Christopher Eccleston: “I Knew Russell T. Davies was Borderline Genius”

Almost a decade and a half after his departure from the role, Christopher Eccleston continues to make headlines in the world of Doctor Who. His new willingness to partake in the convention circuit, tied with the publication of his autobiography, have made for a busy few days for anyone keen to gain further insight into his time on the show.

From Eccleston’s disclosure of illness and depression during the production of Series 1 to his thoughts on how things might have turned out differently, the star has offered a number of new revelations.

The rift between Eccleston and showrunner Russell T Davies caused by off-screen events during the production of Series 1 continues to be a source of grim fascination for fans, but an interview at the recent Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Oregon offered Eccleston’s reflections on how Davies’ personality influenced his take on the role:

“[Russell] wanted to get away from the foppish era, that kind of Victorian car crash with Spandau Ballet that was going on at one time. So he said the Doctor wears a leather jacket. And I remember thinking… Russell, YOU wear a leather jacket.”

“And a conversation with Russell, you will go from… it’s very like a conversation with Damon Lindelof actually, who did Lost and the Leftovers. Those two have got hyperactive brains and imaginations. So the inner pace of my Doctor was taken from Russell.”

Eccleston clearly remains deeply hurt by his unhappy experience making Doctor Who (“there was a great deal of anger in me about the politics and the way I was treated in the aftermath”), but he is more than willing to award credit where it is due for the relaunched show’s success:

“I think it’s fair to say [Doctor Who]’s gotten bigger since I did it, and he must get the credit for this – not me, not David Tennant, but Russell T Davies.”

“Now, me and Russell T Davies have serious personal difficulties and disagreements. We don’t get along. But he’s the man who’s responsible. He took the character of Rose, he feminised Doctor Who. The assistant is now just as integral to Doctor Who, the female role. And that came from Russell. He really did that, him and Billie [Piper].”

You can read more of the interview over at Radio Times.