Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Christopher Eccleston launches new dementia hub.


Former DR WHO star Christopher Eccleston will be sharing the 'devastating' experiences of his father's Alzheimer's as he opens a special new hub for people living with dementia.

The Salford-born actor will open the new Salford Institute for Dementia 'Hub' on Wednesday 17 May as part of a series of events taking place at Salford University to mark Dementia Awareness Week (May 15-20).

The Hub aims to be an outreach centre for the public to access the latest research and ideas about living well with dementia.

The £300,000 centre at the University's Allerton Building, features a dementia friendly garden, a visitors' centre designed to look as much as possible like a home, and will be a base for the University's dementia associates, who include Joy Watson, founder of Dementia Friends.

The centre also contains a special kitchen built to demonstrate the latest dementia friendly designs, with a glass fronted fridge and cupboards as well as other design features such as colour cues to help people with dementia understand the environment.

People with dementia and their carers can visit the Hub to take part in activities such as gardening and dance and to get guidance from others who have experienced the condition, while researchers from across the University will also be able to work there.

Christopher, whose father Ronnie lived with Alzheimer's for 12 years before his death in 2012, believes we can all learn much from the bravery of people who live with Alzheimer's and dementia but that we are not paying enough attention: "It is a growing problem and we need families and carers to be educated, supported and understood," he has said.

The actor will also join a panel to discuss current dementia care alongside international expert Dr John Zeisel, former MP Hazel Blears and Professor Anthea Innes, Director of the Salford Institute for Dementia on Tuesday 16 May. The special event is being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the University, which is home to the Salford Institute of Dementia.

Also as part of Dementia Awareness Week (May 15-20), the University of Salford, is hosting the Alzheimer's Research UK North West Public Engagement Event on 17th May. The event is being held in collaboration with The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Liverpool and the University of Lancaster.

Academic researchers along with local dementia services and information providers will be putting on a range of interactive events aimed at helping the public understand the physical, psychological and social nature of dementia, whilst learning more about local dementia support networks and initiatives.

The event will also celebrate the successes of local dementia associated projects and includes laboratory tours, information points, performances, from a Gospel Choir and other family friendly activities, including Shetland ponies.

Professor Anthea Innes, Director of the Salford Institute for Dementia, said: "The new hub will put the University of Salford at the heart of the community and provide a real focal point for people living with dementia as well as their carers.

"The events taking place here to mark Dementia Awareness Week will provide a great opportunity for anyone who's been affected by dementia to find out about the work being done here in Salford, as well as across the North West and further afield, to help people living with the condition. We look forward to seeing as many members of public as possible on both days."

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

A new film with Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake is tackling class prejudice head on [VIDEO].

A new film is tackling the issue of class prejudice in the acting profession. And it's doing it with some big names. But while the industry is viewed by many as one of 'rags-to-riches' stories, the truth is very different.

Raising actor awareness

The Acting Class is produced by the film company Inside Film. It talks to struggling actors. Especially about the difficulties of not having the resources to "get in and get on in the industry". The project started after films makers, Deirdre O'Neill and Mike Wayne, were introduced to actor Tom Stocks on Twitter. He started Actor Awareness, a campaign to raise awareness of the issue of class exclusion in the acting profession. He was moved to do something when he couldn't raise the money to accept a post-graduate degree offer. And as O'Neill and Wayne told The Canary, Stocks inspired them to make The Acting Class:

We listened to Tom's story and were impressed by what he was trying to do with Actor Awareness. We had made a film previously documenting the condition of the working class in Britain which had used theatre as a way of telling these stories. So we were already talking to actors about their aspirations and how difficult it is to succeed. The Acting Classseemed a natural continuation of that.

Entrenched classism?

Research from the London School of Economics (LSE) backs up the idea that acting is a privileged profession. It found that 73% of actors came from the middle class backgrounds, but only 27% were working class. The analysis is even starker when compared to official statistics. These show only 29% of the UK are defined as having "middle class origins". And the difference in earnings was also pronounced. Because when people of the same age, ethnicity and gender were compared, working class actors reported earnings of £11,000 a year less than middle class ones.

