— Christopher Eccleston on something“How the hell am I supposed to understand what the fuck he's saying?”
— Oscar Wilde on Christopher Eccleston
Christopher Eccleston (sometimes credited as Christopher Ecclescake) is an award-winning British actor best known for his wide and varied portrayals of moody, big eared Northerners.
Eccleston was born in Hilton Lane in Little Hulton, near Salford, in Lancaster County, then Lancashire now the part of Greater Manchester everyone calls Lancashire, North West England, England, Great Britain, Europe, Earth, Sol System, Milky-Way Galaxy. Raised in a working class family that descended from the 'ardest of Northerners, Eccleston was fascinated by acting at a young age and proved to be adept at playing large eared characters of Northern extraction. His drama teacher, Lenny Henry, saw this in Eccleston and urged him to continue with acting. Eccleston had no other prospects, so studied at Salford Tech and half-inched a drama degree from a nice Catholic girl called Barbara Jones at the Northern School of Speech and Drama in London, with an emphasis on Yorkshire.
The 1989 Zombie Invasion
It was whilst Eccleston was working his Northern arse off in a shoe shop in Manchester that the Zombie Invasion of 1989 broke out. This was of course a major inconvenience for many around the world, but none more so than Eccleston, who was only 47 minutes away from his first pay check. It was during the invasion that Eccleston decided to put on hold his acting career, and decided to fight back like a true Northerner, using his combat skills that he had picked up from years of watching Magnum, P.I. The invasion did, however, turn out to be good practise for zombie-fest film 28 Days Later.
Joining a group of Northerners including future co-star Daniel Craig and chubby funnyman Peter Kay, Eccleston was one of several who eventually defeated the zombies and restored peace to planet Earth on July 2nd 1989. In a newspaper article from the following year, Eccleston explains that he didn't truly realise what he was letting himself in for:
"Cilla Black was the one who started the resistance, and I just followed on from her fantastic work. Obviously I had to get involved, those bastards didn't have a clue who they were messing with, did they? But fuck me, they were tough. Really, relentless. It was only after they munched off Daniel Craig's hand that I knew they meant business. But I just strutted through the streets and twatted the gormless shits with my bare hands. I even used Danny's for extra twatting."
Ecclescake soon broke into television when the economy re-grew itself, getting a starring role in the gritty ITV comedy series Cracker (1993) alongside pie-lover Robbie Coltrane. In 1994 he followed this up with a part in the British crime/horror/yuppie/comedy/twats film Shallow Grave in which he played "insane Super-Northern man who lives in the attic (with big ears)" which he described as "a challenging role, physically demanding and the most Northern I've portrayed". 1996 brought a role in the much-celebrated BBC drama series Our Friends In The North starring alongside James Bond as unhappy Communist shagger Nicky Hutchinson. 1998 saw him appear as a big-earned, northern Elizabethan aristocrat in Elizabeth. "Eeeh, I got my arse out in that film", Eccleston reminisces, "and I insisted on farting, partly because I believe the Elizabethans used to fart when they were shaggin' and partly because my arse farts in a gritty, real, Northern way. It was dubbed out in the final cut and I've never forgiven the director. Never. If anyone wants to see the "Christopher Eccleston Cut" they can come round to my house, I've got it somewhere on video and I've installed a subwoofer in the living room so you get the full effect. By gum."
In the Naughties, Eccleston attempted a Hollywood film career, starring in the Oscar winning adaptation of Anne O'Nymus's novel, The Dark Is Rising. The film, which caused a media sensation upon release and was recorded by Roger Ebert on his List of films to see before you die, starred Eccleston as the Black Rider, aka: He Who Actually Can Be Named, the ultimate personification of pure evil (with a Northern accent). He has also played some stupid plastic toy in GI Joe: Grow the Fuck Up; "As soon as I held that plastic toy in my hand I knew he should be portrayed as Northern" chuckles Eccleston.
It was 2005 that had British audiences picked-up by their television sets and given a big, Northern, Eccleston slap across their chip-stuffed faces as Doctor Who returned with Ecclescake as Doctor #9, aka "the reluctant and very Northern Doctor". Controversially, Eccleston left after a single series as the Doctor and handed his phallic sonic screwdriver to skinny Scottish sex beast David Tennant. Eccleston won't explain why, and if you ask him he'll punch you in the face and then nut you for good measure. It's the Northern way, you soft Southern ponce.
More recently, Eccleston has appeared in Heroes as a man from the North of England with big ears, one who can go invisible. He has also starred in the BBC porn film Lennon Naked (in which the viewer was exposed to Eccleston's cock) and is currently working on two sequels: McCartney Stupid and Hendrix Black. Eccleston has stated that he will "black up, probably with shoe polish" for the latter role and that he "doesn't give a damn."
Eccleston's Thoughts on Selected Roles
- DCI Bilborough from Cracker: "We decided early on he'd have a chip on his shoulder because he became a Chief Inspector at such a young age, but we also wanted something else to isolate him from the rest of his team. I suggested big ears..."
- Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk in Elizabeth: "I've not seen any hard historical evidence that Thomas Howard wasn't a large-eared Northerner so I patiently explained to [director] Shekar Kapur that this is how he should be played."
- Major Henry West in 28 Days Later: "I played an army officer from the Lancashire Regiment who wanted to gather all the survivors of the zombie holocaust and set up a breeding program to perpetuate a slightly bigger-eared version of the human race."
- Raymond Calitri in Gone in Sixty Seconds: "For this role I actually used my own accent and appearance."
- The Son of God in The Second Coming: "It was obvious to me that if Jesus Christ was going to be reincarnated on twenty-first century Earth, it was going to be somewhere really gritty and close to Salford, like Manchester. It took some time to convince the producers of this, but to their credit they ran with it and rewrote all the scripts to accommodate my ideas. I then added my own interpretation to the role, which was that he would no doubt have big ears."
- Ninth Doctor 'Oo: "He's probably from a planet where the air is quite thin. Sound doesn't travel as easily, so he'd need big ears to hear things. By now his TARDIS is malfunctioning, so it translates all his speech to sound like someone from Salford."
- Claude from Heroes: "Here's a bloke who's been invisible for a long time, so he doesn't care what he looks like or sounds like - he's got dirty clothes, beard stubble, big ears and a Northern accent."
- John Lennon from Lennon Naked: "So you've got this man from the North West of England, and he's got big ears; but he wants to be a rock and roll star so he grows his hair really long so people don't see them. The story of John Lennon, as interpreted by myself, is that of a man who had longstanding issues about his ears. In one scene, which was a pleasure to shoot, I portray Mr Lennon singing angrily into a microphone using "primal scream therapy" in order to try and get all his rage about his ears out of his soul and onto vinyl. You get to see my cock too.".
- Joseph Bede in The Shadow Line: "Here you have this character who's been a lieutenant to a major gangster and suddenly he's thrust into the position of leader, there's also the tragedy of his home life with his wife suffering from early-onset Alzheimers. But what too many critics didn't pick up on is his ears, he obviously feels they make him vulnerable. Rafe Spall could easily grab a-hold of them and nut him if he pushes him too far and what's he going to do, what's Bede going to do? I think we really brought that tension out in this series. No, he's not from the South."