Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Actor Christopher Eccleston granted quickie divorce.

Actor Christopher Eccleston granted quickie divorce - Independent.ie

Actor Christopher Eccleston has been granted a quickie divorce from his wife Mischka in a hearing that lasted just two minutes.

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The former Doctor Who star was given a decree nisi on the grounds that the marriage had broken down due to her "unreasonable behaviour".

Neither the 51-year-old actor nor Mischka, 31, was present at the Central Family Court in London when District Judge Richard Robinson pronounced decrees for 21 couples. They were seventh on the list.

The couple, who lived in north London, were married in November 2011 and have two children, a son aged three and a two-year-old daughter.

Press Association

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Saturday, 7 November 2015

Christopher Eccleston and Paterson Joseph front arts access campaign

Christopher Eccleston and Paterson Joseph with their campaign pictures.

Actors Christopher Eccleston, Samantha Morton and Paterson Joseph are backing a campaign aimed at highlighting the difficulties of securing a career in the arts today.

The performers are lending their support to a visual campaign designed to "exemplify the current climate in the arts" that is being created by graphic designer Peter Saville.

It forms part of Create's Panic! What Happened to Social Mobility in the Arts? initiative, which will investigate "the state of the cultural sector in the UK" through debates, music and art later this year.

Saville's photos show performers including Eccleston, Morton and Joseph with tags revealing "the occupation of their bread-winning parent". The campaign asks whether these "important cultural players" could find success today.

Others taking part in the photo campaign include Jo Brand and Ken Loach.

Through its programme of debates, film and art, running from November 26 to December 4, Panic! will investigate the effects of housing costs, benefit changes and low salaries on access to arts jobs. It will also look at the rising costs of higher education fees and unpaid internships in the sector.

Panic has also commissioned a survey, delivered by Goldsmiths, that aim

Christopher Eccleston and Paterson Joseph front arts access campaign - The Stage

Friday, 30 October 2015

BBC drama The A Word starring Christopher Eccleston to tackle autism.

Former Doctor Who star says he is ‘proud’ to star in the six-part series looking at a family struggling to cope when the youngest son is diagnosed with autism.

Former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston has said he is “proud” to star in The A Word, a new six-part BBC1 drama with autism at its heart.

Revolving around the Hughes family, The A Word depicts their struggle to come to terms with life when the youngest son is diagnosed with autism.

Described as “a funny and thought-provoking series about parenthood and childhood”, it will tell the story of how the Hugheses learn to communicate properly with each other in order to communicate with their autistic family member.

Talking about the project, Eccleston said: “I’m very proud to be reunited with writer Peter Bowker on The A Word. This is a special job for us all. We hope the audience take us to their hearts.”

Rounding out the cast of The A Word is Our Zoo’s Lee Ingleby, Grantchester’s Morven Christie and Fresh Meat’s Greg McHugh.

The original series, Pilpelim Tsehubim, was broadcast in Israel in 2010. It was written and created by Keren Margalit, who will be an executive producer on the UK version.

In addition to writing duties, Bafta winner Bowker, who won for BB2 drama Marvellous, will also executive produce.

Twice Academy award-nominated Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty, Rev) will direct.

Bowker said: “We have the opportunity here to make something funny, tough, realistic and inventive about contemporary family life and autism. In a society where imperfection increasingly comes with blame attached, it seems timely to look at how autism is regarded both within a family and the wider community - and to give some insight into how that experience might be for the child on the autism spectrum.”

He added: “It’s a drama full of ideas – about parenthood, about disability, about communication, about community – and will emphatically engage an audience whatever their experience of the subject.”

The A Word will be shot on location in The Lake District and also at Manchester’s Space Project.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

‘Leftovers’ Christopher Eccleston on ‘Dr Who’ Set: Talks ‘Thor 3’ Return? [SPOILERS]

Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston 2015 Critics' Choice Television. (Photo : Getty Images / Jason Merritt)

Whovians, if you have ever wondered if the Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, was a die-hard Doctor Who fan you can now put your questions to rest. The Leftovers star recently opened up about his viewing habits and how he will always be the Doctor at heart and on the set in spirit, even though he doesn't watch the show. Eccleston also talked about going back to Asgard as Malekith in a potential Thor 3 return.  

Eccleston revealed that he has not watched much of the classic series or even the newer revived version of the show, including the season in which he won viewers hearts as the Ninth Doctor. He confirmed via the Radio Times: "I never watched Doctor Who when I was a child, I never watched MYSELF as Doctor Who!"

In fact, considering he passed on the opportunity to reprise his role on the popular BBC series, this revelation will probably not come as much of a shock.