O'Neill and Wayne said of the problem:

Such statistics indicate that there is a problem out there and it has multiple dimensions. These include the Londoncentric nature of the business and how incredibly difficult it is becoming for people to live in the capital. It includes how dependent actors are reliant on the bank of 'Mom and Dad', and how many professional services with fees attached you need to pay for to get in and get on. For those from working class backgrounds who do manage to get work, it is very difficult to sustain themselves while juggling with other more regular jobs.

As they get older and their financial commitments increase, gradually the day job takes over and the aspiration to be an actor has to adjust to the reality. This is all part of a much wider problem. It is becoming increasingly difficult for young working class people who want to do any kind of professional and/or artistic work thanks to government policies that are making the arts once again the preserve of the rich – a luxury item.

If I can make it here…

The idea of The Acting Class was to build a broad picture from people in different parts of the industry. They contacted educators, academics, artistic directors, the former Head of the Arts Council, and actors. And also included well-known faces such as Christopher Eccleston, Maxine Peake, and Julie Hesmondhalgh. All of whom are actors from working class backgrounds. O'Neill and Wayne said that these three were "able to build their careers in an earlier period where there was more support". And all three worry that if they were starting out now, they would be far less likely to succeed. As O'Neill and Wayne said:

There is a general agreement from the people we spoke to that success is currently linked to your financial resources. We have spoken to actors outside London and to actors who have given up, who could not continue with the hand to mouth existence they were leading. But just think about Eccleston, Peake, and Hesmondhalgh's comments. The cultural landscape would not be the same without the contribution of actors from outside the private school-Oxbridge nexus. How many other potential great actors are not now being given a chance because the barriers are getting higher?

A societal problem?

O'Neill and Wayne say the issue of classism in the acting industry is an important one. Because so often, the arts paint the cultural portrait of this country: whose voices are heard, whose stories are told, whose experiences and values get some sort of airing. And if the profession is dominated by the middle classes, then a:

vicious circle gets created where the more exclusive the people making the stories becomes, the more exclusive the people watching the stories on stage or on screen becomes.

And what this will do is stifle conversations and narratives; silencing the stories of many people who live in the UK. O'Neill and Wayne said:

It is important that there is diversity across the board in terms of class, race, gender, disability and sexuality. But we are going to struggle to get that diversity, especially in terms of race – given the correlation between race and poverty in this country – if people from working class backgrounds are being shut out. One of the things we have discovered is that people are much more aware and willing to acknowledge or at least try and address the problems of, say, ethnic minorities and gender than they are of class.

While today it would be quite unacceptable to have a white person playing Othello, it is quite normal for people from privately educated backgrounds to get to play working class characters. Now we appreciate that that is what acting is about, being someone you are not, but it is not reciprocal generally. There is much less opportunity for working class actors to 'act up'.

On the up?

Classism is a controversial subject. Successive governments have claimed to focus on 'social mobility'. But the reality is often far from this, no matter what the profession or lifestyle. And in the acting world, it is perhaps even more obvious. As for most of us a day doesn't go by where we're not exposed to the industry. Be it on TV, film, radio, or online. And O'Neill and Wayne say that the industry is loathe to act:

What we have noticed is that people are quite resistant to discussing class and this is true not only within the profession but more widely. We have read recently that quite high profile actors from quite privileged backgrounds have been dismissing the problem. Very often when you raise the question of class barriers you get accused of being obsessed with class, as if drawing attention to the issue is part of the problem! But class is not just a set of unfortunate attitudes that will go away if we pretend that everyone is equal or has an equal opportunity. Class is institutional and entrenched in this society.

