Christopher Eccleston spills on Doctor Who: “They lost trust in me”

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?”


  1. Top bloke by all accounts and despite his bad experience with Davies and co, always ready to have selfies taken or give autographs to young fans. In addition to his clashing with the producers over the quality of the scripts and how he wanted to play the role, apparently he also lodged complaints with them about bullying of the crew by some directors and the poor working conditions of the lower downs on set. When the producers refused to intervene it led to further clashes. I really liked Eccleston in the role, although Smith and Capaldi were much more naturally suited to the role and better at the comedy. Rare actor of integrity and principle.

  2. I loved him as the doctor, he is a great actor and he cracks me up in The A Word! I think Davies had his favourites ….. its easier to replace an actor than the showrunner.

  3. a few years ago on the Paul ogrady show . He said they wanted serious and he wanted to play it as comedy and he wanted to have something on his resume to show that he’d done comedy so he’d get more roles . But he wouldn’t take direction and smiled like a hyena throughout

  4. I was very apprehensive about the reboot but absolutely loved Ecclestone in the role. I couldn’t fathom anyone being better but David Tennant was. That said, he did wonders with what he had for that one season and I’m sorry he can’t feel he can be a part of the ongoing lore.

  5. Eccleston was brilliant as the Doc and had a lot to do with the success of the relaunch, but he’s always had strong opinions that appear to have been at-odds with the powers that be.

  6. Eccleston still remains my favourite Doctor. Before I started watching the show, I assumed The Doctor would be a perfectly ”good” character and he challenged that. I wish Eccleston would return for a special but it seems like he had an extremely strained relationship with some on the show.

  7. Tennant was my fav from the current reboot. After him l lost interest. They started doing what they did with the 1st run. Changed the opening music theme, ridiculous story lines, less likeable characters, etc.

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