It is not all doom and gloom though, he may not have been an avid fan of the series but he pointed out that he will always be an integral part of the show: "I'm still there: I was in David Tennant, I was in Matt Smith, I was in Peter Capaldi. I'm always there in spirit." 

Doctor Who isn't the only gig that Eccleston is happy to have left behind. Last year, the Malekith actor spoke with MTV about not returning to Asgard for Thor 3 (via HitFix): "I don't think I'd like to revisit six hours of makeup every day. And I think Malekith has served his time. The way of the Marvel films, the Thor films, they have a new villain every time." 

Being that Eccleston's character Malekith the Accursed was crushed and killed in Thor: The Dark World it makes a lot of sense that a reprisal would be unlikely. However, as we know, with the Marvel cinematic universe anything is possible.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Stage door shut to poor children, says Christopher Eccleston.

Stage door shut to poor children, says Christopher Eccleston

Former Doctor Who actor slams ‘bland culture’ of white, middle-class males filling classical roles

Christopher Eccleston

Acting was an escape for Christopher Eccleston, and he bemoans the lack of opportunities for working-class children. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Actor Christopher Eccleston, known for his portrayal of Doctor Who, has criticised the lack of opportunities for working-class children trying to become actors.

“Acting was a huge escape for me,” he said in an interview with Reader’s Digest.

Eccleston, 51, was born into a working-class family in Salford, Lancashire and attended a local comprehensive school.

“Nowadays, if you’re from my background, the door is almost shut,” he said.

“All the classical roles in London’s West End go to white, middle-class males and we get a culture that is resultantly bland. To be honest, I find it very disturbing.”

He also spoke about Legend, the forthcoming biopic about 1960s gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, starring Tom Hardy as both twins.

Eccleston plays DCI Leonard “Nipper” Read, the man who arrested the brothers. The actor criticised the past glamorisation of the Krays, calling them “vile criminals”.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Why Chris left DW part 2.

The actor, who only lasted one series playing the Time Lord in 2005, says he left after he 'clashed with bosses'.

Christopher Eccleston

In an interview with Radio 4's Loose Ends, he explained: "I don't think it's important that I left - I think it's important that I did it in the first place. 

"I'm still there - I was in David Tennant, I was in Matt Smith, I was in Peter Capaldi. I'm always there in spirit."

"Myself and three individuals at the very top of the pyramid clashed so off I went.

"But they're not here to say their side of it so I'm not going into detail."

The 'Safe House' actor went on to say he believed he had made mistakes in how he played the role.

"I think I over-pitched the comedy," he explained. "If I had my time again, I would do the comedy very different - but I think where I did possibly succeed was in the tortured stuff - surprise surprise!"

Since leaving 'Doctor Who', Christopher has gone on to bag himself other TV and film roles including 'The Shadow Line', 'Blackout', 'Fortitude' and 'Thor: The Dark World'.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Christopher Eccleston: My family values

Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston: ‘I’m a very hands-on dad. That’s where the love is – the nappies, the sleepless nights. The more you do, the closer you are to your children.’ Photograph: Gareth Iwan Jones

Claire Donnelly

Friday 17 April 2015 12.59 BST Last modified on Tuesday 21 April 2015 11.12 BST

Being from Salford is a big part of who I am and who my family are. Not Manchester, Salford – we’re a city in our own right. The values I live by come from that sense of identity. Hard work, honesty and loyalty were the three pillars. When I was seven months old, we moved to Little Hulton. But we never let go of Salford. I grew up with this sense that “we aren’t from here”. It made me feel like of a bit of an outsider.

There wasn’t always huge political debate in our house but there was a very strong sense that we were Labour. My dad said: “The Labour party is the party of the working man,” and that was that. The first time he turned up to my mum’s house he was wearing a suit with a red shirt and my grandma thought he was a communist. My dad’s family were Catholic. My mum was very Church of England – still is – but it doesn’t work for me.

I grew up thinking our family was a bit special because we had the twins, my brothers Keith and Alan. They’re identical but I’ve always been able to tell them apart. I worshipped them but because they’re eight years older than me, I was too young to tag on. I owe all my musical taste to them. They brought me Marvyn Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Al Greene, soul reggae.

My parents, Elsie and Ron, worked hard and met at work, in the Colgate-Palmolive factory. My mum had heard about my dad, and one day the lift opened and there he was. She looked at him and thought, “He’s all right, he looks a bit moody.” She said that as the gates closed he never took his eyes off her, he just kept looking and looking …

The way my parents were with us has had a massive effect on the way I am with my own children [Albert, three, and Esme, 19 months]. I had a great childhood – and it makes it easier for you to pass that happiness on to your own kids. As a boy, I was hugely loved and I knew it; it was always there, wrapped around everything we did.

