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Published on October 2nd, 2013 | by James Lomond

Should The Doctor Sound English?

There is insurrection amongst the Scottish Who-mafia! David Tennant has accused his countryman and successor-in-waiting, Peter Capaldi, of being ‘lazy’ if he uses his native Scottish accent to play the part of the Twelfth Doctor. Fellow Scot, Steven Moffat is “pretty certain” Capaldi will use his own accent when he debuts this Christmas. Now Tennant is obviously indulging in friendly media-banter, but it raises a fair question – should the Doctor sound English?

When Christopher Eccleston brought the character back to our screens in 2005 he used his own Mancunian accent, prompting Rose to challenge him on his alien credentials and his famous reply, that “lots of planets have a North!” But the fact that it matters at all begs the question of what features make up a character when their body and personality can completely change every few years…

Every time a new actor steps into the role, debate rages over whether the Doctor could or should be a woman or a different ethnicity. Arguably the way we speak is almost as important to how we see our own or anyone’s identity. For example, while I would be more than happy with an actor of any ethnic background in the role, I’m not sure I could believe that a Doctor with a strong American or French accent was really the same character… but perhaps someday I’ll be proven wrong. The fact is most English people speak with a regional accent and don’t really sound like the Doctor.

One concern might be that Capaldi’s Scots accent encouraging closer comparison with his role as bad-mouthed spin-doctor, Malcolm Tucker, in The Thick of It. Be that as it may. I’m sure I remember McCoy giving us a subtly Scottish Doctor back in the 80s and this won’t be the first time the character’s accent has strayed North of the border. So whether it’s a soft Caledonian brogue, Glaswegian growl or ‘Queen’s English’, what do you think? Should the Doctor sound English -or British- or could any accent work?


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121 Responses to Should The Doctor Sound English?

  1. avatar lee moone says:

    This is an interesting topic of conversation. The only actors not to use their ‘real voice’ in the role were Tennant of course, and Troughton who pitched it slightly higher. I don’t mind what accent the Dr uses, but I suspect Capaldi will use his own accent as to be honest I don’t think he can do another. I don’t recall him doing so in past roles.

    • avatar Tom Elliott says:

      He has, in Doctor Who, ironically. And Torchwood. In both, he played main with flat English accents

  2. avatar Mido says:

    I honestly dont care… does it matter?

    • avatar Gareth says:

      Yes it does matter. Our whole media is dominated by the Scottish accent. The scots even wanted Walender to include a scottish accent. If other accents were fairly represented, no problem, but I have grown to despise hearing it because the preferential discrimination towards scotland.

      • You’re making some odd assertions there, without providing anything to back them up. A more robust comment next time, please!

  3. David Tennant only got to use his real voice once in Tooth and Claw but beside that he did not Peter should not be aloud to use his real voice

    • avatar Ben Paddon says:

      “Peter should not be aloud to use his real voice”


      • avatar Angela Moxon says:

        ALLOWED… not aloud….. ugh!

    • avatar Chloe says:

      He shouldn’t be ‘aloud’ apparently… So sign language it is then!

    • avatar jomama says:

      But all the Doctors used their voice besides Tennant… Also, not allowed to use his real voice? That’s like saying someone isn’t allowed to chew with their teeth… It’s not a voice job it’s an acting job…

      • avatar Ray Davis says:

        So if he comes out with a Southern American accent it’s all good with you??

      • avatar Kelly says:

        Well for many years until recently the BBC made it mandatory for British actor and actresses with strong regional accents including those with regional English accents e.g. Yorkshire to learn the ‘Queen’s English’ if they want to appear on television. This is why RP is occasionally called the ‘BBC accent’.

  4. avatar TonyS says:

    It matters not a jot what accent Peter Capaldi uses.

  5. avatar JaeTee says:

    i don’t see that his accent truly matters all that much. It is honestly I think too hard to expect them all to sound the same. So I think it is okay for Peter to make the doctor Scottish. Although if he does i think i will have a hard time not wishing that David had also been “lazy” and used his native Scottish accent as well. (Loved the episode Tooth and Claw were he teased us with a Scottish Doctor).

  6. Well no, plenty of actors didn’t use their own accent as they had to use RP to work at the BBC. It may be their accents now, but it wouldn’t have been when they were growing up – Tom Baker is from Liverpool and Colin Baker grew up in Rochdale – he has mentioned on more than one occasion that he couldn’t use his own accent as an actor.

