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Christopher Eccleston (1964)

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  Summary  

Christopher Eccleston is an English stage, film and television actor. His films include Let Him Have It, Shallow Grave, Elizabeth, 28 Days Later, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Others, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. In 2005, he became the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the British television series Doctor Who and in 2007 was the main villain in The Seeker.

  Biography  

 early life
Born into a working class family in the Langworthy area of Pendleton, Salford, Lancashire, Eccleston is the youngest of three boys born to Elsie and Ronnie Eccleston. His brothers, Alan and Keith, are twins eight years his senior, born in 1956. The family lived in a small terraced house in Blodwell Street until the late 1960s, when they moved to nearby Little Hulton. Eccleston attended Joseph Eastham's High School, Little Hulton, where he became head boy At the age of 19, he was inspired by television dramas such as Boys from the Blackstuff to enter the acting profession. Eccleston completed a two-year Performance Foundation Course at Salford Tech, before going on to train at the Hampstead-based Central School of Speech and Drama. As an actor, his early influences had been Ken Loach's "Kes" and Albert Finney's performance in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, but he soon found himself performing the classics, including the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov and Molière. At the age of 25, Eccleston made his professional stage debut in the Bristol Old Vic's production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Underemployed as an actor for some years after graduating school, Eccleston took a variety of odd jobs at a supermarket, on building sites and as an artist's model.

 career
 1991–2005
Eccleston first came to public attention as Derek Bentley in the 1991 film Let Him Have It and an episode of Inspector Morse, "Second Time Around", also in 1991. However, it was a regular role in the television series Cracker (1993–94) that made him a recognisable figure in the UK, and after informing TV bosses of his desire to leave the series, his character was killed off in October 1994 as one the victims of serial killer Albie Kinsella , when the killer stabbed him to death after provoking him by molesting his wife in a supermarket.

At around the same time he appeared in Agatha Christie's Poirot, in the episode "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe".

He appeared in the low-budget Danny Boyle 1994 film Shallow Grave, in which he co-starred with up-and-coming actor Ewan McGregor. The same year, he won the part of Nicky Hutchinson in the epic BBC drama serial Our Friends in the North, whose broadcast on BBC Two in 1996 helped make him a household name in the UK. Eccleston starred in an ensemble cast that included acclaimed actors Mark Strong and Gina McKee as well as Daniel Craig.

His film career has since taken off with a variety of high-profile but not — except in one or two cases — major roles, including the title role in Jude , Elizabeth , eXistenZ , Gone in 60 Seconds , The Others , 24 Hour Party People and another Danny Boyle film, the horror movie 28 Days Later . He played a major role as the protagonist of Alex Cox's 2002 Revengers Tragedy, adapted from Thomas Middleton's play of the same name. He has starred alongside two major Hollywood actresses in smaller independent films, appearing opposite Renée Zellweger in A Price Above Rubies and Cameron Diaz in The Invisible Circus . Despite starring in the car-heist movie Gone in 60 Seconds, he did not actually take his driving test until January 2004, and revealed on BBC's Top Gear that his licence restricts him to vehicles with automatic transmission.

He has appeared in a variety of television roles, racking up credits in British television dramas of recent years. These have included Hearts and Minds for Channel 4, Clocking Off and Flesh and Blood for the BBC and Hillsborough , a modern version of Othello , playing 'Ben Jago', and the religious telefantasy epic The Second Coming for ITV, in which he played Steve Baxter, the son of God. He also finds time for the occasional light-hearted role, however, as his guest appearances in episodes of the comedy drama Linda Green and macabre sketch show The League of Gentlemen have shown. Eccleston's most high-profile stage role has been Hamlet in the 2002 production at his favourite theatre, Leeds' West Yorkshire Playhouse. March–April 2004 saw him return to the venue in a new play, Electricity.

Eccleston has been twice nominated in the Best Actor category at the British Academy Television Awards, the UK's premier television awards ceremony. His first nomination came in 1997 for Our Friends in the North, when he lost out to Nigel Hawthorne , and he was nominated again in 2004 for The Second Coming, this time being beaten by Bill Nighy . He did, however, triumph in the Best Actor categories at the 1997 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and the Royal Television Society Awards, winning for Our Friends in the North. He won the RTS Best Actor award for a second time in 2003, this time for his performance in Flesh and Blood.

In July 2004, a poll of industry experts, conducted by Radio Times magazine, voted Eccleston the 19th Most Powerful Person in Television Drama.

 Doctor Who
On 20 March 2004, it was announced that Eccleston was to play the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the revival of the legendary BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, which began transmission on 26 March 2005. Eccleston was the first actor to play the role who was born after the series began, albeit by less than three months.

On 30 March 2005, the BBC released a statement, ostensibly from Eccleston, saying that he had decided to leave the role after just one series, because he feared becoming typecast. On 4 April, the BBC revealed that Eccleston's "statement" was falsely attributed and released without his consent. The BBC admitted that they had broken an agreement made in January not to disclose publicly that he only intended to do one series. The statement had been made after journalists made queries to the press office.

