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article imageBBC's Jamaica Inn loses 25% of its audience who can't hear actors

By Kev Hedges     Apr 24, 2014 in Entertainment
Jamaica Inn is the latest period drama to sweep audiences off their feet in the UK, following the success of Downton Abbey, Daniel Deronda and Sense and Sensibility. However, the television audience can barely hear a word of the mumbling actors.
This article does NOT contain spoilers: In the first episode of Jamaica Inn, shown on Monday night on the BBC, a quarter of its audience switched off because they could not hear the actors mumbling, transmission glitches and a thick West Country accent. Many had to resort to using subtitles just to understand what the actors were saying.
The controller of drama at the BBC did apologize, stating transmission glitches were to blame and that the sound issues would be remedied in time for further episodes due for broadcast every night this week. Jamaica Inn is based on the Daphne du Maurier classic story, set on Cornwall's bleak Bodmin Moor and the county's rugged coastline at a time when smuggling was rife and times were tough.
It is believed that even Wednesday night's third episode was still blighted by sound problems that prompted more than 1,000 complaints to the corporation. Drama director Ben Stephenson said:
If no one can understand what they're saying, then there's a problem. I think actors not being clear is one part of it, but my understanding about the complaints about Jamaica Inn was more complex than that, so I think it's probably not right to just single out that. Of course we want [actors] to give brilliant performances and you've got to respect that, but if no one can understand what they're saying, then there's a problem.
More about Daphne du Maurier, Bbc drama, Transmission, mumbling actors, Bodmin Moor
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