    Persoanlly, I’m looking forward to having a Scottish Doctor. However, I think that an accent outside of the British Isles and surrounding islands wouldn’t work as well.

    • Tom Baker IS from Liverpool, but he certainly does not speak in a Scouse accent. His real voice is effectively the same voice he uses as the doctor.

  7. avatar Darren W says:

    I’m pretty sure Sylvester McCoy didn’t change his accent, but his is fairly soft anyway, but I agree, it doesn’t really matter as the regeneration process does strange things to a body!

  8. avatar Craigglesworth says:

    I think there are accents that may not be the best for the Doctor… But Scotland is one of the ones that fits for me. As an American Whovian, I think I’d be weirded out if the Doctor spoke with an American accent. I think European accents ranging are where it should stick; Even Irish wouldn’t be terrible; But Russian, American, any hispanic or asian culture accents would just seem so strange. I’m not entirely sure Australian would work, either; but It wouldn’t be as much of a deal.

    To clarify: I have no issues with people who speak in particular accents. This post reflects my opinion of the Doctor’s possible mannerisms and that’s all. Lord knows the internet loves to take a person’s opinion and shove it straight back down their throat…

    • avatar Heather says:

      “Lord knows the internet loves to take a person’s opinion…”

      This one sentence sums up a lot for me. It’s not the internet shoving your opinion back at you, it’s the people using the internet! They’re the ones being mean and not having to face your reaction and doing it from afar (as I am right now… sorry!)

      I may be old, but my daughters aren’t and they comment on how people are just mean because they can be. Please don’t de-humanise the interactions you have online. There are real people behind all the comments, both good and bad, put there. :)

      And to stay on topic, I totally agree with your opinion. And I love a Scottish accent in particular. :D

  9. Not only does it not matter what accent the Doctor has, I don’t see any reason he shouldn’t be a she. I suppose the close resemblance to Terran is too well engrained to change, but wouldn’t it be a kick to see a Sauntarin Doc?!

  10. avatar Doris Smith says:

    This raises an interesting question: what language *is* the Doctor speaking? He’s from Gallifrey, after all, and so he’s not a native English speaker. While he claims to be able to speak horse and baby, how do we know that it’s not just the TARDIS’s translation circuits doing all the work?

    I think that the fact that he has any kind of accent at all is just the result of the TARDIS playing around.

    • Yes know I have often thought or wondered that myself. But if that’s the case then why are people or aliens who have never been in the TARDIS able to understand him? Is he speaking their language and bcuz of the TARDIS we’re able to understand? We know from the Christmas Invasion that the translation circuit is tied in with the Doctor himself.

      I wonder if they’re allowing it bcuz his accent is much softer than David’s? Maybe they feel like he’ll be more easily understood? Even when Sylvester used his accent you could hardly hear it. That’s definitely a good question though.

      • avatar aspieat221b says:

        His accent is indeed much less obvious than David’s. Some people have problems understanding him in other shows, although I never did.

    • avatar Elizabeth says:

      The TARDIS is not able to translate Gallifreyan, so presumably when he speaks to his companions he is actually speaking English. I imagine his abilities to speak horse and baby are the result of the TARDIS’s translation circuits, but that might be too much of an explanation for those situations so he just says, “I speak baby” to simplify.

  11. I guess from my point of view, SOMETHING should remain the same from doctor to doctor…Otherwise it’s just a bunch of randoms going by the same name. I’m not saying it has to be the accent, but at some point we have to decide what makes the Doctor, “THE Doctor”. What is it, besides title and regeneration, that connects each face, each personality?

    • avatar DonnaM says:

      I’d say his basic values, the core of his personality, and his “presence” for want of a better phrase. The Doctor has to have charisma; he has to be the cleverest person in the room, whether he revels in his cleverness or conceals it.

      For me it’s just that “spark” when I’m watching a new incarnation’s first episode. Either he’s The Doctor or he isn’t; and fortunately so far, almost every incarnation has passed that test!

  12. to an international audience , like me from India, what matters is that he should be understandable. But a distinctive accent will definitely add fun to “Doctory”

  13. avatar Melissa Holterman says:

    I love Capaldi’s accent. Please keep it!

  14. The Doctor sounding English is part of his charm. So dear sir it does indeed matter a jot.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      In documentaries on the programme actors and programme makers have commented on the “essential Englishness” of the Doctor. Then Sylvester McCoy was cast. The accent is nowhere near as important as the characteristics he will bring to the role. Should Paul McGann have hidden his Liverpudlian accent?

