Announcer who would Rockall to sleep

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The man who provided the voice of the shipping forecast for 40 years has admitted that his dulcet tones sent many listeners to sleep.

Peter Jefferson, who also worked as a continuity announcer, read the bulletin – essential listening for those at sea – on BBC Radio 4 until September 2009.

He said: “People from all over the UK and beyond have written to me saying they felt I was reading it just to them.

“Many is the time that someone has said to me without quite realising what they’re saying, ‘I know your voice. You’ve been sending me off to sleep for years’.”

Jefferson said the 12.45am broadcast had “a soothing effect after a long day”.

“Just when sleep beckons but the mind won’t quite let you slip into its silken craw, the sound of another human voice, familiar yet not intrusive, reciting this mantra can be quite relaxing,” he said.

Jefferson accidentally swore on air while working as a continuity announcer on Radio 4 in 2009, after thinking he had switched off his microphone. BBC bosses said his departure had nothing to do with the “little slip” and was to make way for “newcomers”.