Despite the exceptionally warm weather we’re experiencing today in the UK (and more specifically in Manchester), this afternoon, as the sun was blazing high in the sky, I spent a good 90 minutes sat in a darkened auditorium watching a live talk with actor Christopher Eccleston. The event – A Conversation with Christopher Eccleston – was held at Home in Manchester and was attended by a few hundred people who also chose to step away from the sun.
Was it worth it? Heck yeah!
I attended the event with a friend who is a big fan of Doctor Who. Knowing that I’m a fan of the modern era of Who – as well as a general film/TV fan – he thought I might like to tag along too – and he was right.
Presented as a one-hour discussion, followed by a 30-minute Q&A with the audience, A Conversation with Christopher Eccleston served up a run down of the actor’s career with insights into the highs and the lows of the past 30 years. Movies such as Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), Thor: The Dark World (2013) and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) were touched upon, along with his TV work – including Cracker and Doctor Who – as well as his more recent turn on the stage.
I’d say the majority of those who turned up to the event were Doctor Who fans but while the show was discussed – and brought up again during the Q&A – the talk didn’t linger on this subject for too long. Was that a problem? No, not at all, because when Eccleston did talk about his time in the TARDIS it was all very respectful.
It has been reported numerous times that Eccleston has issues with his time on Doctor Who – something backed up by the actor himself. However, going off of the discussions in today’s talk, it is clear that he has a lot of respect for the show.
Discussing his approach to the character – a lonely man falling through time – Eccleston demonstrated that he gave the role a lot of thought. It also became clear that while the experience might not have been his favourite, he understands how important it is.
Outside of Doctor Who, Eccleston highlighted his least favourite acting jobs – Thor: The Dark World and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra – as well as his most significant role to date – Hillsborough. At present he’s relishing his current role in Macbeth and when an audience member commented she had seen his play twice, his face lit up.
Going into today’s talk I was unsure how I was going to find Eccleston. Known mostly for his serious roles – including some pretty hard-hitting dramas – I was expecting him to be quite to the point and perhaps a little guarded. That wasn’t the case. Eccleston comes across as a down-to-Earth, very likeable, funny and open actor who understands the work he undertakes – whether its a good project or a bad one.
This is someone who doesn’t take his work for granted and is clearly committed to his job. He’s also someone who understands his roots and believes, quite passionately about actors coming from working class backgrounds.
Does he regret some of the roles he’s taken on? Yes – but, as he mentioned numerous times he took those parts to help pay the mortgage. Was Doctor Who one of those parts? Not at all.
At the end of today’s talk, Eccleston thanked the audience, receiving a huge round of applause in the process. He then signed a few autographs before departing.
Sun or no sun – spending 90 minutes today in the company of Christopher Eccleston was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. If he ever takes part in one of these Q&A sessions again then I highly recommend you get yourself a ticket.
Not only is Christopher Eccleston one of the UK’s best actors, he also seems like a pretty decent bloke. And what’s not to love about that?