Down the Mousehole : Episode 004
“I was comfortable as a broadcaster on radio talking to millions… the idea of speaking in front of an audience or in a room live with people in it was absolutely terrifying.”
“And I said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for Her Majesty, The Queen’…”
Katie Flamman is an award-winning voice artist, Katie is a Storyteller – she helps clients find the right words to tell their story, and her voice will bring that story to life!
With her own professionally equipped, ipDTL studio, she provides top-quality voiceovers with super-fast turnaround.
Katie is hugely versatile and her reputation across a range of different vocal genres is extensive, embracing Voice of God, corporate, explainer, commercial and character work
Katie was Voice of God for the Mixology Bar Awards 2017 & 2018 and received a One Voice Award 2018 for her work as “Outstanding Live Event Announcer.” Do listen to Katie in action below. Her voice is perfect to introduce or promote an event or show, either pre-recorded or live. Her background in TV News means she can handle live events with aplomb
Katie’s voice has been described as warm, motivational, fresh and confident – and her showreels speak for themselves.
The Mixology Bar Awards – for which as Voice of God, Katie received the One Voice Award 2018 for her work as ”Outstanding Live Event announcer”
Voice of God showreel
Verity Panter has the ability to audibly animate your words. Whether it’s inviting the listener to climb inside a warm, silky narrative or communicating important information with her crisp, clear received pronunciation; Verity delivers a high quality professional performance every time.
Verity is based in London and trained for many years with RADA coach and director Gary Lagden, and collaborated with Gareth Moulton from the Cutting Crew. With a vocal age of 20-30 years old Verity has a melodic, warm voice, which is clear, engaging and friendly. She is a team player, can take direction well and adapt under pressure. Fun but professional to work with, Verity gives every job her full attention to deliver confident and polished performances.
Baileys Woman’s Prize for Fiction
Announcer audio reel
There’s no place to hide – the Queen of Queensbury in York Hall
Peter Dickson is the UK’s most prolific voiceover artist. He has enjoyed a stellar career spanning almost 40 years.
His unique and powerful vocal delivery is the choice of global TV entertainment mogul Simon Cowell. His voice has featured on “Britain’s Got Talent” and “The X Factor” in the UK. In a national poll, he was voted as one of the top three iconic UK voices of the decade.
His voice has featured on over 30 major computer game titles including Fable I and II, Tin Tin, Blades of Time, Everybody’s Golf and Kinect Sports seasons I and II.
He has voiced thousands of TV and Radio commercials, anchored awards ceremonies for some of the world’s biggest brands, launched countless products, appeared in many BAFTA award winning TV and radio productions and he’s worked with most of the biggest producers and stars of UK entertainment.
He was the voice of the London 2012 Olympic Games and his voice features in “I Can’t Sing” – Harry Hill and Steve Brown’s new musical, at the London Palladium which is executive produced by Simon Cowell.
He has his own iphone app: “Peter Dickson’s Pocket Announcer” and his own website www.myruddyvoice.com where fans can get up close and personal. He also runs www.gravyforthebrain.com, a rapidly growing educational e learning platform.
From vocal work on radio and TV commercials, commentary for big international stadium events, blue chip corporates, multimedia games, animation and prime-time TV shows – Peter Dickson a.k.a “Voiceover Man” is at the top of everyone’s list.
A medley of video clips showing Peter Dickson in action
Promotional showreel audio link
Welcome to Radio.Events and the Three Blind Mice podcast. Thanks for tuning in. We bring you what’s hip and happening behind the scenes of meetings, incentives, conferences, and events. Three Blind Mice – the little pod with a cast of thousands from Radio.Events.
