They've all said no at some point - hell, even the people actually in it have said no! - but this is the first true confirmation we've had from the BBC of a past Doctor not returning to Doctor Who's Anniversary bash alongside Matt Smith. Click through to find out who said no...

The BBC have officially confirmed today, following rumours in UK tabloid The Daily Star, that Christopher Eccleston will not return as the Ninth Doctor. The Star reported that the actor had pulled out of the show at the last minute, just before filming was due to begin in the last week, but a BBC official has confirmed that Chris never got that far along in the plans:

Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven's plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best.

Whilst ultimately not surprising - Eccleston's reasons for departing the show after one series were strong enough that it was expected that he'd never return to the role, despite enjoying it - what is sad that at some point early on, we were so close to having a modern day Three Doctors, that might have looked a little like this...

One ray of hope from all this is that the BBC only stated that Eccleston alone was not returning to the show - unless they intend to let us down slowly but gently about the presence of previous Doctors alongside Smith and Tennant, it could still leave us with the chance of other Doctors appearing in the special.