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21 July 2011

Our friends over at the Bad Wilf Podcast recently attended an acting master class at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, where Christopher Eccleston (The 9th Doctor) shed some light on the real reason behind his decision to quit.

“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, I felt, over a principle.

“I thought to remain, which would have made me a lot of money and given me huge visibility, the price I would have had to pay was to eat a lot of shit. I’m not being funny about that. I didn’t want to do that and it comes to the art of it, in a way. I feel that if you run your career and– we are vulnerable as actors and we are constantly humiliating ourselves auditioning. But if you allow that to go on, on a grand scale you will lose whatever it is about you and it will be present in your work.

“If you allow your desire to be successful and visible and financially secure – if you allow that to make you throw shades on your parents, on your upbringing, then you’re knackered. You’ve got to keep something back, for yourself, because it’ll be present in your work.  A purity or an idealism is essential or you’ll become– you’ve got to have standards, no matter how hard work that is. So it makes it a hard road, really.

“You know, it’s easy to find a job when you’ve got no morals, you’ve got nothing to be compromised, you can go, ‘Yeah, yeah. That doesn’t matter. That director can bully that prop man and I won’t say anything about it’. But then when that director comes to you and says ‘I think you should play it like this’ you’ve surely got to go ‘How can I respect you, when you behave like that?’

“So, that’s why I left. My face didn’t fit and I’m sure they were glad to see the back of me. The important thing is that I succeeded. It was a great part. I loved playing him. I loved connecting with that audience. Because I’ve always acted for adults and then suddenly you’re acting for children, who are far more tasteful; they will not be bullshitted. It’s either good, or it’s bad. They don’t schmooze at after-show parties, with cocktails.”

[Source: Bad Wilf]

Comments (6) -

Alex
7/21/2011 10:11:53 PM #

I'm glad he expanded upon this because his earlier statement left room for interpretation, not all of it positive. It's not uncommon for someone to have creative differences and not "see eye to eye with the senior people". Some people thrive in atmospheres that other people do not. Clearly David Tennant was more compatible with the atmosphere (that or the powers that be, whoever they may be, changed their ways); likewise Matt Smith. But I don't see that as a negative for Eccleston. And in the long run I think it was good for the series because his era allowed people to be eased back into it via a big name star, and he allowed them to experience regeneration early on (imagine if Tennant had been around for 5 years in front of an audience that had NEVER experienced the change before; the series would have died because Smith or whomever was chosen would have been rejected sight unseen). His era consists of a cohesive story, something no other Doctor has enjoyed. He's right to be proud.

ben
7/22/2011 5:46:27 PM #

Good for Eccleston. As an actor, I'm glad to see someone who has a bit of moral fiber and won't compromise his integrity for a paycheck. Gives me hope.

Joe Camel
7/23/2011 6:54:19 AM #

The only Doctor I ever liked. Stopped watching a season and a half after he left, and could never get into the older ones either. He was the one who got me into it too so imagine my disappointment/delight.

bob
7/23/2011 3:20:17 PM #

sour grapes.

El Ronbo
7/27/2011 7:58:25 AM #

I was never a huge Doctor Who fan, I watched if it was an actor I really liked, and most of the time it wasn't so I didn't.  

This guy was really good, one of the two best in my opinion.  Good for him for having standards, now I like him even more. He's extremely talented and skilled (yes, those are two different things), and I'm certain he will have a great career.

feoe United States
12/1/2011 11:29:22 AM #

great post!

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