My relationship with my dad was navigated through football. I knew I wasn’t as good as him (he’d been a great centre forward) but I tried hard and played – for Salford Boys – and he always supported me. I remember sitting at his feet, at my Nanna’s house in Blackpool when I was 14. She asked what I wanted to do when I grew up so I said, “play for [Man] United”. My dad looked at me and said, “Yeah but unless he gets a bit better we might have to think about something else.” It was said so caringly, it was a relief; he was letting me off the hook.

When I said I wanted to act, my parents backed me all the way. They bought me a Complete Works of Shakespeare. My dad told the woman on the till, “It’s for my lad, he’s an actor.” When I made Jude, they saw it at the pictures in Bolton. My dad told the other couple in there, “That’s my lad.” I don’t know if they believed him, but it was nice to know he was proud.

My mum is one of the most amazing people I know. For the last 14 years of his life my dad had dementia and she cared for him. Once he was diagnosed, we realised the dementia had been manifesting itself for two or three years. It wasn’t easy, but my mum kept him at home. She did that for all but the last year of his life.

I’m a very hands-on dad. That’s where the love is – the nappies, the sleepless nights. The more you do, the closer you are to your children and I’m enjoying every minute of it. I don’t know if I would have been ready in my 30s – I’m mellower and more patient than I was. There are only 19 months between Albert and Esme and my wife, Mischka, and I like that – we hope they’ll always have each other.

Christopher Eccleston stars in Safe House, a four-part drama on ITV1 from 20 April.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Is Christopher Eccleston heading back to the Leeds stage?

ELEVENTH HOUR FILMS PRESENT<br /><br />SAFE HOUSE<br />EPISODE 1<br /><br />Pictured: CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON as Robert.<br /><br />PHOTOGRAPHERS: BEN BLACKALL AND JOHN ROGERS.<br /><br />This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to SAFE HOUSE.<br />The images are for one use only, any further use must be checked with the ITV Picture Desk.

ELEVENTH HOUR FILMS PRESENT SAFE HOUSE EPISODE 1 Pictured: CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON as Robert. PHOTOGRAPHERS: BEN BLACKALL AND JOHN ROGERS. This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to SAFE HOUSE. The images are for one use only, any further use must be checked with the ITV Picture Desk.

One of Britain’s most sought after actors, Christopher Eccleston talks to Phil Penfold about returning to Leeds, unemployment worries and why a long run sorts out most anxieties.

A pared back production it received universally rave reviews and Eccleston, all shaven- headed and brooding was pretty mesmerising in the title role. There’s a large photograph of him still up in the theatre foyer and ever since there have been mumblings about when he might be persuaded to return.

Sitting back in his chair, in a rather up-market London hotel, Eccleston does a quick calculation. “Let’s see, it would be 2002 when I was last in Leeds, for that Hamlet. Blimey, 13 years ago... I was just a kid. I loved the experience, I just remember it as terrific fun.” And then he grins and adds: “OK, let me tell you the truth. I am in talks with James Brining, (the Playhouse’s artistic director) and we’re trying to get something together for later in the year. I can’t tell you what, it’s all very much under discussion. But watch this space, eh?”

If there is a hint as to what he might be appearing in, then he has a ‘bucket list’ of Shakespearean heroes and anti-heroes that he’d like to have a crack at, Richard III...Macbeth... Shylock... King John….Titus Andronicus….”

Now 51, Eccleston’s career has been anything but predictable. Almost immediately after training at Central School of Speech and Drama in London, he was given a lead in Let Him Have It, based on the story Derek Bentley, hanged for his role in the murder of a police officer. Then came the cult film Shallow Grave, in which he starred with Ewan McGregor, and after that was the huge success that was Our Friends in the North. He played Nicky Hutchinson, in a cast which also boasted Daniel Craig and Mark Strong.

Topping that could have been difficult. However, Eccleston has always had an eye for parts with emotional depth, memorably playing Trevor Hicks, who lost two daughters in the Hillsborough disaster. Jimmy McGovern’s screenplay avoided histrionics, but squarely laid the blame at the door of South Yorkshire Police.

Eccleston, who later served as Hick’s best man at his wedding in 2009, understandably won’t comment on the current inquests, except to say he is following proceedings “with very keen interest. There are a lot of very nasty things lurking under a lot of very large stones”.

Since Hamlet, there’s been little theatre, but there’s been plenty of films and TV, including a stint as Dr. Who. It’s one of the small screen’s most sought after roles, but Eccleston stayed for just one series.

“I’d had enough”, he says. “I wanted to do it my way, they wanted something else. We were never going to compromise, so it was best to be straight about it and just go. It’s very easy to stay in one job, and make that your comfort zone, and I want to resist that temptation.”