Hello one and all, and welcome to Three Blind Mice from Radio.Events. I’m your Mice Maister-in-Cheese, your host, the honorary Doc. In this episode we hear the concluding part of my interview with the Voices of Gods – so going 10 rounds and certainly three episodes, the Queen of Queensbury herself, Verity Panter, the fabulous, the ever versatile, the name crunching, Katie Flamman and the voice, the wit and the raconteur that is Mr Peter Dickson
Three Blind Mice
Peter, tell us how we nearly lost you all in the cause of celebrity/
I once did a show called Cirque du Celebrite for Sky Television, which was a… Oh dear, what can I say about Cirque du Celebrity? First of all, any show with the name celebrite or celebrity in it generally means there aren’t any celebrities in it. And this one was no different. I turned up – it was a circus tent, a proper big circus tent in Woolwich Common, I think it was, and inside were 10 celebrities in inverted commas, attempting to do circus tricks from high wire to the silks and balancing balls and things and my commentary position wasn’t in the tent. They’d built for me out of what could only be best described as bits of driftwood, a commentary box on the on the outside of the tent and they’d stapled bits of carpet to the outside to make it look vaguely attractive and that was that. So, there I was inside this booth, this makeshift booth, and this was a live show on Sky and we got a half an hour into the broadcast and I was aware, very suddenly, that my feet were wet and I looked down and I could see rain water had seeped into the booth and was now rising at a rather alarming rate around my ankles and I looked down and I could see all these plugs and electric cables. And I was thinking, never mind the flying stunts that are going on inside the tent, I’m going to die live on television. So I ended up commentating with my feet kneeling on the chair and watching as this water was rising and just praying to God that I wouldn’t be electrocuted.
Katie, you’ve had a buzz moment very recently haven’t you? Something to do with a big gong. What was that? Tell us about it.
I was awarded the One Voice Award this year for Outstanding Live Event Announcer, which was wonderfully presented to me by Peter who’s here.
And we actually did…and … I actually did give it to the right person on that particular occasion.
Thank goodness for that. But it was such a shock. There were many categories as often at awards. And I was lucky enough to be nominated in a few different categories. And I thought when I saw that I was nominated for this particular award, I thought, well, I haven’t got a chance. There were four of us nominated – me and three very excellent gentlemen. And Voice of God, certainly in the UK, is pretty much a strongly male job. There aren’t very many girls who do it. There’s a couple of brilliant, inspirational ladies, Trish Bertram did the Olympics with Peter and Gina Mallett does the BAFTAS , but there aren’t very many girl gods, so I sat back and I had a glass of wine and waited for this particular category….
And I had another glass of wine and that’s when it all went wrong.
Yeah. And then Peter said my name, which was absolutely mind blowing. So I was completely taken aback. Waffled on when I got up to the stage. I got my bit of paper, I didn’t know what to do with it and I was a bit of a fluster but absolutely thrilled. And the first thing that came into my head, which I said on the stage was – ‘Who knew God is a girl?’
Which was a great line great line.
It really was a surprise to me. Certainly being up against such, such incredible other talent, but also to be recognized for being a female live event announcer because I personally think that there’s a lot of opportunities for women out there to do this kind of a job. Verity’s the only girl doing what she does. I mean it’s amazing. I think why aren’t there more of us?
Hear hear. So guys, we’re moving towards the close, so I’ve just got a couple of additional questions to ask you if I may, before I lose your dulcet tones. You’ve met loads of industry leaders, loads of captains of industry, celebrities, young aspiring artists. Who individually has really stood out for you in and why I come to you first, Verity.
Well, Peter is very much a role model in what he does, so he was one of the first people that I ever met live, so to speak, but I take inspiration from a lot of people that I meet or see on television. I think Michael Buffer is fantastic in the boxing ring, so I watched an awful lot of his work, but I think it’s time for him to retire now. It’s my turn I feel it coming. But my real Inspiration and role model is actually much closer to home, it’s my really best friend, Gary Lagden and who is also my voice coach and I definitely wouldn’t be here today without him and standing in the middle of a boxing ring announcing to the world. It’s incredible.
Well. I’ve had loads of different influences on my voiceover career. I’ve done training…Verity mentioned Gravy for the Brain before. I’ve done training with them, training with the Voiceover Network, which is another group in the UK. Training in America. There’s various big conferences and things, so there are lots of different influences and keynote speakers who I’ve just heard and gone, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’ So I try and take ideas and inspiration from a lot of different areas and people. But in terms of Voice of God, I mentioned Gina and Trish. They’re really incredible. British iconic women who do this job and in America there’s the wonderful Randy Thomas who is the voice of the Academy Awards, the Oscars and the Tonys, and she’s also recently become the first female announcer of ABC News Nightline, which is a really big deal in the States. And for me there was kind of Angela Rippon and Anna Ford, the BBC news presenters in the seventies and the eighties who were kind of the sort of stand-outs for me, but I can’t name one particular person who’s influenced my career because I’m so grateful to all the incredible people who train and coach and encourage and yeah, just just make you feel like you can do it and there’s so much more that there is to learn. So I’m, I’m always absorbing and taking on new ideas and inspirations from all kinds of people.
I think that’s a really good point you make – that the inspiration that we assimilate during our lives comes from so many different parties from our parents and pretty much everyone there after. Peter, you’ve met a few people in your time. What about you?
I have and you know, I’ve had the most amazing career. I’ve met and worked with some real… What I would call in the true sense of the word, legends and celebrities without the inverted commas and I’m always grateful to not only work with them but see them working with me up close and I learned so much from just observing people. Going back to my early career, I learned an awful lot and I owe a great deal of debt of gratitude to Sir Terry Wogan, when he was in his prime on BBC radio. And I remember many, many years ago thinking to myself as I worked with him, he was not only a fellow Irishman, I’m an Irishman too, we had a lot in common in our backgrounds and I remember thinking to myself, you know like the renaissance painters, you know, they had the apprentices that watched and learned from the master. And I was very green and knew nothing about radio or announcing radio, how to use my voice properly. And I remember saying to myself, I’m going to watch some of the greats. So I watched and talked to and learned from Terry a great deal. I also watched, learned from a guy called Steve Wright on BBC Radio One and I watched how these people worked. Not only how they physically held themselves when they performed, what they thought and how they used the microphone and how they created sound pictures with their voices and how they would… like Terry used to say to me, never be afraid of the silence. A lot of people talk just for the sake of talking. If you’ve got nothing to say, don’t say it. You want to create dramatic impact, then leave silence. Don’t be afraid of a bit of silence here and there because that lends colour to it and you can give a concept or an idea that you’re speaking about importance if you pause – just before you say it. And so he said, don’t be afraid of the silence. So I’ve learned a lot from a lots of people. Bruce Forsyth, I worked with him for many years, watching him up close, how he can controls and manipulate an audience just with his eyes and his voice. And his timbre and his intonation. He was a master of that and I’ve never seen anybody control an audience as well as he did. So, I think as Verity and Katie have said, we learn and we never stop learning. We learn all the time. I love watching professionals working and I take a little bit from that and I’ll take a little bit from him and I’ll learn and we all at the end of the day, don’t we – and I’m sure that Verity and Katie would agree, wherever you get to in your career, you, you are standing on the shoulders of giants, those who have been influential in your career, people you’ve admired and that we take a little bit of them into us and we move forwards and we become the next generation. The others who follow us will hopefully take the good bits that we’ve developed in our careers and they’ll take those bits forward and learn from us.
I reflected on these oh so talented Voices of Gods. I was curious, not because I want to encourage anyone working in events to retrain or leave a splendid industry, but if you have a friend, a sister, partner, son and they wanted to become a Voice of God or even a voice artist, what should they do?
Well, I would say get out there and volunteer offer yourself to your local charity event or something like that. Practice, because if you want to do live work, there’s no other way to experience what it’s like unless you get out there and give it a try. I think you need to practice, practice, practice, practice, practice and practice with tricky words. Practice managing a crowd. I’ve got two kids and I’ve run quite a lot of their birthday parties, so I’m quite good at managing crowd control from my personal life, but it’s not quite the same as a live event and listen to others. Train get training. It’s not something that you can just do. You really do need to to train. So yeah, get out there, practice and get some coaching.
As unbelievable as this may seem, when I say this that several years ago while I was comfortable as a broadcaster on radio talking to millions, literally millions of people from the privacy of a padded room, be at the BBC or wherever, one of my greatest fears was having to be seen and talk to a live audience and the idea of speaking to an audience in front of an audience or in a room live with people in it was absolutely terrifying to me. I really couldn’t imagine myself ever doing that. So I’d imagine that fear is probably quite common. So anybody who’s listening to this who thinks, oh, I could never do that. You’re not alone. Let me tell you. I was absolutely terrified. But what I was absolutely determined to do was to overcome that fear. As you’ve just heard from Katie, that you know, you have to get out there and you start small. And I started at very small events just sort of feeling my way and it was terrible and I was nervous and my breathing went and I couldn’t, uh, couldn’t do it very well. And I was, you know, I thought this is not for me, I’m not going to do it, but I’ve pushed on, I started to do more. And then what happens is you become more comfortable on stage, you become more comfortable hearing yourself in a live room with people there whether they see you or not, and the more you do things, the better you get at it. It’s pretty obvious – it’s a no brainer. So it’s just a question of getting experience, doing it as much as you can get uncomfortable appearing on a stage, hosting an event with people looking at you and sometimes having to speak off script if there’s no autocue or if you lose your way on the script. As is often the case with me, I often get carried away and go off at a tangent and then come back. It’s that sort of process of being able to go off script and get back onto it again, seamlessly. These are things that you need to practice doing. So the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Like anything, you know, it’s a skill.
