Right of Reply

The `Brookside' creator replies to Beryl Bainbridge's dismissive remarks about scouse accents

BERYL BAINBRIDGE seems to have upset a great number of people in Liverpool. I can sympathise with her current position as I have, on occasions, suffered a similar fate but at least I share a common accent and am proud to do so, like, but it is this that appears to be causing many scousers to give Beryl down the banks.

But before anyone gets too carried away please bear in mind that, by her own admission, Beryl herself was snatched away from the centre of the universe to be educated on the periphery. She could, therefore, by scouse definition, be not one of God's chosen, but no less than a woolyback. So for her to worry about how people speak in Brookside, is a bit like sheep worrying about why they can't understand the bulls.

Still, the real issue to be teased out of all this is that attached to any attempts to eradicate our individuality. I am a great supporter of anything that raises literacy. I have often said that literacy is the second most important thing after sex. Through sex we procreate. Through literacy we convey our ideas. Neither requires elocution lessons.

But I am a great opponent of anything that attempts to homogenise our national culture, which should be a collective mass of individual effort. Regionalism provides a rich tapestry of differing dialects. We all cherish our rights to individualism while at the same time we enjoy belonging to our tribes, whether based on sport, religion, politics, age, nation or region. To most people the way they speak is a symbol of regional pride.

It is no coincidence that television's most popular programmes - the soaps - trade on regional identity, and accents. As Beryl may have discovered, you challenge that at your peril.

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