It’s never exactly been a secret that Christopher Eccleston didn’t leave ‘Doctor Who’ on the best of terms. What did stay secret was how, exactly, things got to that point. Until recently, that is. Earlier this year, Eccleston finally broke his silence, explaining that his departure was due to what he characterized as an irreparable breakdown in his relationship with the producers early in filming. He didn’t name names, but reading between the lines he’s likely referring to then-showrunner Russell T. Davies and co-producers Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson.
But sadly, it didn’t end there. In the past, Eccleston has also alluded to efforts to blacklist him following his exit from the program, and now the newly forthcoming actor has shed some light on exactly that. Speaking with BBC Radio 2’s Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo, Eccleston broke down the tumultuous aftermath of his departure as follows:
“I made an agreement that I would say nothing about my departure, and I honoured that, because I was looking after the production. And then the BBC issued a statement, the put a quote from me that they had written saying why I’d left, because I was tired, which any producer reading that [would think] “Well we won’t give Chris Eccleston a job because he gets tired.” So I threatened legal action and I got an apology printed in all the newspapers. The BBC had to make a statement apologising for attributing quotes to me. Nobody will go on record as saying this but my agent said “You need to get out of town because you’re not going to work.””
Such is the road that leads to ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra‘ and ‘Thor: The Dark World‘. The more the truth about Eccelston’s departure from ‘Doctor Who’ comes to light, the harder it gets to hold his decision to opt out of the fiftieth-anniversary celebration against him. There are plenty of fans (including yours truly) who were disappointed that we didn’t get to see the Ninth Doctor again, but if you’ve ever clawed your way out of a lousy job, you can hardly blame him for not wanting to revisit one.