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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 08:43 GMT
Eccleston is new Doctor Who
Christopher Eccleston
Christopher Eccleston will become the ninth Doctor Who
Shallow Grave actor Christopher Eccleston has been named as the new Doctor Who to front the cult BBC sci-fi show when it returns next year.

Eccleston, who starred alongside Nicole Kidman in the horror movie The Others, will be the ninth TV Time Lord to control the Tardis in a 13-part series.

The 40-year-old has starred in Flesh and Blood, The Second Coming, and TV series Our Friends in the North.

The BBC said the Salford-born actor would take "a fresh, modern approach".

'Edgy and eccentric'

Jane Tranter, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, said: "We are delighted to have cast an actor of such calibre in one of British television's most iconic roles.

It's going to be a magnificent, epic, entertaining journey
Russell T Davies
BBC executive producer
"It signals our intention to take Doctor Who into the 21st century, as well as retaining its core traditional values - to be surprising, edgy and eccentric."

Executive producer and writer Russell T Davies said: "Christopher was our first choice.

"His casting raises the bar for all of us. It's going to be a magnificent, epic, entertaining journey, and I can't wait to start."

Previous TV Time Lords
William Hartnell
Patrick Troughton
Jon Pertwee
Tom Baker
Peter Davison
Colin Baker
Sylvester McCoy
Paul McGann
The hugely-popular Doctor Who show ran for 26 years from 1963 and the new series will be filmed in Cardiff later this year.

He first came to public attention with his portrayal of Derek Bentley in the film, Let Him Have It before notching up a wealth of TV and movie credits.

He was then snapped up by Hollywood and was cast in David Cronenberg's eXistenZ with Jude Law, and Gone in Sixty Seconds with Nicholas Cage.

He trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

What do you think about the decision to cast Christopher Eccleston as the new Dr Who? This debate is now closed but please see below for some of your thoughts on the new Time Lord.

Your comments:

I must agree he is an excellent choice to play the Doctor, the last thing I wanted was another Peter Davison!
Mazhar Khan, UK

Eccleston was superb in the zombie movie 28 Days Later, portraying a calm, intelligent and charismatic army officer, who had eccentric delusions of grandeur. I think this role may give us a small insight into the kind portayal of the Doctor. Fantastic casting choice, (but would have given anything to have seen a cross dressing, Izzard in the role)
steve crabb, london, uk

What a great choice to play the Doctor. It's a great relief that they have chosen an actor proven as in both dramatic and comedic roles! Good luck BBC and Mr Davies - do all of us long-term fans proud!!!
Adam, Worcestershire

A great actor, but who surely can only be as good as the scripts he's given....... So well done to the Beeb on getting Russell T Davies, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffatt for such a task! The chances are, whether you've heard all or none of these names that you'll be a big fan of some of their work already.
Lee Hayes, London, UK

I don't know if he's quite sinister enough. The best doctors always had a slight air of menace about them. Colin Baker and Peter Davison were too nice and not convincing enough.
Peter, U.K

Yes, this is a great and imaginative choice.
Sheena Hastings,

Great choice for the 9th Doctor. What I would like to see is Paul McGann in the first episode for the regeneration handover.
Elliott Burge, Lydney, Gloucestershire, UK

I can't wait! If his portrayal of Doctor Who has me hiding behind the sofa again, then he will have recaptured all what was lost when Tom Baker turned into Peter Davidson.
John Turner, Plymouth, UK

I can't believe this appalling decision. Christopher Eccleston has to be the worst actor of all time. As someone who isn't a particular fan of the Doctor, but does enjoy watching the series as a fan of all sci-fi I really don't think I'll be tuning in to the new series.
Dave Mahoney, strood, kent, uk

It has been said before and will be said many times in the future, but what the heck...Christopher Eccleston, an inspired piece of casting. Hope this is a taste of what hopefully will be the return to the BBC the good Doctor deserves.
Martin Kelly, Birstall West Yorkshire

The logical progression of the 'edgy eccentricity' which was hinted at by McGann, will find high evolution in the inspired casting of Eccleston, who is truly an actor of considerable talent, and fervent support in the fan(atic)'s like myself, who have waited, waited, to once again step foot inside that familiar blue Police call box..
Val Athanassiou, Sydney Australia

What a stupdendous choice! This talented actor lends himself is well suited for this particular role. With the current high interest in all things extra terrestrial, the timing and return of the Doctor Who series could not be better. Bring on the talented writers to write the material and we look forward with great interest.
Ray Khan, Toronto, Canada

Great actor for a great role.
Rob Humphreys, Perth, Western Australia

Fantastic choice. Very Surprised and delighted that he accepted the part. Should bring the show back into the public arena again.
Bob Booth, Tilbury,Essex,UK

