IT is to be hoped that the American actors being trained to speak with "Yorkshire" accents in order to play characters in the Los Angeles stage version of Alan Bennett's award-winning play the History Boys, set in a Sheffield grammar school, are advised that Yorkshire does not, in fact, have an accent.
To think it does is a mark of ignorance because there are, of course, many and varied accents to be heard in such a very extensive region as Yorkshire. Indeed, across
the large urban areas, accents can vary within just a few miles.
The actors are being required to watch and study The Full Monty, Wallace and Gromit and the Monty Python sketch The Four Yorkshiremen by Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Eric Idle.They could do worse. Appropriately, The Full Monty is set in Sheffield, and of the four Pythons, Michael Palin is Sheffield born and bred so he, at least, provides some authenticity. However, the Yorkshire voice in Wallace and Gromit is that of Peter Sallis with a Holme Valley accent.
In addition to knowing if they sound like Sheffielders or non-descript, all-purpose "northerners", the American actors have the challenge, apparently, of putting muscles into use which they do not know they have.
Their dialect coach is the Paris-born, Anglo-French actor JB Blanc, who in fact grew up in North Yorkshire. When The History Boys is eventually staged, it will be interesting to judge how successful he has been.