Christopher Eccleston says his departure from Doctor Who “almost destroyed” his career.
Eccleston became the Ninth Doctor when the BBC show was brought back in 2005, but left the role after just one series.
And he has revealed that as a result he was “blacklisted” and went to America to seek work and escape the “BBC regime”.
“What happened around Doctor Who almost destroyed my career,” the 54-year-old told The Guardian. “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.”
In the US he found roles in big-budget films like Thor: The Dark World and GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
“Working on something like GI Joe was horrendous,” said Eccleston. “I just wanted to cut my throat every day. And Thor? Just a gun in your mouth.
“Gone in 60 Seconds was a good experience. Nic Cage is a gentleman and fantastic actor. But GI Joe and Thor were… I really paid for being a whore those times.”
Back in the UK, Eccleston has more recently starred in TV dramas including Safe House, The A Word and comedy The Life of Rock with Brian Pern, although his next step will be taking on Macbeth at the RSC.