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Cheer up Ian, at least you don't live in Luton...


Up North,

Where the beer is best!

Up North,

Where you don't wear a vest!

Up North,

Where men are men!

Up North,

Ah, I'll say it again,

Up North!
Fivepenny Piece: Up North

To some Londoners, this is anywhere in England north of the Watford Gap, forgetting about The Midlands. Geographically, the North is usually classed as Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Yorkshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, Durham, Tyne & Wear, Northumberland, Cumbria and parts of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire.

It's less crowded than southern England, but not half as rich or full of TV bosses. The media sometimes portray a stereotypical place of urban deprivation, coal mines and men in flat caps. Expect stories about working-class struggle, unemployment, crime, alcoholism, and old men having humorous adventures. There may well be trouble at t'mill. The setting of many a Kitchen Sink Drama.

Northerners are sometimes held in the same low regard as Australians and Texans for being too loud, proud and generally insufferable, like in At Last The 1948 Show's Four Yorkshiremen sketch. But surveys have shown that Northern accents (particularly Yorkshire) are thought to be the most "trustworthy", thanks to the no-nonsense stereotype. Unlike America's conservative Deep South, the North of England is generally more left-wing than the South of England is.

The trope name reflects a northern pronunciation of "up North" in the phrase is "Ee, it's grim oop North".[1] While living Oop North is certainly no joke, it should not be confused with the Grim Up North.

A lot of English-made stories are set in the North, but Americans seldom get the distinction because Britain Is Only London. (London and The North are also as close together as New York and Boston.) Liverpool is an exception for being the hometown of The Beatles.

Examples of Oop North include:

Comic Books

  • Andy Capp
  • Several of the stories in Viz, as the comic originated in Newcastle; most notably the character of Sid The Sexist.
  • John Constantine is originally from Liverpool. Furthermore, a large number of issues are about John making attempts to come to terms with what happened in Newcastle.
  • Mokera from Helios Eclipse.
  • Dan Dare's batman Digby hails from Wigan.
  • Jack Staff is set in Castleford, Yorkshire.


  • Threads, the ultimate horror show of nuclear war takes place entirely in Sheffield and the surrounding towns. All the actors are pretty much native to the area, and the programme needs captions just so the rest of the country can make out what the hell everyone is saying.
    • A joke at the time (probably started by a Southerner) held that the film had been set in Sheffield so they didn't have to spend any money building sets to depict it after the nuclear attack.
  • The Full Monty, in which a bunch of sacked steel workers have to turn to stripping to survive. By the way, that's a comedy and a pretty good one as well.
  • Whistle Down the Wind depicts both the rural and urban North.
    • Both are rather depressing.
  • Billy Elliot, a story about a young Northern boy who takes to ballet, much to the annoyance of his gruff father.
  • The film Get Carter is set Oop North in Newcastle, which is portrayed as a grim, crime-ridden city.
    • Also, the famous car park scene is set in Gateshead, just across the Tyne from Newcastle.
  • The moors where the werewolf appears in An American Werewolf in London.
  • Billy Liar, filmed in and around Bradford and Leeds, just as they were in the process of pulling down all the depressing Victorian slums and replacing them with... er... depressing modern tower-blocks.
  • Brassed Off concerns the (fictional) Grimley Colliery Band, from a (fictional) area of The North. The plot deals with a brass band (very Northern) made up of miners (also quite Northern) being made redundant (again, Northern) by the managers (definitely Southern, from the one example seen on screen).
  • 24 Hour Party People, the semi-fictional account of Manchester's Factory Records and that city's regeneration.
    • Also Control, the Ian Curtis biopic, which naturally filmed in a lot of the same places.
  • Kes, written by a man from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, is set there. True to form, everyone speaks Tyke, wears a flat cap and the place is crapsack.
    • With possible exception of flat caps... Truth in T.V.
  • Kinky Boots is set in Northampton, played as the boring, bankrupt small town representing the endangered values of Charlie's father, and which the fashionable fiancée desperately tries to leave or convert to flats. While the people are very nice, they're a bit small-minded about their new co-worker, a drag queen from London.
    • Strange really, as Northampton is about as midland as you can get. It's actually less than a hundred miles from London.
    • There's even an argument about it.

 Lola: Lola doesn't do North.

Charlie: Northampton's the Midlands.

