More rumors and ruminations on ‘Doctor Who’s’ 50th celebration year
I have a problem with rumors. I like them, but I always take them with a grain of salt, even as I post a story about them -like the latest one suggesting a Star Wars version of The Seven Samurai. I knew it was going to be denied, yet I felt compelled to post it. The question is, do sites like this and others just post the rumors -without ever verifying if they are true or not- just to get eyes to their sites?
Which is where I stand now with the latest speculation about Doctor Who‘s fiftieth anniversary celebration that began this month and will continue through the year. A lot of information has come out, but only a tiny bit has been confirmed -from BBC releasing short-story ebooks featuring each of the eleven Doctors one a month by well known, popular children’s authors to Big Finish releasing a full blown audio production featuring former Doctor’s Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Slyvester McCoy and Paul McGann in story called The Light at the End to a TV movie that deals with the series inception at the BBC, written by series writer Marc Platt, which will air in November. What seems to shrouded in secrecy -and to be honest, perhaps it should remain that way- is what else the BBC is planning for the anniversary month itself.
It seems clear now that 2013 is a leap year for the show, focusing on the 8 remaining episodes of season 7, which means season eight will not premiere until sometime in the fall of 2014. Many have speculated that there will be some anniversary episode along the lines of The Five Doctors from thirty years ago, but again, that is all speculative at best. And, in some respects, typical of the Beeb itself, as they’ve always proved commitmentphobes when talking about projects, especially long-termed ones that are months from production starts.
Still, is this latest one just more enthusiasm than fact? The Birmingham Mail is reporting, without source or quote, that “Show boss Steven Moffat is close to completing a script which will see the current Doctor, Matt Smith, needing the assistance of ALL his police box predecessors.” And that the three late actors who played Doctor’s one through three, William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee, will be able to appear in the special with the aide of digital technology. It also notes the Big Finish confirmation about Doctors four through eight appearing in the audio special, and adds that they “are keen to appear in the historic TV show, too.”
Of course they add the most obvious uncertainty, which is that Doctor number nine, “Christopher Eccleston is said to be reconsidering an earlier decision not to take part.”
Eccleston’s short tenure as the Doctor has been riddled in mystery and ambiguous statements. While the actor has spoken on the subject during the years, his comments are still somewhat vague and unclear. His last statement on the subject was back in July of 2011, saying:
I left Doctor Who because I could not get along with the senior people. I left because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye with them. I didn’t agree with the way things were being run. I didn’t like the culture that had grown up around the series. So I left, I felt, over a principle. I thought to remain, which would have made me a lot of money and given me huge visibility, the price I would have had to pay was to eat a lot of shit. I’m not being funny about that. I didn’t want to do that and it comes to the art of it, in a way. I feel that if you run your career and.. we are vulnerable as actors and we are constantly humiliating ourselves auditioning. But if you allow that to go on, on a grand scale you will lose whatever it is about you and it will be present in your work. If you allow your desire to be successful and visible and financially secure – if you allow that to make you throw shades on your parents, on your upbringing, then you’re knackered. You’ve got to keep something back, for yourself, because it’ll be present in your work. My face didn’t fit and I’m sure they were glad to see the back of me. The important thing is that I succeeded. It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience. Because I’ve always acted for adults and then suddenly you’re acting for children, who are far more tasteful; they will not be bullshitted. It’s either good, or it’s bad. They don’t schmooze at after-show parties, with cocktails.”
There is obviously another side to this story, but like everything else that involves the BBC, they remain tight-lipped about it.I, however, remain hopeful one day we’ll hear both sides.
Anyways, the article also concludes with this: “David Tennant – a friend of Moffat – has hinted that he has been invited to reprise his role.”
Now that’s not a big surprise, Tennant is probably under some sort of gag order, but he has made enough “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” in interviews that he’ll be happy to return as the Doctor. So there will be no shock value when he does.
Still, in the end, I hope whatever issues Eccelston has with the BBC’s upper management and Doctor Who‘s showrunners, he’s able to put that aside and appear in whatever Moffat and the network are planning. Tom Baker has mentioned numerous times over the last thirty years his regret at not participating in the 20th Anniversary story, The Five Doctors and I would assume now, with the shows 50th birthday around the corner, he may be thinking this could be the last time he can appears on screen as one the most popular Doctor’s of the original run.
I would be disappointed to see Eccelston may feel the same way a few years down the road when he realizes whatever issue he had with them and Doctor Who, while honorable, were something he could have set apart from the role as the Ninth Doctor.