Doctor Who turned 50 in 2013.
But without Christopher Eccleston, the Time Lord's 2005 re-boot would have not survived that ninth re-generation.
Eccleston brought steel, danger and a dark humour to the part, ensuring the sci-fi series returned stronger than ever.
He left the role after just one series, for reasons that are still unclear. But he left it to universal acclaim.
His roles have been varied but always delivered with passion and intensity, from the simple-minded victim of an infamous miscarriage of justice, Derek Bentley, in Let Him Have It to the outwardly civilised but decidedly deranged Major Henry West in 28 Days Later.
Eccleston defies categorisation and typecasting. He is the Manchester United-supporting hard man who gives up much of his free time to work as a Mencap charity ambassador. He is a private man in a very public sphere – uncompromising, outspoken and incredibly talented.
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