In My View Weekend Saturday Mail 23 August

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

In My View - Weekend/Saturday Mail -23 August

Date: 28th August 2014

Why can’t today’s actors and presenters speak more clearly, says the former newsreader?  

Throughout my career I was a stick- ler for good spoken English and it troubles me that so many of those appearing on television today – actors, presenters and yes, even
newsreaders – don’t speak clearly.
I was lucky to read the news night after night in
an era when a real primacy was placed on English that could be understood by all, and didn’t leave you straining to hear what people were saying, as I do when watching TV now. It’s not as if my hearing is to blame – I can hear the kitchen cat flap go from my sitting room! But all too often I find myself switching on the subtitles in order to understand the English.
Not long ago I watched a Restoration comedy in which the male parts were played by theatre actors and the females by soap stars. We understood the theatre actors perfectly but not the soap actresses, as they neither projected nor enunciated.
I find it equally frustrating when certain news- readers (who I daren’t name) put the emphasis on the wrong words when reading a bulletin. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly admire some news anchors. Listening to Channel 4’s Jon Snow is always a joy because his diction is so good.
I’ve often been complimented on my spoken
English over the years – but I didn’t always speak
so clearly. My father speaks beautifully but I grew
up in south-east London and began talking with
flat vowels – so he enrolled me in speech and dra- PICK ma classes as a child. They didn’t just help my
Hotel India
There are hotels, there are luxury hotels – and there’s the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.
????accent but taught me to project my voice, paving the way for me to have a career in broadcasting.
I know a lot has changed since those days and we now have many more regional accents on TV. But, there’s no reason why a good regional accent can’t be every bit as clear as traditional BBC English, as it’s known. For instance, I find Gloria Hunniford’s soft Irish brogue both clear and easy on the ear. If only all presenters spoke so well!
There’s been a noticeable rise in poor diction on TV over the last decade and it’s getting worse. It’s particularly evident among younger actors and presenters who, infuriatingly, so often swal- low or don’t end their words.
The solution, I believe, is for TV networks to enrol today’s young presenters on courses to help them speak with greater clarity. I’m not calling for them to be made to recite phrases like ‘How now, brown cow’, as in the past – but simply to be taught clear enunciation and voice projection.
After all, they’re in the communication busi- ness so, to put it bluntly, don’t they have a duty to make themselves understood by viewers? ¦
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In My View - Weekend/Saturday Mail -23 August

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