The Narration of “Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands”

Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands is an eagerly awaited documentary series produced by BBC Bristol. The first episode covering the truly magical island of Honshu unfolds in wonderful golden sunshine, but there’s a voice in the background that sounds as though it’s reading from a script. Even worse there is the stressing of descriptive words that mask the narrative story and hide a voice that’s too weak to be expressive without effort,  “he’s not on his own up here”, “one for the more refined.” There is the slight creak on the longer downward inflexion. It can’t be but it is – Lady Mary Crawley or the actress that plays her splendidly in Downton Abbey – Michelle Dockery is narrating Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands. It would be irrelevant and you can get used to it, except that the narration sounds “apart” from the visuals as though the person narrating is detached from the film’s content.  There is some indication that they’re unsure of their speech and perhaps because of this sometimes their delivery is formulaic to the point of sterility and can detract from our enjoyment of the film. Michelle Dockery would be great reading any number of novels but wouldn’t a more connected voice have been better for this film? There are some beautiful Japanese voices out there that can deliver well in spoken English.

Honshu
Honshu

Michelle Dockery

6 thoughts on “The Narration of “Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands””

  1. I could not disagree more. I thought the narration was extremely well done. I had never heard of Ms. Dockery (I must admit have never seen Downton Abbey), but looked up who she was only because I was so impressed by her narration of the show. As I would say in Japanese – taihen yoku dekimashita.

     
    1. Thanks Steve – you are right it is a fascinating Documentary and it is wonderfully done. It was just a sinking of the stomach that I felt when I heard the “Lady Mary” extended intonation. I had thought that was just for the part. The voice over is warm and fresh. Anata wa migi no sore wa hijō ni yoku okonawa rete ita arimasu

       
      1. As I watched Wild Japan, I wondered who was narrating. I LOVED the inflection…. and then I realized who was narrating! None other than Lady Mary Crawley, formerly of Downton Abbey! Doitashamashita, MichelleDockery! Well-done!

         

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