimalist look is (purposely) as stripped back as his Doctor, and similarly direct. And it seems strange to me that I should find it as foreign as the idea of Shaggy wearing a business suit. All this is accompanied by remarks about “beans on toast” (a line I cannot hear in the mouths of any other Doctor, except perhaps the Sixth, in the same manner that he delivers the words “carrot juice?!?”). It all seems – and forgive me for this dreadful snobbery – it all seems a bit too working class. I know that’s the point, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

9th Ninth Doctor The Parting of the Ways 2

It’s not the accent. I don’t think accent in itself is the problem, because I have no issue with Capaldi’s Glaswegian twang, even if I occasionally have to turn on the subtitles to make out what he’s saying above Murray Gold’s frankly intrusive score. It’s no problem having a Doctor who’s not from around here, although I think I was probably one of many people who was hoping that the Twelfth Doctor would use the words “Lots of planets have a Scotland” at some point in Deep Breath. (As it stands, we had the encounter in the alley, arguably more famous for being the first example of eyebrow fetish – and that regrettable scene with Vastra, in which Capaldi almost appears to be acting in a docudrama about Alzheimer’s.)

I watched Rose again recently with my six-year-old, and it’s sometimes tempting to wonder whether we’ve been more forgiving of that opening episode – of the series in general – than we would have been if it was in the middle of a Doctor’s run. How many of the shortcomings went unnoticed simply because it was Doctor Who, and it was back? Does it matter? I’d suggest it probably doesn’t, except when you line up all the Doctors in a row, whereupon Eccleston is the one that always sticks out like a sore thumb.

A friend of mine describes Vincent and the Doctor as “a good episode of something”, and in many ways he’s right: part of its charm lies in the fact that it’s relatively atypical. Similarly, Davies rewrote the rulebook in 2005 when he resurrected the show by effectively rebooting it. But it’s a trend that he and his successor spent the next ten years gradually undoing, and what we have now is a show that glorifies in its past, revisiting and rewriting it on a whim. And I wonder if the fact that the Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors take obvious cues from previous Doctors – in a way that the first casting did not – has skewed my appraisal of the Ninth. In other words, to what extent is a failure to accept Eccleston a reflection of what’s come since, as much as what came before?

But there’s more to it than that. Not long before the 50th anniversary episode, I created (purely as a lark) a series of tables that charted the average effectiveness of each New Who Doctor when it came to dealing with the end-of-episode threats that he faced, at least when compared to any companions or supporting characters who wound up doing most of the work for him. In many ways the data is flawed, because he gets only one series in which to prove himself, but it should be no great surprise that the Ninth Doctor sits at the bottom of the list. He’s rubbish.

9th Ninth Doctor TARDIS

It is his incompetence, indeed, which forms much of that first arc. That first batch of episodes is to all intents and purposes about the Doctor learning to be the Doctor again. The central concept was that of empowering the companions so that they are no longer screaming girls, and it is the Time Lord himself who is forced to diminish in order for this to happen. (When Rose admonishes the Doctor after their encounter with the Nestene in the series opener, proclaiming that he was “useless in there”, it more or less sets the tone.)

A brief analysis of that first series reveals a game of two halves. It’s all building up to Dalek – a good story, although the Big Finish drama upon which it is based is better. The finale of Dalek has the Doctor actively confront the monstrosity from Skaro, wielding the sort of gun you’d normally expect to handled by the likes of Jack (you almost expect Tennant to pop his head round the corner, raise an eyebrow and remark “Compensating for something?”). It’s a powerful moment, although anyone who seriously thinks it’s dramatically out of character clearly wasn’t watching the programme in the ’80s.

After Dalek – which I’ve always described as the Emperor’s Throne Room moment, given that it’s the point at which the central character comes close to losing the plot – Eccleston’s touch noticeably lightens. There is less brooding. At the end of The Doctor Dances he is boogieing around the TARDIS to the strains of Glenn Miller. But he still seems off somehow. The finale to that episode sees the Doctor fix the zombified patients simply by waving his hands. There’s excessive arm-folding. The ‘ape’ jokes are borderline offensive. It’s partly the scripts, but he feels like someone playing the part in a pantomime.

