Former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston has revealed he was battling anorexia while filming the sci-fi series and has contemplated suicide in the past.
The 55-year-old, who played The Doctor when the show was revived in 2005, described himself as a “lifelong body-hater” and said he was “very ill” during the making of the programme.
According to extracts from his new book, I Love The Bones Of You, Eccleston writes: “The illness is still there raging within me as the Doctor. People love the way I look in that series, but I was very ill.
“The reward for that illness was the part. And therein lies the perpetuation of the whole sorry situation.”
Eccleston, who grew up in Salford, Greater Manchester, says he wanted to reveal he was a “lifelong anorexic and dysmorphic” on many occasions but felt unable to because of his northern working-class roots.
“I always thought of it as a filthy secret, because I’m northern, because I’m male and because I’m working class,” he writes.
The father-of-two says he was diagnosed with clinical depression after splitting from his wife Mischka in 2015 and he considered taking his own life during filming of BBC drama The A Word.
“I was in a state of extreme anxiety, convinced I was either going to die or I was going to kill myself,” Eccleston writes.
He adds: “In my despair I reached for my phone and looked up a psychiatric hospital, I rang ahead, grabbed my bag and ran.”
Eccleston says he could be on antidepressants “for the rest of my days” but hopes to reduce the dosage “to experience reality again”.
The actor, who earned BAFTA nominations for his performances in television dramas Our Friends In The North and The Second Coming, left his starring role in Doctor Who after one series.
He has appeared in a string of hit films including Gone in 60 Seconds, The Others, 24 Hour Party People, 28 Days Later and Thor: The Dark World.
His book, I Love The Bones Of You, is released on Thursday.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK.