Monday, August 10, 2009

Male On Monday: Sam West and The Power of Voices

I have been waiting for the coveted Male on Monday slot for awhile... who would I choose? I was going to use my male on Monday slot to tell you all about Sam West… but I thought it might be a little too obscure for the wider world. His film and TV appearances have been frequent but not necessarily leading man material. He is an actor who is found more on stage or… in audio books or narrations. And that is part of his appeal. His voice. And then I thought I could have my Sam West Male on Monday slot AND talk about the Male Voice and what makes it sexy. You see for me voices are as important in what makes someone sexy. This is why it doesn't matter what David Beckham looks like he will never be sexy... the voice will always let him down. I like talking with my sex appeal.

So we start with Mr West, son of stage actor Timothy West and actress Prunella Scales (best known as Cybill in Fawlty Towers). He grew up in South London and went to Dulwich College. A family friend remembers seeing him stealing the show at a school play there back in the day. He went to Oxford where he read English Lit. Soon after that he was playing Prince Caspian in the BBC version of Voyage of The Dawn Treader (so young… ) He has played various villains on BBC TV shows but is currently best known as a stage actor and accomplished director. Although in film he was in Howards End and Notting Hill.
But that voice…

And now if you imagine that voice and that face bent towards you... and I think you too would have made a fool of yourself like me! Yes... my one and only meeting with Mr West is now known only as The Sam West Debacle I hang my head in shame. Maybe one day I will be able to rectify it. And I keep wanting someone to remake the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and have Sam West play the lead. My favourite actor playing my favourite literary hero *swoon*

But when talking about fabulous voices you have to mention the wonderful Alan Rickman… this is a man who could read the telephone directory and I would be his. I will admit that he is a very large part of the reason I watch the Harry Potter films. Snape shouldn’t be sexy but when Alan Rickman says ‘Potter’ I get goosebumps.

Snape Harry Occlumency *High Quality* - Funny blooper videos are here

Whilst researching for this blog (and it was tough let me tell you!) I was reading an article about the perfect voice. Researchers claim to have worked out a formula to find the perfect human voice. The study, which asked people to rate 50 voices then analysed the results, found a combination of Mariella Frostrup, Dame Judi Dench and Honor Blackman makes up the perfect female voice, while the most appealing male voice is a mixture of Alan Rickman, Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon.

The equation represents the most pleasing blend of tone, speed, frequency, words per minute and intonation. The ideal voice should, apparently, utter no more than 164 words per minute and pause for 0.48 seconds between sentences that fall in intonation.

You can listen to a computer simulated sample of the perfect male voice here. Whatever they say... it can't beat Sam or Alan. So which man has the sexiest voice? Alan Rickman? Sam West? Patrick Stewart? Jeremy Irons? Liam Neeson? Let me know who I might have missed.

Biddy is currently writing about a sexy voiced ex Rugby player, replaying her large collection of Sam West DVDs and re-watching all the Harry Potter films. All research of course!


  1. Hi Biddy,

    your post reminds me of my "101 Lovepoems to fall in love with"-DVD. Damian Lewis reads a couple of poems and I just love his voice.
    I like Clive Owen's voice, too.
    But my favourite is Alan Rickman.

  2. Somehow I knew you would have Sam West!
    And yes, voice plays such an important part. Alan Rickman's is great. Then there is Jason Isaacs in some of the Potter films...

  3. Hi Carolin - How could I have forgotten Damian Lewis and Clive Owen? Shocking!

    HI Michelle - am I that predictable? Oh yes Jason Isaacs has a greatv voice too (and is pretty easy on the eye). Of course Philip Glenister has a great set of pipes as well. But I was just thinking other than the Brits what other great voices are out there?


  4. Biddy, the second I saw the title of the post, I *knew* who the author would be :)

    Sam West and Alan Rickman have gorgeous voices.

    Might I also mention Richard Burton? (You know what I'm going to say. My CD of Donne's love poems read by him. Wonderful.) And Jeremy Irons.

    Oh, hang on, you want non-Brits? Mr Banderas. He could read the phone directory and I'd melt.

  5. Ha, Biddy, read all about the Sam West debacle. You must use that in a book, but make sure your heroine goes back and has that drink!

    Great male voices? Hmmm, yes I'm partial to a bit of Alan Rickman, but I'm a real sucker for Irish voices... I met Richard Harris once as my aunt was his dresser when they revived Camelot in the West End (name dropper! moi?) and he had a really gorgeous West Coast accent which you didn't often hear in his films. It made me melt.

  6. Hi Kate - The problem I have with Richard Burton is that he did that War of The Worlds thing which freaked me out as a child. His voice gives me the collywobbles.

    Hi Heidi - yes one day the debacle will go in print. Once I have stopped having nightmares about it. Irish voices do have something. I also have a thing for a Scottish accent.

  7. Interesting challenge to convey in writing the effect a wonderful voice can have. I've been enjoying Dominic West, Greg Wise and Dan Stevens reading on the Carte Noire site.

  8. Hi Canuck - it is tough! Because all the adjectives end up sounding corny. I have been re-reading Dorothy L Sayers when Harriet Vane describes Lord Peter Wimsey's voice and that is helping.

    Have also just seen that Sam West is in a new play in London in September. Tickets will be booked!!!

  9. Tickets booked for October! YAY! Must stay off vodka and away from theatre bar...

  10. I love the voice of Neil Oliver in Coast. That Scottish accent! It does something for me.

  11. Biddy,
    Ah, yes, Alan Rickman. To die for. And Jason Isaacs, too. For American voices, give me Robert Fuller any day. Showing my age, perhaps! But the sound of his voice on a television in the other room will bring me running faster than anything else.

  12. Oh yes, Jason Isaacs. I really like him. He has a great voice AND he seems to be really nice and down to earth.

    Some other men with nice voices I forgot to mention:

    Richard Armitage, who made me listen to bank commercials over and over again. Or the CBeebies Bedtime Stories he presented.

    And although I didn't like him as Mr. Darcy I think Matthew Macfayden has a lovely voice.

    Biddy - To his coy mistress is one of my favourite poems.

  13. Saw Sam doing his evil English milord on Desperate Romantics last night and thought of you, Biddy. He was unbelievably sexy. You know it's going to end in tears.