After having watched British TV and movies for a while, I came across several accents I liked. But I'm not completely sure what they are, so I need your help :)

  1. David Tennant as The 10th Doctor (skip to 0:39 if it doesn't for you).
    When he speaks more calmly, he sounds almost RP to me, but when he's more agitated, I hear something else.

  2. David Tennant in real life — (skip to 1:24) — sounds more Scottish (?) to me.

  3. Charlie McDonnell. He sounds fairly "neutral" to me, but I doubt it's RP.

UPDATE: Dancrumb and ShreevatsaR provided information that apparently The Tenth Doctor speaks Estuary English. But to me it's a very confusing revelation.

I can't find similarities between his accent and that of other notable Estuary speakers, such as David Beckham, Nasser Hussain or Jamie Oliver.

The Tenth Doctor doesn't have:

  • glottal stops (he pronounces daughter as door-tsah, not as door.ah — sorry for the lame transcription)
  • intrusive R (either that or I just didn't notice)
  • L-vocalization (same comment as above)
  • A deeper "i" (that sounds almost like "oi" with Estuary speakers)

Overall, The Tenth Doctor sounds much more RP than the other Estuary speakers, and they, respectively, sound much more Cockney. I can't find a single Estuary speaker on the web that would sound like The Tenth Doctor.

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    Hi Cyril: the central point of your question was not off-topic, but tips on improving English are. I have edited your question so that it is on-topic.
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 21:23
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    Thanks! But I noticed half the links disappeared for some reason; then RegDwight apparently made a rollback. I will not interfere and let people who know better distill my question :) Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 21:25
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    Some wires crossed but now it's all good :)
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 21:26
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    Yeah, a midair collision. I was just fixing the links, while Kosmonaut was fixing the rest. That didn't quite work out, sorry for the confusion.)))
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 21:28

3 Answers 3


David Tennant as The Doctor speaks with an Estuary English accent

David Tennant as David Tennant speaks with a 'Scottish' accent; since there's not single Scottish accent, that's not really a complete answer, but I can't place it since he was born near Edinburgh, but raised near Glasgow

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    +1. In support of this answer, the extremely reliable TVTropes website has: "The original series Doctors mostly tended towards Received Pronunciation, Seven sounded Scottish, Eight sounded Liverpudlian, Nine [Eccleston] Mancunian [of Manchester], Ten [Tennant] had the accent of Estuary London, and Eleven [Smith] has a Northampton accent." Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 12:36
  • Thanks! I read on Estuary on Wikipedia and most of the features seem to apply to Tennant's Doctor. However, I have some questions, still. I found a couple of other people who are known to speak Estuary: David Beckham and Jamie Oliver. They both sound way more "cockney" to me than the Tenth Doctor. Maybe there's just a certain range of Estuary accents and those three are on one end and the Tenth Doctor on the other? Lily Allen sounds to me more like the Doctor but still not quite. Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 16:17
  • Just dug up a video of Nasser Hussain speaking. Also quite different from the Tennant's Doctor... I'm getting confused, lol. Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 16:27
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    Remember it's an actor 'doing' an accent - I suspect it's pitched to be ordinary enough not to put off British viewers (who had to suffer decades of everyone on the BBC speaking RP) yet clear enough to sell well overseas
    – mgb
    Commented Apr 2, 2011 at 15:55
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    I went to school with David Tennant. He was in the same class as my brother. His true accent is typical of middle class Paisley and is discernibly different form nearby Glasgow accents. Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 14:30

David Tennant is Scottish.

His accent in Dr. Who? is Gallifreyan, since he's from the planet Gallifrey.

Charlie McDonnell is from Bath, UK. So I guess it's a regular middle class accent.

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    There's no Gallifreyan English accent; different Doctors (different incarnations) speak in different accents. Eccleston (Ninth Doctor) very much spoke like someone "from the North" (of England); this was even written into the plot ("lots of planets have a North"). Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 12:31
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    Man, I love the fact that on this forum it's possible to maintain a serious discussion of the existence of the Gallifreyan accent :D Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 15:59

According to Wikipedia, "Tennant was born on 18 April 1971 in Bathgate, West Lothian in Scotland and grew up in Ralston, Renfrewshire". I would expect that his accent derives from that part of Scotland but that he adjusts his accent towards RP for some acting rôles.

The same source says "Charles Joseph "Charlie" McDonnell (born 1 October 1990) is a British vlogger and musician from Bath, Somerset." The stereotypical rural Somerset accent is very distinctive. I am unable to distinguish his accent from an average British home counties accent though.

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