Christopher Eccleston: Peter Vaughan 'gladiatorial as an actor'


Actor Christopher Eccleston has paid tribute to "gladiatorial" actor Peter Vaughan who has died aged 93.

Christopher, who played Peter's son in Our Friends In The North, said he learned more from Peter than anyone else he has worked with during in his career.

Peter also starred in sitcom Porridge as Grouty and more recently HBO series Game Of Thrones.

Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon
Peter Vaughan as Maester Aemon (Sky/GoT)

Former Doctor Who actor Christopher told BBC Radio 4´s Front Row programme: "He was wonderful to work with.

"When he was first introduced to me the first thing he said to me was "Hmm, I don't like the look of you" and I said "No, I don't like the look of you" and me and Peter were off from then.

"Peter was gladiatorial as an actor.

"You've got to remember that you had Daniel Craig, Gina McKee, Mark Strong and myself all at the beginning of our careers, all very opinionated, all very energised but there was no more intense actor on that set than Peter Vaughan."

Peter Vaughan
Peter Vaughan (PA)

The Shrewsbury-born actor played Felix Hutchinson in Our Friends In The North. His character, who aged from 47 to 77, was disillusioned with the Labour Party, at odds with the younger generation and finally a victim of Alzheimer's disease.

Christopher said his former co-star's "subtlety" made him stand out, adding "little things like obsessive gestures like rubbing the table."

Porridge writer Dick Clement also appeared on Front Row, telling the programme Vaughan "made Grouty his own".

Peter Vaughan
Peter Vaughan in the BBC's Treasure Island (BBC)

"He had a wonderful quality of being menacing at the same time funny, not an easy thing to pull off. He was a real adversary for Fletcher, someone you knew you wouldn't mess around with."

"He was in a fantastic number of brilliant films. The Remains Of The Day, Brazil, Straw Dogs. Game of Thrones more recently on TV, I was absolutely knocked out by how brilliant he was in Our Friends In The North.

"If you are still working in your 90s, which he was, you can only celebrate what was a fantastic life and be glad of it."

"I think he was a consummate actor and I feel very privileged to have worked with him."