Doctor Who: Lots Of Planets Have A North

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Chris Morley heads north...


Amidst all the fuss over the Thirteenth Doctor having emerged from the chrysalis of regeneration in a new female body, surely just as striking is her accent - a return to the North for those long lived vocal cords...



Jodie Whittaker hails from West Yorkshire, and, of course, one of her previous selves had a hint of Manchester, Christopher Eccleston being a Salford lad..........



ROSE: If you are an alien, how comes you sound like you're from the North?
DOCTOR: Lots of planets have a north.
That being the case, then, why at least initially did there appear to be such an issue around it? The man who embodied the Ninth Doctor certainly didn't understand the fuss. He said shortly after his casting that...
"[The Doctor] is a scientist and an intellectual, and a lot of people seem to think you can only be those things if you speak with received pronunciation, which of course is rubbish."
You can hear received pronunciation throughout the early years of Doctor Who for certain, a hangover from the days of Lord Reith. Simply put, it can be defined as a very southern, "posh" manner of speaking also known as the Queen's English - as used by at least the first six incarnations of the scientist & intellectual whose shoes Eccleston was stepping into at the time.

The man in the leather jacket would later also observe that...
"we shouldn’t make a correlation between intellect and accent, although that still needs addressing."
It was not until the end of the Sixties, though, that the higher-ups at the Beeb passed down the ruling that all lead actors should abandon regional accents. Hence a curious change in Dodo Chaplet's manner of speaking between her first appearance in The Massacre & the following five adventures she shares with the First Doctor. Russell T Davies, though, had no such concerns.

Chris was also one of the first to voice support for Whittaker upon her casting, saying simply,
"She's working class, she's northern, what can go wrong?"
...when asked as part of an appearance on Radio 4's Loose Ends.

Jodie's local paper, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, was predictably chuffed for her! It weighed into the debate on accent by quoting Danny Nicholl of the University of Westminster who wrote that,
"It was Christopher Eccleston’s Northern accent which proved particularly controversial.

Not only did the Doctor have to explain to a sceptical companion-to-be Rose Tyler that he really was an alien because ‘lots of planets have a North!’ but behind the scenes the actor’s insistence on playing the Doctor with a Northern accent caused a rift with the Doctor Who production team, contributing to his leaving the role after only one series."
He also had objections to the London-centric nature of the series, a trend that Rose hardly helped by placing the London Eye as critical to defeating the Nestene Consciousness!
DOCTOR: Anti-plastic. But first I've got to find it. How can you hide something that big in a city this small?
ROSE: Hold on. Hide what?
DOCTOR: The transmitter. The Consciousness is controlling every single piece of plastic, so it needs a transmitter to boost the signal.
ROSE: What's it look like?
DOCTOR: Like a transmitter. Round and massive, slap bang in the middle of London. A huge circular metal structure like a dish, like a wheel. Radial. Close to where we're standing. Must be completely invisible. What? What?
Nicholl believes it needs to change ASAP, adding that,
"And if Doctor Who is to be a programme which reflects the whole of Britain there should be no objection in continuing to reflect this in the Doctor’s richly diverse identity - including her accent."
Interestingly enough it appears that filming for Series 11 has taken place in Sheffield, the local Star reporting,
"Camera crews were spotted filming at different locations around Sheffield yesterday and Bradley Walsh was even spotted at Sheffield bus station."
Rumours that the TARDIS has been at least temporarily swapped for the number 85 to the city centre, with K-9 cameoing in a new, whippet-inspired form having been rebuilt once again are as yet unconfirmed.


Rather brilliantly, though, a resident calling himself John Smith had submitted a Freedom of Information request to the city council asking for more....
Dear Sheffield City Council,

I understand that the BBC will be conducting filming in Sheffield later in November 2017 for a television series.

Please provide any external correspondence about this filming between the BBC and the City Council, since 1 August 2017.

Yours faithfully,

John Smith
Whether Smith is his real name or a nod to the alias first used during The Wheel In Space, we're sure you'll agree this is, well, fantastic!

Refusing to go away is the rumour that Chris Chibnall is preparing to shift production bases from Cardiff to Manchester, much as BBC Wales have tried to deny it...though the Beeb does use MediaCity UK in Salford as the hub for several of its divisions having first announced the intention to hit the North back in 2004. Doctor Who itself was even held up as a benchmark alongside its current home in Cardiff by BBC North in defending the original move.
"From our base at MediaCityUK and our regional offices in Leeds, Hull, Sheffield and Newcastle, BBC North will support locally produced, high quality content for every platform using the latest innovations in technology.

We will also create new content that will be enjoyed by audiences across the UK in the same way that BBC Wales makes great drama like Doctor Who or BBC Bristol produces landmark natural history series from the South West."
Time for the T'ime Lord to take T'ARDIS oop North for real after all?

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