BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

29 October 2014
Your Voice

BBC Homepage


Contact Us

Accents and radio drama
Also on Voices
Accent-uate the positive
Elsewhere on BBCi
BBC Radio 4


In Your Area
What do you think about your local accent?
Talk about Voices in your area

Did You Know?
Elizabeth l allegedly spoke nine different languages, including Welsh, and did a number of translations.
Welsh


Page 2 of 6
Accents: An actor's approach
Writing accents
Directing for accents
Ep1 scene 7 pt1
Ep1 scene 7 pt2
Ep1 scene 7 pt3

Street and Lane: Accents and radio drama

Writng accents
By Dave Sheasby
(co-writer, with Ian McMillan, of Street and Lane)

Starting with the obvious: writing dialogue is always about character and, clearly, language and accent. The choice of words and sounds are one of the keys to the way characters present themselves and act. Even non-human dialogue from animals or inanimate objects such as in cartoons are subject to the same demands.Radio, however, is quite unique in this reliance on voice in drama as it is the only invisible performing art in the world.The characters are never seen, only imagined in the heads of the listeners, and what they say - and how - is a key to establishing these pictures. When it comes to a non-standard accent a writer has two choices. Either they write with the rhythms of the region and place, or they phonetically mark up the exact sound. The late Tom Hadaway wrote all his 'Geordie' plays on the later model because, I think, it was how he heard them. For South Yorkshire, this would mean putting in lots of "na thens", "reights", "t'mills" and other "ecky thumps" all over the script.If you don't do that then you write standard English and leave it to the casting to take care of the issue, hoping your writing has enough clues and pointers. The Great North Man, in episode one of Street and Lane is a kind of caricature of the breed: hard-edged, blunt consonants, twisted shapes of words both dialect and standard. It's mummerset with a cloth cap and clogs. The idea that Arthur, the older of the two builders at the heart of the series, has to do the translating, hints at the possibility that such speech belongs to the past. Great North Man is yesterday and is working class in the sense of the lifting, digging, humping jobs of a past economy. The duo at the heart of the series are also regional in the way they reflect the dry nuances of local speech patterns but it's the casting that gets results.

previous next



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy