Christopher Eccleston apologises to classmate he 'bullied' as a child: 'I feel a great deal of shame'

Published on June 29, 2016

Christopher Eccleston became visibly emotional while recalling his experience of being bullied at school and how it led to him becoming a bully himself.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the Doctor Who actor appeared upset as he recounted traumatic experiences in the playground and apologised to a boy he said he bullied as a child.

“The pop psychology of it is: ‘I bullied because I was bullied.’ I don’t know that I accept that, I know that I feel a great deal of shame,” he explained. “It was a very sensitive boy in my class. At break time, I used to make him give me his crisps.”

“I would like to apologise to him. I know his name but I don’t know where he is. He was probably like myself when I went into infants, vulnerable and sensitive … I can remember feeling dislike for myself while I did it, so it’s a very complex thing.”

Eccleston, 52, said he could not be open with his family about being bullied because he grew up in a "macho" culture.

The actor, who is backing the Stand Up to Bullying campaign which commences next week, said the effects of bullying were cyclical and the repercussions could have a domino effect on others.

“I was bullied at school from the age of five by a girl who was seven and it happened every playtime. Playtime became terror time for me,” he said.

“She would trap me against the wall, she would make me do sums, maths as we now call it, and it really collared my life, I didn’t want to go to school, I certainly didn’t want to go out at playtime.”

“One of the big factors I think for all people who are bullied is shame,” he added. “I could never tell my parents that I was being bullied because I grew up in quite a macho culture and you’re supposed to stand up for yourself.”