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Posted By Peter Bentley
Yesterday I went to the BBC radio studio and read my "Letter to Darwin" for my 15-minute programme (to be broadcast on Radio 4 on January 6 at about 3:30pm). I've done radio before, but always when being interviewed or chatting. It's fascinating to see how that differs from reading something out. Rather like the reading of an audio book (only more so) the reader has to inject enthusiasm and "life" into their voices constantly. We're so used to hearing it done by newsreaders, that we perhaps only notice when overdone on some adverts. If we wrote in the same way using formatting for each new tone I think it would become quite irritating.

I think I managed it without difficulty, but there's a part of me that cringes to hear my voice sounding slightly patronising with different tones. So I now have slightly more patience for the TV advert voiceover people who often sound like idiots - it's not really their fault - they've been trained to speak like that.

However I'm not really that patient. I still think the guys who do voiceovers for popular Saturday evening shows and some adverts go ten steps too far... I swear the guy who does The X-Factor has invented his own unique form of speech - somehow a cross between Circus Ringmaster, TV Evangelist and the Wizard of Oz amplified wizard voice. Why is it that speaking to excitable audiences requires a silly voice? Or is that the only way to make them excited? Perhaps academic conferences are missing this trick: "Welcome to the GENETIC and evolutionary computation cooooonference!"

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