A pre-internet troll


In sorting through a box of miscellaneous papers the other day, I came across this letter, which the recipient, a BBC newsreader, gave me at some point (it is undated). I have replaced all names with initials, for obvious reasons. The address from which it was written is limited to the name of the county.

“Dear ZY,

This is to tell you that I think you have a revolting voice – very unpleasant timbre, too high pitched for a male newsreader, sounds like a young child’s.

Some time ago I wrote to XW, who suffers from the same problems, and asked him to tell you and VU.

Since then the worst of all, TS, has come back from what I hoped was the dead.

The very second I hear your voices or an announcement saying you’re about to begin, I switch off as I don’t want to be sick.

I keep hoping something will happen soon to all of you so the news can be read by people with pleasant voices.”

[signed illegibly – of course!]

No comment is necessary.


  1. Hmm…to me this sounds more like a person who really disliked your voice than a “troll.” People use “troll” in very interesting ways these days.

  2. I was never a newsreader or announcer – I am not disguising my own identity in this. The announcer/newsreader concerned was rather amused than anything else, fortunately.
    I did broadcast quite a lot, considering I was ‘simply’ an office worker – giving interviews about BBC pronunciation policy, often answering questions from members of the public on local radio stations (sometimes as far afield as St Louis Missouri or New Zealand), and the worst treatment I got was from a woman in Essex who had heard me say “last week” on a programme for BBC Radio Kent, and wrote to ask how the BBC could put someone in charge of pronunciation who couldn’t even pronounce a simple word like ‘last’ – because as a north midlander, I use the TRAP vowel in this word.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.