Richard Ingrams on Cathy Newman’s Voice

Richard Ingrams, a man of few words said with a drop dead gorgeous bear voice (who wouldn’t want a bedside story read by him), has been writing about female voices:

“I find it odd how few women on TV pay attention to the all-important voice factor.  I recently instanced the distressing case of Janet Street-Porter, comparing her voice – harshly, I will admit – to the squawking of a sick corvid.  Now it is the turn of Channel 4’s Cathy Newman.  Recently Michael Crick defected from Newsnight and replaced Ms Newman as political correspondent.  She now presents the hour-long news programme alongside the distinguished grey-haired veteran Jon Snow.  Uncompromisingly blonde, like ninety per cent of young women on TV, Cathy is easy on the eye, but her distorted vowel sounds and rasping delivery are the last things one wants to listen to after a hard day at the office.  Yet all this could be corrected with the assistance of a voice coach.  Why isn’t it?”

Why isn’t it?  Cathy Newman’s FactCheck blogs are witty and astute and her insider knowledge is of long standing.  Newsreaders’ voices are key.  Kirsty Young’s voice was a main contributor to the success of Channel 5 news when it first began.

At the beginning of the year we asked our clients who they thought was the best newsreader (male and female categories).  Sadly, most of the feedback we received was about newsreaders’ voices they didn’t like.  We’ll announce the results at the end of the year.

Richard Ingrams founded the satirical Oldie magazine in 1992.  It was originally begun as an antidote to youth culture,  but  its circulation is soaring among grumpy people of all ages.

One thought on “Richard Ingrams on Cathy Newman’s Voice”

  1. I agree totally with the distinguished Richard Ingrams. As soon as Cathy comes onto the screen, I’m distracted immediately by her strident and abrasive delivery. There’s no doubt, if you can pause to listen to what she is saying, that Cathy is an extremely competent journalist. Nevertheless, there is loads of choice out there, including many very bright people whose delivery matches their competence I feel sure. It depresses and puzzles me that those who recruit presenters no longer place a value on the importance and impact of a pleasant speaking voice.

    Once upon a time, news readers/presenters had to use “received English” and it is a positive step forward that those days have gone and we welcome regional accents now. They enrich! But please, you who are now responsible for their recruitment, do not underestimate the importance to listeners of the voice which is easy on the ear.


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