The Speaking Clock will soon be telling the time in a Scottish accent – as a 69-year-old retired civil servant from Dundee has been chosen as its new voice.
This is the first time a non-English voice has been chosen to keep Britain bang on time, and Alan Steadman will become only the fifth permanent voice of the BT Speaking Clock in its 80-year history.
Around 12 million calls every year are made to the Speaking Clock, which can be reached by dialing 123. Calls peak on Remembrance Day, New Year’s Eve and when the clocks go forward or back. Big Ben is also set by the Speaking Clock, which is accurate to within 30 microseconds.
Steadman was the winner of a competition to find a new voice, launched to mark the Clock’s 80th anniversary back in July and appeared on The One Show for the announcement.
Admitting it had been hard to record his lines, Steadman said: “It was an interesting experience! I found that your eyes begin to blur a bit because of all the numbers that you’re reading, but I think it went OK.”
Previous winner and outgoing voice of the Clock Sara Mendes da Costa gave her blessing, saying: “I’m sad my time as the voice of the clock has come to an end, however ten years is not a bad run!
“And it was great to be on the judging panel to choose Alan as the new voice, just as my predecessor Brian Cobby helped choose me.”