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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 April, 2005, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Who should be the next Doctor?
Christopher Eccleston as Doctor Who
The actor Christopher Eccleston has quit as Doctor Who, the BBC has confirmed.

Eccleston, whose last appearance is expected to be in a Christmas special, feared being typecast and also found the filming schedule gruelling.

Casanova star David Tennant is said to be a possible replacement Time Lord for the newly commissioned second series with Billie Piper expected to repeat her role as the Doctor's assistant Rose.

The first programme of the new series of Doctor Who attracted around 10 million viewers.

What do you think of Christopher Eccleston's decision to quit as the ninth Doctor Who? What impact will it have on the series? Who should replace him as the Time Lord?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of views received so far:

I'll do it. I can push a Dalek down a lift shaft and shout 'run' on cue.
R.C. Robjohn, UK

Richard E Grant would be perfect.
Jeff , London

As an outside bet, what about Matt Lucas?
Trevor, Bishops Stortford
Bill Nighy would be excellent. As an outside bet, what about Matt Lucas? (with David Walliams appearing as the new assistant!). One last thing... PLEASE stop referring to next year's series as the second and start acknowledging it as the twenty-eighth, as it in fact is!
Trevor, Bishops Stortford

I think Mark Benton, who put in an excellent performance as internet geek Clive in the episode "Rose", would make an excellent choice. I was very sad that he was killed off but would be delighted if he returned as the Doctor.
Marc Gillham, London, UK

I think they should drag Tom Baker back and get him to do it.
John Tapley, Portsmouth, UK

I like Allen Davies for the part. Dr. Who isn't supposed to be the man of action, he's the nerd triumphant. If there's any dodging of giant fan blades needed doing that's a job for the assistant. (The last episode would have been better balanced if Rose had handled that).
Malcolm McMahon, York, UK

Alan Rickman for me - that is if filming Harry Potter doesn't get in the way!!
Simon Dodd, London, England

Its about time its a woman
Emma, UK
Judie Dench would be fantastic and its about time its a woman.
Emma, UK

How about me? Otherwise BBC please go for either Eddie Izzard or Richard E Grant. David Tennant although a talented and likeable actor is too pretty and I thing just on the tad of been a little to young at present. In a few years time he will be brill.
Jonathan Carhart, St Albans - UK

It seems to me that Christopher Eccleston, wants to be bigger than 'Dr Who' after a 16 year wait, people are only talking about his exit after one series, and not the fab new show in itself.
Marie, Burnley, Lancs

Terry Wogan.
Fran Hunt, Swansea

The next Doctor needs to continue the 'edge' which Christopher Eccleston has brought to the role - I would vote for Bill Nighy, with a nicely world-weary cynicism, followed by Richard E Grant. It needs a degree of substance and I think David Tennant is too 'light'.
Ed Bywater, Chislehurst

Anyone except Alan Davies.
Dom, London, UK

It'll be the Daleks next: 'We are being typecast. We are being typecast. We want to do Shakespeare and have our own show. '
Lon Barfield, Bristol UK

Alan Davies, without a doubt. 'nuff said.
Catherine, Wirral, UK

This topic was suggested by Matt Charlton, UK:
How do you feel about Christopher Eccleston quitting Doctor Who after just the one series?

How about Rowan Atkinson? He can act the suave, intelligent type as proven in the last Blackadder series, but could also add a bit of comedic value to it.
Ian B, Soton, UK

Give it to Nicholas Lyndhurst (Rodney from Only Fools and Horses).
Mahmood Rahman, Liverpool

They should go for an older guy again, in the William Hartnell mould; Peter O'Toole, Frank Finlay, Bill Nighy, etc.
Graham Baker, Stockport

I think a female Dr Who would be difficult as there has never been any indication that Time lords change sex when they regenerate. Time lords aren't sexist, just one sex or the other like us.
Colin Wright, UK

I'll do it.
John Trattles, Newcastle, UK

I am disappointed that Christopher Eccleston is leaving, he is such a good Doctor. But at the end of the day it's a job. If we don't like a job or find it too hard we look for something different. Don't forget we've got 10 more weeks of him. And to remind the fans - Colin Baker only did 10 stories and Sylvester McCoy did 12.
Ian O'Brien, London, Ealing

Am looking forward to the first episode which will air here in Canada on April 5. I was surprised that Eccleston has left the show. Hopefully the replacement will stay longer. I think Reece Shearsmith would be a good Dr Who.
Tim Barker, Vancouver, Canada

