The real reason Christopher Eccleston quit Doctor Who

Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor

Former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston has spoken out on why he quit the show after just one series.

The actor, who played the Time Lord for just 13 episodes in 2005, revealed he left because he hated the "politics" and bullying on set. He admits he found the "environment and culture” too uncomfortable and that he was not prepared to "eat a lot of s***”.

Eccleston played the Ninth incarnation of The Doctor alongside Billie Piper and was succeeded in the role by David Tennant. "My face didn't fit and I'm sure they were glad to see the back of me,” he added.

The actor, 47, told an acting masterclass in London that he was angry at not being allowed to portray the Doctor as he wished.

"I left Doctor Who because I could not get along with the senior people.

"I left because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye with them.

"I didn't agree with the way things were being run.

"I didn't like the culture that had grown up around the series. So I left over a principle."

The former Time Lord handed his notice to writer Russell T Davies, but Eccleston says he was torn between his integrity and the large pay the BBC were offering him. But ultimately, "I didn't enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in,” he admits.

But the actor, who recently played John Lennon for a BBC Four drama, is still proud of playing The Doctor. "The most important thing is that I did it, not that I left. I really feel that, because it kind of broke the mould and it helped to reinvent it. I'm very proud of it."

However, Eccleston admits he was also unhappy with how the network covered his departure from the programme. "The BBC released a statement saying I was tired and scared of being typecast. I challenged that, so they issued an apology. If you say an actor is tired, any producer reading that is going to think, 'I'm not giving him a job if he gets tired.' And the notion that I'm scared of being typecast is ridiculous because the whole reaction to me being The Doctor was, 'Well, he can't do that because he is stereotyped as a serious actor.' They handled it very badly but they issued an apology and I dropped it."

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22-07-2011