But with The Acting Class O'Neill and Wayne hope to start a conversation. One about a problem plaguing both the acting industry, and the world more broadly. It's refreshing to see classism being openly discussed; especially in an industry that impacts on nearly everyone's daily lives. As far as working class projects go, The Acting Class is one of this year's most exciting so far.

Watch the trailer of The Acting Class:


Monday, 27 March 2017


Christopher Eccleston in Brian Pern: A Tribute

Fifth and Ninth Doctor actors Peter Davison and Christopher Eccleston can be seen starring in the BBC Four comedy spoof-documentary, Brian Pern: A Tribute.

The episode broadcasts on March 29 at 10pm on BBC Four.

Christopher Eccleston reprises his role as music producer Luke Dunmore for the show whilst Peter Davison plays himself.

Previous episodes of Brian Pern have actually used 'classic' Doctor Who music and footage — with the 1984 episode Frontios being used to comedic effect in the spoof-documentary. The latest instalment also features another Fifth Doctor classic, The Visitation.

The forthcoming episode also stars: Suranne Jones (The Doctor's Wife), Tony Way(Deep Breath), and Jane Asher and Nigel Havers, both major guest stars in Doctor Who spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Brian Pern: A Tribute airs 10pm, March 29, 2017 on BBC Four

PLEASE NOTE: This show contains material NOT suitable for younger fans

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Re: [badwolf] Former Timelord Christopher Eccleston is film group’s patron. [1 Attachment]

This is a great story.  I am so proud of him.  That is the cutest photo of him.  He does not live to far from that place.  He used to live near it with his family.

Sally Ann Price

On Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 12:54 PM, Virginia McGovern virginia.doctor9fan@ntlworld.com [badwolf] <badwolf@yahoogroups.co.uk> wrote:

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"Admirers of Chris's Bits."



Leigh film enthusiasts have pulled off a coup by unveiling one of the region's best-known acting stars as their community group's patron. Christopher Eccleston, best known for playing the ninth Timelord in Doctor Who, has given his official backing to Leigh Film and the Leigh Short Film Festival.

Former Timelord Christopher Eccleston is film group's patron Christopher Eccleston, who is the new patron of Leigh Film and the Leigh Short Film Festival ANDREW NOWELL Email 12:00Sunday 19 February 2017 Leigh film enthusiasts have pulled off a coup by unveiling one of the region's best-known acting stars as their community group's patron. Christopher Eccleston, best known for playing the ninth Timelord in Doctor Who, has given his official backing to Leigh Film and the Leigh Short Film Festival. The award-winning actor, who was raised not far from Leigh in Little Hulton, has appeared in a host of TV dramas and films as well as taken on top stage roles including Shakespeare's Hamlet. He is now the patron of the town's annual celebration of short, low-budget movies made by up-and-coming film-makers and the regular screenings of classic and non-mainstream films at The Turnpike Centre in Leigh. Leigh Film secretary Elizabeth Costello said: "We are so honoured at Leigh Film to have Christopher Eccleston as our patron. We have been working over the past four years on delivering quality community cinema and having Christopher, an award-winning actor, as our patron is amazing recognition for what we do and our ethos. "He was raised not a stone's throw away from Leigh and we believe he proves that with hard work and passion for what you believe in you can succeed. We are so honoured at Leigh Film to have Christopher Eccleston as our patron Leigh Film secretary Elizabeth Costello "It is hoped through Christopher's patronage that we at Leigh Film can raise the aspiration of young people in the borough to get involved in film and other associated activities." Now living in Worsley, Eccleston, has become one of Britain's most recognisable acting talents, with notable credits including his roles in hit films such as Shallow Grave, Elizabeth, 24 Hour Party People and 28 Days Later. Originally influenced by films such as Ken Loach's Kes and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, he studied at the Central Speech of School and Drama and first trod the boards professionally at The Old Vic in Bristol aged 25. Recent major roles including British series The A Word about autism and American drama The Leftovers. He is also known for his work on defeating dementia, currently featuring in Alzheimer's Research's new campaign, and Leigh Film hopes to work on this as its Afternoon Cinema Club aims to tackle social isolation and provide somewhere for dementia sufferers and their carers. For more information about the group visit www.leighfilmsociety.com

Read more at: http://www.leighobserver.co.uk/news/former-timelord-christopher-eccleston-is-film-group-s-patron-1-8391734

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Former Timelord Christopher Eccleston is film group’s patron.