Verity, when you’re doing your stuff in the boxing arena, I mean you’re very visible. Before you step into that ring do you still get sweaty palm moments, do you still get sort of almost involuntary bowel movements?
Unbelievably, I’m really calm stepping into the ring now. I’ve crossed the line, but definitely when I started I was extremely nervous. I don’t like people looking at me and I don’t like talking in public and suddenly I was standing in the middle of a boxing ring with smoke machines and flashing lights, talking to a crowd of hundreds. So ever so slightly out of my normal comfort zone. But the more I do it, the more comfortable I become and I really enjoy the moment now. I get in there, I feel very calm. I feel very confident. I arrive at every show a couple of hours early to double check all the names, get all the weights written down. I know what I’m talking about. So I think research is key for every event and that is something I would definitely advise people to do. But now I’m in the great position of absolutely loving it. I don’t know, I might be slightly different if I suddenly had to go to the O2 arena or I was live on BoxNation, but at the moment I’m very much in my comfort zone.
You need to get out of your comfort zone Verity. The thing is with comfort zones, whatever your profession you’re in, be it event managing or whatever, you know, if you’ve done it long enough, you’re in your comfort zone, but that’s where you stop growing so Verity, you’re absolutely right, , you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. So I would encourage you to go for the bigger venue and experience that. I have to say I have appeared in the round, in the centre of the O2 arena. You know how big that place is, and I stood up on the stage all eyes me and four very bright spotlights from each corner of that venue hit me. And what people didn’t tell me was that when you are in the middle of a venue like that and you start speaking, you hear yourself coming back through the speakers, at least one and a half seconds after you say something. So it becomes almost impossible to speak because you’re hearing yourself coming back and it really screws with your brain and you can’t concentrate. It was extremely difficult to do. But I think I’ve just about got away with it because you know, there’s part of me having worked in live television…. again, this has to do with live experiences listening to yourself in your headphones, listening to the director talking to you in your earpiece and hearing the gallery chatter and hearing yourself coming back. Maybe half a second later into your ear piece through the gallery loudspeakers. There’s a lot of noise goes on. So you, you know, you can train yourself to sort of zone out to that and just focus on what you’re saying. So luckily on that occasion it wasn’t too bad, but for anybody who wasn’t experienced in that sort of size of venue, that would have been quite off putting and almost disastrously terrible, but I would encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and do some bigger venues, so that’s where the magic happens – over there.
I like to do it one step at a time. The Copper Box is next on my list actually, the Olympic venue. That’s fantastic. I can’t wait to work there, so yeah.
I love it that you’ve got a list Verity.
I have. I’ve got a tick list – Copper Box next and then the O2.
I’ve done O2 and the Royal Albert Hall and they didn’t get much bigger than that. I actually introduced Her Majesty the Queen at the Royal Albert Hall, which was quite nerve racking because it was live on television at the same time and you never know whether she’s actually there or not because we couldn’t see her at this point. She was behind the royal box somewhere and I said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for Her Majesty, The Queen and all the cameras zoom in on the royal box and you just hope that she’s there, and luckily she was. Again, it’s part of our remit, as Voice of God before you start any event, is to have a list of what if’s, what if this happens? What if that happens? And I always make it my business to write out because in terms of an emergency, you can never predict what’s going to happen, but you can sort of imagine the obvious things that might happen. What would the form of words be that you would use? If she didn’t turn up or if a presenter didn’t show up on stage. So I always have to the side of my main script, a list of short announcements that I can make that I don’t have to sound like I’m fluffing or making up on the spot. So I have already got the form of words for two or three or four or five of the most obvious eventualities that could happen.
