Christopher Eccleston at Stockport Central Library for Manchester Festival Of Libraries 2024

Christopher Eccleston Christopher Eccleston appeared at Stockport Central Library today, for an hour-long event, as part of the Inspired by Libraries series of events run by Manchester City of Literature, which I learned recently take place in the North West every June, beginning this week.

He was here to talk about his passion for libraries and books, as well as his long career in TV, film and on stage.

I know there are a number of talks up on their Youtube channel, but I was a few rows back, and unless the camera was as close to him as this one is in the Mike Sweeney 2022 interview – at which point I wouldn’t have seen it in operation, then I couldn’t see it being filmed, which is a shame, as he’s a very inspiring man. If it does go online, I wil link if from this article.

Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston with host Katie Popperwell

We learned how Chris, as he prefers to be called, was inspired by books and a love of words by his late father, who would do crosswords and read out all the definitions of the words from a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary which he won in a competition.

He was also asked whether he’d do theatre in Manchester any time soon, but unfortunately not, because he wouldn’t get to see his two young children for some time. Still, he hoped to change this once they turn 18. However, politics came into play for the times when he does tread the boards, because for one play, he and the cast were only on Equity minimum rates, yet the theatre was still charging £150 per ticket. Hence, when Labour take power on July 5th, he hopes this changes. A lady in the audience mentioned how there’s more plans for the arts in the manifesto of the Lib Dems than there is for Labour, so hopefully they can do some cross-party support for the arts.

Even though Labour are set to have a ‘super majority’ in the general election, the Lib Dems are set to do far better than they normally would, so there is scope for some working together, I’d have thought. Meanwhile, the Tories are, finally, set to be completely obliterated. God, I can’t wait for that!

He also discussed a number of TV and film projects he’s worked in, including Hillsborough, The A Word, Cracker, 28 Days Later – which I saw recently for the first time in ages, as well as the first time on the big screen – as well as playing a villain in Danger Mouse!

On a serious note, he stated how Jimmy McGovern is the best writer he’s ever worked with, and how it was essential that he and the cast of Hillsborough met with the real-life people and relatives of those they were playing, before taking on the roles.

Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston took questions from the audience in the last 15 minutes.

He also mentioned the film, Young Woman And The Sea, which he’s in and is currently in cinemas. I would’ve loved to have seen that on the big screen, but nowhere near enough is playing it! It’s yet another film that Odeon (for which I subscribe to Limitless) technically have access to, but are only showing it at a handful of their cinemas. Their Great Northern outlet in Manchester town centre is one, but I generally go for the Trafford Centre outlet, because it has the most screens and a better chance of a trip being able to take in several films where I can fit them one after the other, without too much of a gap.

However, sometimes, they just can’t be bothered, and would rather fill some screens with the same endless junk that’s been showing for over a month. They could find a couple of screenings a day for EVERY new film if they cared!

He’s a big fan of “where Doctor Who is currently going“, in terms of representation of minorities and having a Doctor who’s black, for example. I get that and understand that, but for me, the scripts have been more interested in being agenda-heavy, rather than concentrating on the fact that it’s meant to be a sci-fi show. Russell T Davies has had great work with the likes of Queer As Folk, Years And Years, and It’s A Sin, but he seems to have forgotten what he’s writing and who are his target audience.

Today’s event was very well attended, and I wasn’t sure if it was possible to have a picture with him afterwards, as I understand a few others also asked about beforehand. Unfortunately not, as he had to get a train afterwards – and headed off once the hour-long talk was done, but I also thought it might not be a possibility because he does the Comic Con circuit on a regular basis, and for understandable financial and economic reasons, if he was to allow a number of free pictures with fans here, it would have a negitive effect on the value of the same thing at those events.

However, this event is an annual one, and he expressed an interest in returning next year. I do hope he does.

The Manchester Festival Of Libraries 2024 runs until June 16th, with guests including Konnie Huq and Maxine Peake, and check out the website here.

Today’s event on Eventbrite is here, and was hosted by Katie Popperwell.

Hashtag: #FestivalofLibraries
Twitter: @mcrcityoflit