Then there’s a moment in Parting of the Ways where it clicks. It’s a small scene, in which the Doctor is on the floor of Satellite 5, assembling things out of cables and bits of circuits and chatting quietly with Rose. I like it because all of a sudden it feels right. I like it because, for just about the first and only time that series, Eccleston ceases to be the actor trying to play the Doctor, and actually becomes the Doctor.

And then a few minutes later, he regenerates.

Seriously. What an a***hole.

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  1. TheLazyWomble says:

    Okay, you make some good points. But to me, Eccleston is definitely the Doctor. It took me a while to like the new-look programme. When I first watched “Rose” I was horrified. But I always liked Chris Eccleston.
    The problem that I had during the first two series (seasons? which way round do we do this?) is that it wasn’t really “Doctor Who”: It was the adventures in time and space of Rose Tyler and her plucky companion, the Doctor.

    • Dr. Moo says:

      When I first watched Rose (in 2010 after getting hooked on the show in series five) it was a surprise to see a name in the opening titles that wasn’t David Tennant. It was a nice surprise, and I went on to like Nine more than Ten overall.

      • TheLazyWomble says:

        For me, Chris Eccleston showed the pain and anger better than David Tennant, but David Tennant handled the lighter moments better. It took me quite a while to realise that this was deliberate. But both of them were the Doctor, pretty much from the start.

        • Dr. Moo says:

          True of every single one of the different incarnations. (Seriously, is there even one who doesn’t seem like the Doctor from the word go? Not for me there isn’t!) The thing with 10 is that he has a lot of characteristics that don’t gel with me with, specifically his more human qualities, his flirty nature and his HUGE ego. Having said that, when the writers take those quirks to their extremes (examples include Human Nature/The Family of Blood, The Girl in the Fireplace and The Waters of Mars respectively) it gives us some of the best Doctor Who in over 50 years.

  2. Castellan Spandrel says:

    I enjoyed this article a lot. It says what I’ve been saying/thinking for years.

    Will l ever erase the sight of him dancing embarrassingly to Soft CellGlenn Miller from my mind? Or that dreadful ‘dogs wi’ no noses’ bit? Calling a great author Charlie Boy?

    He had his moments. Love the sight of him perplexed in PotW as he finds he”s run out of cable. But to me, he’ll always be…(again)… the Divorced Hollyoaks Dad Doctor.

  3. Viscount Pooch-Dump KG, CH says:

    My apologies to the author for saying this, but I think the article is a load of tosh.

    The trouble with a lot of Who fans is that they have their own desire of what they want The Doctor, and/or the show, to be. That, to me, just demonstrates fan inflexibility. What the author is saying is that although the faces change the personalities of each incarnation should be pretty much the same each time. Accent? Eccentric clothes? Received pronunciation? These are superficial aspects.

    Who is at it’s best when it reinvents itself, and that’s what the show did in 2005 and had it not been for RTD attempting to take the show away from aging fanboys and reclaiming it for the general public then quite possibly the show wouldn’t be running now. It’s worth remembering that the other NuWho Doctors had the luxury of in built interest so they could afford to start borrowing from the past. The irony is that when I first saw Eccleston in costume I have much the same reaction. He did have “the look”. But one episode was enough to convince me that this was the same Time Lord. The Doctor, like the show, reinvents himself with each regeneration. There are not set requirements for what he should be and, if you think about it, you could easily find traits for each Doctor that seem out of character. For instance, would The First Doctor ever wear clothes like the Sixth Doctor? Are the personalities of the Third and Tenth Doctors remotely similar? And so on.

    Eccleston did a fine job and he’s just as much a Doctor as the rest of them.

    • Dr. Moo says:

      Agreed. He’s a great Doctor and I don’t get where the article is coming from. People are entitled to opinions but I couldn’t disagree more with this one.

    • Cryer says:

      I agree, except that there were similarities between the personalities of the third and tenth Doctors: they both had ENORMOUS ego’s.

    • TimeChaser says:

      And so people aren’t allowed to have an opinion of their own? Do we all have to love every Doctor equally?

      • Josh says:

        Very good point. 🙂

      • Viscount Pooch-Dump KG, CH says:

        Where did I say this person wasn’t allowed to have an opinion? He can have his opinion and I can disagree with it. That’s normal human behaviour and silly lines like yours add nothing to the dialogue.

  4. Dr. Moo says:

    “…except when you line up all the Doctors in a row, whereupon Eccleston is the one that always sticks out like a sore thumb…” You’ve clearly never lined them all up then!

