'Doctor Who': Christopher Eccleston's 'The Day of the Doctor' absence was unnecessary.
Now that "The Day of the Doctor" has passed, it's time to talk about one obvious omission: Christopher Eccleston. The immediate reaction is going to be, "But Eccleston was there!" While that moment with all of the other Doctors was wonderful, it was little more that a clever re-purposing of "Doctor Who" archival footage. It's still great, but really just leaves Whovians wanting more. Steven Moffat has said for a while that Eccleston wouldn't appear in the special, but that's the exact kind of redirect one would expect. Then, as the episode began coming to a close, John Hurt's War Doctor began his regeneration and minds started melting. This was that moment, there would be a shot of Eccleston in the TARDIS and all would be right. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. As Hurt started going gold, it cut back to 10 and 11 to wrap up their story. The whole episode was great storytelling, but that one moment at the end couldn't feel like anything but a letdown. Fans know what happens after Hurt regenerates, but the tease was just too much. Especially since you can see below that they went out of their way to make it look like Eccleston was coming. The silliest thing of all is it would have taken Eccleston a couple hours to shoot. Moffat says he spoke with Eccleston about appearing but the actor "didn't feel that he could come back to it." While Eccleston has been open in the past about his experience shooting the show, it's an entirely different team now and, again would have taken no time at all to get it done. Like it or not Christopher, you're part of a very exclusive club with a gigantic following of people who are going to love you forever because of it. Furthermore, if production knew that Eccleston wasn't going to appear, don't tease the fans. These poor nerd hearts can only take so much. After how high they were flying throughout this fantastic special, surely a couple of them popped.
This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special finally has a confirmed title. Yes, Matt Smith’s final story is “The Time of the Doctor,” keeping with the theme we’ve had for the past couple of episodes.
Here’s the BBC synopsis:
Orbiting a quiet backwater planet, the massed forces of the universe’s deadliest species gather, drawn to a mysterious message that echoes out to the stars. And amongst them – the Doctor. Rescuing Clara from a family Christmas dinner, the Time Lord and his best friend must learn what this enigmatic signal means for his own fate and that of the universe.
Series 7 DVD Minisodes: Rain Gods, Clara and the TARDIS & The Inforarium
The Complete Seventh Series Box Set features three never-before-seen minisodes. Thanks to the earlier US release they have already found their way online.
Writer Neil Gaiman provides some details on the Rain Gods scene:
For the puzzled and curious. The lost Planet of the Rain Gods sequence from THE DOCTOR’S WIFE, which was drawn by Mark Buckingham as a comic featuring the Doctor and Amy and Rory in the 2012 Doctor Who Brilliant Book, was then rewritten by me as a Doctor/River minisode for the DVD, and then that script was filmed more or less given some limitations of time and budget, does now sort of exist.
(It’s credited to Steven Moffat as writer, but then, they’ve credited me on the box as writer of The Name of the Doctor which he wrote and I didn’t, so there you go.)