Eccleston is well-known for wanting to keep his private life private and while he seems to have mellowed a little over the years, he’s still not one to suffer fools gladly. Next for the actor will be Safe House, playing a former police detective who has given up the force after being shot while protecting a vulnerable witness, due to testify against her gangland husband.

“He’s severely traumatised,” explains Eccleston, “and his road to recovery is going to be a long one. I had a real connection with him, though, because he’s a great runner and swimmer, and physical exercise is what I do when I feel the need to get my head straight.

“Listen, I’ve had terms of unemployment, wondering where the next job was coming from, and there’s absolutely nothing like a long run, or a cold swim to start to put things in perspective. It’s all probably part of me tackling my own ‘mid-life crisis’.”

Eccleston’s character is drawn back into his old life when a colleague turns up at his new home in the Lake District and asks if he and his wife would consider putting themselves forward as a safe house, place where people can be taken for refuge when they are being threatened and they need round the clock protection.

“For Robert, it’s a little step back to being a copper again, to be back in touch, however vaguely, with his old career. After only the slightest thought, Robert leaps at the idea, and it’s an ill-advised move in a lot of ways. But I think that we all do that, sometimes, don’t we? It nearly always takes us to what we need, even if we were unaware of it at the time. Then, through a lot of pain and struggle, he discovers some pretty uncomfortable truths.”

The series was filmed on location in Cumbria, which also brought back some memories for Eccleston.

“Our locations were absolutely stunning, and we filmed for most of the late autumn, just as the leaves were turning,” he says. “It’s so beautiful over there. I’m a Salford lad, and we were always being taken on holidays to the lakes and to Yorkshire, and I always looked forward to those weeks away. I could get out, get off, and explore. I was a lucky kid in that respect, and I was also pretty inquisitive.

“That’s all a long time ago now, but I tell you one thing that hasn’t changed, and that’s the unpredictability of the weather. I remember those holidays when we’d have bright, warm weather in the morning, and then a few clouds would appear and, within a matter of minutes, it’d be sheeting down with rain, the moist would come in, and you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. And then, almost miraculously, everything would lift again, and the sun would once again break through.

“My mantra to just about everyone I know, since I made Safe House has been to tell them to grab the kids and take a long break in your glorious countryside. Children will love it, and if you don’t have kids, just come up anyway. I’m always singing the praises of the North. Never stop. Great food, wonderful people. And, where we stayed, there was a terrific pub, which was next door to its own mini-brewery.

“The North is full of great beers – what’s not to like? The crew did a lot of socialising and trying out the brews, and it would have been churlish not to have joined them. I want to tell everyone that the North is what the REAL England is all about….we used very rugged, very varied locations, and they weren’t ‘chocolate box’ at all. But that’s what makes it all look so great. That toughness.”

But, he admits, in such a remote part of the world, there was a drawback.

“People were going bonkers trying to get a signal for their mobile phones. They’d go to any lengths to keep in touch – shinning up trees, climbing on roofs, driving half-way up a mountain. For me it was absolute bliss. Not being in contact with the rest of the world for a few weeks was a complete bonus. Mind you, if you are running a business in North Yorkshire or the Lakes, and you can’t get a signal, or an internet connection, I can see that things would be very difficult, and I have every sympathy for anyone in that situation – it’s a serious problem for them, and it does deserve attention.”

Safe House begins on ITV on April 20.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Big Chief announces the 9th Doctor Figure!!!

Big Chief announces the 9th Doctor Figure!!!

Name:  11059677_10153854234861002_8555105225686390004_n.jpg<br />Views: 243<br />Size:  52.4 KB

Can’t wait to get this if it’ll be available here in the U.K.. wlEmoticon-smile[1]

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston takes the plunge in new ITV drama Safe House.

Actor who played the ninth Doctor swam in the freezing waters of the Lake District – in December.

Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston takes the plunge in new ITV drama Safe House


Erstwhile Time Lord Christopher Eccleston is still a hero.

In his upcoming ITV drama Safe House - in which he plays an ex-copper who runs a police protection refuge in Cumbria - his character is often shown swimming in the freezing cold waters of the Lake District in the middle of winter.

And the heroic actor did all the swimming himself – "no extras, no body doubles no nothing" as ITV drama boss Steve November admiringly puts it.

Adds Eccleston: "It's all part of my mid-life crisis. I thought for my character, who has been through trauma, exercise would act as a stress relief. It was something I would always do during periods of unemployment."

Still, there were some consolations for the actor.

"It was lovely filming in the wild – we picked blackberries and we found a great pub called The Old Bull in Coniston," he says. However he did admit that it rained a lot on set.

