Doctor Who News Former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston

Published on May 25th, 2012 | by Christian Cawley

Eccleston’s Departure: “I know what went on”

Former Doctor Who star Christopher EcclestonNinth Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston features in a superb interview in the Telegraph this week in which the actor chats about his love of the stage and his varied career.

Naturally there are questions about the reasons behind his quitting Doctor Who after just 13 episodes – a decision that he has never come clean about. Suggestions have been made that he felt conditions on the show were not what he expected , but he continues to maintain a dignified vagueness on the situation whenever asked.

“I know what went on and the people who were involved know what went on – that’s good enough for me.”

On taking the job in the first place, Eccleston believes he made the right choice.

“My conscience is completely clear. I’ve lived my life, particularly my working life, on the basis that I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror about the way I behave. It wasn’t a bold move, it was an entirely natural one. I’m hugely grateful to the children who to this day come up and talk to me about the show.”

A full read of the article is thoroughly recommended!


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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+.

11 Responses to Eccleston’s Departure: “I know what went on”

  1. avatar Alex says:

    It’s a shame that he’s so resolute about not ‘bathing in the same river twice’. It would have been nice if he could have just made one final appearance in the 50th anniversary.

    • avatar Krumstets says:

      Chris is a self employed man who will work for the right price. Just like most actors .

      Everyone has a price and I would put a bet that if the BBC offered him enough cash he would come back to WHO.

      This guff about not bathing in the same water twice is pure theatrical pretentiousness that should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

      • avatar Victor says:

        The contempt it deserves..? Good Lord…

  2. avatar Drew says:

    Has anyone ever delved into what exactly Eccleston is talking about? I’ve heard him say this several times in interviews (“I knew what was going on…”), but what does that mean? What’s he talking about? Was it as simple as filming just going badly because of the scope of the new show? Or were people getting harrassed and threatened? I don’t really think it’s all that dignified that he keeps evading the details of what went on–it’s just vague and maddening.

    • avatar Watery Tart says:

      He mentioned bullying during a masterclass last year, which was a relatively private event for acting students. Basically it sounds like the crew was being forced to work in unsafe conditions and he took issue with it (and probably got into fights with specific directors/producers, though that’s speculation). This is the transcript of his answer to the “why did you leave DW” question:

      For what it’s worth, a crew member on a DW forum had already spoken about this in PMs to another Chris fan ages ago – but I didn’t see said PMs, it was all done in private and I can only take the fan’s word for it. There were stories going around on DW forums about this all the same, and a few directors and producers were pointed out as being particularly unpleasant to the crew (not RTD, might I add).

    • avatar francis cave says:

      Why does he have to explain himself? Clearly there were issues that he was not happy with but he would rather not name names or go into more detail. He is only giving the explanation he is when being pressed to make some comment on his time on the series. Its not like he is saying “I have things I could tell you that would shock you” or whatever. He’s just giving a short answer to a question so the interviewer can move on to another subject. Simple as that.

      • avatar Drew says:

        I think my issue is that he keeps saying “something went on” instead of just saying “No comment.” or “I’d rather not talk about it.” By saying “something went on”, it adds a whole other dimension (no pun intended!) to it. It makes it sound like something dramatic or sinister was going on (which it may have been?), where a “no commenty” type remark wouldn’t make anyone think twice about it.

  3. avatar Krumstets says:

    So, when will RTD or Billie Piper or anyone else on the show come forward and tell their side of the story?


  4. avatar Misty says:

    I am not sure why he wont tell, unless what went on was a bit embarrassing to him maybe, he turned up a bit tipsy one too many times. If he doesant want to say, then people should respect that

  5. avatar Krumstets says:

    Maybe he just didn’t want to become famous as the first gay actor to play the part..and left before they started asking too many questions.?

  6. avatar TonyS says:

    Christopher Eccleston is a professional actor. It’s his job- his bread and butter. He has to protect his employability if he wants to work again. The last thing he needs is a reputation for bad-mouthing those he works with. He is also a private individual (albeit one with a public profile) and is entitled to guard that. The role of the Doctor was at the end of the day a job to him. He owes us fans no explanation for his decision to leave.

    Just enjoy the thirteen episodes that he did. (Or don’t enjoy them- the choice is yours.) Leave the poor man alone!

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