Friday, August 6, 2010

Mind boggling but oh so very English

Sat Nav either a bane or a blessing to motorists, though personally I've never used it myself, even during the times I was a mobile service engineer, preferring road atlases and A to Z's (based oddly enough in Kent in a small town called Borough Green, near Sevenoaks)

Still you hear occasional horror stories of lorries being taken under low bridges and cars down private roads, but over all, mostly positive. One of the big brands is Tom Tom and they have looked very carefully for the new voice, a truly English voice, for their product and naturally selected...

Brian Blessed.
The actor, who for many will be forever remembered as Vultan, the energetic and voluble leader of the Hawkmen in the 1980 film Flash Gordon, has signed a deal with the sat nav company Tom Tom.
The famous catchphrase from the film, "Dive, my Hawkmen, dive!", can now be heard by fans trundling along in their Ford Fiestas, re-recorded as "Drive, Hawkmen, drive".
And when they reach their destination, instead of the "Gordon's alive!" line from the film, Blessed booms out of the car speakers: "Gordon's arrived!".
Blessed recorded the 57 basic commands needed, along with six special catchphrases, at a London studio last week.
The actor has, over his career, attracted a cult following, not just because of his Flash Gordon role but his other larger-than-life parts, including Augustus in I, Claudius and Long John Silver in Treasure Island.
His deal with Tom-Tom came about after a fan, Richard Gardner, started a Facebook page, "Campaign to get Brian Blessed to do a voice over for my sat nav". After attracting a few hundred members Mr Gardner approached Tom-Tom. The sat nav company said that if he could attract more than 25,000 members, they would chat to Blessed's agent. The group now has 25,772 members and Blessed will enjoy a cut of any sales from the sat nav.
Almost tempts me into buying one, after all "Who wants to live forever?"

9 annotations:

JuliaM said...

Funnily enough, I've just bought a TomTom (though so far, have resisted the urge to put a novelty voice on it). I can't think of a better choice.. ;)

James Higham said...

I'd prefer a bird's sultry voice, as on the laptop.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I don't even have a car but I want one just for'The Blessed' ones directions.

(God I'm such a pedant but, Brian was not in 'Highlander' which 'Who wants to live forever' is from, which featured the music of Queen but was not scored by them.)

Quiet_Man said...

"Who wants to live forever?" Is also a phrase from Flash Gordon, said by Brian during the Hawkmen attack on the rocket ship.

John M Ward said...

Yes, I recognise both those references, and well remember BB in the earlier Flash Gordon movie (i.e. before the TV series, which was poor).

He was much more retrained in "I, Claudius", and despite a truly terrible go at hosting "Have I Got News For You?" is actually more versatile than might be realised.

He is also surprisingly good at providing the commentary for "Unbeatable Banzuke", doing for that programme what Craig Charles does for "Takeshi's Castle" but in a markedly different style. It seems to work very well!

As for Tom Toms and the like: as a non-driver I don't have to deal with such things, though I did license the development of the whole GPS-based navigation system many years ago when I was responsible for all non-military radio development licensing (it's in the files!) though never with the thought that BB would be speaking out of the resultant products(!)

Pavlov's Cat said...

I stand corrected with head bowed

JuliaM said...

"I'd prefer a bird's sultry voice, as on the laptop."

The standard TomTom unit - at least, my model, the One IQ Routes - comes with a default three male/three female voices.

Pavlov's Cat said...

When you get to Chiswick, does it shout 'Fresh Horses!!!'

James Higham said...

Thanks, Julia.