I think Jon Culshaw would be ideal. He could play the role with the personality of all the previous doctors being a talented impressionist, including of course Tom Baker! This could be a theme through the series and would be extremely entertaining for the older Dr Who fans. He also does work for the BBC so there shouldn't be a contractual problem. He's a dead ringer for the job!
Dave, Blackpool, Lancs, England

If only he could handle the media interest - it would have to be Charles Windsor. It would give him something useful to do!
Phil Sears, Doring, UK

I've never heard of an actor quitting a series in such a quick time
Chris, Woolgoolga, Australia
I haven't seen the NEW series yet (it's not in Oz) but I've never heard of an actor quitting a series in such a quick time.... Come on Chris, Dr Who will be the best thing in your career - just enjoy it and stay on for another two years at least...
Chris, Woolgoolga, Australia

Tilda Swinton. Who says the Doctor can't be a girl? Or the Two Ronnies. (Both of 'em!)
Dorothy Rothschild, Fife, Scotland

Hugh Grant would make an excellent Doctor, Richard O'Brien also. Maybe Sir Ian McKellen? After Gandalf he's done a panto and is apparently taking a brief stint in Coronation Street, so maybe he'd be up for it? He would make a Superb Doctor.
Steve Parr, Basildon England

How about a female Doctor, or are Time Lords institutionally sexist?
p, Watford, UK

I think Janet Street-Porter would make a good Dr Who.
Rod Watson, Winchester, UK

It's obvious it has to be Chris Evans!!
Michael, St Helens

Why not Tony Blair? He can then allow his full sense of the absurd to come to the fore.
George Hinton, Twickenham, Middlesex

Judi Dench. She has the right blend of mischief, character and authority.
Seb Crawford, Ashford, Kent

I am now amazed that the adult population should be so concerned about the series
Michael, Plymouth. UK
I remember Doctor Who on TV whilst I was getting ready to go out on Saturday evenings, aged about 20. I am now amazed that the adult population should be so concerned about the series. Was it not basically kids' television? I suppose the adult population is now becoming more juvenile - Harry Potter, several sorts of science fiction, Superman etc. Give me a good quality drama or historical programme any time.
Michael, Plymouth, UK

I'm so disappointed that Christopher Eccleston won't be returning as the Dr, last Saturday's episode was fabulous. I'm sure that I'm not alone in being a viewer because of Mr Eccleston, not because of the show itself. I haven't ever been a fan of Dr Who and only watched because he was playing the title role, but enjoys the episode immensely. It's a shame though, as I was so looking forward to seeing him in a regular TV role again, but we still have 12 episodes to go and the DVD releases start next month.
Mrs Ruby Sharkie, West Dunbartonshire, UK

Lily Savage..... Daleks and Cybermen wouldn't stand a chance against that foul mouthed Scouser!!!
Phil O'Donnell, Auckland, New Zealand

I think Mr Eccleston has caused considerable damage not only to the new series but himself. Is the ordinary person in the street really going to bother tuning in this Saturday knowing that its lead has extended a middle finger them?
Chris Roberts, Telford, England

Oh for heaven's sake! He's an actor leaving a job not Judas Iscariot. He hasn't let anybody down. Doctor Who isn't made for Doctor Who fans, it's a show for a mass audience, and since on the evidence so far Eccleton has done a good job, we should just say 'Cheers', pat him on the back and look forward to (at the time of writing) a guaranteed 26 new episodes of Doctor Who before the end of 2006.
Sam, Luton

What about three Doctors in one - Ian Hislop, Paul Merton and of course as the brains Boris Johnson?
Rogr Browne, Solihull, West Midlands

Finishing before he'd started as only a Time Lord could!
Ivan Macey, Bracknell, Berkshire
It wasn't a complete shock when I heard the news - all the signs were there. In the interviews he gave to launch the series last week, Eccleston talked about his Doctor Who role in the past tense before he'd even hit our screens as the new Doctor. Finishing before he'd started as only a Time Lord could! This extra publicity may get the series even more viewers this week - or will those who didn't get a chance to see the first episode now not bother with the series? At least there will be continuity with the excellent Billie Piper staying on - and what a revelation she's been in the great new series!
Ivan Macey, Bracknell, Berkshire

I am amazed that Eccleston was not made to sign a three year contract. I never thought he was right for the role but it is disappointing to learn that he is jumping ship so quickly and the timing of the announcement, after just one episode has been broadcast, is extremely unfortunate. The BBC have got to make the right choice next time: Bill Nighy is the man!
Dan, Enfield

David Tennant was superb in Casanova, and I think that he definitely has the ability to take on the role of the tenth Doctor.
Richard, Lancashire, UK

