||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
Eccleston in London, 25 May 2012
16 February 1964 |
Salford, Lancashire, England
Christopher Eccleston (//; born 16 February 1964) is an English actor, best known for his role as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who. In addition to his extensive television work, he has appeared on stage and in films such as Let Him Have It, Shallow Grave, Jude, Elizabeth, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Others, 28 Days Later, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Thor: The Dark World.
Born into a working class family in the Langworthy area of Pendleton, Salford, Lancashire, Eccleston is the youngest of three sons of Elsie and Ronnie Eccleston. His brothers, Alan and Keith, are twins, eight years his senior. The family lived in a small terraced house in Blodwell Street until the late 1960s, when they moved to Little Hulton. Eccleston attended Joseph Eastham High School, where he became head boy. At the age of 19, he was inspired to enter the acting profession by television dramas such as Boys from the Blackstuff.
Eccleston completed a two-year Performance Foundation Course at Salford Tech before going on to train at the Central School of Speech and Drama. As an actor, he was influenced in his early years by Ken Loach's Kes and Albert Finney's performance in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but he soon found himself performing the classics, including the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov and Molière. At the age of 25, Eccleston made his professional stage debut in the Bristol Old Vic's production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Underemployed as an actor for some years after graduating school, Eccleston took a variety of odd jobs at a supermarket, on building sites, and as an artist's model.
Early work (1991–2005)
Eccleston first came to public attention as Derek Bentley in the 1991 film Let Him Have It and an episode of Inspector Morse, "Second Time Around", also in 1991. A regular role in the television series Cracker (1993–94) brought him recognition in the UK and, after he told TV bosses of his desire to leave the series, they killed off his character in October 1994, making him a victim of the serial killer Albie Kinsella (Robert Carlyle). At around the same time, Eccleston appeared in the episode "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" of the Poirot series adapted from mysteries by Agatha Christie.
He appeared in the low-budget Danny Boyle 1994 film Shallow Grave, in which he co-starred with up-and-coming actor Ewan McGregor. The same year, he won the part of Nicky Hutchinson in the epic BBC drama serial Our Friends in the North, whose broadcast on BBC Two in 1996 helped make him a household name in the UK. Eccleston starred in an ensemble cast that included acclaimed actors Mark Strong and Gina McKee as well as Daniel Craig. In 1996, he took the part of Trevor Hicks - a man who lost both of his daughters in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster - in the television drama film Hillsborough, penned by Jimmy McGovern. In real life, he was the best man to Trevor Hicks at his marriage in March 2009.
His film career has since taken off with a variety of high-profile roles, including the title role in Jude (1996), in which Kate Winslet was a co-star; Elizabeth (1998), eXistenZ (1999), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), The Others (2001), 24 Hour Party People (2002) and another Danny Boyle film, the horror film 28 Days Later (2002). He played a major role as the protagonist of Alex Cox's 2002 Revengers Tragedy, adapted from Thomas Middleton's play of the same name. He has starred alongside two major Hollywood actresses in smaller independent films, appearing opposite Renée Zellweger in A Price Above Rubies (1998) and Cameron Diaz in The Invisible Circus (2001). He starred in the car-heist film Gone in 60 Seconds, but did not take his driving test until January 2004. He said on BBC's Top Gear that his licence restricts him to vehicles with automatic transmission.
He has appeared in a variety of television roles, especially in British dramas. These have included Hearts and Minds (1995) for Channel 4, Clocking Off (2000) and Flesh and Blood (2002) for the BBC and Hillsborough (1996), a modern version of Othello (2001), playing 'Ben Jago', (the Iago character); and the religious telefantasy epic The Second Coming (2003) for ITV, in which he played Steve Baxter, the son of God. He has done the occasional light-hearted role, with guest appearances in episodes of the comedy drama Linda Green (2001) and macabre sketch show The League of Gentlemen (2002). Eccleston's most high-profile stage role has been Hamlet in the 2002 production at his favourite theatre, Leeds's West Yorkshire Playhouse. March–April 2004 saw him return to the venue in a new play, Electricity.
Eccleston has been twice nominated in the Best Actor category at the British Academy Television Awards, the UK's premier television awards ceremony. His first nomination came in 1997 for Our Friends in the North, but he lost to Nigel Hawthorne (for The Fragile Heart). He was nominated in 2004 for The Second Coming; Bill Nighy won for State of Play. Eccleston won in the Best Actor categories at the 1997 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and the Royal Television Society Awards, winning for Our Friends in the North. In 2003 he won the RTS Best Actor award for a second time, for his performance in Flesh and Blood. In July 2004, a poll of industry experts, conducted by Radio Times magazine, voted Eccleston the "19th Most Powerful Person in Television Drama."