    Thankfully Steven Moffat already did that for us. Is he the one that sticks out? I think not. Colin Baker does that.

  5. McJohnson says:

    Haha, thanks for giving me a good laugh on a Thursday morning!

    Wait what? You’re serious??? Then get stuffed and go away, we’ll be fine without your kind spreading your nonsense around here.

    • Dr. Moo says:

      Now now John. We, as would anyone with a brain cell, can tell that this article is undoubtedly “filled with s–t” (as you put it) but by insulting the writer you make yourself look just as bad as him. If he’s got the mental block that makes him feel this way then we should be inclusive and should not stoop to his level.

      • Mrs Fingerbottom says:

        Sorry Dr. Moo, but John McJohnson is right. When someone is as unbelievably stupid as this to write such an article any chance of us using civil language is unlikely. When this article was written the author’s credibility was lost, possibly forever.

        • Cryer says:

          He’s expressing an opinion in this article. I disagree with it but there is no reason to be insulting or to try and belittle him, that is just childish.

          • Coy Archer says:

            You really REALLY like this word “childish”. I wonder what that stems from… I think you might have a problem. Maybe a “learning disorder” is how I think you put it earlier?

          • Cryer says:

            Your behaviour speaks for itself.

          • Cryer says:

            Whereas you are the type of person who likes to insult and try to belittle people. Yes, you are indeed very childish 🙂

        • TimeChaser says:

          So anyone who has a different opinion to you regarding a Doctor is universally wrong? It’s an OPINION PIECE. You have your opinion, the author has his, and there are lots of others in between.

    • K Doctor Who News says:

      We don’t accept personal insults to other posters or writers in these comments. Please stick to the rules.

      http://www.kasterborous.com/2014/05/change-kasterborous-comments-policy/

      • John McJohnson says:

        Will do. An apology has been offered in another comment on this article.
        I was out of order. It won’t happen again.

  6. Mrs Fingerbottom says:

    So this article was published? Mr Cawley has lost his mind if he permitted that to go up!

  7. olgaidzh says:

    What is interesting – the author tried to show us why he doesn’t accept Christopher as the Doctor, but in fact he showed why Christopher IS the Doctor. And wrote some insulting words too, of course. For example, he says that the Doctor was incompetent and learned how to be the Doctor again. I totally agree with that. Everyone understands it. Like now the Twelfth is learning, like the First was learning… like each of them was, with some individual features: the Time War, the exile, the loss of the companion, etc.. Another thing – the increasing role of the companions. Absolutely true, and isn’t it great?! But of all that the author concludes – the Ninth Doctor is rubbish. Here’s the point where logic leaves him sadly. But leaving away his individual opinion, this article is a good review of the Ninth Doctor’s short life, imho. And, yeah, “Just don’t take him too seriously. He doesn’t.”

  8. Philip says:

    Criticism of this article and James as a writer is completely unfair. It’s an opinion piece, which invariably some disagree with. I disagree with James. Eccleston was my first proper Doctor and so he set the template for me. Nonetheless, it’s a well written article, done to incite debate, not arguments that a writer is full of bull.

    I can appreciate liking someone as an actor but not as a particular character. Over the years, many commenters have expressed similar thoughts regarding John Simm as the Master. Now, I love Simm in everything. I love him as the Master. To me, he is the Master, completely. But many like him in shows like Life on Mars and Code of a Killer, but don’t like him as the Master.

    What’s interesting is the knee-jerk reaction when someone criticises a Doctor. Criticism of the viewpoint is fine, but please don’t criticise the writer for having controversial opinions.

    • Josh says:

      Well said Philip! 🙂

      Sorry. Just found out I may have been writing your name wrong whenever I addressed you as Philip. 😛

      I think I’ve been writing it “Phillip”

  9. Doc7 says:

    This article is being widely criticised, and rightly so. It comes across as a hipster “I liked Doctor Who before it was cool” type thing with how it belittles what many see as their Doctor. Get over yourself.

    • TimeChaser says:

      So he can’t have his own opinion? Or he has to keep it to himself forever and not have the opportunity to share it with other fans, as unpopular as it may be to some? I didn’t see this article as “hipster” as you label it. I’m far from being a hipster when it comes to Who, and I like to know that there are others out there who have similar feelings about Nine as I do.

