Christopher Eccleston has never shied away from expressing his displeasure from working on Doctor Who for the one season he played the Ninth Doctor. Most recently, he came out and shared just how bad things got behind the scenes, creating a toxic environment that led him to turn down a cameo in the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor.” Now, former showrunner Stephen Moffat has given us a glimpse at what could have been.
As shared by RadioTimes, Moffat included part of an early draft from his “The Day of the Doctor” script in a charity book. This version features Eccleston’s Doctor instead of John Hurt, whose War Doctor was created by Moffat to fill in after Eccleston refused to appear in the episode. The passages are very similar to the final product, showing the Doctor interacting with a holographic projection of The Moment (the script calls it Raggedy Girl, a role later given to Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper).
We still get little hints of Eccleston’s Doctor in the earlier draft – including one moment where he calls the Raggedy Girl “love.” The passage featured below, in particular, really stands out. It has Eccleston’s Doctor harken back to his first encounter with Rose Tyler, where he told her to “Run”… after commenting on the oversized ears of his newest regeneration.
THE NINTH DOCTOR: Listen. A very bad thing is gonna happen here and I’m not sure how it’s gonna work. But I don’t think you want to be here when it does, ok?
RAGGEDY GIRL: …you’ve got a funny face.
THE NINTH DOCTOR: You should see the other fellas.
RAGGEDY GIRL: I like it though.
THE NINTH DOCTOR: Thanks, it’s new. Not sure about the ears yet, they just sort of kept going. Now, you need to get away from here. You need to pick a direction and just run.
Given how Piper reprised her role as Rose for the anniversary special, it feels heartbreaking that we didn’t get this reunion (especially since she never shared any scenes with her other Doctor, played by David Tennant). In any case, Moffat later said it would have been tricky (though not impossible) to justify Eccleston’s return. It would have meant that the Ninth Doctor had ended the Time War, which he said “doesn’t fit with [2005’s] Rose at all.” Doctor Who returns this year with Jodie Whittaker in the title role.