Doctor Who (2005)
On 2 April 2004, it was announced that Eccleston was to play the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the revival of the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, which began transmission on 26 March 2005. Eccleston was the first actor to play the role who was born after the series began, albeit by less than three months. On 30 March 2005, the BBC released a statement, ostensibly from Eccleston, saying that he had decided to leave the role after just one series, because he feared becoming typecast. On 4 April 2005, the BBC revealed that Eccleston's "statement" was falsely attributed and released without his consent. The BBC admitted that they had broken an agreement made in January not to disclose publicly that he only intended to do one series. The statement had been made after journalists made queries to the press office.
On 11 June 2005, during a BBC radio interview, when asked if he had enjoyed working on Doctor Who, Eccleston responded by saying, "Mixed, but that's a long story." Eccleston's reasons for leaving the role continue to be debated in Britain's newspapers: on 4 October 2005 Alan Davies told The Daily Telegraph that Eccleston had been "overworked" by the BBC, and had left the role because he was "exhausted". Ten days later, Eccleston told the Daily Mirror this was not true, and expressed some irritation at Davies for his comments. In a 2010 interview, Eccleston revealed that he left the show because he "didn't enjoy the environment and the culture that the cast and crew had to work in", but that he was proud of having played the role.
On 7 November 2008, at the National Theatre to promote his book The Writer's Tale, Russell T. Davies said that Eccleston's contract was for a single year because it was uncertain whether the show would continue beyond a single revival series. In retrospect, he says, it has been an enormous success, but at the time there were doubts within the BBC. Eccleston was voted "Most Popular Actor" at the 2005 National Television Awards for his portrayal of the Doctor.
In July 2012, Eccleston spoke positively of his time on Doctor Who during a talk at the National Theatre. This led to speculation he was considering making a return appearance as the Ninth Doctor for the show's 50th anniversary in 2013. The current Doctor, Matt Smith, stated that he would love Eccleston to return. However, after discussing with executive producer Steven Moffat, Eccleston declined his role.
Recent works (2005–present)
On 30 October 2005, Eccleston appeared on stage at the Old Vic theatre in London in the one-night play Night Sky alongside Navin Chowdhry, Bruno Langley, David Warner, Saffron Burrows and David Baddiel. Eccleston sat on the 2nd Amazonas International Film Festival Film Jury in November 2005. The director Norman Jewison was chairman of the Jury. In December 2005, Eccleston travelled to Indonesia's Aceh province for the BBC Breakfast news programme, examining how survivors of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami were rebuilding their lives.
In March 2006, Eccleston appeared in the ITV documentary special Best Ever Muppet Moments as a commentator. In May 2006, he appeared as the narrator in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Lowry theatre in his home city of Salford. The theatre company with which he performed, Celebrity Pig (of which he is patron), is made up of learning disabled actors. In August 2006, Eccleston filmed New Orleans, Mon Amour with Elisabeth Moss. The film was directed by Michael Almereyda and shot in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. It was released in 2008 to film festivals in America and Italy.
Late in 2006 he starred in Perfect Parents, an ITV drama written and directed by Joe Ahearne, who had directed him in Doctor Who. Eccleston joined the cast of the NBC TV series Heroes in the episode "Godsend", which was broadcast on 22 January 2007. Eccleston played a character named Claude who has the power of invisibility, and helps Peter Petrelli with his powers. Eccleston appeared as the Rider in a film adaptation of Susan Cooper's novel The Dark Is Rising, which opened in the USA on 5 October 2007.
Eccleston appeared on the BBC Four World Cinema Award show in February 2008, arguing the merits of five international hits such as The Lives of Others and Pan's Labyrinth with Jonathan Ross and Archie Panjabi. In 2009, Eccleston starred opposite Archie Panjabi in a short film called The Happiness Salesman. Eccleston agreed to do the film because of Panjabi and the fact that it was a winner of the British Short Screenplay Competition. He also appeared as the villainous Destro in the G.I. Joe film, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Eccleston also appeared in an episode of The Sarah Silverman Program as the titular cult favourite science fiction hero in a show-within-the-show called "Dr. Laser Rage", possibly in reference to his stint in Doctor Who.
In November 2009, Eccleston was reported to have been cast as John Lennon in a BBC production called Lennon Naked. This BBC Four production aired in the UK on 23 June 2010, with Eccleston playing the title role, and Naoko Mori, who had previously appeared with him in Doctor Who, as Yoko Ono. In November 2010, Eccleston starred in the first episode of BBC One anthology drama Accused. He won an International Emmy Award for his role. In May 2011, he starred as Joseph Bede in The Shadow Line, a seven-part television drama serial for BBC Two. On 31 December 2011, Eccleston played the role of Pod Clock in an adaptation of Mary Norton's children's novel The Borrowers on BBC One. In July 2012, he starred in the political thriller Blackout on BBC One. In the same month, he starred as Creon in an adaptation of Antigone at the Royal National Theatre; his performance in the play was called "charismatic" and "intense".
