The actors behind voice-overs

BT has signed up Tom Baker as the voice of its new 'audio-text' service, cementing his status as Britain's king of the jingle. But who are his rivals behind the microphone? Ciar Byrne listens in


MICHAEL JAYSTON

Tom Baker has paid tribute to the "wonderful warmth" of the voice of this classical actor, who was once considered for the part of James Bond. Like Baker, Jayston has played Doctor Who, although, unlike Baker, he was an evil doctor. The 70-year-old played Raquel's dad in Only Fools and Horses and provided the voice-over for Finisterre, the first film made by the UK pop trio Saint Etienne, for which he describes in his narration as "a quick glance at the London nobody knows". His voice can also be heard between tracks on their album of the same name.

SIR MICHAEL GAMBON

Sir Michael might be better known for his classical roles, including Falstaff at the National Theatre, but he has a lucrative niche as a "voice professional". He provided the voice-over for the television campaign for HSBC's mortgage offer and has also starred as the voice of a washing machine and in a 2002 commercial for Beechams All-In-One. Sir Michael has supported Equity's campaign to stop the advertising industry effectively slashing voice-over artists' salaries by two-thirds.

JULIA DAVIS

Davis has shown that being funny can be a great asset in the world of voice-overs. The actress, who wrote and appeared in the award-winning BBC comedy Nighty Night and is currently appearing in Woody Allen's Match Point, has worked with some of the biggest names in comedy including Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Arabella Weir and the Father Ted creators. In between comic stints, she has also provided voice-overs for commercials for Marks & Spencer, British Gas, Vodafone, Mastercard and Renault.

ANDREW LINCOLN

Lincoln shot to fame in the 1990s twentysomething drama This Life. Since then he has starred as an unrequited lover in Richard Curtis's Love, Actually and in the BBC's Canterbury Tales. Despite his busy schedule, he has still found time to do voice-overs for AOL, Adidas, Classic FM, the BBC and Government information campaigns. According to his agency, Qvoice: "Andrew is currently treading the boards at the Almeida, so is free to zoom into Soho, or wherever, for voice-overs".

JOHN THOMSON

As the down-to-earth Mancunian Pete in thirtysomething drama Cold Feet, Thomson's character was not averse to a beer or five. More recently, his Northern tones have been heard as the voice of the tortoise in the latest advertising campaign for Diet Coke. Thomson also appeared in The Fast Show, and was the voice of Mr Windfall in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. He has also provided the voice-over for Wrigley's chewing gum, and delivers the end-line in the latest commercials for Daz.

JOANNA LUMLEY

Her fantastically upper-crust vowels can currently be heard in the advertising campaign for insurance company Privilege, purring the catchline: "You don't have to be posh to be privileged." She may be one of the most respected comic actresses of our time, from the unforgettable Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous to the recent BBC2 sitcom Sensitive Skin, but she is also renowned as the voice-over queen, promoting suitably pukka products including the Royal Bank of Scotland and Twinings Tea.

JOHN SIMM

Currently playing DI Sam Tyler, the confused copper who has been transported back from the present day to Manchester in 1973 in BBC1's Life on Mars, Leeds-born Simm is a popular voice-over artist. The actor, who also starred in State of Play, Sex Traffic and 24 Hour Party People, has provided the voice for campaigns for Vodafone, Teach, The Times and the Teenage Road Safety campaign, as well as numerous album, single and film releases. He has also recorded "promos" for the BBC and Film 4.

DERVLA KIRWAN

The Dublin born actress who rose to fame in Ballykissangel and recently starred in the BBC's Casanova, is the seductive voice behind the current Marks & Spencers advertising campaign. "This is not just food..." she croons. In 1997, she made a series of adverts for BT in which she oversaw a couple having an argument in a restaurant and followed them home. She also provided the voice-overs for television and radio commercials for Clinique make-up, Irish multichannel television and Pampers.

TIM BENTINCK

"The name's Bond, James Bond..." It wasn't Pierce Brosnan who said that in the computer game The World Is Not Enough (2000), but Tim Bentinck, who plays David Archer in BBC Radio 4's The Archers. Bentinck started doing voice-overs as a child when his father was a producer at the advertising agency J Walter Thompson. He has voiced campaigns for American Express, Hamlet cigars, Levi's, Lynx, M&S, Persil and Whiskas. He is also the voice of "mind the gap" on the Piccadilly Line in London.

RUBY WAX

An instantly recognisable voice is one of the greatest assets in the voice-over market and there is no mistaking Wax's Illinois twang. The zany comedienne has provided voice-overs for the Carphone Warehouse, Archers and Pepsi. Thanks to her 2002 show, Ruby Wax's Commercial Breakdown, she is intimately acquainted with the weird and wonderful world of television commercials. The American actress and presenter was also the voice of the Pope in Popetown, an irreverent animation which BBC3 pulled.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Robin van Persie leaves the field at the King Power Stadium last Sunday
football
News
In this photo illustration, the Twitter logo and hashtag '#Ring!' is displayed on a mobile device as the company announced its initial public offering and debut on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7, 2013 in London, England. Twitter went public on the NYSE opening at USD 26 per share, valuing the company's worth at an estimated USD 18 billion.
news

Arts and Entertainment
tvPresenter back after daughter's Halloween accident
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock
tv

Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year

Arts and Entertainment
music Band accidentally drops four-letter description at concert
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines