Christopher Eccleston reveals battle with anorexia and how depression almost drove him to suicide

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Christopher Eccleston (Credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston has said that his battles with anorexia and depression made him consider taking his own life.

Eccleston revealed that he suffered the eating disorder in a new memoir, and that he struggled with it while appearing as the ninth Doctor on the veteran BBC sci-fi series.

He added that it was stereotyped male northern stoicism that meant that he neglected to seek help.

“Many times I’ve wanted to reveal that I’m a lifelong anorexic and dysmorphic,” he writes.

“I never have. I always thought of it as a filthy secret, because I’m Northern, because I’m male and because I’m working-class.

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“The illness is still there raging within me as the Doctor. People love the way I look in that series, but I was very ill. The reward for that illness was the part. And therein lies the perpetuation of the whole sorry situation.”

Eccleston as the Doctor (Credit: BBC)

Eccleston also reveals that he fell into a deep clinical depression following the breakdown of his marriage in 2015, and it was while making the series The A Word for the BBC that he began contemplating suicide.

He added: “I was in a state of extreme anxiety, convinced I was either going to die or I was going to kill myself. In my despair I reached for my phone and looked up a psychiatric hospital, I rang ahead, grabbed my bag and ran.

“I was 100 per cent sure I was in the last few weeks of my life.”

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Eccleston, who is 55, starred as the Doctor for a single series in the 2005 revival of the show, alongside the likes of Billie Piper and John Barrowman.

Christopher Eccleston recites on stage at "A Party To Remember", a free concert celebrating the 60th anniversary of VE Day, in Trafalgar Square on May 8, 2005. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

He added that after treatment, he was prescribed anti-depressants, and 'could be on them for the rest of his days'.

“I do have an issue with that. I would like to attempt slowly to reduce the dose, to experience reality again, to see how I do… And yet, interestingly I have received some of the best reviews of my life since I started taking them,” he went on.

His autobiography, I Love The Bones Of You, will be published later this week.