Of Course DOCTOR WHO’s Doctor is God – and It’s No Accident

Eccleston 2nd Coming

I watched Russell T.Davies’ 2003 TV mini-series (very mini – only 2 episodes) THE SECOND COMING the other day. It stars Chris Eccleston and tells the story of an ordinary man who realizes one day (after his first kiss from the woman he’s loved since his schooldays) that he’s the Messiah returned for one last shot at redeeming the human race.

The story starts out wonderfully, Eccleston exactly the kind of Son of God I’d want any real son of God to be, but the second half gets bogged down in self-contradictory theology illustrated by humans who just don’t react the way the humans I hang around with would. (Although the demons are very much like the devils I know all too well.)

In the end, I was disappointed by the film…but it doesn’t really matter thanks to a fascinating aspect of the production that I can only think of as the most Glorious Subtext Ever – if you’re a DOCTOR WHO fan.

Eccleston Doctor Who

If you are, you know that in 2005 DOCTOR WHO returned from a decade-long “hiatus,” written and produced by Davies and starring Eccleston as the Doctor. And the Glorious Subtext thing here is that if, as a Whovian, you watch THE SECOND COMING you’ll see, quite clearly, the foundation for everything the New WHO has given us, from casting to characterization to themes to plot arcs used not only by RTD but by his successor as series showrunner Steven Moffat as well.

It all makes great sense to me because I’ve always looked at the character of the 9th, 10th, and 11th Doctors as, well, God…and, guess what? He is. Which is to say that he’s identical to Eccleston’s God in THE SECOND COMING.

Last time I looked, there still were a couple of copies of THE SECOND COMING DVD at Amazon.Com for like, $4.95.

Sorta Spoilers:

Oh, and if you watch, look out for the best, most timey-wimey shoutout ever. A homage to Rory Williams AKA the Centurian Who Waited, years before there was a Rory Williams character to wait. (And the Son of God’s sacrifice may – just may – remind y’all a bit of the sacrifice made by a certain Doctor many years later…and for precisely the same reason.

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In Case You Wondered Why Chris Eccleston Left DOCTOR WHO

Bad Wilf, a UK site that, like TVWriter™, is pretty much crushing on The Doctor, has a transcript of comments he made recently to “an acting master class at the Theatre Royal Haymarket”:

Our Boss’s favorite Doctor

I left Doctor Who because I could not get along with the senior people. I left because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye with them. I didn’t agree with the way things were being run. I didn’t like the culture that had grown up, around the series. So I left, I felt, over a principle.

I thought to remain, which would have made me a lot of money and given me huge visibility, the price I would have had to pay was to eat a lot of shit. I’m not being funny about that. I didn’t want to do that and it comes to the art of it, in a way. I feel that if you run your career and– we are vulnerable as actors and we are constantly humiliating ourselves auditioning. But if you allow that to go on, on a grand scale you will lose whatever it is about you and it will be present in your work.

If you allow your desire to be successful and visible and financially secure – if you allow that to make you throw shades on your parents, on your upbringing, then you’re knackered. You’ve got to keep something back, for yourself, because it’ll be present in your work.  A purity or an idealism is essential or you’ll become– you’ve got to have standards, no matter how hard work that is. So it makes it a hard road, really.

You know, it’s easy to find a job when you’ve got no morals, you’ve got nothing to be compromised, you can go, ‘Yeah, yeah. That doesn’t matter. That director can bully that prop man and I won’t say anything about it’. But then when that director comes to you and says ‘I think you should play it like this’ you’ve surely got to go ‘How can I respect you, when you behave like that?’

So, that’s why I left. My face didn’t fit and I’m sure they were glad to see the back of me. The important thing is that I succeeded. It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience. Because I’ve always acted for adults and then suddenly you’re acting for children, who are far more tasteful; they will not be bullshitted. It’s either good, or it’s bad. They don’t schmooze at after-show parties, with cocktails.

According to Russell T. Davies’ book and website, The Writer’s Tale, Eccleston spent a great deal of his time on the show telling anyone in the front office who would listen how unhappy he was with the way it was being run and threatening to quit at the end of the first season. As Davies tells it, Eccleston came into his office one day and finally agreed to re-up…but by that time “senior management” had already decided to replace him and decided to stand by what they interpreted as his previous resignation.

For those with experience at reading between the lines, two versions actually mesh. We’re delighted to at long last hear both sides.