      You can criticize all you want, but in the end opinion is opinion. Nowhere did the author shove it in our faces as immutable fact. Does he have to proclaim undying love for Eccleston’s Doctor to make you happy? Or is he allowed to express his own feelings, just as you or any of us are? You’re expressing your opinion right now, but “Get over yourself” is more than a bit confrontational.

    • James Lomond says:

      Disagree. It’s a moderate and well written article.

      Doctor Who was *cool* in the 1960s and the feelings of someone who WAITED 16 years for it to come back where they’ve identified the 9th as somehow different and not really in line with the character compared with every other Classic and NuWho Doctor cannot and should not be written off as “hipster”.

      Similarly the feelings of people who started with Eccleston are just as valid – but really, the character WAS wildly different. Wields guns and taunts smart people by saying “what are you gonna do, throw your A-Levels at it”? Not the Doctor – he did a lot of hard work and obviously turned public opinion around, but like the author, I never felt as though he was the Doctor.

      Also Eccleston is right at home with tortured sorrow and tense drama, but he looks terribly uncomfortable with anything happy or light – the comedy didn’t work and I just didn’t believe a lot of the grinning was anything other than an actor not really feeling comfortable with what they were doing.

      And his Doctor either got in the way or some other character saved the day in all of Rose, The Unquiet Dead, Dalek, The Long Game, Father’s Day, Boom Town and Parting of the Ways. Yes it’s great that companions are given bigger roles and stories are being told about the Doctor’s ability to educate and empower them etc. but that’s not a great ratio of *saving the day* for a genius hero.

      The non-RP, rough-around-the-edges approach with the short cropped hair and midlife-crisis Dad costume coulda worked brilliantly and I think it did in one particular moment – when he’s regenerating at the end of Parting of the Ways, in pain and saying his goodby to Rose, she asks if he can do anything about dying and he replies “yeah, I’m doin’ it now.” And it’s the most wonderful delivery – there is such lightness and low key simplicity to the way he talks about something so profound. It suggested such subtlety that I couldn’t see throughout the rest of the series and definitely not in the grinning and panto-gurning.

      So yes. Great actor. Some people loved him as the Doctor and I’m really pleased for them. Like the auther, I couldn’t see the character in his portrayal and I really really wish I had, because it would have meant Doctor Who had come back a whole year earlier for me.

  10. bar says:

    I think this is a serious attempt to work out why someone who loves Eccleston as an actor feels shortchanged by his all-too-brief time as the Doctor.
    They took a whole series to establish the 12th Doctor, and made it a theme from the start. whereas in Capaldi’s case we clamour for more to find out more about HIS doctor, with Eccleston we knew he was out before he got in (back to cricket!) so the great actor never had the chance to make us believe in him.
    McGann had less time on screen than Eccleston, but he has had time to re-create the role to his taste. (and shares the 9th’s dress sense – McGann much prefered Night of TD costume than the movie romantic look).
    Colin Baker never had much of a chance on screen, but has been a superb ambassador for the show, and become a firm favourite through BF.
    Underlying who fandom affects our feelings about this: Capaldi is and always has been an uberfan himself – one of us. Eccleston is polite, reserved, uncomplaining but cool. We might see his Doctor more clearly if we resist judging his ‘not we’ approach to the show. and resist judging anyone who seems to write unfavourably about the version of the Doctor who brought the show back.

  11. Castellan Spandrel says:

    What do people want? Some sort of established gallery view we must all agree on, whereby any writer or user who oversteps this agreed line must automatically be insulted/branded ‘stupid, full of s-t, etc.?’

    How exactly is one writer’s opinion on something a threat to other people’s enjoyment of that something? Is their enjoyment of it so weak that one opinion piece has ruined it for them? The sense of entitlement of some Who fans knows no bounds.

    The article is hardly trolling. It’s one writer’s opinions, which he’s taken time to articulate and rationalise.

    • Viscount Pooch-Dump KG, CH says:

      How many people have criticised this article in the manner that you suggest? While I confess I haven’t read them all, most comments below seem to be pretty respectful in their disagreement so my apologies if I have missed the bad ones.

      If the author is going to post an article that is potentially controversial on a well visited website, a site that invites comment and discussion, it’s nonetheless still bad if people give their opinions in response? I don’t get that.