      • Devil’s advocate: it might be argued that Paul *did* hide his accent to some extent, certainly not as much as Lis or Tom, but he’s definitely more Withnail & I than stereotypical scouse as 8

        • avatar TonyS says:

          Which stomps all over my original point…

  15. avatar zarbisupremo says:

    I think Tennant should have used his own accent as the Doctor, but then I’m Scottish. However, the problem I have with Scottish people on TV, reality or drama, is that most tend to exaggerate their accents. An example of this being the BBC Scotland soap, River City, most of the actors sound like “Ah’m pure acting ma heart oot, so ah am !”. Luckily, David Tennant and Peter Capaldi and David Tennant aren’t like that, so yes I do think that Peter Capaldi should use his own accent. I still can’t believe Tom Baker is from Liverpool, his accent has never sounded remotely Scouse.

    • avatar Rehen says:

      If I am remembering correctly Tennant was asked by RTD to not use his true accent.

      • avatar Paul Blume says:

        If that’s true, then it’s a pity ~ I prefer his natural dialect to ‘received pronunciation’/BBC English.

  16. avatar chez says:

    I don’t think anyone should throw there R away its there identity it would be great to have a Scottish doctor I think david should have done the same thing

  17. avatar DonnaM says:

    Why shouldn’t The Doctor change his accent now and then? If Eccleston could sound Mancunian, Capaldi should certainly be allowed to stay Scots. Speaking as a Scouser (albeit one without an accent – at least when I’m being “professional) I find the latter easier on the ear than the former!

    Frankly if Tennant really has said that it’s a slip by a man who is usually pretty media-savvy. It’ll just stir up needless controversy, as if there’s not usually enough of that around the show!

    • He was asked at the BFI screening on Sunday and that’s when he said it. I saw the video he didn’t laugh or anything he was perfectly serious while everyone else was laughing. Yes he’s media savvy but when he has a strong opinion about something he definitely vocalizes it.

      • avatar Michelle says:

        Accusing another actor of “laziness” is a bit strong in my view – although fair enough if DT feels that way. I don’t judge an actor’s qualities (and David Tennant is a damned fine actor!) on how many accents they can do, though. I judge them on their ability to convey what their character is saying/feeling at any given time.

        In that respect, both DT and PC score very highly!

  18. avatar Mummywytch says:

    So 9 had a Northern accent. 10 had a more London accent (probably an influence of Rose). Doesn’t it make sense that with the loss of Amy, the Doctor takes on a Scottish accent? Remember she’s “imprinted on his hearts” after all.

    • I agree. In this series I’ve always felt that whoever he cares for the most or the most influence in him definitely influences who the Doctor is when he regenerates. And since Amy was with him for 10 years and as much as he loved her why wouldn’t she influence the next Doctor. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks or wonders about that :-)

    • avatar TonyS says:

      A good point. A full-blown belter of a good point.

  19. i am an American to us Americans everyone from UK sound same because British tv show reruns on BBC America and all British rock star from uk try use same accent . i would like see David tennant use American accent in next major role.

    • avatar homeinsomis says:

      To Jason – I don’t want to be rude, but please speak for yourself! Lots of American’s can detect the differences in accents from the UK Don’t lump the rest of us in just because you aren’t able to. They are all very distinctive to me!

      • Agreed. There are big differences between English, Scottish, and Irish accents that are easily identifiable. And just like here there are regional and local accents are just as diverse.

        Just bcuz some Americans can’t hear the difference doesn’t mean that all of us can’t.

        • avatar Emily Thomas says:

          Does Wales not exist then? The Welsh accent has a wonderful musicality about it which I think would keenly suit the Doctor.

    • avatar Aaron Wexler says:

      “[I] am an American [and] to us [Americans] [comma], everyone from [the] UK sound[s the] same because British [TV] show[s] rerun[no s] on BBC America and all British rock star[s] from [the] [UK] try to use [the] same accent.” (Obviously not true.) “[I] would like to see David [T]ennant use [an] American accent in [his] next major role.”

      Geez, no wonder you can’t tell the difference between accents. Your grasp of language is atrocious! (That means bad.)

    • avatar Bob James says:

      As long as some people don’t all start looking the same to you………..

