Belfast Telegraph

The Fall: Ever wondered why Jamie Dornan's killer character is called Spector? We reveal cast are named after famous guitars

By Joanne Sweeney

Hit TV drama The Fall is striking a chord with viewers for more than its menacing storyline.

For all its characters' surnames are named after top guitars, with several of them being made in Northern Ireland.

Co Down actor Jamie Dornan's character Paul Spector is named after USA bass maker Spector Guitars.

And actress Gillian Anderson - who plays detective Stella Gibson - is one of a number of characters whose both names derive from legendary guitars.

Her former police lover, Jim Burns, played by Co Armagh actor John Lynch, is named after Burns Guitars of London.

The naming of the characters - along with some other business and place names - was no coincidence. Writer Alan Cubitt, who created the drama and has directed many episodes, is also a musician and composer who has an extensive knowledge of guitars.

"No, it's not a coincidence, I intended to call my characters after guitars. In fact there's probably over 60 references to them in the series," said Mr Cubitt.

"I love music and I love guitars and have been playing them for years. In fact, my first ever guitar was a Gibson, they are my favourites and I've owned loads of them over the years."

He explained the reasoning behind calling the characters after guitars.

"As a writer sometimes it's incredibly important that you write about things that interest you and you just know when names are right.

"I gave Stella Gibson a double guitar name as she's my central character."

He's has used several Northern Ireland guitar makers' names such as Ciaran McNally from Belfast and hopes one day to use Lowden from Downpatrick and Avalon from Newtownards in the same way."

The discovery was made by horror writer Philip Henry from Portrush who contacted the Belfast Telegraph yesterday with his find.

"As a writer myself I know about picking names for characters and I thought that these weren't typical Northern Ireland names, such as Breedlove, Stagg and Rossmeisl,

So I went to the entertainment website IMDb and checked the characters list and there were more.

"I wondered if they were all like this and I then Googled the surnames along with guitar and it turned out that all of them were."

"But the real question is… why no Fender?"

Mr Cubitt added: "Yes, I know, it's the most famous but it would have been too obvious".


Some of the best guitar makers in the world are represented in The Fall's character list. Former model Jamie Dornan's character, the killer counsellor Paul Spector, is named after Spector guitars from the US. Belfast actor Gerard McCarthy played solicitor Kevin McSwain in the first series and is named after the McSwain electric guitar played by Slash from Guns N' Roses.

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