Christopher Eccleston on leaving Doctor Who: “I’m always there in spirit”

The former Doctor explains how his legacy has lived on in successors David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi, and hints at why he left the show after just one series

He may have been fffantastic, but he was very short lived. Christopher Eccleston used an appearance on Radio 4’s Loose Ends to reflect on his brief tenure at the head of the rebooted Doctor Who, hinting at why he left after only one series but pointing out that his Doctor paved the way for future incarnations.


“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 the show. “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.”

As always, Eccleston wouldn’t be nailed down on why exactly he left (“they’re not here to say their side of it so I’m not going into detail”) but explained “Myself and three individuals at the very top of the pyramid clashed so off I went.”

The comments are consistent with earlier remarks the actor has made about his departure. In 2010, he told Radio Times: “I didn’t enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in. I wasn’t comfortable. I thought, ‘If I stay in this job, I’m going to have to blind myself to certain things I thought were wrong.’ So I left.”

Nevertheless, Eccleston was keen to spotlight the good times, even if there were a few things he would do differently.

“I think I over-pitched the comedy,” he explained. “If I had my time again, I would do the comedy very different – but I think where I did possibly succeed was in the tortured stuff – surprise surprise!”


We don’t know, we have a soft spot for the ninth Doctor’s hijinks…