Childhood & Early Life
Christopher Eccleston was born on February 16, 1964, in Langworthy, Salford, the UK, to Elsie and Ronnie Eccleston. He has two elder brothers, Alan and Keith, who are twins, and eight years his senior. When Christopher was seven months old, his family moved from Blodwell Street to Little Hulton.
He attended Joseph Eastham High School, where he was the head boy. As a teenager he was influenced by television dramas like ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’, and was inspired to pursue a career in acting.
He did a two-year Performance Foundation Course at Salford Tech, and was trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. In his early years, he performed in classics, including the works of Chekhov, Shakespeare, and Molière.
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When Christopher Eccleston was 25, he made his professional stage debut in the Bristol Old Vic's production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. He struggled a lot initially, and while he was awaiting his acting career to take off, he did a variety of odd jobs—at a supermarket, on building sites, and as a model.
He first came to prominence as Derek Bentley in the film ‘Let Him Have It’ in 1991, and as Inspector Morse in an episode of ‘Second Time Around’, the same year. In 1992, he portrayed the role of Sean Maddox in ‘Friday on my Mind’, a BBC drama miniseries.
He did a regular role in the television series ‘Cracker’ in 1993-94, which heightened his recognition in the UK, and after he left the series, his character was killed off in 1994. In the same year, he appeared in the episode ‘One, Two, Buckle My Shoe’ of the series ‘Poirot’.
In 1994, he appeared in the Danny Boyle film ‘Shallow Grave’. In the same year, he landed the role of Nicky Hutchinson in the epic BBC serial ‘Our Friends in the North’, which aired on BBC Two in 1996.
In his film career he acted in a number of movies, such as ‘Jude’ in 1996, ‘Elizabeth’ in 1998, ‘eXistenZ’ in 1999, ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ in 2000. In 2002, he portrayed a major role in ‘Revengers Tragedy,’ adapted from Thomas Middleton's play of the same name.
In 2004, he played the ninth incarnation of the Doctor in the BBC science fiction television series ‘Doctor Who’, which began its transmission in March 2005. However, he left the series after one season because he feared becoming typecast.
In October 2005, he appeared on stage at the Old Vic theatre in London in the play ‘Night Sky’. He was one of the jury members on the 2nd Amazonas International Film Festival Film in November. In December, he participated in the BBC Breakfast news program to examine how survivors of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami were rebuilding their lives.
In March 2006, he appeared in ‘Best Ever Muppet Moments’, an ITV documentary special, as a commentator. In May, he appeared as the narrator in a play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at the Lowry theatre in Salford. In August, he starred in the film ‘New Orleans, Mon Amour’, directed by Michael Almereyda. It was released in 2008 at film festivals in America and Italy.
In 2006, he also starred in ‘Perfect Parents’, an ITV drama, directed by Joe Ahearne, who had directed him in ‘Doctor Who’. He appeared on the NBC TV series ‘Heroes’ in the episode ‘Godsend’, which was aired in January 2007. He was featured as the Rider in the film adaptation of Susan Cooper's novel ‘The Dark Is Rising’ in 2007.
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In 2009, he starred in a short film ‘The Happiness Salesman’. He also appeared as the villain Destro in the G.I. Joe film, ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’. He appeared in an episode of ‘The Sarah Silverman Program’ as well.
He starred as John Lennon, the title role, in ‘Lennon Naked’, a BBC production that aired in the UK in 2010. In the same year, he featured in the first episode of ‘Accused’, an anthology drama on BBC One. In 2011, he appeared as Joseph Bede in ‘The Shadow Line’, a seven-part television serial for BBC Two.
In 2011, he portrayed the role of Pod Clock in ‘The Borrowers’, an adaptation of Mary Norton's children's novel on BBC One. In 2012, he appeared in ‘Blackout’, a political thriller on BBC One. Simultaneously, he starred as Creon in an adaptation of ‘Antigone’ at the Royal National Theatre.
In 2013, he played a villain in ‘Thor: The Dark World’, a sequel to ‘Thor’. In 2014, he played the regular character Matt Jamison in ‘The Leftovers’, a drama series that aired on HBO.
It has been announced that he would play the lead role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of ‘Macbeth’ in 2018.
Christopher Eccleston married Mischka in November 2011. Their first child, Albert, was born in February 2012, and their second child, Esme, was born in 2013. The couple divorced in December 2015.
He was a regular marathon runner till 2000. In September 2007, Salford's Pendleton College named its new auditorium the Eccleston Theatre.
He is an avid charity worker, and was a Mencap charity ambassador. He is also a supporter of the British Red Cross, and supports research for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia—his father suffered from vascular dementia in his later years until his death in 2012.
He is known to be an atheist, but in interviews in 2016, he described his changing attitude towards faith and he stated that he is no longer an atheist, but agnostic.