I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Lucy Worsley’s British History’s Biggest Fibs, but can’t help wondering whether it’s been deliberately scripted to challenge her inability to roll her ‘r’s.
It was inevitable in the first episode on the Tudor Wars that she’d have to say ‘White Rose and Red Rose’ more than once, but was it entirely necessary to have her describe Sir Walter Scott’s Anne of Geierstein as a ‘rip-roaring’ read?
The second episode is The Glorious Revolution which, of course, is full of ‘Orange’ and ‘Mary’. The third, The Jewel in the Crown, only has one hard ‘r’ in the title, but is thereafter chock-full of ‘Victoria’, ‘Raj’ and ‘Viceroys’.
You can imagine Worsley’s scriptwriters, giggling like Pilate’s guard in The Life of Brian as they come up with ever-trickier sentences for Ms. Worsley to speak to camera. If they can find some reason to justify invoking the ragged rascal who ran around the rugged rock, you can bet they’ll do it.
As someone with a whole clutch of speech impedimentia of my own, my heart goes out to her. On the other hand, her inability to pronounce a hard ‘r’ is part of her charm and – the cynic in me says – her brand, just as Stephen Hawking’s synthesised voice is part of his. Perhaps she goads them on from the sidelines to run her rhotacism ragged.