    • avatar Candice says:

      David is actually using an American accent in his Broadchurch remake “Gracepoint”. Here’s an audio example…

      And the original article I got the link from:

  20. avatar lee moone says:

    I think as an actor by not using his accent DT played it very clever. He can be Scottish in so many other roles from now on, and no one can accuse him of always portraying or sounding like The Doctor. He has eliminated the ‘one trick pony’ element to typecasting that is a constant worry for actors. Remember this was a huge role for him and at the time he was reasonable unknown. Matt I fear may have a few problems after Who. We shall see, casting Directors can be quite blinkered.

  21. avatar Rich says:

    I think as long as it’s British then I don’t mind, if it was suddenly American for example it would lose it’s charm and he would stop being the Doctor for me.

  22. avatar Paul Blume says:

    Clara: ‘Why do you sound Scottish, suddenly, Doctor?’
    Doctor: ‘Why does EVERYONE in the universe speak English, Clara?’
    …blame it on the TARDIS ~ “shimples”

  23. avatar Al says:

    It’s been well documented that a senior official in the CBC, which co-produced the first couple years of the revival, made the serious request that the actors be overdubbed with Canadians in order to be able to sell the show in North America, and later on Sci-Fi Channel in the US infamously turned down DW for a while on the claim it was “too British.” So there is some merit to the concern over whether the Doctor should be too localized in his accent. There wasn’t anything “subtle” about McCoy’s Scottish accent – but we can’t really use the “and the show survived” argument because, really, it didn’t. Were the low ratings that canned the show in 1989 in part due to viewers not being able to understand McCoy? No way of knowing of course. Still, McCoy set precedent. Capaldi is known in the UK for Tucker, but while the US film spinoff In the Loop was nominated for an Oscar, it’s still an obscure film – I never heard of it before Capaldi was cast, myself. I personally don’t think he will use his Scots accent, because there is going to be a concerted effort to distance his Doctor from Malcolm Tucker (not to mention his Torchwood role), and he certainly wasn’t rolling his R’s around in Fires of Pompeii nor is he likely to be doing so in the Three Musketeers show he’s doing, so he’s quite capable.

    • avatar Al says:

      I just clicked the story link. I think it’s ironic that a story about someone being “lazy”, posted on the Guardian website, is actually reporting what a tabloid is reporting rather than something the newspaper went out and gathered information on itself. Tea, kettle, black!

  24. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    I’d only have a problem if the accent is so thick that it’s hard to understand. That was a common complaint with McCoy back in the day. Whether it was inferior sound work or him being n mush mouth, it was very difficult to hear him sometimes. During his coming out interview his accent seemed rather subdued, so I’m all good.

  25. avatar Farfulcougal says:

    SPOILERS: People argue about whether he could be a different ethnicity, I say if Melody Pond can be black then regenerate to white then the Doctor can be any race, sex or sexuality the writers so choose.

    • Race and sex and gender and sexuality are all quite different things. Such a comment displays only ignorance of those differences, rather than making you look “right on”.

      • avatar BOJAY says:

        Thank you, Christian. Even the thought of returning to “that” conversation fills me with the urge to puke.

      • avatar Farfulcougal says:

        No no no, I’m completely ignorant and think being white is the same thing as being gay. No difference between the things at all, I’m completely ignorant. You arse.

        • avatar Bob James says:

          If you want to avoid being viewed as ignorant, stop speaking as if you were. Otherwise, no apparent difference between you and ignorant, or possibly clueless.

        • well that’s certainly the impression you gave in your previous comment.

          perhaps thinking before you click submit would help in future?

    • avatar lee moone says:

      Let’s not get into that back/white male /female argument. Moffat answered that very well and considered in his Bury chat (best interview I’ve ever seen with the man) here

  26. I’ve heard the theory that his regenerations have to do with the situation he’s regenerating in, so perhaps a Scottish accent could be explained away (story-wise) by his fondness for Amy’s accent?

  27. avatar Rebel Nun says:

    Where did the Doctor actually get his Doctorate?
    In Glasgow in the 19th Century (The Moonbase)
    He must have knocked about there long enough to pick up an accent,
    even if it was delayed by a few regenerations..

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Unless, what with him being too clever by seven eighths, he just breezed in long enough to sit the exams.

  28. avatar TimeChaser says:

    If you were to make the argument that the Doctor shouldn’t have a pronounced accent, then by that argument all of the new series Doctors should have spoken with the Queen’s English like the first eight did. But they let Eccles keep his Northern accent, and even David and Matt have been less “proper” (for lack of a better word) in how they spoke.

