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Russell T Davies: Christopher Eccleston ‘was a magnificent Doctor Who’

Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies has responded to recent criticism from Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston regarding his time on Doctor Who

An interview with Radio Times last month saw Eccleston – who played the Doctor for one series when Doctor Who was revived by Davies in 2005 – state that his relationship with his superiors on the show had broken down ‘irreparably’, claiming that he ‘will never have’ a working relationship with Davies again.

Speaking to SFX Magazine, Davies refused to respond to Eccleston’s specific criticisms, but nevertheless defended his right to make them, saying:

“If it gets into any sort of tit for tat then I’m having a conversation with my lead actor via the press, and that’s not on. 

“What has to be remembered when the show’s being discussed in the present tense, now, is that I was his employer – I was his producer. I have a duty of care towards any lead actor I work with, so I have a duty of care towards Chris in that moment.

“He’s free to say and explore whatever he wants – that’s fine. This duty of care involves respecting him and listening to him at all times. That’s my job. And that duty of care towards him will extend for the rest of our lives. He will always be my Doctor, and I will always be his producer.”

Davies went on to unequivocally praise Eccleston’s ‘brave move’ in taking on Doctor Who, saying:

“The thing I’ve got to say is that Chris is a magnificent actor and a magnificent man – he’s truly a leader of men – and he was a magnificent Doctor Who as well.

“You forget what a brave move it was to take the part on when the press were quoting people like Paul Daniels as the next Doctor.

“It was a huge leap for Chris to make, and I love what he did. I think his comedy is funny – he plays it brilliantly. I think the darkness is off the scale with him – when the Doctor’s angry, it’s spectacular. It’s a magnificent, never-to be-forgotten Doctor, and it was an honour to work with an actor delivering a performance like that.”

Doctor Who returns for its eleventh series this autumn.

[Source: Radio Times]