Wait a minute! I thought one of the reasons Chris Eccleston took on the Doctor was because he didn't want to be typecast as a miserable northerner? Now he'll be typecast as the miserable northerner who abandoned the doctor after just one series!
Lucy Connelly, Poole, UK

We could bring back Paul McGann and have a scene where he steps out of the shower and the Christopher Eccleston/Billie Piper series was just a dream!
PB, Oxford, UK

Get someone in who cares about the role and you will win over the audience
K Walker, Runcorn, UK
Eccleston seemed embarrassed about this role from the very beginning. If you take on the Dr Who role you have to take on the fans and the conventions of the sci-fi genre, and he didn't. He acted like he was doing everyone a favour by being the Doctor. Get someone in who cares about the role and you will win over the audience.
K Walker, Runcorn, UK

When I first heard this this morning, I couldn't believe it, and had to check that it wasn't Apr 1! Finally after 23 years we get a suitable replacement for Tom Baker, only for him to quit before the second episode is shown. Please Christopher, reconsider!
Alan, Bristol, UK

Forget typecasting! He should never be cast again, in anything. Utter selfishness and a lack of respect for the fans. I, for one, will not be watching any of the rest of the series. He has spoilt it and his timing is so reprehensibly self-serving, he will be thought of badly by a lot of people until the end of his days!
Mike, Blackpool, UK

I'm quite surprised at Christopher Ecclestone. I would have thought he realised that a role like this would be at least a couple of series commitment, especially as the Doctor has a limited number of regenerations. You need to get the most out of each one!
Geoff White, London, England

Surprised that Mr.Eccleston's decided to leave so soon but David Tennant would be the perfect choice as his replacement - a really gifted actor who is talented enough to play any type of Doctor, the script requires. (Age doesn't necessarily guarantee ability!)
Margaret McGahey, Nr. Cardiff Wales

Bad form, bad timing, and stupid marketing
L Pugh, Washington DC USA
I am REALLY disappointed! (And I haven't even seen "Rose"!) What is Mr. Eccleston thinking? Is he afraid of being part of something mega-successful? Is being the Doctor "damaging his street cred"? Which is worse, I ask, the possibility of being typecast (not after one year -three maybe), or the real probability of being considered an unreliable actor? And what's with the Beeb announcing this before the second episode? Bad form, bad timing, and stupid marketing! And I thought renewing the show after the first episode was stupid. At least wait until halfway through the series! David Thewlis for the Doctor.
L Pugh, Washington DC USA

I think we should be told what Christopher Eccleston was paid and whether he had been upfront about only doing a single series. I hear that Gordon Brown is looking for a leading role though...
Derek Thompson, The Universe

I would cast Daniel Craig of Layer Cake fame. He is a superb actor and has that same brooding intensity of Christopher Eccleston. Other than the excellent Bill Nighy, the other contenders currently linked to the role are complete non-starters.
Rob Windle, Ascot

It's a real shame that Eccelston has decided to leave the show, but I can't understand the animosity of certain fans to this news. He is to give us a full series in the role and hopefully at least some of the Christmas special which is more than enough for him to have made a considerable mark on the series' history. It's typical of some fans of the series that they are focussing once again on the negative rather than celebrating the fact that Doctor Who is once again back on TV, a ratings success and has a guaranteed second series on its way. Long live the Doctor!
Mick, Stoke on Trent, England

I am so unhappy about this. After all the build up, it feels like a complete kick in the mouth. I won't be watching the rest of the series or any subsequent programmes featuring this man. I wished he had never been cast. Bring back Paul McGann, he knows the meaning of the word loyalty. Despite one television appearance as The Doctor, he has appeared at conventions and starred in numerous audio adventures. He is not embarrassed about the show as this man so clearly is.
Tony Evans

Please make my mate Bob the new Doctor Who - he'd be fantastic. The public would immediately warm to his bonkers personality.
Murray Robertson, Edinburgh, UK

I just hope they will now allow Paul McGann a second go
Marcus, Farnham, Surrey
Eccleston chased the production team for the role and yet wants to dump it so quickly. Gruelling? What rubbish! William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton were on-screen practically all year round. I just hope they will now allow Paul McGann a second go. At least he might not run off so quickly!
Marcus, Farnham, Surrey

How about Boris Johnson for the next Doctor Who?
Anne, Brussels, Belgium

What about Mark Gatiss? He's a talented actor and a lifelong fan.
Julie, UK

I'm very pleased that Eccleston has 'decided' not to continue as Dr Who. I just hope the scriptwriters also 'decide' to leave. I watched the first episode last Sunday and I won't be watching again. The script was rubbish and the acting worse.
John Wycherley, Widnes, Cheshire

Tennant is good in Casanova but is a bit too much like a scrawny copy of Eccleston. Not enough malevolence. Bill Nighy or better still Alan Rickman for the Doctor.
Tim, London

It is a shame that Christopher Eccleston has decided so soon not to do another series, as I think people will perhaps look at him differently now in the coming episodes knowing he will be leaving. As for the replacement, Gary Oldman would be my ultimate choice, but coming back to reality Richard E Grant would make a perfect Doctor Who!
Greg, Northamptonshire, UK

I am so disappointed in Christopher Eccleston's decision to quit the show
PJ, Huddersfield
I can only speak for myself but I am so disappointed in Christopher Eccleston's decision to quit the show. Let's hope whoever replaces him doesn't put new and existing fans off the show so much that future series are jeopardised. Christopher if you believed in the project so much and wanted to be a part of the journey that is Doctor Who, why jump of the bus when it's just got started again?? Shame on you!
PJ, Huddersfield

I'd like to see Jeremy Paxman do it in the style of Sherlock Holmes.
JP Hotham, Leeds

Robert Carlyle would be excellent, if he is available. Or, Nigel Planer, (Neil in The Young Ones) because he can play a convincing hard man and bring gravitas to the role.
John B, Milton Keynes, UK

Tony Blair would make an ideal Dr Who. He could save not only this planet but every planet in the universe. He has all the attributes. Weird ideas, Comes from another planet, inane grin, changes his skin to suit his surroundings, menacing eyes, already has a cookie, alien like side kick. Watch out Billie Piper.
Mike Coyle, London, UK

I would like to see Ed Tudor-Pole or Richard O'Brien in the role. Both have that zany, eccentric twist to their personalities that make them well suited for the role.
Matt, Denham, UK

Craig Charles would get my vote, bring some more fun into it.
Chris, UK

The new show is very promising and could do without such indecision from its main actors
Paul Guntrip, West Yorkshire
I think Christopher Eccleston could have waited a few more weeks before quitting as the show has barely got going and new fans will feel disheartened to invest their time getting to know a character that will by the end of the year change for someone else. Christopher should have know the hype that surrounds Doctor Who and if he felt so strongly he should have thought twice about taking the role on or at least voiced his opinion with Russell T Davies. I, for one, am saddened by this news as the new show is very promising and could do without such indecision from its main actors. Let's hope Billie Piper doesn't feel the same.
Paul Guntrip, West Yorkshire

Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman. And that man is Christine Hamilton!
Graeme Robertson, Oxford

What about Martin Clunes? He has proved himself as a fine actor in both comedy and drama.
Richard Atkins, Wortham, UK

If Christopher Eccleston didn't want to do more than one series, then why did he agree to the role in the first place? If this news had broken tomorrow I would have been praying it was an April Fool, but it seems not. Whoever they replace him with, perhaps they should be made to sign a contract agreeing to remain in the role for several series, to avoid this happening again. We're running out of regenerations!
Claire, York, UK

Kathy Burke would be great!
Linda, Oxford, UK
Seems a shame to know we'll lose him at the end of the series, after just one episode! But it does give scope for another regeneration scene. How about gender equality and letting us have a lady Dr for the first time? Kathy Burke would be great!
Linda, Oxford UK

Eccleston was great. Richard E Grant - perfect - get him on board!
Fiona, Leeds, England

I think they need a real unknown. In fact preferably someone with no real acting experience. Me! I'm also cheap!
Ged, Liverpool

I was rather impressed by Dr Who last week, and I thought Christopher Eccleston was very good as the Doctor. But he's just gone down in my estimation after announcing he no longer wants to play the part after only 13 episodes. If he fears he will be typecast surely that thought must entered his head before he took the part, so why did he bother in the first place?
Adrian Mugridge, Chester, UK

Lets ask Tom Baker if he is up for another stint.
Paolo Sammut

Timothy Spall or Michael Gambon.
Rob Smith, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Bill Bailey...he'd be wonderful for a "Dr Who - Star Trek" crossover...!
Steve Hamilton, Braintree, UK

He'll now be the George Lazenby of Dr Who
Nick Millward, London, England
It is very disappointing that Christopher Ecclestone has decided to quit over fears of typecasting. He'll now be the George Lazenby of Dr Who. It's not a disaster for the BBC though as long as the next actor is chosen carefully. David Tennant is a fine actor though he is maybe a little too young and lacking the gravitas of someone older. Richard E Grant would make a brilliant Doctor and would make the series a huge success for the BBC. As would Bill Nighy.
Nick Millward, London, England

What I don't understand is why Christopher Eccleston wasn't contracted for at least 3 series if the Beeb were pushing Dr Who as its new flagship Saturday evening family programme. He says he feared being typecast? But the irony is he'll probably forever be known as the man who quit Dr Who after only one series. Also, the timing of this announcement has me baffled. What incentive have new viewers got to watch the remainder of this season or the next if its main star is no longer appearing in the series?
Paul W, London, UK

Johnny Vegas surely!

