Speaking to the Guardian newspaper today, Christopher Eccleston has talked about leaving Doctor Who in 2005 after the first year – and maybe giving new light as to why he chose not to return for the 50th Anniversary episode of the show.
He is quoted as saying “what happened around Doctor Who almost destroyed my career. I gave them a hit show and I left with dignity and then they put me on a blacklist. I was carrying my own insecurities as it was something I had never done before and then I was abandoned, vilified in the tabloid press and blacklisted. I was told by my agent at the time: ‘The BBC regime is against you. You’re going to have to get out of the country and wait for regime change.’ So I went away to America and I kept on working because that’s what my parents instilled in me. My dad always said to me: ‘I don’t care what you do – sweeping the floor or whatever you’re doing – just do the best job you can.’ I know it’s cliched and northern and all that bollocks, but it applies.”
The BBC mishandled the announcement that Eccleston would be leaving after the first series, but there were many reports of conflicts between Eccleston and the producers during that first year.
He previously is quoted as saying that he left because he could not get along with the senior people and that he didn’t agree with the way things were being run, and made allegations of on set bullying by directors of staff. And that he left over a principle – rather than for fear of being typecast as the BBC PR team initially spun it.