You would think that playing the lead role in the cult British TV series Doctor Who may be a dream job for some—but according to actor Christopher Eccleston, it almost destroyed his career.
Eccleston, who played the Doctor in the 2005 revival for only one season before bowing out, explained in a recent interview with The Guardian:
“What happened around Doctor Who almost destroyed my career,” he says. “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. My dad always said to me: ‘I don’t care what you do – sweeping the floor or whatever you’re doing – just do the best job you can.’ I know it’s cliched and northern and all that bollocks, but it applies.”
Eccleston, who went on to appear in such acclaimed shows as HBO’s The Leftovers and is currently starring in Macbeth at the RSC, doesn’t seem to keen on appearing in “geek” pop-culture roles in general.
On playing Destro in the 2009 movie GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra:
“I just wanted to cut my throat every day.”
And his appearance in Thor: The Dark World as Malekith:
“Just a gun in your mouth.”
But in the end, I suppose everything worked out…Eccleston’s exit from Who paved the way for David Tennant to take over the role, making the character his own and basically launching it as a geek icon for a whole new generation of fans.
It’s either “meant to be” or it’s not.