-Doctor Who in Sculpture: 1963 to 2013-
After August there came September, and after McGann there was Eccleston.
After the Eighth Doctor’s single television adventure in 1996, Doctor Who slumped into a deep sleep, the period following the TV Movie (and the years leading up to it since 1989) became known as The Wilderness Years, an era all of its own, where VHS releases on old episodes and new book-based adventures were the fan’s only was of getting their Doctor Who hit. During this period the Big Finish Audio adventures featuring the “Classic” Doctors and companions in new stories popped into existence and remain still a strong and rich arm of the Doctor Who entity.
And so it remained a Cult classic, a show that nearly didn’t exist for the whole of the 1990s, many attempts at resurrecting it were planned and begun but none ever achieved the success and new life they sought after.
Then in 2005 the show was reinvigorated by the passion and drive of Russell T Davies, creator of the drama series “Queer as Folk”, and one-time writer for “ChuckleVision”.
This new era in the show’s life would be fast cut, edgy and very modern, with special effects to rival any US Science fiction TV series or film.
This introduced the Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, a Doctor who was seemingly hardened by the mysterious Time War his people (the then unnamed Timelords) waged with a race of creatures called the Daleks that some older viewers may remember.
Unlike the Edwardianly flamboyant garb of the Eighth Doctor, this incarnation was dressed simply in black trousers, boots, V-neck and a battered leather jacket, a simple and striking appearance for the Timelord.
His demeanour although gentle and just as brave as his predecessors was rougher and readier than who had come before who spoke with a broad Northern accent, a character with clear symptoms of Survivor’s Guilt at the lost of his own people and home world.
This Doctor travelled for what seemed like a very short period with only one companion, Rose Tyler (played by ex-singer Billie Piper) with whom he developed a strong bond with and fought living plastic and shop window dummies, watched the Earth die in a ball of flame, met Charles Dickens at Christmas, were chased around 10 Downing Street by giant green rubbery alien with terrible flatulence and re-encountered an old foe chained up beneath Utah.
He did also briefly travel with Captain Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman) who would later become a more important fixture for both the show and its spin off “Torchwood” and to stretch a point we also met Rose’s mum Jackie (Camille Coduri) and long-suffering boyfriend Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke), both joined the Doctor in his plans on several occasions.
This Doctor’s tenure lasted simply for one year but he still remains a firm favourite in the hearts of millions to whom he shall always be “Their” Doctor. The man who ensured the show found its feet and more importantly, its audience, recapturing its imagination and proving that death, or at least cancellation, need not be final.
Next month is the Month for Ten.
The Tenth Doctor, as played by toothsome and spiky-haired David Tennant, see you then.