EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Will Harry get tips from Meghan for audiobook?

EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Will Harry get tips from Meghan to voice audiobook?

Clearing his throat to record the audio tape of his book Spare, how will Harry cope with changing his voice so listeners know he is quoting Charles, William, Camilla and the late Queen? 

Actor Tim Bentinck, David Archer in Radio 4’s The Archers and a veteran of audio books, says that doing accents is the hardest part. 

Fortuitously, Harry, who will avail of voice coaching, is wed to a former actress who should be able to give him some expert tuition.

Judging by Harry’s 2017 stint as guest editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, it could be an uphill battle to get it right. Presenter Sarah Montague, struggling to get him to say anything insightful, asked him to sum up his message to the nation. ‘Er, I dunno,’ he mumbled. And then, blessedly, the rescuing pips resounded.

King Charles’s down-sizing of his Coronation will be welcomed by his doctor. He suffers from a bad back, which would have been greatly aggravated by wearing the 5lb solid gold St Edward’s Crown for the ceremony. While monarchs from Queen Anne in 1702 to Edward VII in 1902 opted to be adorned with a lighter crown, Charles’s mother did wear it. The King is determined to follow her example. But with a shorter service and reduced ceremony, it won’t be for too long.

An Oscar nomination beckons for Colin Farrell’s gormless dairy farmer and donkey lover Padraic in Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees Of Inisherin. 

The New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane notes that Colin, pictured, co-stars Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and the rest of the cast of the film set on the impoverished island off the coast of Galway in 1923 are ‘decked in item after item of suspiciously lovely knitwear’. 

Surely an Academy Award for wardrobe?

Hugh Bonneville asked Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes to write pet labrador Isis, named after an Egyptian goddess, out of the script when he was deemed too old. ‘Then the spectre of Isis the terrorist group started to land,’ he recalls. ‘I said, ‘I know what is going to happen’, and two newspapers wrote, ‘Downton kills dog because of Isis.’ There was no point trying to explain.’

Royal biographer A N Wilson recalls the public outrage he suffered when he revealed the Queen Mother’s disclosure that her daughter Elizabeth ‘roared’ with laughter at the lugubrious TS Eliot reciting The Waste Land in wartime Windsor. The late Queen told the story herself, he insists, adding: ‘Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, when she stayed the night at Windsor Castle, was entertained by her sovereign who told the story.’

Radio 4 Today presenter Amol Rajan had West Midlands-twanged Labour MP Jess Phillips and broadcaster Adrian Chiles discussing ‘accent bias’ yesterday just weeks after he accused director-general Tim Davie’s BBC of being ‘too posh’. Sadly, his well-spoken colleague Justin Webb – known to be unimpressed by Amol’s accents crusade – was on a day off… or ‘orf’ as posh-sounding Justin might say.

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