On 11 June 2005, during a BBC radio interview, when asked if he had enjoyed working on Doctor Who, Eccleston responded by saying, "Mixed, but that's a long story." Eccleston's reasons for leaving the role continue to be debated in Britain's newspapers: on 4 October 2005 Alan Davies told The Daily Telegraph that Eccleston had been "overworked" by the BBC, and had left the role because he was "exhausted". Ten days later, Eccleston told The Daily Mirror this was not true, and expressed some irritation at Davies for his comments. In a 2011 interview, Eccleston revealed that he left the show because he "didn't enjoy the environment and the culture that , the cast and crew, had to work in", but that he was proud of having played the role.

On 7 November 2008, at the National Theatre to promote his book The Writer's Tale, Russell T Davies said that Eccleston's contract was for a single year because it was uncertain whether the show would continue beyond a single revival series. In retrospect, he says, it has been an enormous success, but at the time there were doubts within the BBC.

Eccleston was voted "Most Popular Actor" at the 2005 National Television Awards for his portrayal of the Doctor.

 Recent works
On 30 October 2005, Eccleston appeared on stage at the Old Vic theatre and Doctor Who in London in the one-night play Night Sky alongside Navin Chowdhry, Bruno Langley, David Warner, Saffron Burrows and David Baddiel. Eccleston sat on the 2nd Amazonas International Film Festival Film Jury in November 2005. The director Norman Jewison was chairman of the Jury.

In December 2005, Eccleston traveled to Indonesia's Aceh province for the BBC Breakfast news programme, examining how survivors of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami were rebuilding their lives.

In March 2006, Eccleston appeared in the ITV documentary special, Best Ever Muppet Moments as a commentator. In May 2006, he appeared as the narrator in a production of Romeo and Juliet at The Lowry theatre in his home city of Salford. The theatre company with which he performed, Celebrity Pig , is made up of learning disabled actors.

In August 2006, Eccleston filmed New Orleans, Mon Amour with Elisabeth Moss. The film was directed by Michael Almereyda and shot in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. It was released in 2008 to film festivals in the US and Italy. Late in 2006 he starred in Perfect Parents, an ITV drama written and directed by Joe Ahearne, who had directed him in Doctor Who.

Eccleston joined the cast of the NBC TV series Heroes in the episode "Godsend", which was broadcast on 22 January 2007. Eccleston played a character named Claude who has the power of invisibility, and helps Peter Petrelli with his powers.

Eccleston appeared as The Rider in a film adaptation of Susan Cooper's novel The Dark Is Rising, which opened in the U.S. on 5 October 2007.

Eccleston appeared on the BBC Four World Cinema Award show in February 2008, arguing the merits of five international hits such as The Lives of Others and Pan's Labyrinth with Jonathan Ross and Archie Panjabi. In 2009 Eccleston starred opposite Archie Panjabi in a short film . Eccleston agreed to do the film because of Ms Panjabi and the fact that it was a winner of the prestigious British Short Screenplay Competition . He also appeared as the villainous Destro in the live-action G.I. Joe film: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Eccleston also appeared in an episode of The Sarah Silverman Program as the titular cult favourite science fiction hero in a show-within-the-show called "Dr. Laser Rage", possibly in reference to his stint as The Doctor in Doctor Who.

In November 2009, Eccleston was reported to have been cast as John Lennon in a BBC production called Lennon Naked. This BBC Four production aired in the UK on Wednesday 23 June 2010, with Eccleston playing the title role.

In November 2010, Eccleston starred in the first episode of BBC One anthology drama Accused written by Cracker creator Jimmy McGovern. He subsequently won an International Emmy Award for his role.

In May 2011, Eccleston starred as Joseph Bede in The Shadow Line, a seven-part television drama serial for BBC Two, alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor and Stephen Rea.

On Boxing Day 2011, Eccleston played the role of Pod Clock, father of the Clock family in an adaptation of Mary Norton's children's novel The Borrowers for BBC One.

Eccleston will star in BBC One political thriller The Fuse, scheduled to screen in Spring 2012.

 personal life
Although describing his mother as "very religious, a churchgoer" who would "often encourage me to go… but never forced it upon me", Eccleston is an atheist. He is a lifelong supporter of Manchester United, and a regular marathon runner, usually entering a number of races each year. Eccleston is unmarried, but was in a relationship with actress Siwan Morris until it ended in 2005. In September 2007, as part of their £9.5m build scheme, Salford's Pendleton College named their new 260-seat theatre 'The Eccleston Theatre' after him.

Eccleston is an avid charity worker and became a Mencap charity ambassador on 28 April 2005. He is also a celebrity supporter of the British Red Cross.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Christopher Eccleston", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.