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'Fillums' that made the school laugh.

Byline: Wilf Lunn

AT Longroyd Junior School my problem was (and still is) pronouncing words.

Miss Pring would look me in the face and mouth carefully "Film". I would look back at her intently and mouth, "Fillum". The class would fall about laughing. I just couldn't hear the difference no matter how often she tried.

"Fillum" was the way my deaf parents mouthed it. So whenever there was a lull in Miss Pring's day I was out front "Filluming".

Teresa had it worse; she couldn't pronounce her Rs. For a laugh the kids would say things like: "What's that over there Taweeesa?" . She'd reply "Twees". "What kind of twees Taweesa". She replied "Werhooden ones silly".

She had a speech impediment I did not. I just did not have the ear for language. Try as I may I couldn't get my aitches right and I kept putting them in the wrong places.

When I was on Vision On the posh BBC didn't let me talk for ages. I think it was because of my Yorkshire accent and I couldn't learn lines.

One day my chance came. I had just one line. It was: "And now here is the gallery". I had to say this while finger-spelling the words. It was murder.

I tried to concentrate on the finger-spelling, but for the "here is" bit I kept saying, "'ere his". To make matters worse after I said my line Sylvester McCoy and Pat Keysel had to leap off a fake church steeple Sylvester doing a forward somersault over the parapet and landing on a mattress.

Each time I got it wrong they had to do it again. They had to do it many times. They were not pleased.

In a later show I suspected revenge. We had a scene all jumping off quite a high fake iceberg The scene men stuck to the letter of their instructions and placed two mattresses at the bottom of the iceberg. When we jumped Pat and Sylvester landed safely.

The two mattresses had been placed one on top of the other below Pat and Sylvester. I landed on the concrete floor. I don't think they understood what I said in my Yorkshire accent.

On television now they seem to go out of their way to find people with speech impediments or regional accents. I once heard stammering called a delightful impediment.

No one calls my Yorkshire accent delightful; but what do they know?
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 29, 2008
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