Why Christopher Eccelston Says Doctor Who Almost Ruined His Career

The Doctor Christopher Eccleston Doctor Who The BBC

Christopher Eccleston may owe some of his current success to the time he spent on Doctor Who, but its safe to say his post-show path differed from other past stars like David Tennant, Karen Gillan, and Matt Smith. The latter vets gained largeWho fanbases following their stints, and each was drawn into making a fairly easy transition to U.S. entertainment. Eccleston, however, made the jump to American because he had few other choices, and the actor spoke about how Doctor Who nearly ruined his career, forcing him to find work across the pond after an apparent U.K. blacklisting.

What happened around Doctor Who almost destroyed my career. I gave them a hit show and I left with dignity and then they put me on a blacklist. I was carrying my own insecurities as it was something I had never done before and then I was abandoned, vilified in the tabloid press and blacklisted. I was told by my agent at the time: 'The BBC regime is against you. You're going to have to get out of the country and wait for regime change.' So I went away to America and I kept on working because that's what my parents instilled in me.

Christopher Eccleston may sound as though he's just presenting his subjective take within a tale that definitely has more than just one perspective, but its hard to dispute the actor's blacklisting claims in general. Since breaking out in 1990, Eccleston enjoyed near-constant roles in films and television up until he entered the Doctor Who-verse in 2005, after which he only managed to find two roles in the next year and a half. As Eccleston told The Guardian, he jumped over to the United States while the dust settled surround his Who exit, which led to his small role on NBC's Heroes in 2007. A couple years later, Eccleston landed the role of Destro in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, following that with a part in Thor: The Dark World, and he's come to regret those experiences wholeheartedly. (He was excellent in HBO's The Leftovers, though, and he didn't seem to hate that gig so much.)

Christopher Eccleston's story makes the BBC sound villainous in all this, but in the corporation's defense, it's not as though the actor was forced out of the series. Eccleston has been vocal in the past about his exit from the role of the Doctor spawning from a disagreement with producers about the direction the series should head in. The disagreement, and alleged blacklisting, has made the blood between the two entities so foul that Eccleston declined to reprise his Time Lord role for a small cameo for the show's 50th anniversary. Judging from this recent interview, Doctor Who fans shouldn't count on Eccleston to have a change of heart by deciding to return to the franchise for Jodie Whittaker's run in Season 11.

Doctor Who is set to return to BBC America for Season 11 in the fall of 2018. For a look at other shows that will be premiering in the meantime, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.