Lola: No, Charlie. Tottenham Court Road is the Midlands.

  • Mercer from Pirates of the Caribbean has a heavy Mancunian accent.
  • The Damned United, based as it is on the true story of Brian Clough's management of Leeds United in The Seventies.
  • Countess Lisl von Schlaf, in For Your Eyes Only passes herself off as a German noblewoman, until she and James Bond get alone together; as her nightie starts slipping, so does her Germanic accent. Bond guesses she's from Manchester. She answers, "Close, Liverpool." This scene is the Trope Namer for Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping via paraphrased dialogue.
  • In A Hard Day's Night, Ringo skips out of the studio to roam London on his own - when a policeman shouts at him for hurling a brick in the river he shouts back "Southerner!". Meanwhile the band's manager frets on Ringo's potential misdeeds, what with his being "released on the unsuspecting South".
  • Speaking of The Beatles, there's also the film Across the Universe by Julie Taymor. The protagonist, Jude, is from Liverpool, and as such, is poor, wears a flatcap and works at the shipyard. Also, his heavy accent is what brings Max's attention to him, as he asks him "Where is that accent from?" when they first meet.
  • In Monty Python's The Meaning of Life the second Miracle of Birth sketch is set in the Third World, i.e. Yorkshire. Right after the baby is born via a stork dropping it down the chimney, the father comes home and announces that the mill is closed.
  • Educating Rita, set in Liverpool, filmed in Dublin.
  • Bridesmaids has some very stereotypical low-class Northerner roommates living with the main character in a Milwaukee (in the U.S.) apartment.
  • The French film Welcome To The Sticks (Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis) is all about a Southern Frenchman forced to move to the Northern part of France, nicknamed "The Sticks", and learning about how it isn't as bad as the rumours made it out to be.
  • The 2010 film of Robin Hood has Russell Crowe attempt a Northern accent, although the fact that he often wandered into Irish was mocked in the UK. Also, the Northern Lords speak with strong Northern accents (unrealistic for the time as they would all have been Norman French, but never mind).
  • Formula 51, filmed and set in Liverpool.
  • Liam is set in 1930s Liverpool, showing the titular character preparing for his First Communion when his father loses his job, his sister becomes a maid to a wealthy Jewish family, and his father and brother turn to disparate ideologies (fascism and socialism) in response to the family's economic decline.
  • Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter movies has a Northern accent, due to Matt Lewis being from West Yorkshire.


