Bad Wilf have reported on comments Christopher Eccleston made about his year working on Doctor Who and why he decided to quit. The actor was speaking at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and his candid response to why he left the revived sci-fi drama is below:
I left Doctor Who, because I could not get along with the senior people. I left, because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye, with them. I didn't agree with the way things were being run. I didn't like the culture that had grown up, around the series. So, I left. I felt, over a principle. I thought to remain, which would have made me a lot of money and given me huge visibility, the price I would have had to pay, was to eat a lot of shit. I'm not being funny about that. I didn't want to do that and, it comes to the art of it, in a way. I feel that if you run your career and-we are vulnerable as actors and, we are constantly humiliating ourselves auditioning. But, if you allow that to go on, on a grand scale. You will loose, whatever it is about you and, it will be present in your work.
If you allow your desire to be successful and visible and financially secure. If you allow that, to make you throw shades on your parents, on your upbringing, then you're knackered. You've got to keep something back, for yourself. Because, it'll be present in your work. A purity or an idealism is essential, or, you'll become-you've got to have standards, no matter how hard work that is. So, it makes it hard road, really. You know. It's easy to find a job, when you've got no morals, you've got nothing to be compromised you can go 'yeah, yeah. That doesn't matter. That director can bully that prop man and, I won't say anything about it'. But, then when that director comes to you and says 'I think you should play it like this'. You've surely got to go 'How can I respect you, when you behave like that?'
So, that's why I left. My face didn't fit and, I'm sure they were glad to see the back of me. The important thing is that I succeeded. It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience. Because I've always acted for adults and the suddenly, your acting for children. Who are far more tasteful, they will not be bullshitted. It's either good, or it's bad. They don't schmooze at after show parties, with cocktails"
That seems to confirm rumours that have circled his departure in 2005 after just 13 episodes playing The Doctor. He just didn't get on with the "senior people". It's not known if that includes showrunner Russell T. Davies, but how could it not? Of course, the very reason Eccleston got involved was because he'd worked with RTD on The Second Coming, so they definitely had a good working relationship at some point. It seems to me that the job and the creative direction just wasn't what Eccleston expected. And to be frank, I don't blame him for wanting to go. I didn't really like series 1, either. It was too childish and Eccleston looked uncomfortable whenever required to play the clown. It was definitely a wise move for him to go, particularly as his replacement David Tennant was a better fit for the demands of the role.
I appreciate Eccleston's candor here, but I'm guessing it's now impossible he'd come back for the show's 50th anniversary in 2013. Although some of those "senior people" have changed since the days of Russell T. Davies' reign...