Actors leave their popular TV shows behind for numerous reasons.
Whether it be a veteran actor wanting to spend more time with their kids after several seasons of work or a young star dreaming big of Hollywood roles, actors can make what they believe to be informed decisions at the time to pursue other options... only to end up regretting it.
That's because sometimes those future prospects don't always work out they way they hoped, and instead actors live to regret leaving behind what sometimes ends up being their most acclaimed role. The fear of typecasting is a real threat in Hollywood, and many of these actors were never quite able to shake the shell of the acclaimed role they quit. Still, it can take many years of trying to break out before they sit down with an interviewer and admit their regret at leaving their show behind.
Of course, some of these actors have still gone on to achieve great things in film and television, and in rare cases have managed to completely reinvent themselves separate from their popular shows. But often these attempts crash and burn, and they all have one thing in common: their informed decisions ended up not being as informed as they believed them to be.
8. Christopher Eccleston - Doctor Who
When Doctor Who restarted back in 2005, it was already announced that its titular star - Christopher Eccleston - would only be in the role for a single season.
Considering the Doctor is one of the most coveted roles in British TV history and actors have gone as long as 7 seasons on the show, this came as quite the surprise. To this day, Eccleston is the only actor to hand in his sonic screwdriver after only one season (discounting Paul McGann), and the reasons behind his regretful departure were kept secret for a long time.
Back in 2005, less than a week after the series premiere, the BBC released a statement that Eccleston had left the role out of fear of being typecast, insinuating an individual and egotistical reason as the sole culprit. However, it's only in the last couple of years that Eccleston has revealed what truly happened behind the scenes, citing a falling out with the senior creative team - including then showrunner Russell T Davies - as his reason for leaving.
Eccleston told Radio Times that their relationship broke down early in the filming process and "never recovered", leading to a fractured sense of trust between the collaborators. He expressed his regret at leaving so soon in 2016, stating: "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."