DO YOU HAVE THE STRENGTH OF MIND TO BE… (9th March '06)

...A ROYAL MARINES COMMANDO?

Then we’re looking for you! Yes, you! Hundreds ~ nay, thousands o young lasses all over t' UK are looking for you! Let me explain.

It all started when Sean Bean, he of the Sheffield accent so broad you could wallpaper an entire house wi it, did the adverts for the Royal Marines. They were recruitment adverts, extolling the virtues of becoming a soldier and fighting for Queen and Country on the side of England. It were all very stirring stuff ~ the whole “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough” challenge was laid down, and I’m sure it appealed to many. The amusing thing was of course, people’s ideas of what a Royal Marines Commando should look ~ and sound ~ like.

If you ask people in Britain which accent is the “hardest”, what do you think the answer would be? Glaswegian? Cockney? Something like that ~ thanks to Brit-flicks like “Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels” and “Trainspotting” etc. Would anyone say “Mancunian”? “Lancashire”? “Yorkshire”? Probably not ~ it makes people think of Coronation Street, Eric Morecambe or Peter Kay, not exactly the country’s representatives of hard men. So the sound of a rough, demanding Sheffield voice challenging you to join up may sound odd. But the advert did garner legions of fans…

Females up and down the country responded to the Sharpe-like voice, a character he played in a TV series. And his accent and character were synonymous wi “less of your bollocks, more of your work, or are you a Southern wanker after all?”. Richard Sharpe gets the job done, come hail, snow, opposing armies or a four minute warning siren. He could be knee-deep in thick, seeping, squelching mud of about 2 degrees Celsius, and he’d say: “bit damp, that”. He could be stabbed and bleeding to death int fight, and he’d say: “is that all you can manage?”

Oh yes, and he always has a legion of ladies in waiting. One in every port, you might say. Why? He’s rough, ready, and some would admit, it’s the accent

So is the accent that much of a stumbling block to his credibility as a hard man? Apparently not. He’s made as many Hollywood films as Brit-flicks, if not more. Only, he does seem to be cast as the evil mastermind quite a bit… GoldenEye’s Alec Trevelyn, The Island’s evil scientist/company director… He’s had his fair share of nasty characters. Maybe it’s the balance for playing Sharpe for so long on UK TV, and why his thick-as-Marmite accent sells everything from Morrisons' supermarkets to Royal Marines.

So if he’s the undisputed top voice totty on English TV, who else could rival him? Who else, from our own isles, could be rough, ready and buff enough to join his no-nonsense band of Royal Marine Commandos? Hmm… let us see…

Well, we have Mr Max Beesley, from Burnage. Nice. Can we have Ewan McGregor? He headbutts people, you know. And he’s from Crieff, which means I have to add that he’s from the only county that speaks proper Queen’s English.

I can’t think of any more just now. You’ll have to choose your own and send them in ~ answers on an e-postcard to me, care o this blog. Could be interesting!

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