When Christopher Eccleston stepped into the role of the Ninth Doctor in the 2005 series reboot, it promised a big and bright future for Doctor Who. Sadly, Eccleston regenerated into David Tennant after just one season. It looks like he didn’t fully want to, but felt he had to.
In an interview with 774 ABC Melbourne’s Drive, Eccleston said he regrets not staying on as the Doctor into a second season, because he wanted to do more with the character. He added that he didn’t feel he had much of a choice, given the poor relationship he developed with the upper management:
“It was kind of tragic for me, that I didn’t play him for longer. He’s a beautiful character and I have a great deal of professional pride and had I done a second season, there would have been a marked improvement in my performance. I was learning new skills, in terms of playing light comedy. I was not known for light comedy and, again, production did not allow for that.”
Eccleston’s been very open about his animosity toward the show, stating in multiple interviews that he thinks the series was poorly handled and that they weren’t willing to give Eccleston creative control over his ideal portrayal of the Doctor.
“I’d had enough. I wanted to do it my way, they wanted something else. We were never going to compromise so it was best to be straight about it and just go,” Eccleston told the Daily Record last year.
Eccleston has since kept his distance from Doctor Who, including refusing to appear in the fiftieth anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor.” The entire episode was written around his character, but after multiple visits with showrunner Stephen Moffat, he eventually said no, forcing a rewrite that introduced John Hurt as the War Doctor.
You can listen to the full interview here.