What regional accents do the guests on QI have?

Does anybody know what accents the various guests on QI have?

I’m especially fond of Sandi Toksvig. I know she’s from Denmark, but I suspect that’s not the source of her accent. I suspect it may even be just a personal (rather than regional) accent.

I also like Dara O’Briain’s lilting voice. It’s obviously an irish accent, but it seems to be different from the other guests they’ve had from Ireland. Is there a particular sub-region with that accent, or is it just a personal thing.

Some accents I’ve identified:
Ross Noble - Jordy (sp?)
Johnny Vegas - Scouse (unsure)
Rich Hall - faintly southern accent, probably more of an affectation

I’ve never seen QI. I had no idea Rich Hall was on it. I mostly remember him from the early David Letterman Show and Not Necessarily The News. He sounds faintly southern because he is from Virginia.

I think Rich splits his time between the US and the UK. He’s a regular on various panel shows over here. He’s also made quite a few really excellent documentaries for the BBC, including some about Hollywood and the use of stereotypes, particularly Southern ones. He’s a clever, thoughtful and funny man.


Sandi Toksvig has an upper-class English accent (Oxbridge/RP). She always makes me thing of Lady Tottington from Curse of the Wererabbit… 'aitches dropping like Mayday drawers…

Others in the RP sphere include Fry himself, David Mitchell, Clive Anderson, Sue Perkins - but to varying degrees.

Bill Bailey still has strong traces of West Country .

Sean Lock has what I’d consider an East London accent, closest to Cockney of the regular guests.

Not a guest, but Alan Davies has an Essex accent (or Estuary). Similar to EL but not quite.

Phil Jupitus is … somewhere in the EL/Estuary end.

Jimmy Carr seems to straddle RP and Estuary

Dara’s accent doesn’t seem that much different from Ed Byrne’s which is the only other Irish one I recall.

Oh, and Rob Brydon is, of course, Welsh.

Johnny Vegas isn’t really scouse; though I admit I was born not too far away, so I’m probably a bit pickier than most. The area he’s from is officially Merseyside, but it used to be Lancashire, and I think (as someone with family with both dialects) it’s definitely more of a Lancashire accent, rather than a true Liverpool.

Thank you all. It’s rather interesting to hear a local perspective on nearby accents.

Dibble, what does RP stand for (as in “Others in the RP sphere include:”)? Also, does EL stand for East London? (I’m just guessing, I seem to recall Bill Bailey mentioning an East London accent in one of his shows).

Oh, and if anybody’s wondering, I happen to know Trevor Noah is from South Africa with a Dutch father.

Received Pronunciation. BBC English, in other words.

Received Pronunciation, like Penfeather said. It’s the accent of the good schools and universities. Alternative names could be “BBC English”, “Oxbridge”, “Public School” - there are subtle differences between these but all in the same ballpark.

Yes (I’d spelled it out for Sean Lock).

Swiss-German father, actually.

But irrelevant to his accent, as his parents split and he grew up with his Xhosa mom only. His normal accent is what’s known as a “Model C” accent in South Africa - it’s the direct equivalent of a UK “Public School” accent.

Of guests with at least 10 appearances, those not mentioned so far are Jo Brand (London accent), Clive Anderson (RP), Jeremy Clarkson (originally from Doncaster, but I just hear, well, Jeremy Clarkson) and John Sessions (Scottish version of RP that’s been through RADA).

Other regular panellists with notable accents: Danny Baker (very London), Jason Manford (Mancunian), Ronni Ancona (odd Scottish accent, at least to my Scottish ear), Sarah Millican (Geordie), Liza Tarbuck (Scouse), Josh Widdicombe (Devonshire) and Arthur Smith (strong London).

I was actually wondering about Ronni today while watching an earlier episode. She’s got a breathy soft-spokenness that reminds me of Marilyn Monroe (and ladies in general from that era).

Also, which part of Jimmy Carr’s accent is responsible for making Hampstead Heath sound like “hamster teeth”? I honestly thought there was a park in England named Hamster Teeth, until I saw it mentioned in an episode of QI (which I watch with subtitles since many good jokes are obscured by other panelists talking over them, or just the audience laughing).

Sarah Millican reads erotic fiction

They both have middle class Dublin accents although Dara’s is posher than Ed’s. Dara is from Bray (which is just over the border from Dublin in County Wicklow)and he went to school in South Dublin. Ed is from my home town in North Dublin.

Johnny Vegas is from St Helens, which is halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, I’d say he leans more towards Mancunian than Scouse IMO

Sahf London - he’s a Bermondsey boy and longtime Balham resident. Sue Perkins is also from south of the river but one can definitely hear the effects of a private (and Cambridge) education in her accent.

Am I remembering correctly that she explained once on QI that she actually grew up in NYC with a NY accent and had to actually work to get rid of it? (though to my American and actually NYer ears, her accent exudes Britishness to such a large degree, I’m having trouble trusting my own memory on this).

LOL. That explains a lot. The character he presents is thoroughly consistent with all the Heleners I’ve encountered (years ago, in online chat).

I haven’t heard anything like that yet, and I’m up to the Season 9 (Series I) in my binging (the XL episodes, since season 6/F).

Moe you are right about Sandi, it was from Series G episode 7. The transcript if you can’t watch the video is quoted below.

I arrived in this country at the age of fourteen, I’d been thrown out of school in the United States. It’s hard to imagine now but I arrived with a very thick New York accent. And I was sent to boarding school and for six weeks nobody spoke to me. Six weeks… I know, it’s like a therapy for me, this programme… and then one night we were watching – I thought, I have to change my accent – and one night we were watching, er Brief Encounter, er, with Trevor Hyde and Celia Johnston, and I thought, “I’m going to speak like that.” And that’s why I sound like I’m trapped in a black-and-white film, but it was… to do with bullying, to do with bullying at school. Well, you were in… your fair share of bullying at school Stephen, it’s not, er…

Dara grew up posher than Ed? That explains why he was the one with a harp in his house.