According to the Sun
– the British tabloid published by Rupert Murdoch's embattled News Corp
– Eccleston revealed the real reason behind his unexpected departure during an acting masterclass in London earlier this week.
He is reported as having said
: "I left because of politics. I did not see eye-to-eye with them. I didn't agree with the way things were being run. I didn't like the culture that had grown up around the series. So I left over a principle."
At the time of his departure, which was announced just two days after the UK television premiere of his first episode – Rose
, by Russell T Davies
– speculation was rife as to the reasons. The BBC initially claimed that Eccleston had found the recording schedule too demanding; a claim the actor denied and which was then retracted by the corporation
Subsequently, Eccleston and the BBC have tried to play down any suggestion of a rift. However, speaking to the Radio Times
in 2010 – to promote his appearance as John Lennon in BBC 4's Lennon Naked
– Eccleston admitted that he had disliked the working environment that surrounded the show.
: "I was open-minded but I decided after my experience on the first series that I didn't want to do any more. I didn't enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in. I thought if I stay in this job, I'm going to have to blind myself to certain things that I thought were wrong."
Shadows and conspiracy
However, in April of this year, during an interview on Graham Norton
's BBC Radio 2 programme – to promote Hugo Blick
's powerful police-conspiracy thriller, The Shadow Line
– the 47-year-old Salford-born actor maintained that he only ever intended doing one series of Doctor Who
He told Norton
: “I’m very proud of what we did over those 13 episodes. My intention was to make the show a success so that the next series could follow, so I’d done what I wanted to do.”
– who appeared as the Doctor in 2005 – was the ninth actor to play the role in the long-running science-fiction television drama series. He was succeeded in 2005 by David Tennant
, who remained in the part until the beginning of 2010. Matt Smith
, the current Doctor, made his debut on New Year's Day 2010, and will continue in the role until at least 2013, when the show celebrates its 50th anniversary.