  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell references the North-South rivalry by having the North ruled by a king of Faerie and only conditionally united with the South until his return.
  • Sgt. Shadwell of Good Omens is in some ways a very sour Northerner, resentful of Southern England. Unfortunately, his accent makes him completely impossible to place, and he has accused Scots of being Southerners.
    • He's referred to in the book as hating all Southerners, and by inference to be standing on the North Pole.
    • Additionally, the demon Crowley asserts early on in the book that Manchester was his greatest work.
    • He also claims the credit for Milton Keynes. On the other hand, so does his angelic counterpart Aziraphale.
  • Although Wuthering Heights is set in the North and most of the characters were born and lived their lives there, the character of Joseph is significant in that he's written with a thick and an almost impenetrable Yorkshire accent (that contains several words and turns of language that today no longer exist) that no other character in the novel shares.
  • Catherine Cookson's novels (and thus the telefilm adaptations thereof) are almost exclusively set deep in the heart of this trope, specifically Northumberland.
  • The Plague Dogs, a Darker and Grittier sequel (book and film) to Richard Adams' Watership Down, is set in England's Lake District.
  • In Joan Aiken's Wolves Of Willoughby Chase and successive sequels, as well as Midnight Is A Place, Blastburn is a northern 'satanic' mill-town apparently sited in Yorkshire. At one point in the cycle it has broken off from the south and is ruled by a succession of sinister relatives of Dido and Is Twite. Although the series is set in an alternate timeline where the Stuarts maintained their succession and the Hanoverians exist as rebels trying to blow King James III up, most of the early Victorian tropes are there in spades.
  • Mrs. Whitlow, the indefatigable housekeeper of the Unseen University in Discworld is implied to have this accent.
    • Though she usually puts on what she thinks is a "posh" accent when talking to the wizards.
    • Lancre is partly based on rural Lancashire (with added geography[2]), a county known for its witches. Terry Pratchett used some names from historic witch trials for some of the Lancre witches.
  • In the book of Layer Cake, a chapter is actually entitled "Oop North" and recounts the drug dealing protagonist and his associates (all Londoners) going to a meeting with their Northern associates. He frequently refers slightingly to "scousers" and portrays the residents of the region as a bunch of savages.
    • "Scouser" is a common nickname for people from Liverpool though, and "scouse" for their accent and dialect.
  • Yet another Terry Pratchett example is Blackbury, the City of Adventure in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, heavily implied to be Oop North and explicitly so in the TV adaptation of Johnny and the Bomb. The name, as well as being an Incredibly Lame Pun, is a portmanteau of Blackburn and Bury which are two large towns in Lancashire.
  • Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic The Secret Garden is very specifically set on the Yorkshire moors, complete with characters speaking in the distinctive dialect of the region.
  • James Herriot's eponymous novels, set in the fictional town of "Darrowby" (in actuality Thirsk and surrounding areas), deal nearly exclusively with farmers from the Yorkshire Dales. Expect many strong Yorkshire accents, along with the appropriate phonetic spelling, thick enough to cut with a knife. That part of England is now so closely associated with Herriot that the local tourist authorities named it "Herriot Country".
    • Author Bill Bryson, who lived in the area for many years, points out that the pre-WWII Yorkshire accent, as found in the Herriot books, is a very different thing from the current incarnation. To his American ears, the older dialect sounded almost like a different language altogether.
  • The Sarah Caudwell novel The Sibyl in her Grave features a bank director with a very pronounced Lancashire accent, which is commented on numerous times by various people. Most of them talk about how remarkable it is he's risen to his prominent position what with the disadvantages he must have had. The gentleman is actually very well educated with a First from Oxford and quite capable of speaking with a Southern accent, but found that other Englishmen were more inclined to trust him with the Northern accent. Then he kept it and started exaggerating it - and the "provincial Northerner" persona - to make fun of a snobbish coworker he particularly disliked, but no one ever realised it was a joke.
  • In Harry Potter, Spinner's End is in the north, around 200 miles from London; the descriptions are evocative of old textile towns like Rochdale, Stockport, Brighouse, and Halifax. Which side of the Pennines it's on is a matter of debate, with equally convincing arguments. An essay on the Harry Potter Lexicon by Claire M. Jordan states: "Of these locations, the Manchester/Salford area is probably the most likely. (In the movies Snape speaks with a West London accent [because Alan Rickman is originally from Hammersmith] and therefore can't be used to prove or disprove this theory.)
    • Another Lexicon essay asserts that based on the details given in the books, Neville Longbottom and his relatives appear to be from Lancashire.
    • In the UK audio books, Stephen Fry gives Tonks a strong Yorkshire accent.
  • Hard Times is set up north. This being Charles Dickens of course, an author who was about as Northern as Mick Jagger, it's believed he had to look up the dialect in a book to make sure he got the Lancashire accent and slang right. Only the poor, uneducated people spoke this way though.
  • Elizabeth Gaskell's 1855 novel North and South is one of the earliest modern examples to contrast the differences between the (newly) industrializing North and wealthier South.
  • Learoyd, one of Rudyard Kipling's Soldiers Three, is a Yorkshireman.
  • Peter Tinniswood's series of books about the very Northern Brandon family are classics of Northern humour. A Touch of Daniel and its three successor novels are deliberately vague about whether the Brandons and their world are in Yorkshire or Lancashire and combine the idea of the taciturn grim North with mordant observational humour. Although the TV adaptation I Didn't Know You Cared very definitely places them in Yorkshire. The first three books are set in the late 1960's and 1970's; the fourth, Call It A Canary, catches up with Carter Brandon in his forties in the entirely different world of the 1980's. Here he is unemployed due to Thatcher's destruction of the north and its heavy industries, a theme Tinniswood uses with real anger and satirical fire. Carter Brandon's descent into despair after the heavy engineering trade - all he knows - vanishes, is a microcosm of the death of heavy manufacturing industry in the North at the hands of a remote government serving only its electorate in the south. To those who remember the optimistic young introvert of the early books, this comes as a shocking postscript.