    So given that McCoy had his slight burr, and Eccleston had the pronounced Northern accent, I can’t see any reason why Capaldi shouldn’t be allowed to speak whatever way he chooses. Plus, compared to Tennant’s native accent, hearing Capaldi during his introduction interview, I felt his accent was much softer.

  29. avatar BOJAY says:

    He only needs to sound British, because that’s what he is.

  30. avatar iLikeTheUDK says:

    I think he should have a mild Scottish accent, sort of like Sylvester McCoy.

    • avatar TonyS says:

      Or like Peter Capaldi?

  31. avatar Jon Roberts says:

    Every planet has a Scotland

  32. avatar Jon Roberts says:

    True but Its all that needs to be said so we can all move on.

  33. avatar Linden says:

    My mom is really into Broadchurch, but she’s having a hard time understanding David Tennant’s Scottish accent. She thinks he needs subtitles. It would be much easier on non-British audiences if the accent was more mainstream.

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Than she’ll no doubt be quite pleased to see the US Fox produced version, which will also star David Tennant, playing the character as an American, which is in the works.

  34. avatar Tom A says:

    I don’t really care for what accent Peter uses for the Doctor, I mean, obviously it’d have to be British, but not in particular English. Just my opinion :)

  35. avatar DocWhoFan says:

    Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think that the Doctor should remain the Doctor throughout his re-generations. What I mean is this; of course he becomes a new person with different quirks and a slightly different view on things, but if you break his character down and change him too much, he ceases to be THE DOCTOR. The Doctor is not a woman: never has been and never should be. The Doctor’s character has always appeared ethnically English whether he was played by an Englishman or the few wonderful Scotsmen who have also played him. Because of this, his character should always be English no matter who plays him. If you change the characteristics of the Doctor too much and get rid of everything that makes him The Doctor, he will no longer be recognisable as the MAN that so many people have always called THE DOCTOR. David Tennant wanted to play The Doctor as a Scotsman, but Russell T. Davies asked him not to take The Doctor “touring the regions” and Tennant ultimately played him with an Estuary accent. Now, I know that Christopher Eccleston played The Doctor with a very distinguishable northern accent, but nonetheless, it is still ENGLISH! I know that Steven Moffat is in charge now, but why should he change the rules of what has always made this show great? How believable would it be if The Doctor was suddenly played by a Chinese woman with a thick Beijing-English accent? Not at all! Let’s keep The Doctor’s character somewhat intact when he re-generates.

    • avatar Katy Neve says:

      See this is what I think but if you voice this opinion too loud people can get really arsey

      • avatar TonyS says:

        But it can be fun to wind those people up :)

        • avatar James Lomond says:

          Hmm. The problem is opinion varies on what is OK and what is not when it comes to character stability across regenerations. I agree that the important thing is that the audience can somehow *buy* that this is the same person/ alien that they’re watching. But you can imagine, if there was loads of racism (for want of a more accurate term) towards red-haired people in society -like LOADS- that much of the audience would object to the Doctor being ginger.

          But outside of that thought-experiment we think that would be ridiculous. But then while (I hope) a majority of fans would not object to actors of other ethnic backgrounds, you can imagine that quite the opposite would be true 30 or 40 years ago. In fact it’s now a *scandal* that William Hartnell had some racist ideas – which would not really have surprised viewers in 1963 but now is utterly unthinkable for a lead actor in a UK show.

          So my point is that opinions and feelings about what is important change over time. When you say ‘he’s always been English’ that is not -in itself- an argument for the character *remaining* English in some sense. Women used to be excluded from positions of power in the world and there were very few non-white faces on tv but precedent is not an argument for or against anything.

          You need to find some other reason why the Doctor *should* be English and male or perhaps delve a bit further into what aspects of Englishness or Maleness you think are important to the character’s raison d’etre. For example, if the literary notion of the lone anti-estabishment maverwick was particularly linked in people’s minds to the gentleman explorer or gentleman Victorian scientist (neither of which are true, I think, but it’s an example) and there was a reason to think of the character as *fundamentally* an anti-establishment maverwick – you might have an argument for saying he *should* be e.g. male or e.g English.

