Christopher Eccleston has charted the course for his return to Doctor Who – and it involves the dismissal of showrunner Russell T Davies.
The iconic actor, 60, helped bring Doctor Who back to life in 2005, where he starred as the 9th Doctor alongside Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.
At the time, it was run by Russell – who is now back as showrunner for Doctor Who's 60th anniversary, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate, as well as the next season, where Ncuti Gatwa plays the 15th Doctor.
Christopher left after just one season as The Doctor, and has long suggested that there were problems on set that he was unhappy with, although full details have never emerged.
Now, with several characters returning to the show for the anniversary specials, the Come Home actor was asked if he would do the same.
At a recent panel at the For The Love Of Sci-Fi fan convention, the star was asked 'what would have to happen' for him to return as the Doctor.
To which Christopher replied: 'Sack Russell T Davies.'
He then named the show's executive producers, continuing without hesitation: 'Sack Jane Tranter. Fire Phil Collinson. Julie Gardner bag.
'And I will return. So can you arrange this?
His former co-star Billie, who was appearing on the panel with him, simply made an awkward face.
He went on to clarify that while he 'loves being associated' with the Doctor and Doctor Who as a whole, 'I just don't like being associated with these people and the politics that happened with the first series'.
'The first series was a mess, and it had nothing to do with me or Billie [Piper]. It had to do with the people who were supposed to do it, and it was a mess.
It has long been thought that Christopher would never return to his role as the 9th Doctor, with the actor previously quoted as saying: 'I left because my relationships with Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson completely broke down during the filming of the first series.
'I think it's fair to say… that in the first series no one knows what they're doing and politics are rampant. Filming the first series was a nightmare.
He added to Radio Times in 2018: “They lost trust in me and I lost faith and trust and belief in them.”
Russell himself previously said he didn't want to get into a 'tit for tat' exchange with the actor, but told SFX that his 'duty of care will extend for the rest of our lives.' He will always be my doctor and I will always be his producer.'
The showrunner also praised Christopher's performance, saying: “What I have to say is that Chris is a magnificent actor and a magnificent man – he really is a leader of men – and he was also a magnificent Doctor Who.
“You forget what a brave move it was to take on the role when the press was citing people like Paul Daniels as the next Doctor. It was a huge leap for Chris to take and I loved what he did.
However, there is a silver lining for fans of Christopher's brilliant and bold Doctor, as although he is unlikely to return to the screen, he returned to the role for a Big Finish audio drama.
He said at the time: 'It will be exciting to revisit the world of the Ninth Doctor, bringing back to life a character I love playing.'
Executive producer Nick Briggs added to the Metro.co.uk on his performance: 'He's very happy with it.
“He said that within two minutes of doing it, he was back in the zone, there with the character.”
Christopher's latest comments come after former Doctor Who star John Barrowman posted a message on social media to people who are 'constantly swearing at me'.
“You want to comment on something you think you know everything about, but you actually know nothing about, because you weren't there,” he wrote.
John didn't make it clear what he was referring to, however, two years ago he admitted to having 'exposed himself' on the sets of Doctor Who and Torchwood, apologizing for the 'foolishness'.
Two former runners alleged that while on set, Barrowman “regularly removed his genitals,” although they emphasized that this was a “joke” and not sexually predatory behavior.
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