Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston reflects on his BBC “blacklisting”

Christopher Eccleston has been talking about Doctor Who, as he does very rarely. Speaking on BBC Radio 2, the former Time Lord has reflected on his legacy, his departure, the legal action he took, and being “blacklisted” by the BBC.

Asked by Jo Whiley if he is able to appreciate his legacy on Doctor Who, all these years after his departure from the show, Eccleston said the following:

“Yes. I mean, well, what’s interesting about Doctor Who is, the 5-year-olds and the 10-year-olds are all young people now. So I have conversations with 25-year-olds and 18-years-olds who say, “You were so important to me when I was a kid”, and you’re not aware of that at the time. You’re not aware that 50 years, 20 years down the line, that they’re still going to be talking to you about it. And that is very, very moving. Very touching.”

Simon Mayo then asked whether Eccleston was “blacklisted” by the BBC for stopping after one series. To that, Eccleston said:

“That’s correct. I made an agreement I would say nothing about my departure. And I honoured that, because I was looking after the production. And then the BBC issued a statement, they put a quote from me, that they had written, saying why I’d left – because I was tired – which, any producer reading that [will think] ‘well we won’t give Chris Eccleston a job, because he gets tired.’ So I threatened legal action, and I got an apology printed in all the newspapers. The BBC had to make a statement, apologising for attributing quotes to me. Nobody will go on record as saying this, but my agent said, ‘You need to get out of town because you’re not going to work.'”

On the topic of rarely talking about Doctor Who in the years that followed, Eccleston added:

“Obviously, when your career’s been damaged, in the way my career was damaged, forgiving them… being part of a hit show… why would you want to [talk publicly about it]? You know?”

At the end of the clip, Whiley asked if Eccleston only ever signed up for the one series. Eccleston simply said, “That’s a long story, Jo…”

Although his departure from the show sounds like an unpleasant ordeal for Eccleston, it is nice to hear that he has now reached a point where he can talk to fans, feel moved by those interactions, and appreciate his legacy as the face of Doctor Who‘s 2005 revival.

We’ll keep bringing you Doctor Who news as we hear it.

Source: BBC Radio 2 clip on YouTube