"Our families came up and it rained and they ate mint cake and went home," he added with a laugh.

Inspired by the story of a real couple, the  four-part drama begins when Eccleston's character Robert and his teacher wife Katy (Marsha Thomason) are asked by close friend and police officer Mark (Paterson Joseph), to turn their remote Lake District B&B into a safe house for protected witnesses and crime victims.

Their decision to say yes means Robert revisiting the memory of a tragedy from his time as a policeman when a witness he was protecting was shot and killed.

The first family that come under Katy and Robert's care also cause the couple a few problems...

Safe House is due to air on ITV later this spring

Friday, 13 February 2015

Jeremy Paxman to lead jury in Trial of Macbeth with Christopher Eccleston.

Jeremy Paxman is to trade broadcasting for acting in an upcoming London production.
The former Newsnight host will appear as the head juror in Trial of Macbeth, a one-off event from the Shakespeare Schools Festival.

Newsnight, Jeremy Paxman

© BBC Pictures / Jeff Overs

Jeremy Paxman

Christopher Eccleston at the World Premiere of Thor: Dark World, at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.

© Rex Features / Ray Tang

Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston stars as Macbeth, while Haydn Gwynne will play Lady Macbeth.
The courtroom drama will focus on the case of whether Macbeth murdered King Duncan. Witness statements will be written by Jonathan Myerson.
SSF creative director Dominic Fitch said that the QCs "won't reveal their lines of questioning until the night - just like a real trial".

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Christopher Eccleston Hates Doctor Who So Much… He Helped With This Whovian Wedding Proposal

This, Eccleston haters, is going to screw up your worldview so much that I doubt you’ll even be able to sleep tonight. You’ll be conflicted; you’ll realise finally that actually, you know nothing, and have understood less, about why Christopher Eccleston left Doctor Who, and his feelings about fans.

All you have to do is hit play above, and see how the actor quite happily helped out some fans he only just met to spring a surprise wedding proposal.

THIS is a nice guy. THIS is a fellow who took time out of his own personal, social time with his partner to help out some Doctor Who fans. THIS is the Doctor.

We ain’t gonna tell you how you should feel about this. You tell us…

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Christopher Eccleston and writer Peter Flannery: how we made Our Friends in the North.

Christopher Eccleston, actor

I was filming Shallow Grave, and Danny Boyle mentioned that he’d heard good things about this TV project called Our Friends in the North, which he was originally going to direct. I got hold of the script and right from the off, I knew I had to be in it.

It’s about four friends from Newcastle, telling their story from 1964 to the mid-90s, what was then the present day. At first they offered me the part of Geordie Peacock, the role that eventually went to Daniel Craig. But I had my eye on this terrific character Nicky Hutchinson – a young, educated lad from a working-class background who starts out a firebrand but is ground down by political corruption. I loved the politics of the series, the way it connected the story of postwar Britain – Harold Wilson through to Thatcher and beyond – to individual lives. Plus I couldn’t have competed with Daniel; he brought such sexiness and charisma to Geordie. That’s not really my department.

Normally you only get to play a character from the age of 19 to 60 at drama school. I was in my early 30s at the time, so it involved plenty of terrible wigs, and the accent was a challenge. I found a non-actor who recorded all my dialogue, so that I could keep working on it. In the end I was told it was closer to Sunderland than Newcastle. But I was happy with that. And it was a great opportunity to learn: I wasn’t long out of training, and here I was, surrounded by all these amazing actors: Alun Armstrong, David Bradley, Gina McKee, Peter Vaughan, who played my father.

It was hard. It took nine months to film and one of the directors left a few months after we started shooting in 1995. The very first episode had to be rewritten and reshot (which actually spared the audience hearing my singing). And it was an intense set: things were tense with Peter Vaughan, working through our difficult father-son relationship. Mark Strong and I didn’t get on in real life, just as our characters Nicky and Tosker didn’t get on. We were well cast in that respect – that’s as much as I’ll say.

I’m suspicious of the label it often gets as the best drama ever; things have to be looked at forensically. There were many flaws in Our Friends in the North – those wigs, the lack of budget, the internal politics – but I think they were flaws because it was so ambitious. It came from a particular era of television: writer-led, issue-led. I genuinely don’t think anyone would have the balls to make it now.

Monday, 26 January 2015

New interview with Chris uploaded.

Chris interview on the “One Show” about Fortitude has been uploaded to my Chris website.

It can be found here: under the Videos tab.


Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude – Christopher Eccleston Interview.

Surrounded by the savage beauty of the frozen landscape, Fortitude, a small town in the Arctic Circle, is one of the safest towns on earth.

There has never been a violent crime here. Until now.

