Over 50 new claims over supposed phone hacking by News International have been submitted, including a complaint by Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, who served as the Time Lord when the series returned in 2005.
The scandal – as if you haven’t heard – centres on the now-defunct News of the World and sister newspapers, published by News International, accusing employees of hacking into phones and bribing police in order to obtain a news story. Allegations began in November 2005 when the News of the World’s royal editor, Clive Goodman, was accused of listening to Prince William’s voicemails after the Prince suffered a knee injury. Goodman was jailed in January 2007, alongside private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire.
But recent reports reveal that this wasn’t a sole case, and, in 2009, The Guardian reported that up to 3,000 people – from celebrities to sporting stars to crime victims – may have had their phones hacked into. This led to Prime Minister, David Cameron, announcing an official inquiry, with Lord Justice Leveson as chairman.
The new claims, announced on Monday, were submitted before the inquiry’s deadline of 14th September – bringing the expected number of cases going to trial next year to 174 – and include allegations from spoon-bender, Uri Geller; Cold Feet actor, John Thompson; agent, Sue Ayton (whose clients include presenters and reporters, Jennie Bond, Peter Sissons, and Michael Buerk); former Labour party leader, Neil Kinnock; and Big Brother presenter, Davina McCall (who also lent her voice to 2005’s Bad Wolf). There has also been speculation that Eccleston’s successor David Tennant was the victim of phone hacking.
So could Eccleston’s phone have been hacked due to his involvement in Doctor Who? After all, the show’s return, announced in 2003, was (and remains) a hot topic, as was the actor’s departure in The Parting of the Ways. Though the exact circumstances over why he left remain unknown, according to Bad Wilf, he claimed, at an acting masterclass at the Theatre Royal Haymarket:
I left Doctor Who because I could not get along with the senior people. I left because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye with them. I didn’t agree with the way things were being run. I didn’t like the culture that had grown up, around the series. So I left, I felt, over a principle…
My face didn’t fit and I’m sure they were glad to see the back of me. The important thing is that I succeeded. It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience. Because I’ve always acted for adults and then suddenly you’re acting for children, who are far more tasteful; they will not be bullsh****d. It’s either good, or it’s bad. They don’t schmooze at after-show parties, with cocktails.
I guess we’ll find out if Eccleston was a victim of News International next year…