Eccleston is married and became a father to his first child, Albert, in February 2012. He is an atheist. He is a supporter of Manchester United, and was a regular marathon runner until 2000. In September 2007, as part of their £9.5m build scheme, Salford's Pendleton College named their new 260-seat theatre the "Eccleston Theatre". Eccleston is an avid charity worker, becoming a Mencap charity ambassador on 28 April 2005, and is also a supporter of the British Red Cross.
|1991||Inspector Morse||Terrence Mitchell|
|1992||Rachel's Dream||Man in dream|
|1992||Poirot||Frank Carter||Episode: "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe"|
|1992||Friday on my Mind||Sean Maddox|
|1992||Business with Friends||Angel Morris|
|1993–1994||Cracker||DCI David Bilborough|
|1995||Hearts and Minds||Drew Mackenzie|
|1996||Our Friends in the North||Nicky Hutchinson|
|1999||Killing Time – The Millennium Poem||Millennium Man|
|2000||Wilderness Men||Alexander Von Humboldt|
|2000||Clocking Off||Jim Calvert|
|2001||Linda Green||Tom Sherry / Neil Sherry|
|2002||The League of Gentlemen||Dougal Siepp||Series 3, Episode 6: "How the Elephant Got Its Trunk"|
|2002||Flesh and Blood||Joe Broughton|
|2002||The King and Us||Anthony|
|2003||The Second Coming||Stephen Baxter|
|2005||Doctor Who||The Doctor||Series 1|
|2005||Top Gear||Himself||Series 6 Ep. 3|
|2008||The Sarah Silverman Program||Dr. Lazer Rage|
|2010||Lennon Naked||John Lennon|
|2010||Accused||Willy Houlihan||Series 1, Episode 1|
|2011||The Shadow Line||Joseph Bede|
|2011||The Borrowers||Pod Clock|
|1991||Let Him Have It||Derek Bentley|
|1992||Death and the Compass||Alonso Zunz|
|1996||Jude||Jude Fawley||Shared a scene with David Tennant, his Doctor Who successor|
|1998||Elizabeth||Duke of Norfolk|
|1998||A Price Above Rubies||Sender Horowitz|
|1999||With or Without You||Vincent Boyd|
|2000||Gone in 60 Seconds||Raymond Calitri|
|2000||The Tyre||Salesman||Short film|
|2001||The Others||Charles Stewart|
|2001||The Invisible Circus||Wolf|
|2001||This Little Piggy||Cabbie||Short film|
|2002||24 Hour Party People||Boethius|
|2002||I Am Dina||Leo Zhukovsky|
|2002||28 Days Later||Major Henry West|
|2007||The Dark is Rising||The Rider|
|2008||New Orleans, Mon Amour||Dr. Henry|
|2009||G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra||James McCullen / Destro|
|2009||The Happiness Salesman||Salesman||Short film|
|2012||Song for Marion||James|
|2013||Thor: The Dark World||Malekith|
|1988||A Streetcar Named Desire||Pablo Gonzalez||Bristol Old Vic|
|1990||Abingdon Square||National Theatre|
|1990||Aide-Memoire||Royal Court Theatre|
|1993||Waiting at the Water's Edge||Will||Bush Theatre|
|2000||Miss Julie||Jean||Haymarket Theatre|
|2002||Hamlet||Hamlet||West Yorkshire Playhouse|
|2004||Electricity||Jakey||West Yorkshire Playhouse|
|2009||A Doll's House||Neil Kelman||Donmar Warehouse|
Performances with unknown dates
- Woyzeck – Birmingham Rep
- The Wonder – Gate Theatre
- Doña Rosita the Spinster – Bristol Old Vic
- Encounters – National Theatre Studio
Radio and narration
|1998||Room of Leaves||Frank|
|2001||Some Fantastic Place||Narrator|
|2002||The Importance of Being Morrissey||Narrator|
|2003||Cromwell – Warts and All||Narrator|
|2004||Life Half Spent||Roger|
|2005||Crossing the Dark Sea||Squaddie|
|2005||Born to be Different||Narrator|
|2005||A Day in the Death of Joe Egg||Brian|
|2005||Wanted: New Mum and Dad||Narrator|
|2005||Children in Need||Narrator|
|2005||This Sceptred Isle||Various characters|
|2006||The 1970s: That Was The Decade That Was||Narrator|
|2008||The Devil's Christmas||Narrator|
|2011||The Bomb Squad||Narrator|
|2012||Timeshift: Wrestling's Golden Age: Grapplers, Grunts & Grannies||Narrator|
|1998||I Am Kloot||"Northern Skies"|
|2003||I Am Kloot||"Proof"|
Awards and nominations
|1997||Jude||Golden Satellite Award||Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama||Nominated|
|1997||Our Friends in the North||Broadcasting Press Guild Award||Best Actor||Won|
|1997||Our Friends in the North||BAFTA Television Award||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2003||Flesh and Blood||Royal Television Society Award||Best Actor||Won|
|2004||The Second Coming||BAFTA Television Award||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2005||Doctor Who||TV Choice Award||Best Actor||Won|
|2005||Doctor Who||National Television Awards||Most Popular Actor||Won|
|2005||Doctor Who||Broadcasting Press Guild Award||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2006||Doctor Who||BAFTA Cymru||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2007||Heroes||SyFy Genre Awards||Best Special Guest||Nominated (twice)|
|2011||Accused||International Emmy Award||Best Actor||Won|
- Kelly, Laura (21 June 2010). "Christopher Eccleston". The Big Issue. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- Alan, one of Eccleston's brothers, appears in the party scene in the film Heart. ('Doctor in the house', Observer.Guardian.co.uk, 20 March 2005.)
