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Christopher Eccleston: “I’ve Always Retained a Deep Affection for Playing the Doctor”

Following his return to Doctor Who for Big Finish’s The Ninth Doctor Adventures, Christopher Eccleston has spoken about how the series has been a daily part of his life since Series 1 in 2005.

He says that he’s “always retained a deep affection for playing the role and what it means to people”, which comes across in Ravagers, the first of four confirmed audio boxsets. Indeed, one fan who was enthusiastic about meeting Eccleston was the Twelfth Doctor! Christopher recalls:

“I had a lovely, lovely, warm greeting from Peter Capaldi the other day. We just bumped into each other, which was very nice.”

Though being approached by Peter Capaldi in the street is an unusual occurrence, Chris often chats to other fans, even away from conventions. He says:

“From day one I was approached in the street by fans. And that’s continued. Not a day of my life has gone by without me having to interact with people who are fans of Doctor Who. I’ve always embraced them, literally and figuratively, and they me.

“People come to the conventions because they have a relationship to the show, often quite profound. The Doctor is an outsider. Always has been – with a very strong, loyal and fierce following within the gay community, for instance. And you’ve also got a huge fanbase in neurodiverse communities. Because of the contents of my book, people at conventions have spoken to me about mental health issues and what the show meant to them at times of grief and loss – so there’s been a great deal of human connection for me at them.”

This has, of course, opened up a lot of avenues for Eccleston, who goes on:

“It’s also meant that I can travel. I went to Muhammad Ali’s birthplace, I never thought I’d do that. I’d never been to Portland, a fantastic city. And I shook William Shatner’s hand. I am a Star Trek fanboy and I met William Shatner, thank you very much. He had no idea who I was, which is just how I like it. But if my dad was still around and I could tell him I’d met Captain James T Kirk, he’d be a very happy man.

“I like to make the fans happy. I have my passions as you know – reggae, rocksteady, ska, soul music – there’s certain things that excite me. So I completely understand that in people. And I’m happy if they’re happy.”

Well, we’re very happy! This particular fan was especially happy to have had the chance to interview Chris for the DWC too. In this exclusive interview, he said:

“I think probably I’m slightly known for the heaviness. He carried the guilt of the survivor and the scars of that. I think that was essential to the first series; I think that’s why they needed me – because I could bring some of that. And all the actors before me could bring that; it’s just that because it’d be quiet for so long, I think it needed a little bit of weight and credibility in a sense. And I’d done a lot of that with things like Our Friends in the North and Cracker and [playing] Derek Bentley [in] Let Him Have ItShallow Grave… So that was useful.”

The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Ravagers is available now from Big Finish.

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

Christopher Eccleston: “I’ve Always Retained a Deep Affection for Playing the Doctor”

by Philip Bates time to read: 2 min
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