          That would then beg the question of why a woman couldn’t also be those things and so believably the *same* character. You’d need to either come up with an argument why. The alternative way of seeing this -and I’m not nailing my colours to any posts yet- is that people who think the Doctor should or could be a woman or have a non-British accent are just better at suspending their disbelief than you and can ‘see past’ things like gender or nationality to the fundamental character.

          Hmm. That got away from me a bit. Hope it makes sense! :s

          • avatar DocWhoFan says:

            To be honest, I don’t have to delve deeper and come up with a more “detailed” reason as to why I think that he should remain English and a man. I just think that. I’m not sexist, I’m not racist, I just see that as his character. You don’t have to agree with me, but I know that I would discontinue watching the show and many people who agree with me would as well. I know of many people who agree with my opinion and I know that the show would lose a large amount of viewers. I’m not talking just among groups of people that I’ve talked to, but I’ve read seen many online conversations and Blogs where people have argued the character of the Doctor being passed off to a woman or changing the accent fervently. People think that television needs to accommodate more “different” kinds of people. Sure it does! But make new shows to accommodate those beliefs and those efforts, don’t change an already great thing.

          • avatar Bob James says:

            When Grace Holloway tried to explain the Doctor’s bizarre behavior to a police officer in San Francisco, she did so by offering, “He’s um, English.”. The Doctor’s response was, “I suppose I am”. Maybe she should have said, “He’s, um, potentially a woman, not so much a transgender thing, but because, hey, why the f**k not?”. That would have made for one confused police officer.

          • avatar James Lomond says:

            Hey, thanks for the reply -not sure if this is going to appear under your comment where I want it…

            Yes, absolutely, you don’t have to do anything. That’s not my point and I probably didn’t explain it properly. What I’m saying is that rather than saying ‘lots of people agree’ (lots of people believed the world was flat) if you want it to be anything more than just your opinion -like a case or an argument- then you’d need to come up with other reasons. You opinion might be based on really good reasons but at the moment it’s just “the doctor should be a man because I prefer it” no different from “blue is better than green because I prefer it”. You’re totally entitled to want the Doctor to be a man, and I’m not disagreeing with you – I’m just saying that if there is to be any discussion rather than chanting ‘Blue!’ or ‘Green!’ then you’d need a *reason* – (which is easier said than done). Course you might be happy with it just being opinions.

            My difficulty with your post above is that you appeared to be offering a reason – i.e. the character should remain the same – and I agree insofar as I think the character should remain recognisable by the audience as “the same” in some important sense. But what you then do is use the fact that he has always been a man so far and always been ostensibly English to say that this is a fundamental part of his character. But that isn’t a reason, it’s just an assertion. You could equally say he has always had hair of a certain length or has always been under 6 foot something – it’s not a reason in itself.

            Yes it is important that diversity is represented on TV and does not exclude groups so that they are implicitly devalued – but if it’s OK for the Doctor to be different heights and different hair colours or to have different British accents, then *why* is it not OK to change gender? I’m not saying I want the Doctor to be a woman, just that it’s an interesting and unanswered question – why does it matter to you or me or anyone? By saying we shouldn’t change an already great thing, you are saying that changing the gender would make it less great – and that just begs the question of why exactly. If it’s just an opinion, it’s just an opinion – that’s fine but it doesn’t allow any debate.

          • avatar James Lomond says:

            Hey BobJames.

            Yeah. Not entirely sure what you’re saying – I think you mean that that scene might point to a reason why the doctor shouldn’t have non-English accents?

            Or maybe you’re saying there’s no actual reason to change the Doctor’s gender (viz. ‘”…why the f**k not?”‘) and by proxy his accent so we shouldn’t? But then there’s no reason for the 9th Doctor to have a Salford accent. Not sure your point would hold if you’d suggested Grace says “He’s, um, potentially got a Northern English accent because, hey, why the f**k not?”…

            So again, if my point here is right, you are implying a background frustration with the idea of the character being a different gender -which, is totally cool- all I’m saying is that rather than providing examples where you (and quite possibly I) think it sounds silly for the Doc to change gender, it’d be more useful to have a reason. What sounds silly to one person might sound empowering to another.

            Might have *totally* misunderstood your point. Course this might be mutual ;)

  36. avatar Dave Ross says:

    When He regenerated into Tennant wasn’t there a short special episode for Children in need and it was explained that the new doctor ‘Imprints’ from the first person he hears?
    (its like psychological attatchment theory where newborn animals attach themselves to the first animal/person they see… )
    so he got his London accent from Rose.
    Maybe the Doctor had such a strong attachment to Amy, (deepened by the trauma of losing her) it carries through to the regeneration and affects his accent…

    • avatar TonyS says:

      I think the explanation was aired in a Doctor Who Confidential rather than in the Children In Need mini-ode.