      • Castellan Spandrel says:

        I didn’t say people can’t give their opinions in response or that it’s bad for them to do so. I’m talking about personal insults aimed at the writer as opposed to respectful disagreement.

        You’re right that not many of the comments were of that nature, but please bear on mind that l posted in the aftermath of early responses, the majority of which were insulting, before others took more reasoned stances.

  12. Castellan Spandrel says:

    I would say, though, James, that your last line in the article is perhaps stoking it a bit!

  13. lozpot says:

    He’s entitled to his opinion, I don’t agree, but opinions are personal. I felt quite similarly about Matt Smith in the role, whereas I know other people loved him.

  14. BrittlePacker says:

    This article is clearly labelled “Opinion”; Kasterborous has never shied way from expressing them, and one man’s personal view is as valid as any other’s even if it happens to be a minority one. It’s expressed clearly and doesn’t descend to the “so and so sucks!!!” level all too often found on the internet.

    I’ve said many times that Mr Eccleston, excellent actor that he is, never “felt” like The Doctor to me. With rare exceptions (Dalek being one, and yes, The Unquiet dead being another) I wasn’t a massive fan of that first “returned” series. The tortured soul who had to be coaxed back into being by the naïve but feisty shop girl grated; the outfit was a bit too much “divorced dad trying to be cool on a custody weekend” and not Doctor-ish to my mind.

    Now, slate me if you will – it’s an opinion, and I will maintain my right to hold it 🙂

    • Philip says:

      Quick! Get him! 😉

    • Dr. Moo says:

      Is that what you think, Donna?
      [sharpens pitchfork, lights torch]

      • BrittlePacker says:

        In the minority again! Hardly uncommon for me 😉

        • Dr. Moo says:

          I disagree with you on Nine, I disagree with you on Eleven… But I never attack you over our different opinions do I? Nor do you to me! The other commenters could learn from us.

          • BrittlePacker says:

            I’m very glad so many people disagree with me on Nine and Eleven (and my issues are with the characterisations, never the actors) because their popularity ensured the show kept going and we had Ten (divisive, but I liked him) and Twelve. That’s the joy of this show – something for everyone.

            Sadly I’ve noticed a few bad-tempered discussions breaking out around these parts of late but I will always attempt to keep a civil finger on my keyboard, I promise!

          • Dr. Moo says:

            and I’m not the biggest fan of Ten! Characterisation not acting. When done well he’s wonderful.

            Thankfully in Twelve we have one that’s universally loved.

          • TheLazyWomble says:

            Well…

          • Ranger says:

            lol.

            What is happening to this forum? Suddenly it seems to be full of people at each others throats for daring to express an opinion that is contrary to their own. Where did the respect go? I used to enjoy logging on to see what new conversations there were, now I am seriously unnerved about seeing what latest row has erupted.

          • Dr. Moo says:

            Getting a similar feel here. It may just be a phase. Fingers crossed!

          • TheLazyWomble says:

            I think that that goes with the territory. A slightly more positive way of looking at it is to say that there are plenty of regular contributors who make comments in a reasoned and respectful way and that, when we do get the more acerbic and vitriolic contributors, we are policing ourselves. The regulars (as well as the admin) seem really to care about how the site is run and, so, make sure that it is run well.

          • Dr. Moo says:

            I hoping it will calm down a bit now. After this one even turned some regulars into less civil versions of themselves I think we should all take a look at ourselves with this in mind before we post comments elsewhere.

          • Josh says:

            Yes! I agree!
            People can have their opinions. Kudos to those who have respect 🙂

          • Ranger says:

            Hi and welcome, Josh! *waves*

  15. mrdavidnet98 says:

    I think it’s an interesting take, although I completely disagree with it, because it gives an insight in to the relationship we have with different aspects of the programme. For example, I’ve liked all the new series Doctors in different ways but I never saw Peter Davison or Colin Baker as the Doctor however much I liked them in other roles. In five minutes, for example, Derek Jacobi was to me more of the Master than John Simm was in five episodes and more than Michelle Gomez will be if she stays in the part for five series. There will be people who disagree profoundly with me on those viewpoints but Doctor Who allows for a wider range of viewpoints than almost any other series because it has allowed actors to play both timelord parts in such diverse ways.