- Fanshawe, Simon, Home truths: Christopher Eccleston, Guardian.co.uk, 15 January 2000.
- "At home with Christopher Eccleston". salfordstar.blogspot.com. 11 August 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-12
- Cranna, Ailsa (22 December 2005). "Tsunami victims’ spirit of Salford". salfordadvertiser.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-12-22
- Jackson, Nick, "Little Hulton's reluctant film star", BlackburnCitizen.co.uk, 4 October 1996
- "Some of Our Famous Alumni…" CSSD.ac.uk
- Dalton, Stephen, "A one-man awkward squad" Timesonline.co.uk, 3 February 2003
- "BBC admits Dr Who actor blunder". BBC News (BBC). 4 April 2005.
- Leonard, Tom (4 October 2005). "Hamlet? Maybe not, but I'm not rubbish". The Daily Telegraph (London: Sun-Times Media Group).
- Methven, Nicola; Polly Hudson (14 October 2005). "Chris'd off with alan". The Daily Mirror.
- "Christopher Eccleston talks about Doctor Who exit". BBC News (BBC). 15 June 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
- "Christopher Eccleston in conversation". National Theatre. July 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
- "Matt Smith: 'Eccleston Could Return to Doctor Who'". Femalefirst.co.uk. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Jeffery, Morgan (5 April 2013). "'Doctor Who' 50th: BBC denies Christopher Eccleston 'quitting' rumors - Doctor Who News - Cult". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Bourne, Dianne, Eccleston lends a hand ManchesterOnline.co.uk, 2 November 2005.
- "Christopher's Tsunami journey". BBC News (BBC). 14 December 2005.
- Thomas, Liz (7 April 2006). "Eccleston swaps time for crime in first post-Doctor drama". The Stage (The Stage Newspaper Limited).
- Ausiello, Michael (15 November 2006). November 2006 "Ask Ausiello". TV Guide Magazine.
- "Eccleston suits up for 'G.I. Joe'". The Hollywood Reporter. 12 February 2008.[dead link]
- "Dr Who to play Lennon in new TV drama". Sunday 15 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-28
- "Press Office - Network TV Programme Information BBC Week 25 Wednesday 23 June 2010". BBC. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- "BBC News - Antigone: Four star reviews for Christopher Eccleston". Bbc.co.uk. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
- Fleming, Mike (1 August 2012). "We Have A ‘Thor 2′ Villain: Christopher Eccleston To Play Malekith The Accursed". Deadline.com. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Odell, Michael (24 December 2011). "Christopher Eccleston tells Michael Odell what makes him angry and why he said no to Hollywood". The Times (London).
- "Christopher Eccleston in conversation". National Theatre. 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012. "Question: Who had the most profound effect on your life, and what advice would you give to your son Albert? Christopher Eccleston: My mother and father, definitely, I had an incredibly happy childhood and loving and supportive parents, everything I’ve achieved in life is down to … getting a bit emotional here! - the start they gave me in life, without a doubt. My advice to Albert would be to try and get himself parents like I had. He’s done it, he’s got a mum like my mum."
- "I'm an atheist", Heaven and Earth Show, 4 April 2005
- My team: Christopher Eccleston on Manchester United Observer.Guardian.co.uk, 7 April 2002
- , www.bbc.co.uk, 24 March 2012.
- Pendleton College: Pendleton Theatres, PendColl.ac.uk.
- Celebrity Ambassadors: Christopher Eccleston, Mencap.org.uk
- Entertainment and Artists Supporters Network: Christopher Eccleston, RedCross.org.uk.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2011)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Christopher Eccleston|
- Christopher Eccleston at the Internet Movie Database
- Christopher Eccleston at AllRovi
- Christopher Eccleston at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- The Guardian Unlimited Interview – Home Truths (15 January 2000)
- The Independent Interview – You've got to laugh (2 November 2002)
- BBC Drama Faces: Christopher Eccleston