  37. avatar Cloud says:

    Doesn’t really matter. Though I guess I’d struggle with a French accent or something. But the first doctor had an RP accent (as did everyone on TV in them days I guess) and you soon get past that.

  38. avatar Jon says:

    Has to at least be a U.K. accent. I can accept Scottish, but I’d prefer Queen’s English. His call, and I think he’ll be great either way, but he’ll get bonus points from me if he uses a proper British accent.

  39. avatar Katy Neve says:

    I agree with the fact that Doctor who wouldn’t be the same with an american or French accent, but I think, as long as the accent remains in the UK, it’sfine

  40. avatar artanyway says:

    As an american fan of doctor who, i honestly can’t tell the difference between a scottish accent and an english accent.

    • avatar Candice says:

      Really?! I love David’s native accent. It’s very recognizably different to me. I do agree that the Doctor’s accent should remain somewhere in the British Isles. Scottish, English, Irish… all very soft accents as to be clear to everyone watching. Sometimes accents are very thick and hard to understand for non-natives. That would turn people off but as long as the accents are soft and from the British Isles then it doesn’t matter to me. It was hard enough getting used to David speaking in an American accent never mind The Doctor speaking with one!

  41. avatar calliarcale says:

    As long as he’s not using an American accent, I’ll be happy. ;-) As an American myself, that shouldn’t be a big deal for me, but strangely, somehow it is. But I’d come to accept it, I expect.

  42. I think it only matters to English people. The difference in the accent is so subtle, that people outside the uk won’t notice it.

    • avatar DocWhoFan says:

      That is totally not true. The accents are very different and I can tell that without being English, Scottish, Welsh, or Irish.

  43. avatar Sue Ganiebny says:

    Why has this been blown out of all proportion? David did not accuse him of being lazy, the Author of this article did not get the facts right. When David was being asked at the BFI screening about what he though of Peter Capaldi using his scottish accent, he was joking around or being “Deadpanned” as it was put on the BFI site so I suggest you all head over to the BFI website and read the whole interview before accusing David of anything.

    • Perhaps you should read the article properly. At no point did we suggest David *wasn’t* joking.

  44. avatar GallifreyanFallenAngel says:

    I think David was just joking about it “being lazy.” I think it’s fine if Capaldi wants to use his native accent. I only required the Doctor to maintain an accent as long as it is U.K. native.

  45. avatar Boring American says:

    I hate to sound terribly American here, but I can’t tell the difference between the regions of England’s accents. I know they exist but I thought that the 9th Doctor and Rose had the same accent. I couldn’t tell the difference. And while I do recognize a scottish accent over an english one, the difference is so minute to anyone outside England that from a world audience point of view I don’t think it matters.

    • Try listening to the podKast (see menu link above) and try and distinguish between me and James. I’d be interested to see if you can tell the difference.

      • avatar Boring American says:

        Loved listening to the podkasts. =) I can tell the difference between your voices but not accents. They both just sound British to me. When I think about it in American terms, it’s like the difference between a Boston accent and a Jersey accent…they’re subtle and unless you’re trained to hear it or used to hearing it, you’ll likely only hear an American accent.

        I am planning to come to England for a month pretty soon though, so I’m looking forward to listening and learning more about the differences.

        • avatar James Lomond says:

          Found this – might help ;) His natural accent is ‘estuary’ (I think) like Tennant’s Doctor, meaning the Thames estuary i.e. area around London (or ‘Landan’). He’s right that the South West of England is a cross between farmers and pirates – but as a native British Pirate-cum-farmer, I have to say his impression was a bit off. It’s more Vicky Pollard from Little Britain ;)

        • Hmm. My accent is, I think, “fuller” than James’ with rounder vowels. For instance, I would perhaps pronounce “book” as “bhoook” rather than “bhuk” (I don’t actually do this myself, which doesn’t make this a great example, but people in my neck of the woods do).

          James has a bit of a mongrel accent, IMO, albeit a well-heeled mongrel. There are traces of a few things in there.

          I’m no Professor Higgins, though…

          • avatar Bob James says:

            The accent that Keanu Reeves employed in Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, what specific region was that from?

