Reports that actor agreed to return but then changed his mind are false, they confirm

The BBC have denied reports that Christopher Eccleston pulled out of plans to appear in the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who.

Reports in the Daily Star had claimed that Eccleston, who starred as the Ninth Doctor in 2005 but quit after just one season, had agreed to take part in the half-century celebration but subsequently changed his mind and quit the production.

However, according to Digital Spy, the BBC have claimed that Eccleston had never signed on to be involved in the show. “Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven’s plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode,” said a source. “After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best.”

Despite Eccleston’s absence, former Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Billie Piper will both return for the anniversary episode. Tennant starred in the show from 2005 – 2010, while Piper first appeared as the companion to Eccleston’s Doctor but quit in 2006, although she did return for a number of episodes in 2008 and made a one-off appearance in Tennant’s final episode.

Matt Smith, who currently plays the Time Lord, has said that fans “will not be disappointed” by the 50th anniversary show” and promised that it “manages to pay homage to everything – and look forward”. He added of the script: “I read it and I clapped at the end. I think it’s hilarious, it’s epic and it’s vast.” You can see a trailer for the episode by clicking below.