Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston on potential TV return

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Doctor Who’s Christopher Eccleston, 57, recently opened up about suffering “severe clinical depression”, where he admitted he “nearly lost everything”. The iconic star, who played the ninth Doctor in the popular sci-fi series, gave a very candid and brave interview about his personal experience, where he also revealed there was one night he thought he might die.

I don’t think people understand how quickly it can happen

Christopher Eccleston

Speaking to Big Issue Magazine, Eccleston recalled reaching his lowest point.

The actor, who is an ambassador for the publication, said: “I think the received idea about people who sell The Big Issue is that they’ve never had a ‘successful life’.

“But I discovered that when I had a severe clinical depression and I was hospitalised… I nearly lost everything.”

He continued: “There was one night I thought I was going to die.

“I was running down Euston Road with a suitcase.

“Now, if anybody has seen me they’d have gone, ‘Oh, there’s Doctor Who’.

“My point is, I don’t think people understand how quickly it can happen.

“Particularly in times of economic recession.”

He spoke of experiencing a mental health episode while filming for BBC’s 2016 series The A Word.

The drama miniseries, which also featured Morven Christie, Greg McHugh, Lee Ingleby and Vinette Robinson, followed the Hughes family as they pulled together after the youngest son is diagnosed with autism.

“I was playing a character called Maurice, who was comic and bluff,” the TV star said.

“I was spending 10 hours a day being him, then I would go back to my hotel room and I wouldn’t sleep.”

He continued: “I found out afterwards that I’d been in fight or flight for a couple of years and could no longer fight or fly, my brain chemistry was telling me I was about to die.”

But he reassured the interviewer that he wasn’t “necessarily going to take my own life”.

“I don’t know whether it would be called psychosis, I was just convinced that I was about to die all night,” he explained.

“But when 7am came, I would go to work and there would be Maurice’s costume.

“And I swear to you, I put it on and I was fine.”

Eccleston’s full interview is in The Big Issue now.

If you are struggling to cope, call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI) or contact other sources of support, such as those listed on the NHS’s help for suicidal thoughts webpage.

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