Frequent British accent/dialect?

Jason   Monday, September 27, 2004, 19:07 GMT
I'm an actor, I'm going to start learning some accents just so I have them in my bag of tricks. I was going to start with a single British one, then move on to other countries/accents, then just keep learning more.

What would be a good general British one to start with? Is there a dialect that's used by the largest number of British people? I'd like to learn one that's in use, so I hear that Standard British English (Received Pronunciation) would be a poor choice. I've heard strong Cockney, that seems pretty affected and uncommon, but what do I know. I've found dialect coach tapes on all kinds of British accents...Cockney, Liverpool, Yorkshire, Hampshire, Scottish, Welsh. Hmmm, what would/should James Bond speak, maybe I'll get cast as a spy one day? ;)

Interesting article on accents:

Some dialect tapes:
Ben   Monday, September 27, 2004, 21:15 GMT
Learning British Estuary would be of most help if you are doing modern British drama--it's basically a non-regional accent that mixes RP with just enough cockney that it doesn't sound affected or upper crust. Many British celebrities (Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Rachel Weicz) speak with this accent. Also watch modern British comedies that take place in London like About a Boy, Four Weddings and a Funeral, etc.

Any actor in any English speaking country should definitely learn RP before all else, simply because the most popular British drama outside of England is all 50-100 years old (Wilde, Shaw, Coward), when that dialect was standard. From an American actor's standpoint, I actually found RP much easier to learn than modern British, which has a lot of intermediary vowels that are a bit tricky to reproduce.