Tuesday, October 31

Shhhhh You Know Who

About fifteen years ago I suggested that we used William Franklyn to voice a BBC One promo and in reply other guys in the office said they were sure he was dead. As it turned out he was very much alive and keen to do the voice-over.

I'd always been a fan of his voice (and his personality) and since then I've wheeled him in to do countless jobs for the BBC. What always struck me about him was that he was not only very professional, but that he had a boyish enthusiasm for the art of voice-overs. After every session we would end up talking about voices and the things he'd been working on. He was thrilled to have been asked to narrate a version of Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Talking with him was a bit like talking with your dad but with a bubbling, youthful excitement for the job in hand. "Supposing we did it this way", he'd say, "would we get into trouble? I hope so".

The last conversation I had with him was about growing old. He explained that when you get to a certain age something happened to your voice, "it was a bit like a teenager's voice breaking but in reverse". Your vocal chords would crack and all of sudden you'd sound like an old person, he explained. He seemed a little worried about this prospect, but as it has turned out - even at the age of eighty one - it never happened.

Sadly the next time someone says, "why don't we get Bill Franklyn to do the voice over" I'll have to say that he's no longer on the agent's books.


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