Changing voices, the past seems a lifetime ago...
Updated: Apr 9, 2021
After not really being convinced I decided to take a trial for BritBox, the TV streaming service from both the bbc and itv, with some channel 4 thrown in for good measure. To my surprise the amount of content is astonishing and of course I decided to take a look around all the different old tv shows I barely remember.
One of these shows I stumbled across with some excitement was Blake’s 7. A late 70's space drama, really a poor mans Doctor Who. As I watched, being more and more disappointed by the minute, the thing I was shocked by were the voices. All great actors of the time, looking cool, running around with laser guns , jaunty outfits and vigour, these actors when they spoke brought a real shock. The whole ensemble had pitch perfect received pronounciation (or RP) Every one an actor fit for Shakespeare or The Crown, in 2020 it really did feel very odd.
Our acceptance of voices has changed greatly. Now or tv and radio channels are full of real voices, the voices we hear in everyday life. If you go back only twenty years all the voices on BBC Continuity were RP, now sounding stuffy and rather disconnected. Back then we expected our broadcasters to be different to us, now we expect them to sound like us. Take a moment to think about what you are exposed to now. ITV, a full set of announcers with regional accents. BBC most announcers with strong local accents. All the promos have a voiceover at the end that fits with the genre of the show.
The soundtrack to our lives is certainly very different to only a few years ago, times change and move on. When you think about your next project think about the voice you choose. How will they fit in, how will they hep to illustrate your work with their sound and tone.
Finally if you want to hear something from another lifetime have look for a documentary called ,The Queen is Crowned, this is a documentary of the Queens Coronation narrated by the legend Sir Laurence Olivier. There are moments in this narration that are so hammed up he sounds like he is about to explode. Clearly perfect for the time, now it quite frankly sounds ridiculous. If anybody came into the voiceover booth and spoke like that now I think we would just laugh.
This leads me to think how we will sound in another 20 years. Maybe we won’t, just communicating telepathically and wearing funny outfits just like Blake’s 7!