Christopher Eccleston: “I never watched Doctor Who when I was a child… I never watched myself as Doctor Who!”

Nope, he wasn't a viewer even when the Ninth Doctor ran the show...

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If you’re a fan of the revived Doctor Who who hasn’t watched much of the classic series, you might have felt a little guilty from time to time. Maybe someone will bring up the Valeyard or Omega, the Sea Devils or the Tissue compression eliminator, and you’ll feel lost and inadequate with your 21st century-era knowledge of the topic. 

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But we’re happy to announce that you can now permanently wash that shame away – because the Ninth Doctor himself hasn’t watched the series much at all. Nope, not even the bits he’s in apparently.

When asked if he’d been watching his successor Peter Capaldi onscreen recently, Christopher Eccleston replied in the negative – in a pretty big way.

“I never watched Doctor Who when I was a child,” he retorted. “I never watched MYSELF as Doctor Who!”

We’ll take that as a no, then – though we reckon Eccleston’s strong words disguise a softer attitude towards the series based on recent remarks. After all, he’s still the Doctor in his heart(s)… 

“I don’t think it’s important that I left. I think it’s important that I did it in the first place,” he told Radio 4’s Loose Ends in July. “I’m still there: I was in David Tennant, I was in Matt Smith, I was in Peter Capaldi. I’m always there in spirit.”

Actually, that’s a fair point – why watch the series when he’s spiritually still on set? It all makes sense now – fantastic.

Eccleston was speaking to us at the premiere for Tom Hardy’s Kray twins biopic Legend, where he plays policeman “Nipper” Read. So how did he prepare for the role of a real-life person? Er, not much apparently.

“I learnt my lines, put my costume on and went to work,” Eccleston deadpanned. “I think there’s a huge amount of nonsense spoken about research. I’m not playing the real Nipper Read.”

“I played John Lennon once, I wasn’t playing John Lennon, I was playing somebody’s version of John Lennon. It’s performance art.”

He concluded: “I felt the Legend script was strong enough; I read a couple of things about Nipper; and then I played the Nipper of this script, rather than the Nipper who’s out there in all the various literature. You drive yourself mad with all of that.”

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Legend is released in UK cinemas on the 9th September