Christopher Eccleston Talks Doctor Who Exit (Again)

Out doing the publicity rounds for his new ITV show Safe House, Christopher Eccleston has let slip a few more details on his sudden departure from Doctor Who after only one season.

“Myself and three individuals at the very top of the pyramid clashed, so off I went.”

I don’t know about you, but honestly, I don’t even care anymore. The fact is that he left, he seems determined not to have anything to do with the show anymore, so I say we all just move on. But until he finally tells us the whole story, people are going to be determined to bring it up.

First, in an interview with the Daily Record, Eccleston seems to indicate that he’d reached his limit with the show:

“I’d had enough. I wanted to do it my way, they wanted something else. We were never going to compromise so it was best to be straight about it and just go.

“It’s very easy to stay in one job and make that your comfort zone, and I want to resist that temptation.”

Interesting. What do you suppose “his way” was? And if what “they” wanted is what we ended up getting with David Tennant the following year, then I’d say we all made out just fine.

In a separate interview this weekend on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends, Eccleston gave more details on not just his departure, but how he won the role in the first place:

“I approached Russell T. Davies and said I know you are going to do this and I think you should think about me…I wanted to do something for children, I wanted to learn a lighter way of being.”

I find it a tad ironic that he speaks about a “lighter way” when his single series of Doctor Who was actually quite dark and adult. Maybe that’s what he objected to?

Interviewer Emma Freud also got Eccleston to talk about his regrets with the role:

“I think I over pitched the comedy. If I had my time again I would do the comedy very differently. But I think, where I possibly succeeded was in the tortured stuff.”

I couldn’t agree more. The Ninth Doctor’s humor always came across as goofy and off-putting. The opportunities to explore the Doctor’s emotionally-wrenched, post-Time War mindset is where he excelled.

At first, Eccleston stuck to his usual tact of refusing to discuss his departure from the show:

“What’s interesting in this country is that wherever a story like this emerges they concentrate on the negative. I don’t think it’s important why I left, I think it’s important that I did it in the first place.”

But when Freud flattered him by saying that he would probably still be playing the role if he’d stayed, Eccleston relented:

“Well I’m still there in spirit…myself and three individuals at the very top of the pyramid clashed, so off I went. But they are not here to say their side of it, so I’m not going to go into details.”

Hmm…again we’re left with scant details with no real answer. Which three individuals is Eccleston referring to? Was Russell T. Davies one of them? And, of course, the big question: what did they disagree about?

If he’s not gonna tell us, I wish one of these three aforementioned trouble-makers would just come forward and tell their side so we can get past this story once and for all.

What do you think? Why did Christopher Eccleston really leave Doctor Who?