Live Action TV

  • Coupling. Though Jeffery is supposedly Welsh, Richard Coyle is from Sheffield, and his Northern accent becomes more noticable in later series.
  • Frasier. Daphne Moon's from Manchester.
  • Last of the Summer Wine, the longest-running sitcom in the world, about a group of pensioners living in Yorkshire.
  • Open All Hours, about a miserly shopkeeper, also set in Yorkshire.
  • Coronation Street, a very long-running Soap Opera about working-class people set and filmed in (Greater) Manchester...
    • Holly Oaks, a Soap Opera about young people set in Chester (but filmed in Liverpool)...
    • Brookside, a Soap Opera about a housing estate in Liverpool (filmed in a purpose-built housing estate, in Liverpool)
    • Emmerdale, a Soap Opera about people in rural Yorkshire (and filmed in Yorkshire!)...
  • All Creatures Great and Small plus any other versions of James Herriot's books. NB this is the rural north so there are some differences.
  • The three Red Riding films, which deal with murder and police corruption in Ripper-haunted Seventies Yorkshire.
  • Harry Enfield's character Buggerallmoney.
    • A Self-Parody of his Cockney character Loadsamoney.
    • When Enfield did a live show in which he was required to play the character in front of an audience of actual Northerners, he called up one of the editors of the aforementioned Viz comic for coaching on getting the accent right. According to Enfield, the show went well, but at the end of the night he asked the audience how his accent had been, and every one of them shouted back "SHITE!"
  • Four of the core characters from Auf Wiedersehen Pet; Oz, Dennis and Neville (from Newcastle) and Moxey (from Liverpool).
  • Spender, about a Northern detective.
  • The Likely Lads, a pair of Geordies. Also the sequel, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?
  • The miniseries Blackpool and its sequel, Viva Blackpool (both were shown under the name Viva Blackpool in the US).
  • The 2006/7 BBC series Life On Mars is set in a 1973 Manchester that may or may not be entirely imaginary.
    • Ashes to Ashes is set in London, but three of the Mancunian characters from its parent show, most notably Gene Hunt appear in this show.
  • The Ninth Doctor's accent in Doctor Who (since it is Christopher Eccleston's natural one). This despite him being an alien, which is explained thusly: "lots of planets have a North!"
    • In the alternate history universe of "Turn Left", Donna and many other residents of the South of England are forced to move to the North of England after fallout from an attack on London leaves much of the south irradiated. It gets worse.

 Some woman in Leeds: Used to be a nice family in number 29! They missed one mortgage payment, just one, and they got booted out, all for you lot!

Donna: Don't get all chippy with me, Vera Duckworth! Pop your clogs on and go and feed t'whippets!

  • The bleak provincial city of Grimble, where Rumpole of the Bailey defended a couple of cases.
    • Judge Oliphant is a transplanted Northerner living and working in London.
  • The children's series Byker Grove is set around a Newcastle youth club. Byker is a real area of Newcastle.
  • The 1970s miniseries Flambards (an adaptation of K.M. Peyton's novels) was set on a country estate in Yorkshire in the 1910s.
    • Not unless Essex has been relocated to Yorkshire. (It was made by Yorkshire Television, and filmed in Yorkshire, but very definitely still set in Essex, as were the novels.)
  • Michael from I'm Alan Partridge is Geordie. The actor playing him is not, but nails the very, very specific accent.
  • Waterloo Road is set in Rochdale, a town that is part of Greater Manchester. Or Lancashire if you ask the locals.
  • The Columbo episode "Etude in Black" features a Northern English car mechanic living in Hollywood and specialising in foreign and classic cars. John Cassavetes plays the murderer of the week and invokes stereotype by patronisingly addressing the mechanic in the "What ho, old chap! Don't you know?"-type drawl characteristic of an American actor having trouble with a British accent.
  • Anything and everything involving Peter Kay, whose observational comedy (as seen in Phoenix Nights and Max And Paddys Road To Nowhere, as well as his stand-up routines) draws heavily on the culture of the North-West of England.
  • Badger was set in Northumberland (about as far Oop North as you can get).
  • Despite attempt to appear more exotic, Howard Moon is "clearly from Leeds". He's occasionally described as Northern in an insulting tone, or it's said that it's the origin of his unsophisticated behavior, despite the fact that Howard is an upright, mild-mannered kind of guy. Julian Barratt, the actor who plays Howard, is also from Leeds.
  • Gunn-Sar from the Blakes Seven episode "Power" is a barbarian leader with a Yorkshire accent despite being from another planet in the far future. Still, it made a change from the usual cavemen speaking with posh accents.
  • Brass intentional comedy, sending up a number of northern stereotypes and genres. Including Agatha Christie, D.H. Lawrence, Brideshead Revisited, working class vs ruling class and so on.
  • Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear is from Doncaster, but went native as a southerner and rarely brings out his original accent. The phenomenon of "more northern than thou thi" (as in Good Omens above) was also referenced in the Polar Special, as they approached the magnetic north pole:

 Clarkson: We are now the most northern people in the world!...well apart from Michael Parkinson, obviously.

    • Whether he had any 'original' accent at all. More upper-middle class people tend to have quite neutral accents fairly similar to what Clarkson has now. For example Michael Palin is from Sheffield, but doesn't have any kind of stereotype "northern" accent (although, like Clarkson, he does a good impression of that accent). Or think of Jessica Jane Clement from The Real Hustle... ... (ok, you can stop thinking now), who has a bit of a Yorkshire accent at times.
  • When the Boat Comes In, with a lot of Geordies.
  • David Lister is from Liverpool.
  • Parodied on A Bit of Fry and Laurie, with a Northerner (Hugh Laurie) who is determined to prove to a Londoner (Stephen Fry) that the North is actually quite civilized, thank you very much. This prompts the Londoner to mess with him by claiming that Londoners have developed eternal life by drinking petrol.
  • The League of Gentlemen is set in the fictitious Northern English town of Royston Vasey[3]. They play up all the stereotypes of podunk rurality, although it's worth noting that the creators themselves are Northerners.
  • On Chef, Cyril was an uncultured Northerner. His finishing-school educated daughter Renee, however, spoke with a really posh accent. Lenny Henry's character mocked both Cyril for having a Northern accent, and Renee for not having one.
  • Parodied by Monty Python (apart from their reuse of "Four Yorkshiremen" from At Last the 1948 Show) in the "Northern Playwright" sketch on Flying Circus, with the oft-seen trope of the father rejecting his son for betraying his background and pursuing a different life... only the father's profession is writing plays for the London theatre, and the son's betrayal consisted of moving to Yorkshire to become a coal miner.

 Graham Chapman: Hampstead wasn't good enough for you, was it? You had to go poncin' off to Barnsley! You and your coal-mining friends!


 Big Al: I've got nothing against Geordies, except that they're not from Yorkshire. It's not as though I was letting a Londoner in.

  • Queer as Folk (the UK original version) was set in Manchester, around the Canal St area.
  • In the 1989 TV 'mockumentary' "Norbert Smith: A Life," the actor being profiled, Norbert Smith (played by Harry Enfield) appears in a kitchen-sink drama entitled "It's Grim Up North," which runs through just about every cliche of the council-estate/Angry Young Man dramas of the period, including out-of-wedlock pregnancy, bitter family rowing, women in head scarves, and ugly flowered wallpaper.
  • The Ripping Yarns episode "The Testing of Eric Olthwaite" is a parody Coming of Age Story about a boy in Yorkshire who's so boring (obsessed with rainfall and shovels) that his family leaves him.
  • Bill Oddie of The Goodies would often play up his Northernness, for instance in the episode where he introduced the world to Ecky Thump, the Lancashire art of self-defense (consisting of hitting people over the head with a black pudding). There's also this bit from the I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again version of Othello:

 Bill Oddie: 'Ow do, ah am Oh-thello.

David Hatch: What kind of a Moor is that?

Bill Oddie: A Yorkshire Moor!