Thursday, 15 December 2016

Tuesday, 29 November 2016



Star date: 28th November 2016


Hundreds of people packed into Salford University's Maxwell Hall yesterday to hear Maxine Peake, Christopher Eccleston, Sheila Hancock, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Mike Joyce do Radical Readings from Salford's history and struggles.

The top class event was poignant, political and in parts hilarious, with Maxine Peake ending the day by explaining why it's so important to support the Working Class Movement Library... "If we don't learn from the past we end up with a future a bit like we've got now" she said, to thunderous applause. 

Full details here...

Radical Readings at Working Class Movement Library Salford Radical Readings at Working Class Movement Library Salford Radical Readings at Working Class Movement Library Salford 
Radical Readings at Working Class Movement Library Salford Radical Readings at Working Class Movement Library Salford 
click image to enlarge

So Maxine Peake is on stage, trying to get her tongue around a latter day poem by Radical Readings organiser, Royston Futter; a kind of re-working of an AA Milne poem but with added Brexit, Trump and Tories...

...There's a line about Cameron and Osborne but Maxine can't spit it out... "Ossbon...Ossbum...Arsehole" she laughs "They're all arseholes!"

The audience in the packed hall cheers her on. Despite two hours of readings about Salford's past political struggles and humour in misery, the radical spirit is definitely alive today – led by Maxine herself, Christopher Eccleston, Sheila Hancock, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Mike Joyce.

It's a fundraiser for the Working Class Movement Library and these top, top stars have given their time to aid the survival of an institution that archives in artefacts, books, banners and flyers the fights of ordinary people for a better life.

There's loads of readings of descriptions of old Salford society, from Walter Greenwood's `slumdom' stories of Black Bill Douglas and his child slave mill down Whit Lane, to Engels' documenting of the `conditions of the working class', to the opening chapter of Harold Brighouse's Salford-set Hobson's Choice, which is celebrating its centenary this year.

Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake read extracts from the opening chapter which talks of Salford's "over populated districts" competing with Manchester, and "human beings extraordinarily endowed with the will to live"...

Within the misery of poverty there was also humour, as extracts from the Ewan MacCollautobiography, Journeyman, witness - kids using prize pigs' tails as would-be willies to scare off the girls, and George Drummond, whose work colleagues at Cox's Foundry presented him with a plaque as the `champion farter of Salford 1921'.

Robert Roberts also looms large with A Ragged Schooling recounting the hilarious exploits of kids using Salford's (and the country's) first public library, brought back to life through the vivid narration of the on-stage actors (and ex-Smiths drummer, who's got definite talent as a voice artist).

Then there's the classics of local working class history, with stories of Peterloo, The Chartists and George Orwell's Homage To Catalonia, plus everyone paying homage to Ruth and Eddie Frow, the Library's ace founders.

All in all it was a bit of a perfect, special day – Salford, radicalism and the legends that are Sheila Hancock, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Mike Joyce, Christopher Eccleston and Maxine Peake, who ended the day explaining why it's so, so important to support the Working Class Movement Library...

"If we don't learn from the past we end up with a future a bit like we've got now" she insisted, to thunderous applause. 

*To learn more from the past go to the Mary Quaile Club event at the Working Class Movement Library this Saturday, 3rd December, at 1pm, for a film Looking Back at the Grunwick Strike 1976-1978 plus speakers from the Grunwick 40 Steering Group, and the Durham Teaching Assistants who are facing huge wage cuts and strike action now. See Salford Star article for further details – click here

For more details of the Working Class Movement Library see www.wcml.org.uk

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