UK actor Christopher Eccleston has broken his silence on his short-lived turn on Doctor Who in 2005.
He led one season of the rebooted series under showrunner Russell T. Davies, whom he blames for his exit. At the time it was attributed to not wanting to be typecast.
“My relationship with my three immediate superiors – the showrunner, the producer and co-producer – broke down irreparably during the first block of filming and it never recovered,” Eccleston told Radio Times.
“They lost trust in me, and I lost faith and trust and belief in them,” he continued.
“Some of my anger about the situation came from my own insecurity,” he said. “They employed somebody [as the Doctor] who was not a natural light comedian.”
He adds, “Billie [Piper], who we know was and is brilliant, was very, very nervous and very, very inexperienced. So, you had that, and then you had me. Very, very experienced, possibly the most experienced on it, but out of my comfort zone.
“When I left, I gave my word to [then-showrunner] Russell T Davies that I wouldn’t do anything to damage the show,” he says. “But they did things to damage me. I didn’t criticise anybody.
“I was told by my agent at the time, ‘The BBC regime is against you. You’re going to have to get out of the country and wait for regime change.'”
Eccleston has since gone on to work with the BBC on the critically-acclaimed drama series The A Word.
Asked if Davies was aware of the issues, Eccleston says, “If you’re the showrunner, you know everything. That’s your job,” adding that he “never will have” a working relationship with the screenwriter again.
Can we say “Ouch?”