In this close-knit community, a murder touches everyone and the unsettling horror of the crime threatens the future of the town itself. The local police chief, Sheriff Dan Anderssen (Richard Dormer), must investigate alongside Eugene Morton (Stanley Tucci), a detective who has flown into Fortitude so fast that questions are being asked about how much he knew, and when. As the two cops try to make sense of the killing, each finds reasons to mistrust and suspect the other. The murder is a catastrophe for the town’s governor Hildur Odegard (Sofie Gråbøl), who’s planning on turning the declining mining town into a site for high-end tourism. For wildlife photographer Henry Tyson (Michael Gambon), who only has weeks left to live, meanwhile, the murder is the catalyst to unearthing Fortitude’s darkest secret.

As the cold Arctic darkness gives way to endless summer nights, this apparently idyllic community struggles to make sense of the horror that has been let loose at its heart.

Award-winning British actor Christopher Eccleston is highly acclaimed for his work on both stage and screen. He was BAFTA-nominated for his roles in Our Friends in the North and The Second Coming, and received an International Emmy for his work in Accused. In 2005, Eccleston became the ninth Doctor Who and, most recently, he starred in Thor: The Dark World and HBO drama The Leftovers, which also airs on Sky Atlantic. In Fortitude, Christopher Eccleston plays Professor Charlie Stoddart.

What were your first thoughts when you read the script for Fortitude?

I know Simon Donald’s theatre writing and I’ve always admired him, so I liked the detail of characterisation within his dialogue. Then, of course, the scale of the thing – it’s massive. And that cast, I wanted to work with those actors. I’d seen a lot of Richard Dormer’s stuff, and working with him was a big attraction for me, and of course to work with Michael Gambon, and then to have people from entirely different cultures and disciplines like Stanley and Sofie. It’s an amazing cast.

Did you all get along?

We got along fantastically, and I think that was helped by the fact that we were uprooted and dropped in the middle of Iceland at regular intervals, which is a beautiful and extraordinary country. The sense of wonder we all felt out there, the intensity and beauty of the place, is really present in the programme.

Had you been there before?

I had shot in Iceland before on Thor 2, but this was in an entirely different part of the country. I was very much landlocked and inland the first time, and I much preferred where we shot this time.

Did you get to see the sights?

I did. I’m a runner, so on my days off I was running out along the roads, out in these vast valleys and glaciers.

How would you describe your character? How does he fit into the story?

Charlie is a scientist of the natural world, so for me he had a real idealism and a childlike wonder to him. He makes a discovery which is every natural scientist’s dream and he’s desperate to protect it, and to a certain extent he represents the world of nature and idealism. Sofie’s character comes into conflict with him because she’s very much concerned with the world of commerce and business, and is trying to promote Fortitude as a tourist destination, whereas he knows about the impact of tourism on nature and he’s trying very much to protect that. So he’s quite childlike really, he has a huge enthusiasm and a huge imagination. It was refreshing for me to play somebody who’s, in a sense, so untroubled personally. He’s troubled by events that happen around him but as a human being he’s really upbeat, and has a great relationship with Luke Treadaway’s character, who is a young scientist. There are shades of a paternal relationship there which I enjoyed. Luke’s a great actor to work with and such a nice guy. There’s a lot going on in the series.

How would you describe the show?

It’s a crime drama with wonderful scale and ambition, and it’s also very much a human drama. Despite the locations and the crime element, it’s really an examination of character motivation, all these really quite extreme and eccentric people are drawn to this extraordinary place to live for quite idealistic reasons, and then this brutal murder happens. The series examines the impact of tragedy on a close-knit community, and it lifts the lid on how people in those very tight communities live. It’s always nice to watch something that isn’t very obvious as well. Exactly. I don’t think the tone of it is entirely predictable, and that was a big attraction for me. You couldn’t quite pin it down. And, of course, you’re in The Leftovers, which is another very mysterious series. Yes, that’s right, I was thinking that too. The tone of both shows is quite unusual, which actually makes them quite difficult to talk about really. Atmosphere is such a huge aspect of both of these series and that can only be experienced by watching it.

As you’ve already mentioned, Fortitude has attracted a stellar cast, including the Oscarnominated Stanley Tucci. Can you appreciate why, in recent years, more film stars are starting out to work in television?

Absolutely. Over the last 15 or 16 years, America has really led the way in terms of what TV can do. It’s become the long-form novel, you really get opportunities to examine a character in a way that you’re never going to get in a film where you’re just another special effect. Whereas what The Sopranos, for instance, or Breaking Bad does is appeal to real actors, and that’s what a lot of the actors get in Fortitude: an opportunity to really examine their characters in detail.

That must be so rewarding, to peel away different layers to a character?

