Cox criticised after accent was deemed ‘too strong’ by BBC


SCOTS actor Brian Cox has criticised the “feudal” BBC after being told his accent was too strong for a BBC Scotland production.

Corporation bosses got Cox to re-record his lines for the crime series Shetland, telling him his accent would not be understood by the “average audience”.

Cox who adopted a Shetland accent for the role of Magnus Bain, said the decision was unfair to licence fee payers who have a regional accent.

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Cox revealed he was forced to revoice his lines in Shetland drama



The 67-year-old actor, speaking at a debate on independence, said: “I thought I’d conquered the accent pretty well, and even learned some old Shetland words

“But I had to revoice my part because they said my accent was too strong for the average audience to understand. That shouldn’t have happened in a BBC Scotland drama,”

“This was not an artistic decision, it was a BBC decision to please a certain audience.

“I was extremely affected by it, it bothered me a lot, because I didn’t think it was fair on those who have that accent or other regional accents who pay their license fee.

“I pointed out that they didn’t dub the Scandinavian crime drama The Bridge, they had subtitles, so why couldn’t they subtitle Shetland?”

Cox added: “The BBC is feudal. People come up to Scotland to better their careers here.

“There’s a BBC mentality based on careerism, where certain things are not being decided until after the referendum, because politics permeate everything.”

The murder mystery series is based on the novels by Ann Cleeves, set and filmed on Shetland.

Shetland, made in collaboration with BBC Scotland and produced by ITV Studios, attracted a combined audience of more than 12 million viewers when it was shown on BBC One in March.

It is the not the first time Scot actors have accused the BBC of being biased towards London viewers.

Still Game star Greg Hemphill, criticised BBC bosses in England after they vetoed alternative comedy Blue Haven – despite BBC Scotland backing the project.

Hemphill claimed that “every show BBC Scotland make has to have ‘network transferability”.
He also criticised the corporation for refused to showing hit sitcom Still Game across the network.


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