Thursday, March 31, 2005
HMM, THAT WAS A BIT QUICK, WASN'T IT?
This had seemed like a pretty good week to be a Doctor Who fan. A new series had started on BBC1, attracting huge ratings and critical acclaim. People in schools and workplaces were excitedly chattering about the first episode, and looking forward to seeing "that woman who's just a face on a bit of stretched skin" next week. Others were singing "woooo-ooooooh" bit of the theme tune at the tops of their voices in fashionable London nightclubs (we know – we heard them). And, finally, the BBC confirmed that they were so delighted with the series that they had decided to commission a Christmas special and a second series.
As many of you will know, the shine has been taken off the occasion somewhat by the news that Christopher Eccleston has decided he would rather be re-grouting the tiles in his bathroom or whatever, and will not be returning for the second series (although the fantastic Billie Piper will definitely be back as Rose).
This leaves the producers in the unenviable position of having to recast their leading man after only one episode of the new show has aired.
The publicity surrounding Eccleston's departure has been huge (front page lead on The Sun, no less), and has the potential to be very damaging – there are still 12 episodes to go, and people might simply decide there's no point in getting to know a character who is going to leave soon.
With a bit of luck, everyone will have completely forgotten Doctor No.9 by the time the first episode of series two ends, but if people don't accept another actor in the part, there's a very real prospect that the show will finally be killed off once and for all.
And the saddest thing of all is, it will be Doctor Who himself who's responsible.