          • Umm… I think it was Canada ;)

    • avatar Emily Thomas says:

      Hi Boring American, Do you feel the same way when the American Accent is mangled by Brits on your television screens?

  46. avatar Rassilon says:

    I wouldn’t have a problem either way, and Tennant was obviously joking, if you watch the video it was just banter…
    however if the rumours are true that his previous roles in both Tirchwood and Doctor Who are somehow going to be tied in to the plot, then i guess it would make sense that he would use the same accent as he did for those parts…

    • When this news item was assigned, the video wasn’t available. Yet it was quite obvious and suggested in the article that David was joking.

      But you knew that, because you’ve obviously read the article. Right?

  47. avatar iank says:

    I’ll never understand the nonsense thinking that had Tennant using a terrible Mockney accent instead of his normal one. I certainly hope Capaldi isn’t forced to do the same.

  48. avatar Gareth K says:

    Tennant probably didn’t even say it and it’s the media s**t stirring. I don’t think that the Doctor should ever be a woman or change ethnicity, but the accent? As long as it’s British (or Irish would be OK) seems fine to me. Any European, American or Aussie would be just wrong. Scot? Nae bother.

  49. I don’t think it matter, but quite frankly I’d prefer him to sound like himself. Scottish. I think it was quite a petty statement that Tennant made, to be honest.

    • *matters

  50. avatar atkenos says:

    3 cheers for Mr Tenant, a great Scot

  51. avatar STLShawn says:

    ‘ow about a Caribbean accent mon?!?!

  52. avatar Suzzie says:

    I think he’s stating it’s lazy because he was forced to give up his Scottish accent. I think that the Doctors accent may have something to do with the fact that most of the time, when he’s on Earth, he’s in London. Maybe if he was in Scotland more or even the US more his accent would change. In that case I believe his accent should stay the same. But I really could care less (I LOVE Scottish accents lol) so long as Doctor Who stays on television. :)

  53. avatar Bob James says:

    Perhaps he can speak in whatever that language was that Jodie Foster had in that movie where her character was raised in the woods………..

  54. avatar Suzanne says:

    I see no problem with the accent changing from Doctor to Doctor. If the Doctor can regenerate as different grown men, having varying accents seems minor compared to the rest of the changes. The accents have all been different regional variations anyway, so why not Scottish?

  55. avatar Ranger says:

    Perhaps he should do it in mime to stop the arguments?

    • avatar Bob James says:

      Or speak only through a ventriloquist’s dummy, in an heavily offensively stereotypical Asian accent. The Daleks would be like, “Explain.”……………

  56. avatar John Miller says:

    Years ago some smartass tried to “catch out” Colin Baker, and asked why the Doctor always spoke with a British accent. Colin replied that the Doctor speaks with a Gallifreyan accent, and that person was clearly unable to tell the difference. I DID find Eccleston’s accent wrong for the Doctor, but not Mccoys’. Whatever some people may choose to believe, the Doctor is a Time LORD. He comes from one of the ancient Houses. He needs to sound like a noble. I have no problem with a Scots accent, but it needs to be noble Scottish, rather than commoner.

  57. avatar Victor says:

    The new one should sound like Capaldi. That’s it.

  58. avatar TonyS says:

    a-c-c-e-n-t: pronunced “accent”

  59. avatar Ruby says:

    People aren’t upset because Capaldi might retain a Scottish accent; they’re upset because they think it’s unfair that their golden boy Tennant didn’t get to keep his and this hideous interloper (in their minds) does. They’re already in an uproar about Matt Smith 1. not de-regenerating into their One True Doctor and 2. regenerating into an ‘old man.’ This is just another excuse for them to hate on the new guy, and it’s gotten silly.

  60. avatar Kallyanna Bradbury (stage name) says:

    David Tennet (McDonald) should sound like he should.. from Paisley, Scotland! his accent is beautiful, ;) much less thick then Peter’s (since hes from the highlands) but Dave portraid an english accenct really well, his shakespeare is none to be compaired ;) I don’t understand why he was made to portray an engish accent.. the british isle’s are the “british isle’s” right?

    Don’t please bug some one for joking, he ment it in a sarcastic manner to the directors/publishers “writer Russell T Davies did not want the Doctor’s accent – touring the regions”, so he used Estuary English instead” :/ i look forward to seeing a good man useing his scottish accent and hopefully Peter capaldi can use his… ummm next a woman doctor …. ;)

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