Voice Week on BBC Radio 2

Producer, BBC Radio 2

All next week, with the return of The Voice UK on BBC One, Radio 2 will be celebrating and exploring the most magical, incredible, beautiful instrument ever created: the human voice.

Hear the trailer for our week of special programmes celebrating the human voice.

For me, producing this series has been an extraordinary experience; forcing me for the first time to consider the joy and complexity of the sound we make when we open our mouths. In song and in speech, our voices tell the rest of the world how we think and feel. They educate, inform, attract, entertain and offend.

The Voice on Radio 2 will showcase the full sweep of issues relating to human speech and song. The Jeremy Vine Show will look at losing one's voice and selective mutism, as well as exploring freedom of speech and the origin of British accents.

At the end of the week, Jeremy will be inviting the UK’s best-loved and best-known voices to take part in an extraordinary broadcast. Imagine sharing a drink with The London Underground, Tony the Tiger, Postman Pat, Siri, Big brother, the National Lottery and Mr X Factor all in one studio at the same time. The Radio 2 Voice Party will be at 1pm on Friday 19 April. 

I must say that, having spoken to a number of voice artists, I’ve been struck by their sense of frustration – sadness, even – that their field is shrouded in mystery. Their voices are instantly recognisable. By rights, they should be stopped on the street and asked for their autograph every five paces. And yet they are every bit as anonymous as you or me. Such is the nature of their business.

One major insurance company has blocked the actor behind their famous Russian fluff ball from taking part, in fear of bursting their hugely successful marketing bubble. Here is a man with great talent and pride in his art, being refused any public recognition of his notable contribution to pop culture over the last five years. We can assume he is paid handsomely for his work, but imagine enjoying Adele, without ever being able to identify the woman behind the voice. On the 19th of April, Radio 2 does its bit to right that wrong (for some of our favourite voices, at least).

Looking beyond the Jeremy Vine Show, The Voice Week on Radio 2 spans virtually every programme across the network.

The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Monday will feature the US phenomenon, 15-year-old Jake Foushee. Jake is huge news in America and now he's ready to wow Britain with the amazing voice that's already earning him appearances on US primetime shows and voiceover work in Hollywood:

Clare Balding will be asking people what the voice of God sounds like to them. Elaine Paige will make a surprise mystery call to an unsuspecting fan to see if they recognise her voice. Vanessa Feltz will be searching for the country’s sexiest voice.

Chris Tarrant – in for Steve Wright – will be learning how to be a football commentator and then trying out his new skills at a Luton Town FC match on Thursday night.  Simon Mayo is bringing back his celebrity Mystery Voice feature for Drivetime, while Ken Bruce and Lynne Bowles will read traffic reports in one another’s accents.

Without the human voice, there would be no radio. This week, Radio 2 finally acknowledges the brilliance of the most peculiar instrument known to man and celebrates those who showcase its range and beauty. It’s about time, too.

The Voice Week on BBC Radio 2. Listen to it. Please talk about it. Share it... on Twitter, on Facebook, by email and yes... by word of mouth!

 

Andy West is Producer, The Jeremy Vine Show, BBC Radio 2

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