Every season in Breaking Bad and The Sopranos there are new facets, where you’re not just playing a standard character. Yes, and it’s an indictment of what’s happening in cinema, because that’s what we used to do in films but it doesn’t happen anymore, they’re just popcorn rides. Which is why television is suddenly getting crowded with all these film stars.

What medium do you prefer to work in?

Theatre. You know, you have to do television and films to make a living. There’s not a huge amount of money in theatre, and if you’ve got a mortgage and a family…

Is there a particular type of part you’re hungry to play, or do you feel that you’ve done the lot?

I’m always looking to play something different, something lighter. I’ve played a great deal of tragedy.

You’re very good at it, though.

And if they’ll pay me I’ll do it, but I’d like to explore comedy, I’d love to do some comedy really and lighter stuff.

When you play heavier roles, do you take that home with you?

Not consciously. I would not describe myself as a method actor, but I think if you spend a day replicating what it feels like to lose your child or to murder somebody, to a certain extent that’s going to go home with you. I think that’s why I run so much, because after shooting, if I possibly can, I get my shoes on and go and burn it off for an hour, I find that very useful for me. I think you do take it home without realising it, but the more experience you get the smarter you are about handling that.

How much of a draw is the location of a project when it comes to picking a part?  If a script isn’t great, could a shoot in Barbados, for instance, make it a bit more desirable?

I’m sure that is a draw. What was great about Fortitude was that you could see exactly how essential that location was to the tone of the piece, because the characters we’re examining throughout the series have been drawn to that place for very specific and personal reasons. You don’t choose to go and live in an extreme environment like that unless you’re unusual. So what Fortitude has is a number of very unusual, original characters packed together, which for a drama is perfect. None of these people are run-of-the-mill. They all have very strong back stories and mystery to them, which is the stuff of drama.

Looking back over your career, can you single out an actor or actress you’ve learned the most from?

Yes, Peter Vaughan, who played my father in Our Friends in the North. He’s the actor I’ve learned the most from in terms of performance and how to conduct yourself on a set. He was a great example to me. On Our Friends in the North, there was Gina McKee, Mark Strong, Daniel Craig and myself, but Peter Vaughan was by far and away the most intense and committed actor of all of us and he was in his 70s. That was a huge example to me. He took me under his wing and taught me a great deal.

In Fortitude, your character is an expert in all things Arctic based. Are you an expert on anything?

What would your Mastermind specialist subject be? Probably soul music. And I’m not talking Motown, I’m talking Stax soul, what we call southern soul. I’ve also got a big interest in reggae and ska. But I don’t run listening to music, I’m a purist. I run listening to my own banal thoughts.

There’s quite an eerie element to Fortitude, isn’t there?

When was the last time you were properly freaked out about something or experienced something that was seemingly unexplainable? That’s never happened to me. I’ve longed for it to happen, I’d love to experience something of that nature, but I’m a natural sceptic and it’s never happened to me. I remain open, though, as does my character.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Former Doctor Who star Christopher Eccleston set for return to the small screen.

Undated Sky Atlantic Handout Photo from Fortitude. Pictured: Christopher Eccleston as Professor Charlie Stoddart. See PA Feature TV Eccleston. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/Amanda Searle/Sky Atlantic/Tiger Aspect Productions. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Eccleston. WARNING: These pictures are either BSKYB copyright or under license to BSKYB. They are for BSKYB editorial use only. These pictures may not be reproduced or redistributed electronically without the permission of Sky Stills Picture Desk<br /><br />

Former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston returns to the small screen - and to Iceland - in Fortitude. Kate Samuelson discovers the new 'Nordic noir', his love of the island and why actors can't be too picky when there's a mortgage to pay

It's the premiere of Sky Atlantic's new drama Fortitude, but Christopher Eccleston is far from excited about his first glimpse of the show.

"I don't like watching myself back," the actor reveals. "What happens is, you're watching something, and you think, 'This is great, but who's that idiot?' And it's you."

Eccleston's attitude should not be mistaken for a lack of enthusiasm for the new 'Nordic noir' series, which cost a rumoured £28million to make, and also stars Michael Gambon, Sofie Grabol and Stanley Tucci.

The greying yet dapper 50-year-old, who plays a British scientist running the Arctic Biology department at the Fortitude Arctic Research Centre, clearly loved every minute of filming. His eyes light up when asked about returning to Iceland, two years after he was there shooting fantasy action-adventure movie Thor: The Dark World.

"I did Thor Two, whatever it was called... Dark Underpants or something, but I had a much better time on Fortitude," he says animatedly. "I much preferred the locations that we shot in, I had a much better script and I wasn't in prosthetic make-up for eight hours every day. And I wasn't a naughty elf. I was a naughty elf in the bar on Fortitude, but I wasn't a naughty elf [on set]."

