Fury from the Deep: Dutch accents

Listening to the audio verison of “Fury from the Deep” episode 1 on my way to work, I was intrigued by the accent of one of the characters; he sounded distictly African, and I wondered if this might be the first example of a black character in a Doctor Who story set in contemporary Britain (let alone the future)?

However it turned out that the character, van Lutyens, was supposed to be Dutch; he even finishes his first scene with a Verdomme! (recorded in the script as “mutters his reply in Dutch”). The actor, John Abineri, was apparently fluent in German, but that doesn’t explain the accent in this case.

I suppose it’s simply that to a British audience in 1968 (and indeed to a British actor) a South African accent sounded more realistically “Dutch” than a Dutch accent would have done. This was, after all, years before the UK joined the EEC. (I never saw “Van der Valk”, which started in 1972; did its Dutch characters have accents? Or was it all played as if everyone spoke perfect English? Which of course is not totally unrealistic for Amsterdam.)

One thought on “Fury from the Deep: Dutch accents

  1. A number of the newcomers are very experienced directors previously not considered appropriate for Doctor Who or who had turned it down, but who were now coming in to do young Graham, whom they’d known on their way up, a favour… Derrick Goodwin falls into this camp, I think; George Spenton-Foster might also fit, as would Michael Hayes (the best by far of those three). Alan Bromly was in a class of his own. The same problem afflicted John Nathan-Turner, with Peter Moffatt and Terence Dudley having been around the houses too many times.

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