Russell T Davies respects former 'Doctor Who' star Christopher Eccleston and says it was an "honour" to work with him, despite the actor's recent claims the pair's working relationship "irreparably" broke down during filming.
In 2005, Eccleston and Davies were responsible for bringing the beloved sci-fi show back to BBC One after 26 years off air and the comeback was a huge success and the programme has remained on screen ever since.
However, the 54-year-old actor left after just one series as the Ninth Doctor handing over the TARDIS to David Tennant and last month he claimed he felt he had to leave because his bosses - the showrunner, the producer and co-producer - "lost trust" in him and he "lost faith and trust and belief in them" and could not go on working for them.
Former showrunner Davies, 54, has now personally responded to Eccleston's comments, and insists he's entitled to his opinion of that time but he will always cherish what they did together on 'Doctor Who'.
Speaking to SFX magazine, he said: "If it gets into any sort of tit for tat then I'm having a conversation with my lead actor via the press, and that's not on. What has to be remembered when the show's being discussed in the present tense, now, is that I was his employer - I was his producer. I have a duty of care towards any lead actor I work with, so I have a duty of care towards Chris in that moment.
"He's free to say and explore whatever he wants - that's fine. This duty of care involves respecting him and listening to him at all times. That's my job. And that duty of care towards him will extend for the rest of our lives. He will always be my Doctor, and I will always be his producer."
Davies also praised Eccleston for even agreeing to take on the part of the time travelling alien, because before it returned to screens the programme was much derided due to the memories of its derided final run.
Davies - who has written upcoming BBC miniseries 'A Very English Scandal', based on the 1970s Jeremy Thorpe political scandal in Britain - stated: "The thing I've got to say is that Chris is a magnificent actor and a magnificent man - he's truly a leader of men - and he was a magnificent Doctor Who as well. You forget what a brave move it was to take the part on when people were quoting Paul Daniels as the next Doctor. It was a huge leap for Chris to make, and I love what he did. I think his comedy is funny - he plays it brilliantly. I think the darkness is off the scale with him - when the Doctor's angry, it's spectacular.
"It's a magnificent, never-to-be forgotten Doctor, and it was an honour to work with an actor delivering a performance like that."