Celebrating Roald Dahl and Entertaining Excellent Elocution Voice Coaching

A hundred years ago, one of our best loved writers was born, Roald Dahl. This week Radio 4 is celebrating the life and works of this highly talented author, with various entertaining and delightful productions. So in this blog I am celebrating Roald Dahl and entertaining excellent elocution voice coaching, since he has brought me so much pleasure and so hopefully, for you, via some truly wonderful audio programmes…

These will help you speak more clearly and with excellent elocution. And, most of all, are entertaining and very enjoyable.

Roald Dahl was one of the most successful authors of our time, bringing us glorious adventures such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; James and the Giant Peach; The Witches; Fantastic Mr Fox; The Big Friendly Giant; The Twits and George’s Marvelous Medicine and the wonderful and inspiring Matilda.

His first children’s book was called The Gremilins published in 1943. Whilst working in the Royal Air Force during WW2, he became familiar with the folklore of the imaginary little creatures that were blamed for aircraft problems.

He made these little creatures come alive, winning the hearts of people like Eleanor Roosevelt and Walt Disney.

He was also a very clever writer of adult fiction  – specializing in the most brilliantly crafted short stories that always have interesting twists.

But, to begin at the beginning…

The first link I’m offering is the most delightful and insightful introduction into Roald’s personality and life. This 58 minute production, is presented by Sophie Dahl (the first famous size 16 model) his granddaughter, who was the inspiration for the little girl in The Big Friendly Giant. As a tiny little girl she was the first to hear about the BFG and all his funny word mix-ups – in her very own bedtime story!

Spielberg’s new film of The Big Friendly Giant came out in the UK this Tuesday – and I for one am very much looking forward to seeing it, having loved the book.

Delighting the world for over 70 years with his wonderful children’s stories, he brought immense pleasure and laughter to many generations of children and adults; and will continue to do so, for many generations to come.

Dahl was an extraordinary man in many ways: a full 6 feet and seven inches tall (one inch taller than the commonly held knowledge, according to Sophie) and this production gives you a wonderful audio portrait of this extraordinary man.

He was a fun grandpa, talented writer, ace flyer and war hero, a very entertaining speaker and most importantly of all, for those of us who never knew him, a fantastic story teller.

The 58 minutes, is filled with anecdotes spoken by Dahl himself, who has a great voice – superb clarity and excellent diction – and it’s an excellent place and very pleasurable place, to start your Dahl journey!

Here is the link:  Roald Dahl In His Own Words

After that I suggest you move on to the delightfully dramatized story of his childhood up to leaving school and the beginning of his first job. The play is funny, shocking, painful and poignant, but overall, amusing typical of Dahl’s supreme talent to somehow make the shocking, hillarious..

In this cleverly adapted script from Dahl’s own words and beautifully directed drama, Patrick Malahide plays the voice of the grownup Dahl.

Here is the link:  Boy

Next up is, I think my favourite. Having said that, every time I re-listen to one of my first three selections for you, each one becomes my favourite again..

This is the continuation of his story (again delivered by the same talented team and more) and is the brilliantly dramatised story of Roald’s life as he leaves school and heads off to Africa.

He wanted to see jungles, lions and other exotic things and as he said himself: it’s hard for people to imagine nowadays, but in the 1930’s, it took three weeks to cross the seas to Africa, there were no airplanes wizzing over in a matter of hours, so this was a huge adventure..

This production is called Going Solo and all the same treats are in store, but, with even more fascinating incidental historical details. It’s full of surprising and sometimes very moving stories: a thoroughly good listen and I can’t wait for Episode 2.

Here is the link for that: Going Solo Episode 1

You are now a seasoned pro on Dahl and will enjoy the next links of some of his grown up short stories dramatised all the more for knowing a bit about his life.

His characters are very real and the plots invariable surprise with unexpected endings borne out of a full and varied life having been exposed to all sorts of people with very varying degrees of goodness.. and badness…

As I write this, my favourites are No 1 (called episodes on the iplayer but they are all separate stories) broadcast on Monday and No 3 broadcast on Wednesday.

I shall give you the link to No.1 and then you can find your way forward for the next 4…

Here is the link: The Bookseller Episode 1 of 5

All of the above links, are full of fabulous voices: excellent articulation, superb diction and great fun acting – the most pleasurable elocution homework todate!

To leave a on a sweet and fun note, here is a delightful clip (2 minutes only) of Tom Hollander reading aloud, two very short, but deliciously helpful and touching letters, that Dahl wrote in response to a little girl’s letters. She wrote to Dahl when she was finding it hard to settle in to her new school and his help is very touching and just as helpful to us grownups.

Roald Dahl’s kind help for young Elizabeth