  16. Rick714 says:

    Very provocative title at least. Guaranteed to annoy people. First, yes, he was very different from other Doctors. Period. Didn’t handle the humor well. He WAS off. Yes, you could put it all down to his acting but very simply, you can chalk up the entirety of the 9th Doctor down to one simple thing:

    HE HAD JUST DESTROYED TWO SPECIES, BY BLOWING UP GALLIFREY.

    It was maybe the worst case of PTSD the universe had ever seen. That’s going to effect a fella. And yet he still did a very good job.

  17. Josh says:

    Pointless rant that disagrees with article and disagrees with everyone else somehow

  18. Linnea says:

    A person’s opinion about Doctor Who is necessarily influenced by where they got on the ride. For me, Nine was my first Doctor, and still my favorite. It was from him that I got my ideas about who the Doctor is (no pun intended), and he made me love the character, plain and simple. I thought he did a great job conveying the Doctor’s often conflicting emotions. Seeing him in DW also made me want to seek him out in other shows and films, and he’s done some excellent stuff elsewhere (as well as a few duds).

    Your article is thoughtful and well-written, and you’re entitled to your opinion. (If that sounds sarcastic, it’s not meant to.) But I have to say, calling him an a****hole was not necessary, or funny.

  19. Josh says:

    I’m going to take a bit of the unpopular side and say that this is a well written article. I’m not just saying that because he’s a fellow writer. I’m saying that because it is well written and I can see the point he makes. I can respect his opinions.

    Now, me personally,…. Well… I did like Eccelston. But he could’ve been better if he stayed longer. His short stay left a poor taste on his era. A very poor taste. Now, he’s not my favorite. But he’s definitely in the top ten Doctors. I’m sort of taking a middle ground. He wasn’t rubbish, but he wasn’t completely amazing… TO ME, at least. Whatever you think of him is fine. Have your opinion. Go forward in all your beliefs!
    I liked Eccelston, but not to the point of him being my favorite. I hope I’ve made a bit of a point.

    Now stop yer shouting… Please. 🙂

    ~JoshofKasterborous

    • Josh says:

      Nine was my first Doctor. I watched series 1 about a year late though. He will always have a place in my hearts as the first Timelord this face saw. Personally, my favorite Doctor is Matt Smith… But, Eccelston ranks about 6th place at the moment for me. Definitely one of the better Doctors. He did amazing for only one series, but his character was not as FANTASTIC (had to do it) as it could’ve been, IMHO.

      • Dr. Moo says:

        Nine ranks around the middle for me as well. It’s nice to find someone who shares my love for Eleven.

        • Josh says:

          Dr Moo! It’s so good to finally talk to you. I just got a Disqus account. I say, your name is quite possibly the best user name I’ve ever seen.

          • Josh says:

            Glad to find a fellow madman fan too

          • Josh says:

            What I meant is I’ve seen your comments. It’s cool to actually talk to you though. 🙂

          • Dr. Moo says:

            Welcome Josh! Always happy to welcome newcomers to Kasterborous.

          • Josh says:

            Thanks. 🙂
            I’ve done four articles.
            I pretty much feel nice and just about integrated now. Getting nice and comfy.

          • Dr. Moo says:

            I’ve done some digging.

            http://www.kasterborous.com/author/maxtonj/

            This you?

          • Josh says:

            Yes Sir (M’am?) that is me, myself, and I. 🙂

          • Josh says:

            I haven’t gotten a profile picture uploaded yet, so there was no way for you to recognize me in these comments. 🙂

          • Dr. Moo says:

            It’s sir. But nobody calls me sir. Everyone calls me Moo. Seriously, I mean it! To this day I don’t know where that nickname came from.

          • Josh says:

            It’s an interesting nickname. 🙂

            Well I’m glad you read Kasterborous, Moo. I think it’s a great page. I’m honored to contribute to it.

          • Philip says:

            And we’re pleased to have you among our ranks, Josh! K Towers is a nice place to be (just stay out of Christian’s office. You don’t wanna know what goes on in there). 😛

          • Josh says:

            It sure is posh here. I’ll make sure to stay out of your office too. 😛

          • Josh says:

            I might find a Dalek in there. You never know.

