‘I’m not posh!’ - Jan Leeming reacts to debate after claim she does not get work over her accent

‘I’m not posh!’ - Jan Leeming reacts to debate after claim she does not get work over her accent
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 11/04/2024

- 20:31

Updated: 11/04/2024

- 20:55

Former BBC newsreader Jan Leeming has suggested she no longer gets work because of her received pronunciation accent

Legendary TV presenter Jan Leeming has responded to claims she said she no longer gets work because of her accent saying, “I’m not posh – I grew up in Southeast London!”

Speaking on GB News, Leeming said: “Can I put this in perspective? A journalist contacted me yesterday about this ‘aitch’ and ‘haitch’ debate. I don't care. I had an Irish aunt who always said ‘haitch’. I don't mind and both are equally correct.

“The story was that one of my Twitter followers and I'm on Twitter, mostly to present pieces on animal rescues, and I should stick to it. And this very nice person said, ‘it was an absolute delight to listen to you doing the voiceover for Most Shocking Moments on Channel Five. You should have more work and you'd be lovely working with animals.’

“So I responded as I always do and when I was a newsreader I used to always respond to the public's letters and I said, ‘Well bless you, thank you ever so much. I was surprised I got that job and delighted. But actually, these days I'm too old and I speak RP. I’d do better if I had an accent.’

“I’m not posh; I grew up in Southeast London - Woolwich. My father had had a wonderful education in India and he spoke beautifully. He sounded a little bit like Richard Burton. And when I started sort of, you know, ‘talking like that’, he sent me to speech and drama lessons. Thank you very much, father, because I've earned my living.

“What this follower was saying was basically that he could understand me; I enunciate. I'm not against accents, not at all. In fact, some of them are very endearing. I mean, I love Eamonn Holmes, and you know Gloria Hunniford, when she started 40 odd years ago, had a very strong Northern Ireland accent and she moderated it.

“If you listen to any of my news bulletins from 40 years ago, I was very, very precise. And even my son said, ‘Mother, you sound totally different.’

“I've got more relaxed. So in a nutshell I just said, ‘I'm old. I speak Received English, and I don't get work.’

“I would have loved to have done For the Love of Dogs, that’s really me.”


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