As we rapidly approach the witching hour, and before I asked my final question, I was reflecting on the valuable insights and tips that Katie, Verity and Peter have kindly provided over the last three episodes – on how to both be and to get the best out of your Voice of God and I hope that you’ve found that beneficial as well as entertaining. Having spent the last six months immersing myself in workshops and one to one coaching in the skills and techniques of becoming a voice artist and having previously blagged my way through endless live events as the unofficial Voice of God without any real training, I’m full of admiration for the talents and versatility of my three guests.
Now I’ve cheekily raided Mr Dickson’s website and downloaded a few of his demo voice reels as I want to highlight the kind of skills and versatility that goes into a great Voice of God and not just a great Voice of God, but clearly a great voice talent as is demonstrated by all three of my guests here. To amplify my point, sit back and enjoy just a few of the various voices of Mr. Peter Dickson in action – from the promo voice that we know so well to the voice perhaps used for a movie trailer, to the narrator and finally to the poet.
Pretty soon his little kingdom wasn’t so little anymore, but while the king partied, his people suffered and hated their King. Concert for the Queen. A diamond jubilee celebration continues now from Buckingham Palace in the heart of London, Katie Curry. Stokes lifted his head heaven words as if seeking reassurance. As always, an obdurate black wall of rock met his gaze shrouded in lifeless grey. We mark the footsteps in the tell tale sand and each time sweeps these yielding marks away. Re-strews the floor. Re-decks with lavish hand with foam and amber coloured weed. Each day, fresh shells lie at our feet, beneath our eye, that happily may unfold, some priceless pearl.
Sublime. That was just a few of the many voices of Mr Dickson and they were all of his voices. A great example of vocal dexterity.
Ladies and gents, you’ll be pleased to hear this is my last question. Now, if I am a communications manager, an event planner or a producer, how do I get in touch with you guys and can I afford you?
I’m sure most people can afford me. They can get hold of me on my website -would probably be the best way, VerityPanter.com Yeah. And phone or email. But then obviously all the usual social media, which is interesting. I get a lot of bookings through Twitter actually at the moment, but yes. Any which way or how.
And the link will be on our website too. Katie?
Yeah, the same as Verity actually. I wanted to say thank you so much for having us all, having me, Randle – it’s been amazing and yes, I’m very easy to get hold of. I’m very affordable, not cheap, just affordable. And you can reach me on social media and on my website. My name’s a shocker, but it’s KatieFlamman.com
And if anybody didn’t get those down, if you go to Radio.Events, the links will be there. Peter, yourself sir?
Well, I’m always open for business. As you know, Randle, I never close and I’m always happy to talk to people. I’m contactable through my agent., that’s Hobsons international. Just Google it. You’ll find them. I never ever get involved in dialogue about money or contracts. I’m lucky to have an agent and they deal with everything. My diary included. So they are very nice people. They will try and accommodate any requests be it for live Voice of God or pre-recorded. So I’m very happy to work on your event, if you are so minded to have me, or Verity or Katie. We’re all contactable and we don’t bite, we’re very friendly. And so do get in touch if you want to have a real professional polish to your event and to be assured that it will go the way you want it to go.
Peter. Verity, Katie, thank you so much and goodbye for now.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
Wow. What lovely special people those Voices of Gods people were. There was some great advice and tips to consider for your next event, so I do hope that you enjoyed that special three part episode on the Voice of God. To get in touch with Katie, Verity or Peter directly, their links are on the Three Blind Mice episode page at Radio.Events.
Chaps and chapesses, before you go, I have a big favour to ask. Can you please, please, please, please, please tell five of your event professional friends about Three Blind Mice. Encourage everyone to get involved and to download or share this episode to help spread the word and the love. And if you didn’t know that the Three Blind Mice podcast can be downloaded from iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and all other good podcast platforms near you, and the links are on our website. Thank you for listening to this episode of Three Blind Mice from Radio.Events. It’s been a blast. Until next time.
Three Blind Mice is edited and mixed by Sam Williams at www.RightRoyalAudio.com – that’s Right Royal Audio – be heard, loud and clear.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Three Blind Mice here on Radio.Events. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please share it with your friends. Do head over to iTunes, give us a rating and leave a review and don’t forget, you can send us a voice message directly through our Voicepipe at Radio.Events. Until next time.
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