          • TheLazyWomble says:

            Do you know a lot of Alf Garnet fans? If so, maybe growing a beard will help clear up their confusion 🙂

          • Ranger says:

            Thanks womble for making me choke on my wine! I needed that laugh…

          • Dr. Moo says:

            *nods*
            Yeah, I know who that is.
            *born in the 1990s*

          • TheLazyWomble says:

            To misquote Mike Yates, age has it’s privileges 🙂
            Alf Garnet was a character played by Warren Mitchell in “Till Death Do Us Part” and “In Sickness and in Health”. He was a foul-mouthed, right-wing, obnoxious, racist, misogynistic boor and people loved him: especially the National Front who were too dim to realise that he was taking the wee-wee out of their attitudes. He used to call his long-suffering wife, Ethel (played by Dandy Nicholls) “You silly old moo.”
            His son-in-law was a socialist scouse layabout and was played by Tony Booth: Tiny Blair’s father-in-law. It is this character that gave the Monkees the title of one of their hits.

    • TheLazyWomble says:

      Josh, it is always good to see new contributors. Welcome to the Nuthatch.

      I agree that it is a well-written article. And I also respect his opinions. And yours.

      I enjoy reading (and responding to) well-argued comments.

      • Josh says:

        Thanks! 🙂

        I’ve read Kasterborous for quite a while. I’m new to actually having an account, and being a writer on the page.

        I too enjoy those things.

        🙂

        • John McJohnson says:

          I enjoy it too and look forward to it. Welcome aboard Josh!

        • Josh says:

          This is a very interesting article. As I already kinda said I completely support the author, and think the judgement he’s receiving is unfair. I myself am somewhere in the middle as far as agreeing with his opinion.

  20. TimeChaser says:

    I think this is a very good article, and I can understand the writer’s feeling. Eccleston’s Doctor is very odd-man-out compared to all the others. It is hard to properly compare him with just one season (Colin Baker had the same problem until Big Finish came along), but in retrospect there is a lot about how that season was constructed that I feel make’s it one of the weakest in the new series. The Doctor really did take a back seat. I often think of him as “The Enabler”, getting others to take the initiative and save the day. He also gets bogged down by some poorly executed stories, and one of the worst companions ever.

    There were moments when the familiar Doctor we all know shone through, and I can understand why they stripped the character way back to make it easier for new viewers to jump on board. If Eccleston had had another season or two to develop, things may be different, but his decision to leave so quickly has affected his Doctor’s legacy for some of us.

  21. John McJohnson says:

    Don’t know if any of you will see this but I’d like to offer an apology for my earlier comment (article filled with s–t). It was uncalled for and totally not like me. I had a tough early morning and responded to things wrongly.

    Sorry again. It won’t happen again.

  22. itsonlythesoaps says:

    Maybe part of it is due to the fact you liked and enjoyed Eccelston so much before Doctor Who. There are some actors that I see as “themselves” or as other roles, and there is too much cognitive dissonance to see them in one particular part even if they are really talented. So I actually understand how you feel as I’ve gone through that in the past especially if someone who is extremely well known to me ends up playing a historical character.

  23. Matthew Burrows says:

    Rubbish, If anyone was not the Doctor is the massively overrated David,’ Alright Mary Poppins’ Tennent. I’m still waiting for a performance that in anyway varies. Ok there was a good piss take of Russell Brand In Fright Night…but that is it.

    • Dr. Moo says:

      See what you’re doing? You’ve done the same thing as the article as the article! Only a less well argued version of it.

    • Edward Delingford says:

      David is very limited in his range as an actor for me and fails to be the Doctor (again for me) as he is one of those actors who is always clearly ‘acting’. Matt Smith’s fresh and creative take on the Doctor just highlighted how much David struggled to bring us a character who wasn’t simply a Tennant archetype with Mockney accent. I do think though that with a good script (unfortunately there were so few during his time) and good direction forcing him to abandon his usual mannerisms, he could give a good performance. Human Nature is one of the few for me where I believe in the character but they may be because he was acting not as the Doctor but as John Smith.
      Anyhoos, horses for courses! Lots of people loathe Tennant, lots of people seem to like him. As both an actor and as the doctor his time in the TARDIS remains hugely divisive but gives us lots of material to debate! It would be very tedious if every actor who played the doctor was so universally admired like Capaldi.

