Accent of BBC news readers?

Jenkinson   Tue May 22, 2007 7:40 am GMT
Do news readers of BBC World Service TV as well as BBC World Service Radio speak RP English in general? If not, what accent do they speak?
Liz   Tue May 22, 2007 9:08 am GMT
Newsreaders are not necessarily required to speak cut glass RP anymore. They use a wide range of accents but still speak fairly Standard English.
Damian in Edinburgh   Tue May 22, 2007 10:21 am GMT
If we are concentrating on the BBC World Service here, radio or TV, then it's only reasonable to expect that the newsreaders/continuity announcers will speak in a form of English which is "neutral" - one that can be understood by people right across the globe who would not be familiar with any of the British regional accents - the target audience of the World Service in English. That "neutral" accent just has to be Standard English English - Southern England based legit RP in other words. You can just imagine the complaints that would flood in to Bush House, Aldwych, London if they used newsreaders with strong provincial English accents like broad Scouse or Brummie or Geordie. Or even some Scottish or Welsh accents for that matter. Even though we are used to hearing a myriad of different accents in this country these are pretty well rough on the ears of a fair number of native born British listeners to a broadcaster like the BBC let alone people tuning in from overseas!

For all the different regional radio/TV stations the it's a wee bit of a different situation, but in England from what I understand, even there they dare not use accouncers/presenters/newsreaders with very broad local accents and standard English is pretty well the norm, with perhaps just a touch of the local accent. Here in Scotland the broadcasting accents are decidedly Scottish but not exaggeratedly so - more of an easily understood gently Scottish form of English, even in Glasgow. It seems that the Edinburgh accent is pretty well the model! :-)
Josh Lalonde   Tue May 22, 2007 3:57 pm GMT
I was watching a lot of BBC news last week, and though RP was the preferred accent, I noticed some London features (Estuary English), like l-vocalisation, for example. I also noticed that some people pronounced /r/ more like American English than RP.
Josh Lalonde   Tue May 22, 2007 4:08 pm GMT
I just want to clarify what I said. They were still non-rhotic, but the /r/s that they did pronounce sounded more American than RP.
Jenkinson   Wed May 23, 2007 8:24 am GMT
Damian in Edinburgh, Liz, from what you have said,
does it mean that among the news readers of BBC, they speak fairly Standard English, a kind of English accent which is not strictly RP?
Damian in Edinburgh   Wed May 23, 2007 3:09 pm GMT
Jenkinson: yes, more or less, that's it. A bland type Standard English English, not really determinable or clearly defined...certainly not refined, that's for sure. It's a sort of "nothing" accent - not really RP and not really Estuary, or not really anything else it can be equated to. It's just....Standard English English......BBC English way are you able to accurately guess from which part of the country they come. It could be Godmanchester, it could be Garboldisham, or it could be Goodmayes. Or even Gwaencaegurwen or Galashiels. That's just as well, as the World Service has to be understood by people all over the globe, from Gizhiginskaya Guba to Guadalajara.
Mark   Wed May 23, 2007 3:22 pm GMT
BBC English is roughly reflected in Britain's attempt to move towards a more regional accent, however news readers still have to be understood in various parts of the country, so this accent is largely neutralised.

It is important to note that there also exists in some parts of the UK a certain dislike of RP, with speakers sometimes attacked for their manner of speech, as they view it as elitist. This has led to those who would have traditionally used RP sounding more estuary.