Russell T Davies responds to Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor Who complaints: “He will always be my Doctor”

The former series showrunner breaks his silence over the actor’s issues with the BBC sci-fi series, and pays tribute to Eccleston’s "magnificent" performance

Russell T Davies and Christopher Eccleston (Getty, BBC, HF)

Former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston made waves recently with complaints about his time on the BBC sci-fi series, saying that he “lost faith and trust and belief” in the show’s creators after problems emerged during filming.

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“My relationship with my three immediate superiors – the showrunner, the producer and co-producer – broke down irreparably during the first block of filming and it never recovered,” Eccleston told Radio Times in March 2018, adding that he “never will have” a working relationship with then-producer and showrunner Russell T Davies again.

“If you’re the showrunner, you know everything. That’s your job,” he said.

Now Davies himself has responded to Eccleston’s statements, telling SFX Magazine that he does not want to get into a “tit for tat” with the actor and is keen to keep “respecting and listening to him at all times.”

“If it gets into any sort of tit for tat then I’m having a conversation with my lead actor via the press, and that’s not on,” Davies told the magazine.

“What has to be remembered when the show’s being discussed in the present tense, now, is that I was his employer – I was his producer. I have a duty of care towards any lead actor I work with, so I have a duty of care towards Chris in that moment.

“He’s free to say and explore whatever he wants – that’s fine. This duty of care involves respecting him and listening to him at all times.

“That’s my job. And that duty of care towards him will extend for the rest of our lives. He will always be my Doctor, and I will always be his producer.”

Davies added that it was important to remember “what a brave move it was” for Eccleston to take on the role, especially given the speculation surrounding the sci-fi series’ revival in 2005.

“The thing I’ve got to say is that Chris is a magnificent actor and a magnificent man – he’s truly a leader of men – and he was a magnificent Doctor Who as well,” Davies said.

“You forget what a brave move it was to take the part on when the press were quoting people like Paul Daniels as the next Doctor. It was a huge leap for Chris to make, and I love what he did.

“I think his comedy is funny – he plays it brilliantly. I think the darkness is off the scale with him – when the Doctor’s angry, it’s spectacular.

“It’s a magnificent, never-to-be forgotten Doctor, and it was an honour to work with an actor delivering a performance like that.”

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Doctor Who returns to BBC1 this autumn