      • TheLazyWomble says:

        Not universally, I think. I have friends just outside fandom who do not like the Twelfth Doctor. I myself am still coming to terms with the latest incarnation. I certainly don’t hate him as the Doctor and I wouldn’t express it quite the way the author of this article does for Eccleston. But I can’t quite take to Capaldi as the Doctor. Do not mistake me: I have immense admiration for him as an actor and as a person. He plays the Doctor very ably. I just don’t yet love this Doctor.
        I will get there. In Dark Water and Last Christmas we got glimpses of the Doctor we know and grew up with. Well, I say “grew up”…

      • Matthew Burrows says:

        Spot on Edward, on every point. I totally agree with you. I look at great stories he was in for example The Satan Pit, and Human Nature can’t help thinking how much better it would have been if Smith/ Capaldi where in it.

  24. Edward Delingford says:

    Always interesting to see how our opinions can vary based on watching the same performance. Everyone brings different things to the experience and what you take out of it is influenced by what you bring in. This article could have easily been about the Tenth Doctor, for example, who many people who comment here seem to feel wasn’t ‘the Doctor’ to them (I include myself). I suspect there would have been less negative reaction as Ten seems to divide fandom much more than Nine and Tennant’s qualities as an actor are certainly less celebrated than Eccleston’s.
    The author has stated their case and their perceptions. I look at the same factors and see something different, For example, I don’t see Rose’s competence diminishing the Doctor, nor that Nine was ineffective – it all depends on your view point. But that’s what opinion pieces are for – to make you look at something through someone else’s eyes.
    Personally, I really appreciate Nine as a Doctor and Eccleston particularly as an actor. Eccleston gave the show credibility on its return and all subsequent actors owe him a great debt for that. Nine for me had many fantastic moments and great stories and series one of the reboot remains along with series 5 and 8 the pinnacle of new Who in my view. Dalek, Empty Child and Parting of the Ways are terrific and remain immensely watchable. I don’t detect any mannerisms in Eccleston’s acting which grate and in my opinion, Tennant is easily the most irritatingly quirky of all Who actors. I can see objectively that Smith also has certain tics in his acting but for me they chime with this character and they reinforce, rather than distance and annoy the way Tennant’s do. (Capaldi is the ever the consummate actor and simply transforms in any role without trademark ‘Capaldi-ims’)
    While I don’t agree with the bit about Nine not being the Doctor (for me), I certainly do agree that Eccleston is a superb actor. He and Capaldi must surely rank in the top tier of British acting talent and to the have them (along with Sir John Hurt) having played the doctor is simply a testament to the show itself.

  25. Harry Saxon says:

    Agree totally. Really don’t like his doctor. I never watch any of his episodes now as I just can’t buy into his performance.

  26. Alex Tye says:

    CE had his moments, but the way he used to chase Rose around was frankly annoying, as was his overacting in front of the London Eye. Unfortunately, he’s become something of a placeholder in my personal who lore, but it should be remembered that the programme had a lot of maturing to do and it took RTD a while to get his recipe right. This resulted in CE’S best story being his last (with Dalek a strong contender too). I agree with much of this article and it’s nice to see some alternative opinions.

  27. Doc Whom says:

    I think that the problem with this article is that it almost verges on using the word “Doctorish” (second only to “Whovian” as a word which makes me want to reach for a revolver).

    No Doctor can be not like the Doctor (or “unDoctorish” if one must use the word) because the character of the Doctor (or “Doctorishness”) is by definition a composite of all of the previous incarnations of the Doctor plus the current one. One could say that CE was unlike previous portrayals of the Doctor but one cannot say that therefore he doesn’t feel like the Doctor because, as soon as each new actor steps into the role, he becomes integral to the definition of the character.

    Imagine what we’d think if we came across a fan article written in the Sixties saying that PT didn’t feel like the Doctor because he wasn’t bad-tempered and was much too young. Then imagine if we came across a similar article written in the Seventies saying that JP didn’t feel like the Doctor because his suaveness wasn’t at all like a composite of WH and PT. Automatically, the second of those articles has updated its idea of “Doctorishness” to mean a composite of both WH and PT.

    One of the best things CE’s portrayal did for the show was to rid us of the God-awful Edwardianness which possibly only SMc had broken away from (and then maybe only because of his costume). One of the least successful parts of the TVM for me was PMc’s costume – it was so obviously someone’s idea of how people expected the Doctor to dress.

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