Do YOU Think Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor was “Too Northern”?

Ey oop, whippets, Wendsleydale, ee by gum, fracking – – erm – – Cheese… cake? Look, lots of planets have a North and we have to deal with that. But The Daily Mail reckons the BBC couldn’t deal with all Time Lords having flat caps in the closets.

Now, this is an interesting one. The much-loved UK tabloid (cough cough cough splutter) is taking something Christopher Eccleston has said perhaps a bit out of context. The 51-year-old told the Radio Times:

“I wanted to move him away from the RP (received pronunciation) for the first time because we shouldn’t make a correlation between intellect and accent, although that still needs addressing.”

The Mail argues that the Beeb had issues with it (in presumably exactly the same way they kicked off when they learnt that Peter Capaldi would revel in his Scottishness. Remember the riots? Remember the BBC’s four-day strike, with Jeremy Clarkson rolled out to appease the public?) – but this doesn’t sound like what Eccleston’s saying at all. He’s basically stating why he kept his accent. “How comes you sound like you’re from the North?” Rose asked in her best Cockernee…

9th Doctor and Rose

This is quite different from the Mail, who leads with: “The 51-year-old suggested he quit after a row over his decision to play character with a strong northern accent.” Of course, this being the Internet, I’ll have to accompany my musing with the irritating acronym IMHO.

Eccleston went on to say:

“I hope I’ll be remembered as one of the Doctors. I have no ill feeling towards the character or the series. I don’t watch it and am not keen to discuss it because I want this to be about Safe House. That’s my mortgage.”

Oh, don’t worry. We’re never gonna forget you, Doc.

Yes, Safe House. This is the upcoming ITV drama in which Eccleston is joined by Marsha Thomason (White Collar) and a few familiar faces from Doctor Who, namely Paterson Joseph (tipped as the Twelfth Doctor for a while, but you’ll know him best from Bad Wolf/ The Parting of the Ways), and Peter Ferdinando aka the Half-Face Man in Deep Breath.


It’ll be interesting to see him with a whole face this time. Here’s what the four-part series is all about:

Former police officer Robert (Christopher Eccleston) and his wife Katy (Marsha Thomason) left city life behind them after Robert was injured, whilst trying to protect a witness in his care. The witness, Susan Reynolds was fatally shot. Robert has been struggling with the guilt he feels over the death of Susan.

In a bid to put the past behind them, Robert and Katy now run a guest house, hidden away in the idyllic Lake District. A surprise visitor turns up, DCI Mark Maxwell (Paterson Joseph), an ex-colleague and old friend. He suggests that the guest house is perfectly positioned to operate as a safe house, Robert is tempted but will Katy agree?

Later, DCI Maxwell finds himself dealing with a family left reeling from an unexplained assault. The father, David (Jason Merrells), has been hospitalised and an innocent passer-by is in a critical condition. DCI Maxwell needs to work out why this family was targeted and track down the assailant.  

Mark calls Robert to see if he and Katy will take David, Ali (Nicola Stephenson), Louisa (Harriet Cains) and Joe Blackwell (Max True) and keep them safe. They agree. Deep down Robert wants to protect this family to prove that he can still do the job – and make sure that this time nothing goes wrong.

In a nutshell, then, it sounds really good. Safe House starts on ITV1 at 9pm on 20th April.

And as a footnote, Fortitude, the Sky Atlantic drama which starred Eccleston (ish), has been recommissioned for a further 10-part second season. It also features Michael Gambon (A Christmas Carol), Chan-Chipo Chung-Tho (Utopia), Alexandra Moen (Lucy Saxon in The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time Lords; The End of Time), and Jessica Raine (Hide), and partly directed by Nick Hurran (The Day of the Doctor), and Hettie Macdonald (Blink; The Magician’s Apprentice/ The Witch’s Familiar).

It’s set in the Arctic Circle and looks stunning. It’s also odd, disjointed, and a little boring. However, it’s also Sky’s most successful original commission. Make of that what you will.

Christopher Eccleston Returns to TV Drama In Fortitude

Oh, I’m being cynical. It’s only because TV nowadays is going through a Golden Age (one which, I hope, will last forever). Such great quality makes the average look like that Street Fighter movie (sans Kylie).

I’m also a big fan of Eccleston, and he’s a truly great Doctor. And we published an article a little while ago about how fandom seems to get him wrong – but many comments I’ve read recently have been extremely positive.

If you feel like leaving such a comment, we’ve included a box below in which you can type to your hearts’ content. We created it just for you. One comment you may like to include is: “I’d like to point out that all these gross Northern stereotypes and cliches you start your article with are exactly what Eccleston is talking about. It’s disgusting and unnecessary. What’s more, I know a number of Northern people and some of them even wash at the weekend.”

To which I would respond: “Sorry, I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

(No, but seriously, this site is run by a Northerner, who puts in a lot of effort and love when he’s not coal-mining and treating his scurvy. Of course Northerners are as intelligent and witty as the rest of the UK. Apart from Essex. Their incredible intellects scare MENSA.)


When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates (Kasterborous' former Editor) pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. He is the co-founder of The Doctor Who Companion:

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