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John Byrne
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Posted: 20 March 2018 at 1:07pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

A comment I made just now in the Christopher Eccleston thread prompted a thought/question:

Aside from the obvious reason (different actors) why would the Doctor's accent change with each incarnation? This is more or less a recent affectation, as the early Doctors had approximately the same posh accent, but since (and including) Tennant, there has been a wider range.

But does that make sense?

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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 20 March 2018 at 6:29pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Not to me, I preferred the posh thespian approach to him, but then a lot of things got done that don't make sense to me over the years. I'm sure the first hand-over to Patrick Troughton, a shorter actor than Hartnell, had some viewers switching off unable to reconcile that. I can't see why the Doctor now is doing something only the 'Master' of all his race has been known to do... change gender. Could Romana as easily have been male? If these characters could be that wide-ranging in identity do they cease to have actual character? Might as well be Scottish (McCoy), or loud (Colin Baker), or practice Venusian Judo (Pertwee).

I guess you just have to try to overlook the dodgy bits and wobbly things or simply not bother. Sometimes I've just not bothered. I'll give the new gal a chance, but it'll be a heck of a trick to keep me for very long I think.
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Eric Morin
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Posted: 21 March 2018 at 9:30am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Speaking of Venusian Judo, that seemed to come and go
with the third doctor. That skill could have come in
handy for future Doctors.
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 21 March 2018 at 10:01am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Didn't 12 use it in the finale 2 parter?
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 26 April 2018 at 7:03pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

...the early Doctors had approximately the same posh accent, but since (and including) Tennant, there has been a wider range.

That posh "South London" accent was considered the standard for the BBC, mainly because the majority of actors originated from the theatre.   A good number of these actors cut their teeth in radio and were also stage-trained.   McCoy was probably the biggest deviation from that standard for DOCTOR WHO though Tom Baker does let his inner Liverpudlian leak through from time to time.   There's also some underlying class-associated issues with the 'proper' accents depicted on the Government-run (but public-funded through tax) BBC.

It's funny then that when DOCTOR WHO returned to TV they felt they had to pay lip service to the Doctor having a Northern accent!

..why would the Doctor's accent change with each incarnation?

A good question and an in-show continuity explanation I've cottoned on to stems from the broad hints the show has given for how the TARDIS language translation function operates.   The whole point of the translation function is to help Time Lord observers blend in with other humanoid cultures and not be noticed.  Regional accents would play into that as well otherwise the observers would still stick out like sore thumbs (imagine a Canadian Newfie trying to order steak in Southern California).  There's one instance in the original show where this became an in-story issue.  In "Masque of Mandrogora" Sarah Jane suddenly realizes that she had been speaking 'fluent Italian' (presumably with an accent correct to the region and period).   Normally the language translation is seamless and invisible to the speaker and listener -- explained as a 'Time Lord gift' in that story and later elaborated on in the revived series as a telepathic process that requires the Doctor (or another Time Lord) as a middleman.   In "Mandrogora" the Doctor realizes that Sarah was under some form of mind control because the 'gift' wasn't working correctly for her.

So why do the early Doctors have similar accents?   Same reason as for why the TARDIS is stuck in the shape of a police box -- it's not functioning 100% (and never has).   It's worth pointing out in the second episode of the first serial the Doctor notes the TARDIS is now stuck in the police box shape, indicating that it was correctly blending into *early 1960's London* when it was parked there in the opening episode.  Well, if one part of the system designed to 'blend in' isn't working right chances are other parts of it aren't working as well.   So the Doctors accent (as experienced through the translation system) is 'stuck' in a 1960's London accent in a similar way to the police box.   

Longtime viewers of the show will notice that the police box exterior does change in subtle ways over time -- the most recent Christmas special (Capaldi's finale) makes this much more noticeable when the current Doctor's TARDIS is seen near the first Doctor's.   So too then, the accent does change over time, from regeneration to regeneration.

Real world tie-in:  The first time the TARDIS police box prop got a complete overhaul was during the early Tom Baker era -- right around the time the accent started changing.

So, where do I type in my address for my offical JBF faux-no-prize? :-)
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 29 April 2018 at 1:22am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

There is a syndrome where people who have had head
injuries/strokes change accent, i saw a chap from
Northern England on tv this week who developed an
Italian accent after a stroke, so maybe the regeneration
could trigger a change of accent now and again?
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 29 April 2018 at 5:39am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Believe me, the Doctor has never had a South London accent!
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Robbie Moubert
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Posted: 29 April 2018 at 12:00pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

As someone who has lived in South London for 50 years I can confirm what Peter says!  
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Scott Morrissey
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Posted: 20 May 2018 at 4:50am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Rose: 'If you are an alien, how come you sound like you're from the north?'

Doctor: 'Lots of planets have a north!'

Still brings a smile to my face.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 20 May 2018 at 11:41am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

This thread is wandering into the incomprehensible for many of our American cousins. "North of what?"

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 17 June 2018 at 10:23pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

& of course, the answer is ĎNorth of Watford Gapí
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Marc Foxx
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 7:00pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I assumed you meant north of Trenton (New Jersey)...
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Olav Bakken
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Posted: 08 August 2018 at 2:50pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

If a future episode should try to come up with a realistic explanation, maybe it's all about how the brain is affected by each incarnation. The Matt Smith doctor was confused at first, and wanted something to eat even if he didn't knew what. Finally he found out that he enjoyed fish fingers and custard.
There is something called the foreign accent syndrome. If people can suddenly wake up with a foreign accent, why not also a different inland accent?
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Byron Graham
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Posted: 09 August 2018 at 10:13am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Hasn't it been said that the TARDIS provides translation for its crew? What if the Doctor is really speaking Gallifreyan but it's the TARDIS giving him the different accents, along with the subtle different looks to the TARDIS exterior?
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 29 August 2018 at 4:51pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

What about when he isnít IN the TARDIS?
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