ENTERTAINMENT
04/10/2021 07:43 BST

Christopher Eccleston ‘Nearly Lost Everything’ During Mental Health Battle

The former Doctor Who star was admitted to hospital with severe clinical depression.

Christopher Eccleston has said he “nearly lost everything” as he battled mental health problems.

The former Doctor Who actor recalled reaching his lowest point during an interview with Plymouth-based Big Issue magazine vendor Clive.

The 57-year-old 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.

Mike Marsland via Getty Images
Christopher Eccleston (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

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.”

Christopher said he “broke down” and experienced a mental health episode while filming for the first series of The A Word on BBC, which aired in 2016.

He said: “I was playing a character called Maurice, who was comic and bluff.

“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.

“I 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.

“But when 7am came, I would go to work and there would be Maurice’s costume. And I swear to you, Clive, I put it on and I was fine.”

During their conversation, the pair agreed to work together in the future.

Clive has written a short play that will be performed at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal alongside the hit show NHS The Musical.

The full interview is in The Big Issue, out now.

Help and support:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
  • CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.