The ideal choice is obvious - Sean Connery!
Jason, Swindon, England

I volunteer to do it myself, for 75% of the fee paid to Ecclestone. It's time that the Doctor was played by a short, fat, bearded person, we are under-represented as positive role models on television. I've no fear of typecasting either.
Andrew Fanner, Waterlooville UK

This is crazy!! I have no problem with an actor wanting to 'move on' but couldn't you have announced it at the end of the series? You have really damaged my feelings towards the show. When I watch it now, I'll think 'he doesn't really like doing this!" Anyway PLEASE not this Tennant chap, too 'slight'.
Justin Heraty-Plant, Banstead, Surrey

Meera Syal as the 10th Doctor Who - and keep Billie Piper as the assistant - she's a revelation!
Mark Tidmarsh, Brighton, England

I think that both this announcement and the BBC's announcement of a new series are too soon and will damage the viewing of the new series. People are not going to get attached to a new Doctor if they know he is leaving. And how can the BBC make a decision based on the viewing figures from one episode? It was very good, and I am glad the series has been renewed... but the Doctor changeover has to be handled very carefully, and Chris really has to do the regeneration. It will be a challenge for Russell T Davies and the BBC!
Wayne, Poole, UK

I thought Time Lords only had 9 reincarnations. I mean that was why The Master was after The Doctor all the time was it not as he was on his last reincarnation just like our good Doctor now? I'm sorry to see Chris Eccleston leaving. He looked comfortable in the role and it was only the first week. Let's hope the next Doctor makes as good an impression.
Steve Cook, Chelmsford, UK

Disappointed that Christopher Ecclestone has taken such a move but perhaps there is now a chance to bring the Dr into the 21st Century and have a female Timelord? The male lead with female assistant is so dated - I'd like to see Judi Dench or Julie Walters in the role.
Jools, UK

This could be critical for the new show's future
Alex Storer, Sheffield, UK
Eccleston quitting the role of the Doctor is a great shame and probably quite an upset for fans. This could be critical for the new show's future. Even though he is a bigger name, I think Richard E Grant would be perfect for the role, as he proved in the online adventure and even his Comic Relief cameo a few years ago. I think David Tennant is the wrong age and would look wrong for the part. So I would say no to that idea.
Alex Storer, Sheffield, UK

I was shocked to hear this - we've only just seen one episode of the new series, and he's quitting already! My favourites for the job would be Richard E Grant, David Thewlis or Paul McGann. Or perhaps they need to take on a relative unknown who won't leave for 'luvvie' reasons?
Dave, Sandy, UK

I think it's a disgrace that Eccleston has dropped out after only one series. He should not have accepted the role if he wasn't prepared to stick with it for a bit. Also, did he not consider the possibility of typecasting when he took the job? It's not exactly a show without a following... Simon Pegg for Doctor Who!
Jamie, London, UK

Although I thought, and still do think Eccleston is a great actor and a great Doctor, I am very disappointed about this. It will certainly impact on related merchandise. What parent is going to buy a toy of the Doctor Who isn't the Doctor any more? Bring back Paul Mc Gann or Sylvester McCoy to continue their roles.
Michael Pritchard, Telford, UK

Richard E Grant would be perfect.

In no particular order: Richard E Grant, Eddie Izzard or Alan Davies. Christopher Eccleston, although good, did seem as if he is a rising star, and has better things to do than play Doctor Who. These three already have distinct personas and playing the Dr would not harm their career.
Mike West, London

Am I the only one who thinks this David Tennant is just a little bit too young to play a convincing enough Doctor? I say we look for a more 'mature' actor to play the title role. Ronnie Barker, for instance, would add a fine comic edge to the proceedings and hark back to the old William Hartnell days.
Adam, Leeds, UK

Clive Owen, definitely...he's too quirky-looking for James Bond but perfect for the good Doctor. They owe us after the Sylvester McCoy travesty!
Jimezsmoot, Los Angeles, CA


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