    • Tim Brooke-Taylor, the personification of an upper-class soft southern Nellie in the Goodies, is also (just about) from Oop North: his family still run the Brooke-Taylor legal practice in Buxton, Derbyshire. (a place which is pretty much at the otherwise ill-defined southern border of "the North". Shading into the Midlands, places like Glossop and Buxton just about squeak in. But Leek and Derby, just down the road, are unanimously considered as being in the Midlands.).
  • A lot of Victoria Wood's television work is based in the North. (Her frequent collaborator Julie Walters is originally from Birmingham, though).
  • Mister Winterbottom in Dinner for One is a stereotypical Northerner (with a stereotypically Northern name).
  • The Pilgrimage of Grace in Season 3 of the Tudors...even to this American troper, the differences in accents between the rebels and the Powers That Be down south were striking. Also helps illustrate how old this trope is too.
  • The original UK version of Shameless is set in the fictional council estate Chatsworth in Stretford, Greater Manchester.
  • Game of Thrones has to have more Northern English accents in it than any American production of anything, ever. Appropriately enough, it's (mostly) the characters from the northern part of Westeros that have northern (usually Yorkshire) accents.
  • The ITV drama Downton Abbey is set around a southern Earl and his family, who move to an estate in Yorkshire. Rightfully, most of the upper-class and middle-class characters are from the south, with servants being locals with Yorkshire accents.
  • Father Peter Clifford from Ballykissangel is a Manchester native transplanted to Ireland.
  • The TV adaptation of Peter Tinniswood's Brandon family trilogy, 'I Didn't Know You Cared, very definitely places the Brandon family's world as being in Yorkshire. (as above, the source novels were deliberately vague about the location being Lancashire or Yorkshire.) Sheffield was used extensively for filming and local nuances were introduced, for eg the Sheffield Green final sports paper.
  • Caroline Aherne's character of Mrs Merton, elderly Northern lady given a chat show, was very firmly based in the North Cheshire town of Stockport. Stockport is right in the top-right-hand corner of the county and is bisected by the Lancashire- Cheshire border which runs right through the town. Opening credits to the short lived spin-off show 'Mrs Merton and Malcolm' (Malcolm, played by Craig Cash, is her adult son) were conclusively identified as being in the Heaton Norris district of Stockport, claimed as Mrs Merton's home patch, and the yardstick for everything good and Northern. A subsequent Aherne/Cash comedy, 'Early Doors', about a grim, grim, pub called the Grapes and its clientele, is also very clearly set in Heaton Norris. (local references...). This is so marked that by about episode two, a Heaton Norris pub called The Hope, a truly grim place, closed down for a major refit and refurbishment, as the brewery company seemed to beleive this was the pub being featured in the show. Caroline Aherne has been thought of in some cirles as the spiritual sucessor to Peter Tinniswood.


  • The Lancashire Hotpots are this trope.
  • Cheryl Cole from Girls Aloud is a Newcastle lady, something really noticeable when she speaks.
    • This famously lost her a lucrative presenting contract in the USA, a country where a Geordie accent needs subtitles.
    • Her bandmates also count, hailing from Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Northern Ireland.
      • Nicola Roberts is from Runcorn, Cheshire. Former Spice Girl Mel C is from a suburb of Liverpool, not the city itself. And Mel B is from Yorkshire.
  • The Beatles, obviously, from Liverpool.
  • Take That are from various places in Manchester.
  • Jethro Tull, from Blackpool, inspiring their song "Up The Pool".
    • Jethro Tull are an interesting example. The band that later was known as Jethro Tull was formed in Blackpool but when Ian Anderson decided to relocate to London, where the action was, only bassist Glenn Cornick went with him. So the first lineup who called themselves "Jethro Tull" was 2 guys from Blackpool and 2 guys from Luton. However, after Martin Barre replaced Mick Abrahams on guitar, all subsequent personnel changes were accomplished by Ian calling one for one his former band mates, so much that the classic lineup that recorded Thick as a Brick, A Passion Play, War Child and Minstrel In The Gallery was essentially Ian Anderson's Blackpool band with Martin Barre on guitar (and despite that description seemingly making Barre the odd man out, he's actually the only other member ever, besides Ian Anderson, to have been in Tull from when he joined till the present day. Go figure.)
  • Both of the Pet Shop Boys (Newcastle and Blackpool respectively). The song "Sexy Northerner" is about dispelling the negative stereotypes of Northerners as being all about "football and fags".
    • ...But it is.
  • Sting is from Newcastle.
  • The Hollies are from Manchester.
  • The KLF, while not being from the North, recorded the song "It's Grim Up North".
  • The Hacienda Club in Manchester was largely responsible for "Madchester" era groups such as The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and New Order. Also had a huge hand in the Acid House movement. Sadly in it's later years the club was plagued with rampant drug use and gang related violence.
  • Oasis, causing a great deal of non-English-speaking fans to try and learn English with a Northern twang.
  • Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Joe Cocker are both from Sheffield - but neither are they related nor, according to rumour, do they like each other much.
  • The Smiths, formed in Manchester and famously sardonic in their lyrics.
  • Little Boots is from Blackpool.
  • The Kaiser Chiefs are from Leeds and sometimes use local slang (e.g. 'lairy') in their lyrics.
    • Lairy is also used a lot in the South though
  • Bryan Ferry
  • Prefab Sprout, from Durham.
  • Annie Haslam, long-time lead singer of the progressive rock band Renaissance, is from Blackpool. For extra Northern cred, the band wrote and performed the theme song for Tyne Tees TV's The Paper Lads.
  • Arctic Monkeys. Especially notable is how pronounced singer Alex Turner's Sheffield accent is.
    • The Arctic Monkeys aren't from Sheffield, they're from Chapeltown, about as far away from Sheffield that you can get without going to Barnsley.
      • The Arctic Monkeys are actually from High Green which, like its slightly further south neighbour Chapeltown, is most definitely a suburb of Sheffield.
  • Deathcore band Bring Me the Horizon are also from Sheffield.
  • Human League and Heaven 17: Also from Sheffield.
  • Joy Division, from Manchester.
    • Joy Division were formed in Salford (which, admittedly, is in the borough of Greater Manchester but isn't the same city).
  • My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, and Anathema, the so-called 'Peaceville Three,' are from Halifax, West Yorkshire (first two) and Liverpool.
  • Before and during World War 2, there were Gracie Fields and George Formby. The latter was the subject of a hilarious Peter Sellers sketch, the All-England George Formby Championship.
  • DC's vocalist, Brian Johnson. Before AC/DC, he was in a band called Geordie.
  • Space, from Liverpool.
  • Def Leppard, Originally all from Sheffield, Drummer Rick Allen is from just outside Sheffield, Phil Collen is from London, and Vivian Campbell is from Dublin. Sheffield is their "Home Town Gig" though.

