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Listen up! Dundee’s Alan Steadman is the new voice of the speaking clock

Alan Steadman.
Alan Steadman.

A retired civil servant from Dundee is the new voice of BT’s speaking clock service.

Alan Steadman, 69, whose name was displayed in lights at the top of the BT Tower tonight, is the first Scottish voice – and the first non-English voice – chosen for the role.

He was announced the winner of a nationwide competition to find a new voice to mark the clock’s 80th anniversary on the BBC’s The One Show.

One Show presenter Joe Crowley (second right) with the new voice of BT's speaking clock service Alan Steadman alongside fellow finalists Crea Barton (left) and Verity Giles.
One Show presenter Joe Crowley (second right) with the new voice of BT’s speaking clock service Alan Steadman alongside fellow finalists Crea Barton (left) and Verity Giles.

He is only the fifth permanent voice to give the time “at the third stroke”, after people dial 123.

Mr Steadman presented “The Jazz Show” on Dundee’s airwaves for more than three decades. He said of his experience recording for the clock: “It was an interesting experience. I found that your eyes begin to blur a bit because of all the numbers that you’re reading, but I think it went okay.”

Around 12 million calls are made to the speaking clock each year, especially on Remembrance Day, New Year’s Eve or when the clocks go forwards or back.

Big Ben is set by the speaking clock, which is accurate to within 30 microseconds and has been keeping time since July 24 1936.

David Hay, head of BT Heritage and a member of the judging panel, said: “Competition was tough. It was so difficult to choose the winner from our finalists because any one of them would be a great new voice for the speaking clock.

“But Alan stood out and I think we’ve found a fantastic new voice.”

Sara Mendes da Costa, the outgoing voice, who was also one of the judges, said: “I’m sad my time as the voice of the clock has come to an end. However, 10 years is not a bad run.

“And it was great to be on the judging panel to choose Alan as the new voice, just as my predecessor Brian Cobby helped choose me.”

Previous voices have included an actor and a London telephone exchange supervisor.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Courier

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