Mark Strong and Christopher Eccleston are two of Britain’s finest actors, with Strong going on to forge a sterling career in Hollywood and Eccleston taking on the lead role in Doctor Who. But, when they worked together on a TV series back in 1996, they couldn’t stand each other.
Our Friends in the North is a quintessential Northern England drama series which starred Strong and Eccleston, along with James Bond star Daniel Craig, legendary actor Malcolm McDowell, and Game of Thrones actor David Bradley among others. The ‘90s TV show was seen as a launchpad for many of the actors’ careers, but it wasn’t an entirely positive experience for Strong and Eccleston.
In an interview with the BBC, Eccleston revealed that he and Strong actually “detested each other,” but insisted this actually helped them play their respective characters in the show.
“We detested each other. We really did not like each other at all. It was very interesting for me, because I didn’t like him as a person, and he didn’t like me as a person, but I admired him so much as an actor,” Eccleston said.
“When we did the scenes together, that dislike, which was key between Tosker and Nicky, was useful, but it was also put aside. We were professional, we weren’t sabotaging or hijacking, because we had so much respect for Peter Flannery and the project,” he added.
Christopher Eccleston talking about working with Mark Strong on Our Friends in the North (currently being rerun on BBC Four). Love how honest he is pic.twitter.com/FBqgKUL29P
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) September 14, 2022
If you want to read more about Eccleston, check out our guide to the Doctor Who 60th anniversary release date. Or, for more Great British content, here’s our guide to the Bridgerton season 3 release date.