Newspaper Comics

  • Hardcastle Industries, one of Alex's clients in the Alex comic strip, is based in the fictional Nothern town of Grimley. Alex had to move there for a time, leading to a lot of 'fish out of water' jokes about a London banker trying to adjust to life in the industrial north.
  • The very funny comics of Bill Tidy, most notably The Fosdyke Saga (which used to appear in the Daily Mirror) and The Cloggies (in Private Eye) were firmly based Up North. The Cloggies obviously was a team of clog-dancers, while The Fosdyke Saga told the story of the Fosdykes, a Lancashire family who by a stroke of luck inherited Salfords biggest tripeworks and took place between the turn of the century and the 1930s; usually Sir Jos Fosdyke's three sons were busy travelling around the world on various tripe-related quests and stunts.

Video Games

  • In Beneath a Steel Sky, the mechanic that the player meets at the start of the game originally had a Yorkshire accent, but this was changed for the final release as US playtesters couldn't understand what he was saying.
    • The factory owner Lamb, though, still has a Yorkshire accent that's happily very apparent even in the text version.
  • The Worms franchise, made by Wakefield-based Team17, has a variety of regional accents for the teams' soundbanks, including Yorkshireman, Geordie and Scouse.
  • Many characters in Conkers Bad Fur Day, notably Mr. Cog who when turned upside down becomes southern. And camp.
  • In the Final Fantasy series (or Final Fantasy Tactics a 2 at least), the written dialogue for the Bangaa race makes one think they have accents like this.

  Kyrra: Spear and helm are part and parcel of the dragoon - a prouder group of warriors ye'll nae find! Yammer on about me as ye like, but I'll not have ye drag the name of Dragoon through yer filth!

  • In Dragon Age (or at least its expansion, Awakening), Amaranthine seems to be home to more northern characters than the rest of Ferelden, and is fittingly located in the North of that country. Like Yorkshire (known occasionally to its locals as God's County) it's seen hard times, but is also valued as a jewel of nothern Ferelden.

Western Animation

  • Wallace and Gromit. Its precise setting was kept mysterious for a while, but was eventually revealed to be Wigan in Lancashire — the Yorkshire-Lancashire rivalry was referenced in A Matter of Loaf and Death when Gromit makes a solid attempt at throwing an about-to-explode bomb across the Yorkshire border.
    • Though in truth, it was shown in A Grand Day Out that the setting was Wigan, just had to keep an eye out for it.
  • Aardman's other famous work, Chicken Run, is set in Yorkshire.


