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Eccleston Describes His Departure As ‘Tragic’

In a recent interview on Melbourne’s 774 ABC, Ninth Doctor actor Christopher Eccleston talked about his time on Doctor Who and gave a little more insight into why he left and how he feels about it looking back.

When asked if he was the man to thank for bringing Doctor Who back, he was very generous to the showrunner:

“The man you have to thank is Russell T Davies. He wrote it and I always feel that the showrunners and the writers are the people that deserve and who own the kudos.

The first series of any show is always very difficult to sell to the audience and I’m very proud that through what was a really badly organised – and certainly badly produced first series… I’m very proud that I managed to find a way through the chaos they imposed and get us picked up.”

Host Raf Epstein suggested this is now acknowledged by many, but Eccleston wishes the BBC had acknowledged it earlier:

“They certainly didn’t acknowledge it at the time and I wish they would’ve done because then things would’ve worked out very differently.”

When asked if he had any regrets about not doing more, Eccleston gave a little more insight into the problems he faced:

“There’s always regret when you play a role like that. I watched it back and I thought ‘Okay, next don’t do this, do that, calibrate the performance.

It was kind of tragic for me, that I didn’t play him for longer. He’s a beautiful character and I have a great deal of professional pride and had I done a second season, there would have been a marked improvement in my performance. I was learning new skills, in terms of playing light comedy. I was not known for light comedy and, again, production did not allow for that.

It’s very important on a first series that you make a very informed and intelligent choice – even if it means breaking the budget – about getting the first director who is going to set the tone for the season, for the way the actors relate, and that did not happen. Disaster.”

However, Eccleston is still proud of the show and spoke highly of his successors:

“The show has survived, thank god. Capaldi and Matt and David are just are just brilliant – and I know how brilliant they are because I’ve been inside it and I know how difficult it is. It is difficult, because you’re doing the same thing in each episode and you’ve got to keep that fresh. You’ve got to suggest alien and you’ve got to suggest human under a very tight schedule.”

You can listen to the full interview below: