Cult British sci-fi series Dr. Who is to get an edgy new Doctor in Christopher Eccleston, who hopes to portray the time-traveler's "melancholy side" as he drifts through time and space.The drama, which has been off the air since 1989, was previously typified by tacky sets and foppish Doctors like Tom Baker in his multicolored scarf and floppy hat. Modern audiences "turn on the television to look into people's souls," Eccleston told The [London] Daily Telegraph Thursday. "That's basically what they're looking for--human feelings and emotions." Eccleston, 40, is known for his portrayal of tortured characters like the unbalanced army officer Major Henry West battling zombies in Danny Boyle's apocalyptic 28 Days Later. He said the new Doctor would struggle with his "desire to belong" as he journeyed through alien civilizations.
The new writer of Dr. Who, out Queer as Folk creator Russell T. Davies, has worked with Eccleston before in last year's religious fantasy The Second Coming. Eccleston said his most vivid childhood memory of the sci-fi drama was an episode in which the contents of a Dalek--the show's robot villains--were revealed. "This great, cold steel instrument of destruction, all that casing, all that armor, is actually to protect this very vulnerable, strange, frightened creature," he said.