Just lov­ing the voice on the phone

Ever been en­tranced by a beau­ti­ful voice on the phone? Don’t let your imag­i­na­tion run away with you, warns Mag­gie Gal­lop, vice chair­man of the Nor­folk Fed­er­a­tion of WI.

Let's Talk - - Contents -

I’ve been think­ing re­cently about a man I met in March, Tim Bentinck. If you’re not an Archers’ fan you may not have heard of this ac­tor (he has played David Archer for many years) but Tim was the main speaker at the WI’s an­nual meet­ing in Nor­wich ear­lier this year - and most en­ter­tain­ing he was too.

Prior to this meet­ing a friend said: “Can’t wait to see if David Archer looks like what I be­lieve he does”. An odd state­ment, but I knew what she meant. It’s true, when we lis­ten to the ra­dio we image what the char­ac­ters look like, it’s like read­ing a book - your imag­i­na­tion is al­lowed to let you set the scene and de­scribe the peo­ple in it. Sim­i­larly, if you’ve read a book and then watch a film adap­ta­tion of it, the ac­tors and ac­tresses of­ten don’t meet your phys­i­cal ex­pec­ta­tions.

Tele­phone con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple you have never met can cause the same ef­fect. Many years ago, my hus­band had a friend (just the one!) who would of­ten phone him for a chat. When I an­swered the call, we would have a short con­ver­sa­tion as if we knew each other, but at that point, we had never met - it’s called ‘be­ing po­lite’.

This friend had the most fab­u­lous voice, like melt­ing chocolate, he was very well spo­ken and easy to have an idle con­ver­sa­tion with. In my imag­i­na­tion, he was tall, hand­some and a rather splen­did fel­low. Some­time later I had to pick up my hus­band from a meet­ing; I stayed by the door of the build­ing un­til I saw him com­ing out and then, as I walked slowly ahead to­wards the car, I heard ‘him in­doors’ hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one, and then heard ‘that’ voice ... Yes, it was the tall, hand­some voice from the other end of the phone. My cu­rios­ity got the bet­ter of me and I had to turn round to see. I shouldn’t have done that, should I? Dis­ap­point­ment can hardly de­scribe my feel­ings - he was short (ex­tremely) and a lot older than my fer­tile imag­i­na­tion had led me to be­lieve. Gol­lum, the char­ac­ter from Lord of the Rings, came to mind. Well, that’ll teach me to have ‘thoughts’ about other men won’t it!

I of­ten lis­ten to Ra­dio Nor­folk in the af­ter­noon, one of my favourites is Steven Bum­frey. I’ve never seen this man or have any idea of what he looks like. I like his voice and his jovial man­ner, but I’ve learned my les­son ... I shall not let my imag­i­na­tion loose on Mr B.

Ac­tor Tim Bentinck is a mem­o­rable voice - he plays David Archer in The Archers on BBC Ra­dio Four.

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