Why Did Chris Eccleston Leave Doctor Who?

Published: / Featured Fandoms: Christopher Eccleston, Doctor Who, Ninth Doctor

Christopher Eccleston brought the Doctor back in 2005, inhabiting the role after its longest hiatus, at a time when Doctor Who's future was anything but certain.

He only stayed with the show for one year, with a sudden departure that fueled speculation around the circumstances.

In this 2015 radio interview with BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends, the actor speaks out about his time with the show and why he decided to cut that time so short.

Christopher Eccleston and The Ninth Doctor

With the perception that Eccleston is eager to distance himself from Doctor Who, it may be helpful to understand what attracted him to the role.

In fact, it was Eccleston who proactively approached Russell T. Davies to lobby for the part.

"I had acted a lot for adults, and I wanted to do something for children. I wanted to try and learn a lighter way of being."

While Doctor Who's Nu-Who era has proven itself as a smashing success, that critical first series has drawn its fair share of criticism for its more comedic elements. Even Eccleston has some regrets about that.

"I think I over-pitched the comedy. If I had my time again, I would do the comedy very differently."

And what did the actor think worked best?

"I think were I did, possibly, succeed was in the tortured stuff. Surprise, surprise."

But Why Did Eccleston Leave Doctor Who?

When pressed for the reason he chose to leave Doctor Who after just one series, Eccleston pushed back on the negative sentiment of the question.

"I don't think it's important that I left. I think it's important that I did it in the first place."

He reassures fans that it's okay that he left, albeit with a tongue-in-cheek defense.

"I'm still there. I was in David Tennant. I was in Matt Smith. Are we going to edit this? I was in Peter Capaldi. Nobody knows this about the Time Lords. I'm always there in spirit."

When pressed on what led to the decision to leave, Eccleston finally revealed the ultimate reason.

"Myself and three individuals at the very top of the pyramid clashed. So, off I went."

While he was reluctant to divulge this information, he was adamant that he would not go into details. His reasoning was that the others involved were not present to give their perspective.

Given Doctor Who's incredible trajectory, fans who have been riding in the TARDIS since 2005 would agree that Eccleston's Ninth Doctor was absolutely fantastic, and you know what? So was he!