Eccleston quits as Dr Who 2 gets green light

'The time has come, but the moment has been prepared for'

Doctor number nine, Christopher Eccleston, has quit the role less than a week into the new, revived series of Doctor Who.

"The audience's response for the new Doctor Who has been incredible and I am really proud to be part of it and I hope viewers continue to enjoy the series," said Eccleston in a statement.

The announcement was made after the BBC confirmed that a second series of the show has been commissioned following last Saturday's strong debut. Ratings during the broadcast peaked at 10.5 million viewers, a figure not seen since the early 1980s. The programme was rather good.

The programme will return first for a 60-minute Christmas Special, and it's already being suggested that the one-off will feature the Eccleston regeneration into... yes, the rumours are already starting to fly as to the identity of Doctor number ten. Many of them centre on actors originally mooted for Doctor number nine, such as Bill Nighy and Richard E Grant.

A BBC spokesman has apparently said that talks are underway with David Tennant, star of TV series Casanova. That show was developed by one Russell T Davies - the guy who helmed the revival of Doctor Who.

Eccleston's decision not to sign up for a second series - at least, not a full second series - was spurred by the tough eight-month shoot for the show currently being broadcast on BBC 1 on Saturday evenings. He was also concerned about typecasting, an issue that has persuaded other Doctor Who actors to quit the role, although usually after three or four seasons. ®

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