Whiplash. Migraines. Acid reflux. These are just a few of the conditions caused and aggravated by the ever-spinning carousel of conflicting Doctor Who rumors these days. With the 50th anniversary special due in November, we’ve only recently gotten some concrete confirmations, namely that David Tennant and Billie Piper will appear as the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, although the nature of their return is still unknown. As exciting as that news was, it was followed shortly by some less happy news: Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston had opted out of participating in the 50th anniversary special. Today, however, brings word that Eccleston will return to Who…but not in the special, and not in the way anyone expected.
Xposé Entertainment is reporting that Eccleston will actually appear in next week’s episode of Who, “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.” The episode will purportedly show us more of the TARDIS interior as the Doctor’s iconic craft is captured by a salvage team. Eccleston did not return to record any new lines, but apparently we’ll see/hear him say, “The assembled hordes of Genghis Khan couldn’t get through these doors, and believe me they’ve tried.” Devout Whovians will remember that line from “Rose,” the very first episode of the modern incarnation of Who, and the very first of Eccleston’s run as the time lord.
It’s not as cool as getting to see Eccleston share the screen with his successors, but it’s at least a nice tip of the hat to the guy who helped relaunch Doctor Who to the widespread pop culture success it’s attained. It also makes me wonder if we’ll get this same approach, reusing old footage or audio, to bring the other former Doctors into the proceedings.