It’s common knowledge that Christopher Eccleston did not particularly enjoy his tenure at the helm of Doctor Who, quitting the show after just one season as the legendary Time Lord.
But the actor has now revealed that he threatened to sue the BBC following his sudden departure from the series.
Speaking to Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo on Radio 2, Eccleston explained why he considered taking the BBC to court.
“I made an agreement that I would say nothing about my departure, and I honoured that, because I was looking after the production,” he said.
“And then the BBC issued a statement, they put a quote from me that they had written saying why I’d left, because I was tired, which any producer reading that [would think] ‘Well we won’t give Chris Eccleston a job because he gets tired’.”
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He added, “So I threatened legal action and I got an apology printed in all the newspapers. The BBC had to make a statement apologising for attributing quotes to me. Nobody will go on record as saying this but my agent said ‘You need to get out of town because you’re not going to work’.
“I kept my word and they didn’t keep their word, so I took them to court,” he added. “Well, I didn’t have to take them to court – I took them to a lawyers’ office”.
News of a once threatened legal battle comes after Eccleston spoke to Radio Times about on-set disharmony between himself and showrunner Russell T Davies when filming the show, adding the pair “lost faith” in working with each other.
“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,” he said. “They lost trust in me, and I lost faith and trust and belief in them.”