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Former Doctor Who Talks About Life After The Tardis And Working In The US

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FORMER Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston turned heroic tea drinker while working on cult sci-fi series Heroes.

The Brit actor joined the BBC Two series as Claude, the Invisible Man when he left Doctor Who after only one series.

And he admitted he loved his time on the American show.

He said: "I was made welcome by that crew and that cast.

"Being a Brit on that show, I've never been offered so many cups of tea in my life.

"But you do, it's like you get lots of attention because you're different."

"I think what interested me was, having made British television for, what, nearly 20 years now, I wanted to experience American television.

"The process is different. Scripts are less tied down than the UK.

"I thought Claude was a really interesting addition to that cast of characters, dropping a Brit in with a Japanese and the Haitian."

While his time as the ninth Doctor was short and he's not saying whether he'll be back for series two of Heroes, the actor is a big draw in sci-fi.

After a career playing gritty roles in Shallow Grave and Jude as well as in television shows Cracker and Our Friends in the North the actor has become something of a kids' favourite.

Next week he stars in new fantasy film The Dark is Rising.

The former Time Lord plays another time traveller but this time he is a horseman who spreads terror.

He said: "99 percent of the dramas I've made have been for adults, and this was a real opportunity to try something new. I've had experience of making drama for children with Doctor Who. I think it's important if we can provide complexity and grey areas rather than just a funfair ride. That's what appeals tome.

"I think a younger audience is much more exacting than adults actually... they're much fiercer in their attachment once they've taken you to your heart, but they have better detectors than us."

Christopher brought Doctor Who back to the BBC and to millions of fans old and new who were gutted when he quit after one series.

While Scot David Tennant has become an even bigger Doctor there have always been questions about why Christopher took on the role just to quit so quickly.

All he will say is that he "was very proud to play the Doctor".

Of course, since leaving the show in 2005 Christopher has become an equally arresting character in Heroes - about a group of modern-day superheroes finding their powers - and will break further into films with The Dark is Rising, a grittier fantasy film than The Chronicles of Narnia.

While the Doctor was a good guy, his role as The Rider in The Dark Is Rising is a real "dyed-in-the-wool bad guy".

The 43-year-old from Salford, Lancashire, added: "I'd never heard of the books, but as a child I was one of those who was hugely passionate about The Lord of the Rings.

"I understand the passion people feel for these books, but I think they should be left for childhood. People say The Lord of the Rings were the greatest novels ever written, but no, they're not; they're childhood.

"But I read the book for this and enjoyed it very much, and obviously it's close tome because it's couched in Celtic mysticism and it's a very, very intensely British book."

His role as an evil horseman also allowed Christopher to become a bit of an action hero, although obviously a baddie action hero.

He joked: "The stunt men did easy stuff and I did the dangerous stuff."

Christopher's main scenes are with Alexander Ludwig, who plays Will Stanton, a young man who learns he is the last of a group of warriors dedicated to fighting against the forces of the Dark.

Like Star Wars, Christopher's character tries to bring Will over to the dark side.

Given that it was Alexander's first ever film, Christopher is full of admiration for the American.

He said: "He's an amazing young man to carry a film like this.

"I carried a film when I was 27 and couldn't really speak or think for the two months afterwards, but he seems like it's water off a duck's back.

"He doesn't seem tainted by all the Hollywood that we all know and hear so much about."

Next up for Christopher is the play Macbeth in the West End.

He admitted: "It is something I've wanted to do since I was 17. But we have to pull a deal together."

As David Tennant is taking time out to play Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company next year we could see two Doctors in the house, at least in the theatres they will be performing in.

The Dark is Rising was written by Susan Cooper and is adapted by former Scots doctor John Hodge who was nominated for an Oscar for his adapted screenplay of Trainspotting.

It is filled with Harry Potter-style scares - particularly one scene in which will is chased by a giant albino cobra and 1000 live snakes, some 13 ft long, were used to fill half of a massive church.

One person who liked the snakes was veteran actor Ian McShane, the star of Lovejoy and Deadwood, who plays Merriman Lyon, the oldest of the Old Ones who guides Will through time and also include Scots actor James Cosmo, Frances Conroy and Jim Piddock.

Talking of the snake scene Ian said: "I grew fond of the snakes. I've never worked with them before. They were nice, you know? I was especially fond of this big python.

"He was this 30 footer. But they are very heavy. And I had these two that just kept looking at me..."

He also joked that he took the role in the film because it would mean his grandchildren could watch it.

He laughed: "They can't watch Deadwood, or something like that. This will be good, I thought."

James Cosmo is becoming something of a period costume actor starring in Braveheart, Troy and as Santa Claus in The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Scots bear of an actor laughed: "You do tend to get typecast in things, because people see you as your most famous roles.

"Which is fine, having a niche I work in most. But it is nice to jump out of that and do something ordinary.

"But I'm not knocking it. To tell you the truth I am happy sitting on a horse somewhere nice, not that there are any horses in this one.

"Doing action stuff is great fun, and then going back and doing something different."

The Dark is Rising is out next Friday, October 19.

GRAPHIC: WHO'S WHO: Eccleston and Billie Piper in Doctor Who, above and left, and Dark Is Rising co-star Alexander Ludwig, right

HERO: Christopher in Heroes, right, and Frances Conroy in Dark Is Rising

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  • APA 6th ed.: Fulton, Rick (2007-10-13). Former Doctor Who Talks About Life After The Tardis And Working In The US. Daily Record p. 43.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Fulton, Rick. "Former Doctor Who Talks About Life After The Tardis And Working In The US." Daily Record [add city] 2007-10-13, 43. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Fulton, Rick. "Former Doctor Who Talks About Life After The Tardis And Working In The US." Daily Record, edition, sec., 2007-10-13
  • Turabian: Fulton, Rick. "Former Doctor Who Talks About Life After The Tardis And Working In The US." Daily Record, 2007-10-13, section, 43 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Former Doctor Who Talks About Life After The Tardis And Working In The US | url= | work=Daily Record | pages=43 | date=2007-10-13 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Former Doctor Who Talks About Life After The Tardis And Working In The US | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>