I am so excited. Having been away and discovering on my return that Doctor Who is going to be on the air again just made by day. And I am so looking forward to seeing the taped programmes from my relatives and friends and hopefully one day it will be introduced to Canada because they are ready for this. Good luck.
Anna Stevens, Chester Canada

Fantastic Choice. I'm so excited that he is going to play The Doctor. He will bring a new sparkle to the show, one that has never been shown before.
Shannon Burns, Philadelphia, Pa , USA

I wasn't quite sure how to take this news. I have only seen Christopher Eccleston play gritty hard roles and am concerned that he won't have that underlying eccentricity that is much needed for the role. However, I do think he is a remarkable actor and just because I haven't seen him do anything like this before, doesn't mean that he can't. I have faith in the writers and producers. I cannot wait to see the new series.
Ben Ripleu, Melbourne, Australia

What a brilliant choice and what a brilliant actor. Well known to some and yet a complete unknown to others. Doctor Who will make him the star he deserves to be, but he will also undoubtedly help to raise the profile of the show even higher. A truely symbotic relationship and a truely inpired casting decision.
Neil Taylor, London

Let's face it, Doctor Who is not that disimilar to Star Trek in that many aspects of it were laughable. However, Eccleston is likely to do something interesting in the role, which will hopefully result in something similar to the injection of credibility that Patrick Stewart provided for the Next Generation.
Richard, Pavia, Italy.

The Doctor is in the hands of some highly skilled and passionate programme makers and writers - and for them to have chosen him, they must have some amazing and interesting plans for the show. Time to reclaim the batton from the Americans. The British always did do science fiction best.
Julian Bashford, Elstead, UK

Let's hope that this will resurect Dr. Who from the dire run with Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann and breathe new life into what used to be a great sci-fi series!
James, Essex, UK

From jesus to the lord of time! superb actor, superb choice
iain hewitt, Darlington, uk

I'd have preferred Richard E Grant, possibly because of the beeb 'cult' online animated episodes featuring him, which have been great. Mr Eccleston should do a good job though.
HJ, Ipswich, UK

I felt the same about this announcement as I did about Paul McGann - excellent choice. But this time the team that has been assembled to create the new series is amazing. They've all had experience of creating quality Doctor Who in other formats. I'm expecting great things!
Faiz, Surrey, UK

Excellent choice of Doctor. I always thought it became a bit rubbish in the 1980s, because Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy made the role too lightweight. Christoper Eccleston will bring back the gritty, hard-edged, darkness that it had with Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee. Can we have Kate Winslet to play his assistant. And Peter Andre to play Davros.
John Smith, Manchester UK

Super choice. Christopher is a dynamic performer. Looking forward to his interpretation.
Trish Lewis, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

I've seen Christopher in quite a lot of his roles and yes, I think he'll be extremely good for Doctor Who. He can be quirky enough, yet not quite taking it into comedic which will mean he should be taken seriously. I think most people will agree that Doctor Who in the end was just becoming too laughable. It needs 'edge' and I think Mr Eccleston will deliver!
Amanda, Birmingham, UK

As more news appears about the forthcoming Doctor Who series, the more I am looking forward to it. With such a wealth of talent throughout whether it be the writing or (with this latest news) the actors it can't fail to be a momentous TV event
Andy Clayton, Christchurch, Dorset, UK

Eccleston is a fine actor whom I am sure we will see more of in the future
J Wood, Green Zone, Baghdad

A very good choice. Eccleston is a fine actor whom I am sure we will see more of in the future. He has sufficient depth to play the character and with his ability to play such diverse roles, it will be interesting to see his interpretation. Is there any chance that Eccleston might do one story with Tom Baker 'Doctors meet in time'?
J Wood, Green Zone, Baghdad, Iraq

Christopher Eccleston is an inspired choice and was one of my top three choices - along with Bill Nighy and Ian Richardson. Absolutely stunning and I'm sure he'll be perfect for the role. Well done to the crew for securing the talents of such an amazing actor.
David Whittam, Streatham Hill, UK

Fantastic news and a great piece of casting - roll on 2005!
Kevin Thomas, Southend, UK

Never heard of him - and that is exactly what was needed. The Doctor is a mysterious, alien character after all, and there would have been nothing worse than seeing a very well-known face (e.g. Richard E Grant) taking on the role. Eccleston certainly has that look of other-worldliness that is required. Good luck to him - I hope the scripts are worthy of the job.
Mark Jones, Chipping Campden, UK

Absolutely brilliant. An inspired choice. I'm so excited that he brings such a level of professionalism to the show.
Alan Jones, Beckenham, Kent, UK

Wow! Completely taken by surprise, didn't see it coming at all, and yet... perfect!
Speedy Russell, London, UK

The BBC's Tim Muffett
"Eccleston was first choice for the part"


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