Why I quit Doctor Who by Christopher Eccleston

Jun 15, 2010
Sophie Taylor

I didn't like it, but I'm still proud of it, says actor who left after one series

The actor credited with reinventing Doctor Who for today's television audience has explained why he quit. Christopher Eccleston, who left after only one series to be replaced by David Tennant, says he "didn't enjoy the environment and the culture" of the show and wanted to be his "own man".

While Tennant, and now Matt Smith, have enjoyed fame and fortune for the role, it was Eccleston who, as a serious stage and TV actor, was the surprise casting as the ninth Doctor when Russell T Davies came in to revamp the long-running BBC show in 2004.

Explaining to the Radio Times why he didn't last long, Eccleston said: "I was open-minded but I decided after my experience on the first series that I didn't want to do any more. I didn't enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in.

"I thought if I stay in this job, I'm going to have to blind myself to certain things that I thought were wrong. And I think it's more important to be your own man than be successful, so I left."

However, the 46-year-old actor who, is about to play John Lennon in a BBC4 biopic, Lennon Naked, said he was proud of having broken the mould and helped reinvent Doctor Who.

Eccleston also spoke about the BBC's controversial role in his departure from Doctor Who. In a statement announcing his exit in March 2005, the corporation said the actor was afraid of being typecast and had found the series gruelling.

The BBC later admitted that it had not spoken to Eccleston before releasing the statement, which it agreed was incorrect. "They handled it very badly," said Eccleston, "but they issued an apology and I dropped it."

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