Christopher Eccleston has revealed the exact nature of the behind-the-scenes feud that led to his departure from Doctor Who after one series.
Eccleston had been vague about the details, fuelling rumours of disharmony on the set between the Ninth Doctor and showrunner Russell T. Davies, but now, in a new interview with the Radio Times, Eccleston has confirmed that both sides “lost faith” in their ability to continue working together.
“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.
“They lost trust in me, and I lost faith and trust and belief in them.”
He went on to acknowledge that:
“Some of my anger about the situation came from my own insecurity. They employed somebody [as The Doctor] who was not a natural light comedian.
“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.”
The experience was so ‘stressful’ that Eccleston believes that he and Davies will never have a working relationship again.
Eccleston also comes clean about the reasons why he decided to talk about the acrimonious split now after refusing to comment on the feud since his departure, revealing that he’d made a promise to Davies that he “wouldn’t do anything to damage the show” when he left.
He went on to say:
“But they did things to damage me. I didn’t criticise anybody.”
The whole situation is incredibly sad – Eccleston did a fine job and ushered the show into one of its most successful periods, despite his unease with some of the light comedy aspects of the role (a description I don’t really agree with, the role isn’t really synonymous with light comedy) – if anything, it makes me wonder just how close Steven Moffat came to persuading him to come back to the show for the 50th anniversary.
Last week, Eccleston suggested that the feud had damaged his career, ultimately leaving him blacklisted from the BBC until a regime change allowed him to return, with appearances in the likes of the hit drama, The A List.