In this article from The Times Aidan Turner talks about the casts' fears of mumbling but Being Human fans will love the section where Aidan says of his brooding looks, 'It's just my face'.
Thanks to Morangles for this.
The last time the BBC tried a period drama set in Cornwall it prompted 2,200 complaints from viewers baffled by the combination of indistinct sound and impenetrable accents.
The cast of the new adaptation of Poldark were so concerned at the furore prompted by Jamaica Inn last year that they changed the way they spoke their lines.
Aidan Turner, who plays the strapping title character in the adaptation of Winston Graham’s books, said that it was a particular concern for actors whose characters might have had strong Cornish accents. He suggested that some may have made their accents less thick to avoid accusations of being unclear.
“I didn’t see the show [Jamaica Inn] but the fuss about it spooked us all a lot,” he told the Radio Times. “We started shooting a few weeks later and I can tell you all the actors were aiming for ten out ten on enunciation. I’m doing posh RP [received pronounciation] anyway so it didn’t really affect me directly but I was scared, yes.”
Similar criticism was levelled at the most recent series of Broadchurch on ITV, suggesting that some viewers have a problem understanding West Country accents.
Other BBC dramas subject to complaints about poor sound include Ripper Street and Shetland. In 2011 the BBC responded to complaints about its documentary series Wonders of the Universe by remixing the sound so that the music did not interfere with the commentary by Brian Cox.
Christopher Nolan, the director, whose films include the recent Batman trilogy, said last year that clarity of dialogue was overrated and that he deliberately obscured some of his actors’ lines while making Interstellar, which received an Oscar for visual effects last month. “I don’t like the idea that you can only achieve clarity through dialogue,” he said. “I’ve always loved films that approach sound in an impressionistic way.”
Turner said that the remake of Poldark would be more overtly sexual than the 1970s version of the story, which features a gentleman soldier who returns from war to discover his village in disorder.
Robin Ellis, 73, who played the title role in the earlier adaptation, told Turner that he would “probably have to take his shirt off a bit more than I did” because of appetites for male torsos in period drama prompted by Colin Firth’s performance in Pride and Prejudice.
Turner said he “really didn’t want to look brooding” but found it unavoidable at times. It’s difficult, given the storyline. I also think I look like that naturally. People often think I’m angry when I’m not. It’s just my face when I’m listening.”
Lord Hall of Birkenhead, director-general of the BBC, said in 2013 that he wanted dramas to have clear dialogue. “I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old man, but I also think muttering is something we could have a look at. Actors muttering can be testing. You have to remember that you have an audience.