Can anyone explain this Briticism from Spooks (MI-5)

Ray Hunter   Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:38 am GMT
This is a dialog snippet from the TV program known as Spooks in the U. K. and MI-5 in the U. S. Specifically from season (series) 2, Episode 3.

The scene is at a stake-out where Anton joins Tom and a technician in the tent where their surveillance equipment is setup. The dialog is a direct quote from the script as posted online.

ENGINEER (Anton) (quite posh):
Jolly stuffy in here sir.

TOM: Accent’s a bit Bow Bells Anton.

ENGINEER (Anton): Righty-ho. Point taken.

Anton then promptly exits the tent.

I know that "Bow Bells" refers to St.Mary-le-Bow Church within the sound of whose bells one must be born in order to be considered a true cockney. What I don't understand is why this comment elicits the response it does from Anton. Can anyone explain? Have I missed the point entirely?
Lo   Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:48 am GMT
Isn't that phrase, righty-ho, supposed to be part of the cockney rhyming slang?
Lazar   Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:24 am GMT
Perhaps it's that Anton is attempting to sound posh, but he fails in concealing his Cockney accent? In that case, Tom is pointing out the inadequacy, and Anton's response is equivalent to "touché". I could be wrong though.
Damian in Edinburgh   Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:38 am GMT
Sarcastic banter pure and simple! A very British characteristic! Tom was having a dig at Anton's posh accent, but not in any kind of malevolent way at all. Many non-Brits mis-interpret this and assume it's meant as a genuine form of censure, when in fact it's anything but. Brits use sarcasm in this friendly and matey way, particulary male to male, without expecting, or getting, an indignant and hurt response. Referring to Anton's "posh" accent as "Bow Bells - (ie pure Cockney" - very much a "less posh" accent, to say the least!) - was Tom's way of using this means of teasing him about sounding "posh" by using a very clear contrast. As I say, non-Brits may well take offence, but that's just how we are, really.

It's much like a British person saying to a non-Brit getting soaked to the skin on a foul, wet, gloomy day: "It's a nice day isn't it?" and then being met with an incomprehending look of amazement from the foreigner.
Russconha   Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:04 am GMT
A colleague of mine who is a Japanese teacher was marking a mountain of test papers. I took one look at the papers and said to here "That looks like fun".

She looked at me blankly and said "No it's really boring".

Sarcasm is completely lost in Japan.
Adam   Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:59 pm GMT
Traditional definition is that in order to be a Cockney, you must have been born within earshot of the Bow Bells - the bells of St Mary-le-Bow church in Cheapside in the City of London .

However, the church of St Mary-le-Bow was destroyed in 1666 by the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. After the bells were destroyed again in 1941 in The Blitz of World War II, and before they were replaced in 1961, there was a period when by this definition no 'Bow-bell' Cockneys could be born. The use of such a literal definition produces other problems, since the area around the church is no longer residential and the noise of the area makes it unlikely that many people would be born within earshot of the bells anymore.

A study was carried by the city in 2000 to see how far the Bow Bells could be heard[, and it was estimated that the bells would have been heard six miles to the east, five miles to the north, three miles to the south, and four miles to the west.

Thus while all East Enders are Cockneys, not all Cockneys are East Enders. The traditional core neighbourhoods of the East End are Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Stepney, Wapping, Limehouse, Poplar, Millwall, Hackney, Shoreditch, Bow, and Mile End. The area gradually expanded to include East Ham, Stratford, West Ham and Plaistow as more land was built upon.