Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cultural Revolution Almost Complete

Never mind the dying off older generation - take a look at the kids :

Casting directors are lost for words because the next generation of British actors just cannot speak proper. The rise of “Estuary English” has left children with the intonation patterns of Lily Allen and Jonathan Ross, regardless of their background.

The decline in Received Pronunciation has not just transformed the presentation of BBC News. Film and drama producers are struggling to fill period roles that require unrepentantly middle-class vowels. BBC One is holding an open casting session tomorrow to try to find two girls to star in a film-length adaptation of the classic children’s novel Ballet Shoes. Victoria Wood and Marc Warren have signed up to star in the story, by Noel Streatfeild, set in 1930s London. But the challenge of finding two ballet-dancing leads who can act, twirl and – most importantly – speak in middle-class accents has defeated the producers.

"We’ve been to drama schools, ordinary schools and children’s agents, but we still haven’t found the right girls," said Susie Parriss, the casting director.

"It doesn’t matter whether you go to public schools or comprehensives, children just speak common estuary now."


Anonymous said...

Lily Allen, I'm informed, has a typical public school accent. She has merely understood what she needed to dress up to get on in her chosen career.

Anonymous said...

Before the French Revolution, the French Queen and her buddies would dress up and play at being peasants. This is something I can remember being roundly derided in history books and lessons.

When millionaire's daughter Lily Allen dresses up as and plays at being a chav, well apparently its a different story these days.

David said...

Well that'll be a relief then from the relentless RP of R4. Here's an experiment for you - try suggesting to a south-eastern middle class RP person that they have an accent. Wait for the reply.

Perhaps the little ballet dancers will have to learn to fake an accent (see innumerable sad attempts over the years by RADA actors)

Squander Two said...

This is yet another sad reflection of our education system. The casting directors should have no problem if they go to drama schools, because drama schools are supposed to teach their students how to do different accents. It's a valuable skill for an actor.

I have to say, as well, that this is typical of the bloody entertainment industry, not to consider looking outside of the South-East. Go to the North of England or the deep South-West or Scotland or Wales or Ireland, and you'll find loads of kids who can do perfect RP and perfect Cockney. This is because they spend so much time taking the piss out of all the Londoners on TV. My four-year-old Northern-Irish neice has been able to do a perfect London accent for almost as long as she's been able to put together sentences.

Anonymous said...

At least they were still speaking some form of mock English, give it another ten years and they might not be able to find any child who dose not speak retarded Ali G-esque jafrican.

Anonymous said...

Twatois is what they call it in Viz.

It grates because its so phoney, for now. You dont hear very young children using it, its teenage boys who have made an entirely conscious decision to adopt it.

A vile (white) youth was accosting a collegue of mine a few months ago. It all ended happily (he was all talk) but I really wanted to say to him "And why are you talking like a f***ing n****r as well?" I didnt of course because thats not nice.

Have you noticed in the cold weather that chav boys like to wear gloves (slightly loose fitting) with their track suit. Looks weird.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I recently took a British Airways flight in which the pre-landing announcements were made by a young man of, I believe, Asian origin whose English was atrocious. He had a strong accent which I can't properly identify (I'm American) but which obviously had a strong element of lower-class street slang, employing an inordinate amount of glottal stops, and he stumbled over numerous words.

Otherwise, the service on the flight was impeccable, making the irritating final announcements all the more incongruous.

Anonymous said...

Tip for aspiring actors trying to master a toff's accent: lock the lower jaw. You will find yourself hitting consonants you never knew existed!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure this is true. It might simply be that children with diction and RP do not wish to be actors and exposed to the public gaze, or their parents do not want children exploited by the theatre/media.

I should think there are a number of children who meet expectations but have no wish to be in film. My own role with Richard Gere did not progress as did his career and he is stunted and below average height

Physiocrat said...

The real fun begins when the young Brits need to learn a foreign language. I have been in a mixed nationality language course. There are very few Brits in any case but some of them need to learn the language. But they apparently don't know what grammar is, which is bemusing for the teachers and other students.