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Published on June 15th, 2010 | by Christian Cawley

Eccleston on Who Exit

It’s taken 5 long years, but finally Christopher Eccleston has felt ready to talk about his exit from Doctor Who

Former Doctor Who star Christopher EcclestonEccleston was Russell T Davies’ shock choice as the Ninth Doctor when the series re-entered production in 2004, but after just 13 episodes, the actor – who appears alongside Naoko Mori in Lennon Naked later this month on BBC Four – quit.

“I was open-minded but I decided after my experience on the first series that I didn’t want to do any more,” he said.

“I didn’t enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in.”

Many Doctor Who fans were particularly upset by how the striking new lead – whose involvement brought the show bang up to date in terms of respect and public attitude – seemed to have quit without reason. It seems however that Eccleston has an unusual but refreshing attitude to his career.

“I think it’s more important to be your own man than be successful, so I left.”

“I thought if I stay in this job, I’m going to have to blind myself to certain things that I thought were wrong.”

This seems fair enough – Eccleston has appeared in big Hollywood movies (such as GI Joe) and episodesof US series Heroes since leaving Doctor Who. However as we’ve seen on occasions over the years, Eccleston – whose last episode was The Parting of the Ways in which his Doctor regenerated into David Tennant’s popular Tenth Doctor – is not ashamed of having played the last of the Time Lords.

“I really feel that because it kind of broke the mould and it helped to reinvent it.

“I’m very proud of it.”

It’s great that Christopher Eccleston has finally spoken about his experience on Doctor Who – the big question now is what didn’t he enjoy, and why…?

The full interview with Eccleston can be found in this week’s Radio Times, out now.


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

5 Responses to Eccleston on Who Exit

  1. avatar Bow Ties Are Cool says:

    Anyone who has read “The Writer’s Tale” or Doctor Who Magazine’s “In Their Own Words”, knows that production on the 2005 series was a shambles. They planned it all wrong, thinking they could shoot far more scenes in one day then they actually could, which led some high tension on set. I’m gonna guess Eccelston thought this was what it would be like every series, so he got out. Shame, because they knew what they were doing by Series 2.

  2. avatar Rick714 says:

    Yeah, at the very start of shooting, the production was plagued with delays and problems—they were basically in over their head. BUT–the majority of these problems were overcome after the first couple of shooting blocks and they righted themselves. By the mid-way point, things were running more smoothly, so I’m guessing that Eccleston wasn’t forgiving or forgetting the initial tough time the crew had–if that was the problem.

    Maybe he has little patience or tolerance for these things. I’d hate to think his problems were with Cardiff. I give him credit for bravely and briefly stepping into the role, anyway.

    Maybe he wasn’t confident that the show would be a success and decided to cut his losses. By the time the show was transmitted and proven to be a huge success again, it would have been too late for him to reverse himself anyway. ‘Doh!

  3. avatar castellanspandrell says:

    His statement raises more questions than answers about his reasons for leaving Who.

    If he was uncomfortable working on the programme, it sure showed in some aspects of his performances.

    But I found this:

    Someone is accusing him of homophobia based on his recent comments about the ‘culture and environment’ on Who. It’s complete crap, of course, with no real basis in fact other than total paranoia and ‘heterophobia’ on behalf of the writer, but it makes interesting/uncomfortable reading.

  4. avatar Christian Cawley says:

    It’s a funny one, isn’t it?

    Good link though, CastellanSpandrell. Interesting insight…

  5. avatar castellanspandrell says:

    I don’t know CE personally, but he appears to be an intelligent, articulate and humanitarian type of person with left-wing leanings, so I’d be surprised if his comments were taking a swipe at homosexuality!

    I think the writer of the linked piece has his own militant agenda.

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