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Doctor Who Fans Just Got The Coolest News Ever

When Doctor Who returned to TV screens in 2005 after 16 years off the air, the classic British science fiction series had a brand new hero in the role of the Doctor: Christopher Eccleston.

Eccleston was already a major, respected name in British television and film before he stepped into the Doctor's time-and-spaceship, the TARDIS, having found international success playing Major Henry West in the now-classic 2002 zombie film 28 Days Later. Paired with popular British pop star Billie Piper, the new Doctor Who team had the pedigree to make the show a hit again. But while the first new series of Doctor Who since 1989 was an enormous success, Christopher Eccleston departed the show after only 13 episodes.

"I left because my relationship with the showrunner and the producer broke down," Eccleston explained at New York Comic Con in 2019, nearly 15 years later. "[I left because of] the politics of the show. I left only because of those three individuals and the way they were running the show. I loved playing the character, and I loved the world."

While the team Eccleston originally conflicted with (Russell T. Davies, Julie Gardner, and Phil Collinson) were long gone by the time Doctor Who's 50th anniversary episode, "The Day of the Doctor," debuted, Eccleston still turned down an offer by then-showrunner Stephen Moffat to return to the show. At that point, it seemed like Eccleston would never reprise his role as the Ninth Doctor. But sometimes the seemingly impossible can happen on Doctor Who.

How the Ninth Doctor is coming back to Doctor Who

During the in-between times from 1989 to 2005, when there were no new Doctor Who episodes on television, there were still other ways to enjoy the Doctor's world — books, comics, and, perhaps most importantly, audio dramas.

Big Finish Productions has been producing audio dramas since 1996 for all sorts of TV properties, including the vampire soap opera Dark Shadows, the '60s spy adventure series The Avengers, and of course, Doctor Who. In fact, Big Finish's biggest claim to fame is probably how it afforded actors with brief runs as the Doctor a chance to return, in audio form, to flesh out their incarnation of the beloved character.

In the very recent past, two of the most popular Doctor Who actors, Tom Baker and David Tennant, got to play the Doctor again thanks to Big Finish. And, at long last, Christopher Eccelston is doing the same for his Ninth Doctor.

In a statement, Eccleston confirmed that, "after 15 years, it will be exciting to revisit the Ninth Doctor's world, bringing back to life a character I love playing."

Big Finish Productions, along with BBC Studios, announced Eccleston's return by revealing that not only will the actor be returning, he will be back for 12 full-cast audio adventures that are currently set to release across four box sets, beginning in May 2021. No details on story, writers, or additional cast have been announced as yet, however there's a good chance we'll see other talent from that era return for such a momentous occasion.