For a “serious actor,” Christopher Eccleston has earned some solid geek cred over the years. He was the Ninth Doctor, for crying out loud. He’s playing a dark elf in the upcoming Thor: The Dark World. Hell, he even played Destro in the horrible G.I. Joe movie. Okay, that last one isn’t much of a bragging right, but at least his part was less embarrassing than Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s. Either way, he’ll soon add another genre role to his CV, although it won’t be on screen. He’ll be voicing Winston Smith, the protagonist of Nineteen Eighty-Four, in a new radio drama production of George Orwell’s classic novel.
Aside from having Eccleston as Smith, the cast will also include Tim Pigott-Smith (V for Vendetta) and Pippa Nixon (John Carter). The production of Nineteen Eighty-Four is part of a full season celebrating Orwell’s works, courtesy of BBC Radio 4. It’s strangely appropriate for Orwell’s book to get a BBC radio adaptation, since the writer once worked for the corporation. According to the Telegraph, he even based Nineteen Eighty-Four’s infamous torture area, Room 101, on a meeting room in the BBC building where he’d worked. And you thought your employers were strict…
Oddly enough, there are some frequent connections between Doctor Who and Nineteen Eighty-Four’s protagonist, Winston Smith. In addition to Eccleston, both Second Doctor Patrick Troughton and Peter Cushing, who played the Doctor on the big screen in Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., played the role of Smith at some point during their careers.
The two-part Nineteen Eighty-Four radio drama will begin February 10th on BBC Radio 4. If you’re not in the U.K., odds are you’ll be able to find it online or for purchase at some point down the line.