  • Fan Dan Go is set in Lonchester, which--aside from the general weirdness of the Fan Dan Go universe--is a rather larger city than Real Life Lancaster.
  • Scary Go Round is set in the fictional town of Tackleford in West Yorkshire. That it has a seafront despite West Yorkshire being landlocked can be put down to Rule of Funny.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Annie's mother Surma is from Yorkshire.

Web Original

  • Jeff from Warlock Games is an extreme stereotype of this: as well as his accent, his computer wallpaper is Jimmy Saville, and he prays to Ant and Dec.

Real Life

  • People from the north
  • John Simm grew up in the North and often chooses to play gritty, angsty and Northern characters.
  • Malcolm McDowell was from Leeds, Yorkshire. Apparently, his accent used to be a lot more pronounced.
  • Patrick Stewart is also from Yorkshire, but has no discernible trace of the accent, apart from occasionally truncated vowels. He briefly brought out his very strong childhood accent for an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross:

 Patrick Stewart: Atha lairkin' ahht? (Translation: "Are you larking out", i.e., "can you come out to play?")

Jonathan Ross (bewildered): Is that Japanese?

    • Similarly, Ian McKellen is from Lancashire (spent most of his early childhood in Wigan) but never uses the accent. He says that he is probably the last Northern actor who felt that he had to erase his own accent and adopt RP.
  • Conversely Sean Bean has a rather pronounced Sheffield accent and which is very distinct in much of his work. It was so prominent that after Bean was cast in the Sharpe series of tv movies, author Bernard Cornwell was so impressed with his performance that he changed his character's upbringing from London to Sheffield in novels that were written after the broadcast of the series.
  • This is very much averted today. For example, Sheffield, which is often stereotyped as a grimy industrial steel city stuck in the 1940s (most recently thanks to The Full Monty), has the most greenspace compared to urbanspace in Britain. The steel industry shut down back in the seventies and eighties and most of the old, dirty factories have been knocked down and replaced with shops and apartments. Manchester and Leeds have done similar things themselves.
    • Not only that, modern Sheffield apparently has more trees per person than any other city in Europe.
    • And since all the old steel factories were demolished, more steel is made in Sheffield than at any other time in its history - it just happens to only need three men and a dog to do it.
    • This has happened with Manchester largely because the IRA set off a bomb in the city centre in 1996. Although a terrible event at the time, it resulted in a huge amount of revitalisation for the city, since there was suddenly a large amount of open space that could be replanned, and of course, lots of construction jobs suddenly available. Comedian Jason Manford probably puts it best in his gag about doing a gig in Belfast, where he mentioned he was from Manchester.

  Jason Manford: All of a sudden, this voice rings out of the crowd, thick Northern Irish accent, and goes, "Did you like the bomb?" And I paused for a second and said, "Well, yeah, I did as it happens. Nobody died, and we got a new Next (clothes store - the largest one in Britain was built in Manchester after the bomb)."

  • George Macdonald Fraser wrote the history book The Steel Bonnets about the late medieval version of this. The area is described as being in tension between the Obstructive Bureaucrats of England and Scotland when it is not actually being fought over. The region is full of outlaws and Feuding Families all seeking Plunder from each other, according to the Good Old Ways of the border. The law in the region was at its most basic, and it was generally not a nice place to live.
    • P.F. Chisholm's series of historical mysteries concerning Sir Robin Carey, an illegitimate grandson of King Henry VIII who is sent to be Warden of the Marches and keep the peace on the border, deal with the same place and period. They're also rather good.
  • Brian Blessed, Diana Rigg, and Jeremy Clarkson all come from Doncaster. It's now home to a large college for the deaf.
  • Comedian and comic actor Lee Mack is from Lancashire and occasionally milks his Northerness (or irritation at the Southern view of the North) for comic effect.
  • This little girl who's become something of a Youtube hit.
  1. Incidentally, "ee" sounds like a cross between "aye" and "hey" and "oop" rhymes internally with "foot" not "soup"
  2. whereas Lancashire is rugged and hilly by the standards of England, Lancre is set in the Discworld equivalent of the Himalayas
  3. The birth name of Northern comedian Roy "Chubby" Brown.