Doctor Who’s Billie Piper addresses Christopher Eccleston's "hard time" on show

christopher eccleston, billie piper, doctor who

Former Doctor Who star Billie Piper has spoken about her time on the show with Christopher Eccleston, sharing that her co-star had a “hard time”.

The pair played Rose Tyler and The Doctor, respectively, in the first series of the revived BBC show, though their collaboration was brief – Eccleston departed after a solitary series.

In the ensuing years, Eccleston revealed that his strained relationships with showrunner Russell T Davies, as well as producers Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson, led to his departure, describing filming as a “mess” and “nightmare".

billie piper
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Piper, who returned for the second series opposite David Tennant before eventually departing, spoke about the situation in an interview with The Independent, sharing that her experience on set was different from her co-star’s.

“I don’t share a lot of those [Eccleston’s] sentiments. I had a very different experience,” she recalled. “I was going through a lot of personal stuff – I think that’s where my focus was.

“I’m still really close with those guys, and the whole production team really. I now know that he [Eccleston] was having a hard time, but I’m not sure I understood at the time how troubled he was with it all… It’s sad to hear that.”

christopher eccleston, billie piper, doctor who

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The actor, who has since appeared in Penny Dreadful and Scoop, also expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to appear on Doctor Who, even going so far as to tease that she would be willing to return for a cameo appearance.

“It was one of my first big acting jobs, so I was like, ‘[I] can’t believe I’m finally doing the job I want to do, working with all these incredible people [and] rebooting a British classic,” she recalled. “I wouldn’t go back as a full-time thing, but I’d love to make another appearance.”

Doctor Who will return for its 14th series on May 11 at midnight, airing on BBC One in the UK and Disney+ elsewhere. Classic episodes of Doctor Who are available on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

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