Christopher Eccleston dishes on his BBC 'blacklisting' following 'Doctor Who' departure

Ben Arnold
Christopher Eccleston (Credit: PA)

Christopher Eccleston has spoken more about his ‘blacklisting’ from the BBC, following his departure from Doctor Who in 2005.

Eccleston played the ninth iteration of the Time Lord when the series was first revived, but only appeared for one series, before David Tennant took over.

He’s since revealed that his departure caused him to be shunned by the broadcaster, a situation not helped by the actor threatening legal action.

Appearing on Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 show, he was asked whether he was, in fact, ‘blacklisted’.

“That’s correct,” he said. “I made an agreement I would say nothing about my departure. And I honoured that, because I was looking after the production.

(Credit: BBC)

“And then the BBC issued a statement, they put a quote from me, that they had written, saying why I’d left – because I was tired – which, any producer reading that [will 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.’

“Obviously, when your career’s been damaged, in the way my career was damaged, forgiving them… being part of a hit show… why would you want to [talk publicly about it]? You know?”

It’s long been the subject of discussion why he only stuck around for a single series. In 2015, he told The Daily Record he’d simply ‘had enough’.

But when asked why by Whiley, he teased: “That’s a long story, Jo.”

However, he added that he’s still humbled by the legacy of the show.

“What’s interesting about Doctor Who is, the 5-year-olds and the 10-year-olds are all young people now,” he said.

“So I have conversations with 25-year-olds and 18-years-olds who say, “You were so important to me when I was a kid”, and you’re not aware of that at the time. You’re not aware that 50 years, 20 years down the line, that they’re still going to be talking to you about it.

“And that is very, very moving. Very touching.”

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