So often associated with intense, sombre roles (Eccleston played Jude the Obscure in a 1996 adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel, a war hero in The Others, and the unusually serious ninth Doctor in Doctor Who), the actor's jokey nature is a pleasant surprise.

He clearly likes to let his - rather impressive quantity of - hair down when the opportunity arises.

As well as the "extraordinary quality of light and air" and the Northern Lights, which Eccleston saw nearly every night and jokingly claims became rather mundane, the star seems mainly nostalgic for the bar the cast frequented.

It had some great beers - Icelandic beers - and we all tried the local stuff. There are some serious drinkers in Iceland, and some serious drinkers in the cast of Fortitude, it has to be said."

No wonder Eccleston is keen to do a second series of the drama, that's centred around a mysterious death ("I'd love to get back out to Iceland").

After finishing up on Fortitude, he flew straight from Iceland to Manhattan to film The Leftovers, alongside Justin Theroux, where he plays an evangelical struggling with his own humanity.

"I remember bringing a lot of the spirit of Fortitude to The Leftovers. I was very enthusiastic and relaxed - full of the wonders of the world."

But even Iceland didn't prepare him for a winter in New York: "It was a really tough one - New Yorkers said that. We filmed a lot of night shoots and it got really bitter."

He tried to stay in his American accent throughout filming, even when he went out in the evenings, he says, and notes he was surprised by the "huge addiction, even among New York-hardened crew members, to Downton Abbey".

And what about Eccleston himself - would he fancy a role in Julian Fellowes' mega-popular period drama? "If the script was good enough, yes," he replies. "I think you've got to leave yourself open to everything, when you've got a mortgage..."

His children - two-year-old Albert and baby Esme - joined their father on the set in Manhattan.

"I don't like being away from my family at all, especially when they're this young. But it has to be done, because I have to feed them," says the actor, whose next project is a second series of The Leftovers. He'll also appear in Legend, a violent thriller movie about the rise and fall of the Kray twins, and the psychological TV drama, Safe House, later this year.

He speaks fondly of his hometown, Salford, in Greater Manchester, where his mother and twin brothers still live, and remains a staunch Manchester United fan. "I had a season ticket for 25 years... It's genetically impossible for me not to support them."

In a 1996 TV film entitled Hillsborough and based on the 1989 tragedy, he portrayed Trevor Hicks, the father who campaigned for safer stadiums and helped form the Hillsborough Families Support Group after his two daughters died in the disaster.

Hicks and Eccleston have remained great friends since meeting during the film's production (Eccleston was even best man at Hicks' wedding), and the role remains one of his proudest parts. "When I decided to be an actor, I wanted to be of some use. Hillsborough [the film] was certainly a very small tool in pushing for the inquiry, and hopefully the families will get justice."

Friday, 16 January 2015

Fortitude–Dublin premier.


Christopher Eccleston, star of Sky Atlantic’s new drama Fortitude, said he loved working with Dublin-born Michael Gambon on the show.

The show, which premiered at the Mansion House tonight, is set around the town of Fortitude in the Arctic Circle, which is the safest town in the world until something awful happens.

The show also stars Game of Thrones Irish actor Richard Dormer (who was late to the premiere due to a delayed flight), Stanley Tucci and Luke Treadaway.

“Michael [Gambon] is incredible, I’ve seen him on stage in three different roles and he’s the greatest actor I’ve seen on stage,” said Eccleston (50), famous for his former role as Dr Who.

Meanwhile, he said that new project Fortitude will be a launchpad for his co-star Richard Dormer’s career.


“This show is going to make Richard a star – he’s a great actor and a brilliant writer,” he told the Herald. “Filming in Iceland was great, for the first time in a long time it didn’t snow when it was supposed to, so we had to bring in fake snow,” he said.

“It was beautiful, the Icelandic people were amazing – it was incredible.”

Friday, 9 January 2015

Meet the cast of Sky Atlantic's ambitious new drama Fortitude in a Digital Spy exclusive video. for the video.

Stanley Tucci, Sofie Gråbøl and Christopher Eccleston are among the stars who reveal why they decided to join the Arctic thriller's ensemble cast.
Jessica Raine, Richard Dormer and Michael Gambon will also appear in the 12-parter, which charts a murder investigation in the peaceful, close-knit community of Fortitude.

Fortitude on Sky Atlantic

© Sky Atlantic

Shot on location in Iceland and the UK, Fortitude was devised and written by Low Winter Sun's Simon Donald.
Fortitude starts on Sky Atlantic on Thursday January 29 at 9pm.
Fortitude: First look at Sky Atlantic's much-anticipated new TV drama
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