very interesting about New York is that people say it's very
impolite. I was asking for directions and everybody was really
nice. It made me quite ashamed really because in Manchester,
you would get that level of politeness, but in London they'd
ignore you!" - Christopher Eccleston
|Salford Born actor,
Christopher Eccleston comes from a working-class background,
the youngest, by 8 years, of three brothers. One of his brothers
is a builder whilst the other is a furniture maker and upholsterer,
both now working in TV & Film (Alan has worked on Cold
Feet ). Chris doesn't share their manual dexterity but has
always been keen on sport, including playing football and
long-distance running. Academically he wasn't so keen, leaving
school without qualifications despite re-sitting his exams,
but it was his English teacher, Mrs Sorah, who influenced
his direction into the dramatic arts.
from London's Central School of Speech and Drama in 1986,
he made his stage debut at the Bristol Old Vic, followed by
work at the National, Royal Court and Bush theatres. Meaningful
work was hard to come by for about three years but he then
made his film debut in the true story Let Him Have It . This
film was about Derek Bentley, a mentally retarded 19-year
old epileptic, who was hanged for supposedly inciting his
accomplice to kill a policeman in 1952. The execution was
seen as a miscarriage of justice for many years and the film,
coupled with other campaigns, led to the Court of Appeal,
in 1998, finally pardoning Bentley, posthumously. (Christopher
was an invited guest at a Memorial service at Southwark Cathedral).
|Chris was raised
on what he describes as 'the Golden Age of British TV"
when there was a lot of great dramas and comedies being produced.
Consequently he has always enjoyed working in TV and whilst
he prefers gritty working class roles to "pissing about
doing Noel Coward" he is anxious to avoid being type-cast.
He cites Alan Bleasdale, Ken Loach and Siegfried Sassoon amongst
his influences and would like to work with Martin Scorsese
and John Sayles. He greatly admired the late John Cassavetes.
Pride Of Manchester's list of TV and Film Credits includes
a lot of classy work but stand-outs in terms of his career
progression must be his role as Detective Chief Inspector
Bilborough in Cracker, as the title role in Jude, and as David
in Shallow Grave .
|He was honored
with two Press Guild Awards for Best Actor for his performance
on Hillsborough for Granada TV and the BBC’s Our Friends
in the North. The latter also garnered him a BAFTA Best Actor
nomination. Other British television work includes; Friday
on My Mind, Death and the Compass, Humboldt and Clocking Off
for the BBC; Poirot, Inspector Morse and Chancer for Central
Television and Hearts and Minds, Bellman, Box and Vandal and
Killing for Channel 4. As well as the ITV drama, 'The Second
|He is quite selective
about the parts he takes and even as recently as 1998 spent
the best part of nine months without work, having moved back
from London to his native Eccles in 1996 after ending a relationship.
One role he did turn down was that of Begbie in Trainspotting
(1996), eventually played by Robert Carlyle.
|Away from work
he is a keen Manchester United supporter and once played alongside
United legend Eric Cantona (not on the pitch but in the movie
Elizabeth !) Chris has made a strong mark already and interest
in him is so strong that his future must be assured. He has
starred alongside Cameron Diaz in 'Invisible Circus', shares
the billing with Nicole Kidman in 'The Others' and played
a homeless person in the highly acclaimed '24 Hour Party People'.
|He was then filming
with Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis, Miranda Richardson and
Bill Paterson in Terry Gilliam's " The Man Who Killed
Don Quixote " Terry Gilliam's £32 million film
about Don Quixote, starring Johnny Depp, fell apart after
illness, finance problems and floods. Infact it was a total
disaster. However a film documentary called 'Lost in La Mancha'
was later released. It recorded how it all fell apart whilst
making the movie.
|28 Days later
would be a hit for Eccleston. In this film from director Danny
Boyle and writer Alex Garland, a powerful virus is unleashed
on the British public following a raid on a primate research
facility by animal rights activists. Transmitted in a drop
of blood and devastating within seconds, the virus locks those
infected into a permanent state of murderous rage. Within
28 days the country is overwhelmed and a handful of survivors
begin their attempts to salvage a future, little realising
that the deadly virus is not the only thing that threatens
latest guise is that of the Time Lord, Doctor Who, with
the first series being shown from March 2005 on the BBC1
on Saturday nights (and repeated on BBC3 on Sunday evenings).
Written and produced by 'Queer as Folk' creator Russell
T Davies, the new casting will see a new gritty more on
the edge Doctor and perhaps bring the cult sci fi icon to
a wider audience. Eccleston has added his Manchester voice
and style to the famous character, making him stand out
from the previous eight actors who have played Dr Who before.