Northern Grandma - do the voice!
Updated: Sep 11
Recently I've been working on a really exciting project, and I've been cast in a role as a northern Grandma. Northern here means the North of England. But how to choose an accent? Some people say there as about 20 regional accents in England, others 40. I'm inclined to say the latter, however, whether it's 20 accents or 40 accents England has a lot of them.
Liverpool on the west coast and New Castle on the east are both northern, but completely different - other than the musicality from their joint 'we were conquered by Vikings' heritage. Side note - where I am from, in the South, the Vikings never conquered. We were a tough old lot!
A well-known northern accent is Yorkshire, it is soft and lyrical, and a real joy to listen to. It has many variations and is similar to the Lancashire accent. Having spoken to the director we decided that an accent from this area is best for all the characters based there, as it is a fantasy book, and the accents are for the purpose of distinguishing location as much as filling out the characters.
It's a real joy to be using this accent as my Grandmother was born there, in a beautiful place called Knaresborough.
When I am recording her I find my body becomes more hunched, my neck and shoulder movement more limited, and my voice is slower, and slightly cracked and breathy. I really enjoy becoming this grandma, she likes to spin a yarn, and can be quite sharp when her grandchildren step out of line! But she's good all the way through. I think she's a really well rounded and beautifully written character.
What are your top tips for sounding elderly?
I'll keep practicing in my Icelandic studio.