OLD DOC GET­TING UP TO NEW TRICKS

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

For­mer Doc­tor Who Christo­pher Ec­cle­ston is in Mel­bourne film­ing the penul­ti­mate episode of HBO drama The Leftovers.

So how did a high-end cable show from Lost co-cre­ator Da­mon Lin­de­lof pre­vi­ously set in up­state New York and Texas end up mov­ing here?

“There was ac­tu­ally one of our on-set ru­mours swirling in the mid­dle of sea­son one that we would be go­ing to Aus­tralia, so it’s al­ways ob­vi­ously been part of Da­mon Lin­de­lof’s crazed mas­ter­plan that we would end up here,” ex­plains Ec­cle­ston, who plays tor­mented rev­erend Matt.

The series deals with the af­ter­math of the dis­ap­pear­ance of 2 per cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, and work on the fi­nale starts within weeks.

“And, as ever, the pres­sure is on Da­mon Lin­de­lof, who we know had a rough ride with the way he wrapped up Lost … so for­tu­nately for us he’s bat­tle hard­ened!”

Ec­cle­ston ( 28 Days Later, Thor: The Dark World) is also star­ring as a grandad in BBC First com­edy drama, The A Word, about a fam­ily cop­ing with the re­al­i­sa­tion their fiveyear-old boy, Joe, is autis­tic.

He says it’s “warm and con­tra­dic­tory, and awk­ward and funny, the way life is”.

Ec­cle­ston knows the im­pact a neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der can have on a fam­ily.

“I watched my fa­ther suf­fer de­men­tia for over 12 years and I had to learn some very tough lessons about how to com­mu­ni­cate with him and (so I was in­ter­ested) in cer­tainly pro­mot­ing aware­ness, not only of autism, but some of the is­sues that fam­i­lies ex­pe­ri­ence and un­dergo,” he says.

Ec­cle­ston be­lieves the series is re­ally about com­mu­ni­ca­tion prob­lems.

“To a cer­tain ex­tent the boy’s autism is a Tro­jan horse and then we start med­i­tat­ing on how quote un­quote “nor­mal” peo­ple re­late to each other ... (grandad) Mau­rice is par­tic­u­larly in­ept when it comes to deal­ing with other peo­ple’s feel­ings,” he says.

THE A WORD, BBC FIRST, SUN­DAY, 8.30PM

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