Christopher Eccleston has been on surprisingly candid form recently, first revealing that working on Thor: The Dark World was like having a gun in his mouth and now revealing exactly why he left Doctor Who after just one series as the titular Time Lord.
We already had a pretty big hint that the star left with some bad feeling, but his latest conversation with The RadioTimes reveals conflicts with showrunners, his own “insecurity” over his performance and the difficulty he had working with companion Billie Piper. By the sound of it, it didn't get off to a good start:
"My relationship with my three immediate superiors – the showrunner, the producer and co-producer – broke down irreparably during the first block of filming and it never recovered. They lost trust in me, and I lost faith and trust and belief in them … Some of my anger about the situation came from my own insecurity. They employed somebody [as the Doctor] who was not a natural light comedian. Billie [Piper], who we know was and is brilliant, was very, very nervous and very, very inexperienced. So, you had that, and then you had me. Very, very experienced, possibly the most experienced on it, but out of my comfort zone."
So... he was angry at the BBC for hiring him?
Oddly, his performance still comes across brilliantly watching it back these days, so his insecurity certainly didn't derail his quality.
And why's he talking about this now? Well, he says he's only kept quiet about his departure as part of a promise to Russell T Davies that he wouldn’t “damage the show,” but he doesn't feel like they extended him the same courtesy. He says “they did things to damage me. I didn’t criticise anybody.”
It's little wonder he didn't return to the character, though he did say he wished he had more time with the character back in 2016:
It was kind of tragic for me, that I didn’t play him for longer. He’s a beautiful character and I have a great deal of professional pride and had I done a second season, there would have been a marked improvement in my performance. I was learning new skills, in terms of playing light comedy. I was not known for light comedy and, again, production did not allow for that.
So, no love lost, in short. And maybe don't expect to see him invited back for any reunions any time soon.