What if Eccleston had stayed?
Guest contributor Xander James ponders the scenario.
It’s been almost eight years since the revival of Doctor Who. Lots of things have happened over the years, but thinking back, there is a certain “what if” factor if Christopher Eccleston had remained as the Ninth Doctor.
Would the show have evolved to the way it is now if he stayed? Would his Doctor have ever gotten through his guilt? Would Rose have fallen in love with him like in Series 2? And would Jack have ‘died’? These are questions any Eccleston or Doctor Who fan would ask, so now would be a good time to look at some of things that could have been but never shall be.
The Doctor’s Guilt
The Ninth Doctor’s soul is clouded with guilt, throughout the entirety of Series 1 he struggled with his decision to commit genocide in the Time War by covering grief with a big smile. Even before he regenerated, he never fully got over it; but if he had lived then maybe he would slowly realise that his decision was all for the greater good of the universe.
Although Eccleston’s Doctor himself never truly got over it, Tennant’s Doctor over time managed to come to terms with the fact that the choice he made was all for the common good, but Eccleston’s Doctor never got the chance to realise that. If he had remained, his character would have surely changed over time into someone different than we saw during Series 1. An alternate Series 2 could have shown him becoming more compassionate, more forgiving as time went on. And maybe, his smile would have been out of happiness instead of sorrow.
The Autons were the first classic monsters to appear on New Who, then the Daleks were revealed to be the enemies that caused the Doctor to end the Time War; and although we got to see Eccleston’s Doctor react to their appearance, there are many other old enemies who would really give this Doctor a chance to run.
Probably the most important enemy who could have appeared with Nine is the Master, a relic of the Doctor’s old life. It would be something interesting for the audience to experience, as the most troubled Doctor sees his greatest enemy and oldest friend return to once again conquer the world.
Although Ten may have seen the Master during his troubled times, Nine’s reaction would mean a lot more if he had seen him after the conclusion of the Time War. Nine with the Master would certainly be much more deeper then it had been with Ten, not only would it mean more but it would have truly shown just how saddened the Doctor was after he destroyed his home.
Some of the best companion adventures have come in pairs: Barbara and Ian, Jamie and Zoe, Sarah and Harry; and Rose and Jack. With Christopher’s end close by, we never got to see more of the Doctor with Rose and Jack together in the TARDIS. Boom Town gave us a small glimpse of the three together, the way they all reacted together was great fun and I really enjoyed watching how they all treated each other as both traveling companions and friends.
Series 1 ended with only Rose and the Doctor in the TARDIS, with no Jack it was indeed like something was missing. But would he have died if Nine had lived? If so, then we would have once again to see the adventures of Jack and Rose and the Doctor together. Two is fine but the three of them together really gave a good thrill to the story, Boom Town was an average episode but what stuck out to me was the relationship between all three characters. Never have we seen Jack interact with the Doctor like he did during this episode, mostly because we never got the chance.
Doctor Who Series 1 was a good run, it had its good and its bad. But what made it great was Eccleston’s performance as the Doctor. After he left, the show did quite well with both Tennant and Smith, but if he had remained then I believe the show would have been even more fantastic.