Let’s be straight here. I’m not what you’d call a well-spoken chap with a university or BBC accent. I come from the Heavy Woollen District and that’s evident as soon as I open my mouth. A chap phoned me from the south Midlands last week and said, ‘My, you’ve a good northern accent. – I have a friend who sounds like you; he’s from Newcastle.’
I put him straight and told him I could reach his part of the world far quicker than I could hunt down a Geordie.
Someone else once asked me if I was from Lancashire, on hearing me speak. I said (to quote a very old Dalesman joke), ‘No, I’m from Yorkshire but I’ve been nobbut badly recently.’ The irony passed him by but all this did make me wonder whether it was my accent that had changed over the years or if it was down to the fact that fewer regional dialects are heard nowadays.
I rang an old friend from Batley just to check I wasn’t losing it. ‘No, you sound just as dull as usual,’ he said.
Not many have taken their broad Yorkshire on to TV and it’s appropriate that I this week read a splendid biography of Eddie Waring – also a Heavy Woollener – written by Tony Hannan. Views have always been varied regarding Eddie. He never felt his accent held him back although many others in authority looked down on him as something of a ‘northern fool’. What’s your view and who else with a worthy northern accent deserves a mention?