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The Doctor Who Scene Christopher Eccleston Refused To Do

When the BBC revived beloved sci-fi series "Doctor Who" back in 2009 with Christopher Eccleston leading the long-running show as the titular time-traveling hero, it introduced a whole new generation of viewers to the franchise. The star partnered with Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, battling hordes of terrifying monsters throughout time and space. Anyone else still terrified by Episode 9, "The Empty Child" with the gas-mask zombies? For a show intended for a young audience, the 1940s-set two-part episode was absolutely chilling. It showed just how effective a simple concept could be without the need for over-the-top violence and gore.

But as brilliant as the Ninth Doctor's season was, it was only a limited run, with Christopher Eccleston blaming the atmosphere behind-the-scenes for his exit. Although he doesn't regret his time playing the Doctor, he had no intention of staying on for more than one season. It's a huge shame because the star brought a brilliant sense of charm and wit to the time-traveller, as well as plenty of heart. You only have to look at his reaction to saving everyone in Episode 10, "The Doctor Dances," to see how much Eccleston enjoyed playing the role.

Unfortunately, he refused to come back to the role in a later episode for a very specific reason.

Eccleston wouldn't sign on for "The Day of the Doctor"

Because "Doctor Who" started back in 1963, the producers celebrated the 50th anniversary of the program in 2013 with a special episode entitled "The Day of the Doctor." The 77-minute episode saw David Tennant and Matt Smith team-up as their respective 10th and 11th Doctors, alongside a new version of the hero played by John Hurt. Originally, Christopher Eccleston was asked to star in the episode but turned it down after reading the script, telling audiences at New York Comic-Con "I felt that it was basically myself, Matt and Dave riffing off the fact that we used to be the Doctors." It's disappointing, but clearly his love for the character meant that he didn't want to do the show a disservice.

Eccleston did explain a little more behind declining a return to the role, noting that "I personally didn't feel like the narrative was strong enough" before also pointing out that the UK media hounded him following his exit from the series. The star also explained that he weighed up the pros and cons over joining Tennant and Smith in the series, and decided against it; "So I looked at it and I thought is this really the way I want to come back and I decided it wasn't. There were other factors, political factors," Eccleston added.