In a previous blog post, I took issue with Chris Eccleston and how he handles his time as The Doctor. In particular, I found his hanging up on a reporter, during a telephone interview, particularly twattish.
Chances are, by now, you've seen the excellent Kasterborous article, "Eccleston hates Doctor Who so much he helped a Whovian with a wedding proposal". The article includes an extraordinarily heartwarming video, with Eccleston surprising a fan alongside her boyfriend In my previous post, I went so far as to call Chris "an arse". I think, with hindsight, the "arse" on this occasion is yours truly! Eccleston is notoriously guarded about his tenure as the Doctor, and his public appearances seem scant. Perhaps, on my part, and the part of many fans, it is a desire to see more of him in the public eye, at conventions and so forth, because we have such high regard for his portrayal of the Doctor. We may never know the reasons why he is so elusive, but it's clear from the video it isn't out of a lack of respect for us, the fans.
Whilst, personally, I wouldn't have terminated the interview in the way Chris did, again, perhaps this is somewhat judgemental, not to mention hypocritical, particularly given that I hang up on telemarketers for a pastime. Eccleston clearly did not wish to discuss Doctor Who with the reporter. Perhaps the reporter in question did cross a line by asking, despite three requests not to. Certainly, it is the job of a reporter to ask probative questions; questions which the interviewee doesn't necessarily want to be asked. But, perhaps, there is a time and a place..
What is abundantly clear is that I've badly misjudged Eccleston. Whilst he will never read this blog post, I offer him my sincere apologies for doing so. Anyone who takes the time to aid a fan in the way he demonstrates in the video clearly doesn't lack respect for either the fans, or for his time spent in the titular role.
I've always been a big fan of the Eccleston series, and, in a broader sense, of much of his other work. If you haven't seen the magnificent 'Let Him Have It', you should. It's an early work by Eccleston, and it's a superb film. Similarly, his role as Stephen Baxter in Russel T. Davies' unique 'The Second Coming' is a magnificent testament to his skill as an actor. For me, he has always been a fine actor. I've also regarded him, for the most part, as egotistical, aloof and dismissive of his time as The Doctor. I hold my hands firmly UP. Got it wrong. There are times when being proven wrong sucks. On other occasions, being proven wrong is a positive joy. I was wrong when I assumed Bille Piper would be a lousy companion. Likewise, Catherine Tate. And I'm glad I was. Equally, I was wrong in my assessment of Chris Eccleston. And I'm glad about that as well.
I do believe if Mr Eccleston were a little more candid about his body of work, including Doctor Who, it may make it easier for people, like me, to understand him better as an actor and as a human being. That he chooses not to is a pty, but, ultimately, it is his decision, one which we must respect. Perhaps, one day, he will elaborate on his decision to remain largely out of the public eye, certainly in regard to Doctor Who, and why he chose only to play the role for a single season. I hope so, as I'm sure we could learn a great deal about him.
So there we are. I got him completely wrong. I daresay there are times when he IS an arse. There are certainly times when I am. My previous blog post on Eccleston bears testament to THAT! Likewise, there are time when he is clearly extraordinarily generous, kind and giving. Something we should all aspire to be.
What is clear is that Chris Eccleston is complex, professional, and certainly misunderstood. This leads arseholes like me to be quick to judge. For that, Mr Eccleston, you have my profound apologies.
I hope he's proud of his time as the Ninth Doctor. He has every reason to be. He was, as Nine said himself, "fantastic"!