life in a lunch hour

Potential Christopher Eccleston

I had a little chat with Christopher Eccleston today.

Well, I think I did anyway. As I stood in line at my favourite coffee shop my first impression, from the corner of my eye, was that it was Christopher Eccleston, but then you don’t like to stare, do you? So I stood patiently, rocking on my heels, one place in the queue ahead of a possible Christopher Eccleston encounter, wondering whether it was him.

I presume he spotted the side-ways glances as I attempted a positive identification: I expect he’s used to it.

Thinking back to our little encounter my suspicions that it wasn’t the Mancunian former Dr Who were aroused by the fact that he seemed a little small; not quite as physical as I would expect; there wasn’t that famous Eccleston glint in the eye; and he was dressed like a normal northern bloke carrying a plain holdall.

Having said that, he’s never struck me as the type to carry a Luis Vuitton man-bag anyway, and it wasn’t the plain-ness of the holdall that made me doubt my celeb spotting abilities. It was the fact that this bearded, and clearly Mancunian, man (I’ll come to that), was just a little bit low-key. On Google images he looks lively, vital, and striking (I checked), but this plain man looked none of those things.

Christpoher Eccleston (Image: jamin2 Flickr CC))
Christpoher Eccleston
(Image: jamin2 Flickr CC))

I suppose he just fancied a coffee and wasn’t in a particularly lively, vital or striking kind of mood. Either that, or it was someone else.

“Was he even tall enough?” I asked myself later, from the unfortunate position of having no real idea of how tall Christopher Eccleston might be. Does being on the TV make you look taller or shorter in real life? I don’t know. Can I trust Wikipedia when they say he clocks in at a wiry 1 metre 83 cm? Could I be sure that this man was precisely 2cm taller than me?

Hard to tell from where I was standing.

“This is all well and good”, I hear you say, “but you said you had a little chat…?”

So this potential Christopher Eccleston may well have had me in a state of confusion, but I quickly found the chink in his armour: the queueing/coffee making/payment process in this particular coffee shop had him baffled. I am a regular, and so I had local knowledge on my side.

You pay at the right hand side of the counter (where the till is, clearly), and the remaining 15ft of wooden counter exists as a continental style espresso bar, and a display area for the experts baristas to make their award winning coffee using any number of coffee machines and chemistry sets. Then they bring your coffee via table service.

It’s a great system, which I mastered some time ago.

Potential Christopher Eccleston paced up and down the wooden counter for a second before saying to me, “I don’t understand how this works, are you in the queue?”

I set his mind at ease. He responded with a very Mancunian “cheers mate”, and we resumed our queueing.
In hindsight, not the most exciting encounter.

In fact, barely an encounter.

I would even go so far as to say that, if potential Christopher Eccleston was not, as it happens, Christopher Eccleston, I have just produced the most tedious and long winded build up to, essentially, polite assistance to a non-descript stranger carrying a holdall in a coffee shop.

Let’s hope it was him then, eh? Or I’ve wasted everyone’s time.

14 comments on “Potential Christopher Eccleston

  1. If so a lovely waste of time!


  2. biking2work

    Like the sound of the coffee shop though. Where is that in case I decide to go to Lancaster?


  3. the way to be sure would be to visit Christopher Ecclestone’s blog and see if he has been wondering whether he saw that ragtime cyclist in a coffee shop the other day


  4. I have been in that situation with other well known athletes, while not being 100%. Interesting how we as humans try to size up other humans, particularly with celebrity status.

    If he was the “real” Christopher Eccleston, it was good that you gave him space. I am sure most celebrities really appreciate this! 🙂



  5. Ah, it made me smile. So thanks. Real nice, easy let down at the end.


  6. A good tale. Writing about a non-event is a real skill. I’d no idea who that Eccleston might be. But I guessed it was The Hall. I like to go in there sometimes, but the coffee’s too strong for me. (Atkinson’s seem to have trained all the small tax-paying coffee shops to make theirs too strong as well. So I ask for half water and half coffee). The Hall is a bonkers place where the staff work at slug speed so as to give the impression that they’re coffee-alchemists, not just posh yunksters with daft hair. But I still go there. For it’s differentness.


    • Ha ha fair point, i don’t go to The Hall for quick service, but i love the staff – the earnestness, the facial hair, the reverence of the coffee bean…i like a bit of ritual. I don’t take all that stuff too seriously but it doesn’t do any harm. Good cake too!


  7. I quite like watching the different brew making techniques in there, but you can’t go in to grab a quick brew.
    It would be a co-incidence for a random mancunian who looks like CE hadventured up to Lancaster, so I determin that it probably was him 🙂


    • I like your logic – of course, it HAD to be Mr E. From now on this will be my anecdote about the time i definately, without question, met Dr Who!


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