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Houdini and Doyle trailer

I'm a little concerned that there's not even an attempt at a Scottish accent.





Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here

13 comments:

  1. Doyle was born in Edinburgh but educated in England and had an English accent... http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/sir-arthur-conan-doyle-interview-1927/

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    1. He went to boarding school in England at the age of 7 but that doesn't mean he didn't have a Scottish accent. There are videos of him being interviewed. He has a posh Edinburgh accent.

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  2. His accent is that of Edinburgh. If he had had an English accent he would not have been so often portrayed with a Scottish accent. The recent dramatisation of Arthur & George or the BBC's drama with Douglas Henshall are evidence of this.

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  3. If I may also quote from the biography of Conan Doyle by Russell Miller:

    "At the age of 22, the newly qualified Dr Conan Doyle was the Victorian embodiment of a 'fine figure of a man'. He carried his bulk lightly and walked with a purposeful gait, as if he always knew exactly where he was going. His wavy hair, slicked down with oil, was parted on the left, and he now sported a luxuriant walrus-like moustache, waxed into points, which covered his entire top like. His Edinburgh accent was pronounced, but he spoke slowly so that he was easily understood and looked whomever he was addressing directly in the eyes".

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  4. The argument that a tradition of him having a Scottish accent in other portrayals doesn't hold much water compared to the actual footage of him speaking - where his accent shows influence from his English father, Irish mother, his education in Lancashire all the many places he lived and was educated.

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    1. He has an Edinburgh accent. I'm not sure where you're from but the confusion may arise from the fact that usually when a Scottish person is on tv or film they have a strong Glasgow accent regardless of where they're actually meant to be from.

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    2. The one and only recording of his voice bears out the comment that his accent shows the influence of his mixed racial background and upbringing in several different places. There's no evidence that he had a pure Edinburgh accent as you suggest. How other shows or films have represented him is of no consequence in this respect. See Alistair's comments below too which are illuminating.

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  5. Well there you now effectively admit that the accent is not an English one (in a pure sense). Andrew Lycett described it thus "An Anglo-Scottish burr with perhaps a hint of Irish in it".

    Now Lycett and Miller have different opinions but the basic point is undisputed. The accent is most definitely not an English accent and Mangan is not even attempting to emulate either biographer's interpretation. The extent to which this detracts from his performance remains to be seen.

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  6. ...and by the same logic you just admitted that the accent is not an Edinburgh one (in a pure sense)! Lyceum and Miller may have different opinions but the footage speaks (pun intended) for itself...

    In any case the programme makers of Houdini & Doyle have said they are not trying to make a drama documentary about the two figures, the show is fiction inspired by fact.

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  7. Touche. :-) The other argument of course is that we are both right and wrong. After all, our accents change throughout our lives as a result of external influence. The footage you refer to was filmed only a short while before his death. Miller refers to his accent in his 20s and Lycett is referring to a period in Doyle's 30s. At the time Doyle met Houdini he was in his 60s which is somewhat older than the age Mangan is presenting him as.

    I don't dispute the mission of the programme makers. I'm simply expressing a personal sense of disappointment that the accent Mangan is using does not conform to any of those described or heard. This doesn't mean the show won't be good.

    A pleasure to cross swords with you.

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  8. On a separate matter of market research. How did you find your way here? Twitter, Facebook? It's useful for me to know. Thanks

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  9. Thanks for that - yes I agree accents inevitably change throughout a lifetime. For actors trying to embody a character I think sometimes it becomes too much of a fixation and for me personally I would rather they find the spirit of the character than try to exactly mimic their sound or appearance. But I know it's a contentious subject!

    Found you via Twitter, great resource - thank you!

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    1. I'd welcome a guest post if you ever feel so inclined.

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