The 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who is coming in 2023 and fans are already expecting a special episode to celebrate the event. While the BBC has not announced what the special episode would entail, fans are already speculating that it would be an extra-long standalone story featuring multiple Doctors meeting up. However, Christopher Eccleston has already said it was unlikely that he would return to play the 9th Doctor, the one who relaunched the show back in 2005. The Radio Times reported that during a Q&A at Dragon Con, Eccleston said a 60th-anniversary return was "doubtful", saying "my relationship with the BBC over Doctor Who has not healed."
After over a decade of silence, Eccleston finally spoke up in the last few years about the fraught production of the 1st season of the new Doctor Who. Rumours were rife that shooting on that season was filled with problems, including one director who was out of his depth and Eccleston's increasing frustration with the producers and the BBC.
"I left because my relationship with Russell T Davies, Julie Gardner, and Phil Collinson completely broke down during the shooting of the first series," he said. "I think it's fair to say… that in the first series nobody knows what they're doing and the politics are raging. The shooting of the first series was a nightmare."
Eccleston explained the circumstances surrounding his exit from Doctor Who, saying: "I agreed with Russell that I would go, quietly and respectfully, and I would look after the show publicity-wise, in terms of publicising it.
"And then, without saying anything to me, they announced that I was leaving. They didn't tell me they were going to do that. I was walking down the street and suddenly I got quite a lot of aggression. And more importantly… they created a quote, and they attributed it to me, which said I was tired.
"Now the thing is about that, 'Oh I found it too tiring', I didn't find it too tiring. I found it too tiring working with Russell, and Phil, and Julia. I didn't find it physically too tiring. When they said that, any other producer reading that would go 'Oh, we're not going to employ Christopher Eccleston because he gets tired'. So it was a lie, and it was in quotation marks, and I'm from Salford, you don't do that to me. So they issued a kind of apology, but it's not enough, so no."
Eccleston did, however, tell the crowd he would continue to portray the Doctor in Big Finish audio dramas and attending conventions since that didn't involve having to deal with the BBC or the executives he fell out with. Recently, Peter Capaldi also said he would not return to play the 12th Doctor as he felt he had taken the character as far as he could go and to return would dilute the impact of his story.