Christopher Eccleston Biography

Film Actor, Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor (1964–)
British-born Christopher Eccleston is best known as the ninth actor to play the lead role in the popular U.K. science-fiction television program Doctor Who.


Born on February 16, 1964, in the Salford area of Lancashire, England, Christopher Eccleston was influenced early by performers on favorite television programs and in films. He made his professional stage debut in A Streetcar Named Desire at age 25. Eccleston appeared in several high-profile films and was the ninth actor to play the lead role in Doctor Who, the hugely popular sci-fi program produced by the BBC.

Early Life

Christopher Eccleston was born on February 16, 1964, in the working-class area of Salford in Lancashire, England. He grew up watching television dramas with his twin brothers, Alan and Keith, who were eight years older. After attending Joseph Eastham High School and Salford Tech, he studied at Central School of Speech and Drama to hone his elocution and acting skills. Although he made his professional stage debut at age 25 in Tennessee Williams' classic play A Streetcar Named Desire, Eccleston first gained wide notice in the role of Derek Bentley in the independent film Let Him Have It (1991).


Almost from the beginning, Eccleston moved freely between working on the stage and in television and film. His ongoing role in the U.K. television series Cracker (1993) heightened his recognition in his home country. He was also cast in the low-budget Danny Boyle film Shallow Grave (1994), in which he appeared with Ewan McGregor, and that same year, won a role in the BBC dramatic serial Our Friends in the North.

The actor has worked with a string of high-profile Hollywood actresses, in films including Jude (1996) with Kate Winslet, Elizabeth (1998) with Cate Blanchett, A Price Above Rubies (1998) with Renee Zellweger and The Others (2001) with Nicole Kidman.

In April 2004, it was announced that Eccleston would become the ninth actor to play the lead role of the Doctor in the immensely popular sci-fi time-travel series Doctor Who, produced by the BBC. He became the first actor to play the role who was born after series first began (in 1963). Doctor Who is listed in Guinness World Records as the longest-running science-fiction television program in the world.

Eccleston is known as an actor's actor; his thin face, intense gaze and deep, resonating voice have become signatures. He has been nominated twice in the Best Actor category (in 1997 and 2004) at the BAFTA Television Awards, the British equivalent of the American Emmy Awards. Although he lost out on those awards, he won Best Actor at the 1997 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and won the Best Actor award at the Royal Television Society Awards twice, in 1997 and 2003.

Personal Life

Eccleston was an avid runner in the past, and is a vegetarian and an atheist. The actor is a lifelong supporter of the Manchester United soccer team. He is married and lives in London.

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