The Speaker Review: The (Lucky) Children Are The Future

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews


THE SPEAKER, Wednesday 8th April, BBC2, 8.00PM Alert Me

In a world dominated by a recession, where every hardworking twentysomething is basically buggered when it comes to ever being successful, or finding a job that you enjoy (and actually pays well) – those pesky teenagers may just come out on top. However, to do so they will need to have decided on their career path whilst still back in nappies and have a rich Daddy with a black book to rival Anna Wintour’s or Perez Hilton’s.

Either that or be lucky enough to wow the judges on a show like The Speaker.

In this episode, judges Jo Brand, John Amaechi and Jeremy Stockwell are travelling to Cardiff and Manchester in search of the voice of tomorrow. There they meet a wide array of quirky characters such as the nifty-haired Nathan, who urges the masses to embrace their inner innovator and express themselves through their hairdo (I believe the phrase “climb mountains with your mullet” came up…) and Elliot the ironically evil hoodie, who checks for his knife before leaving the stage. Despite the judges saying he “made an important point without being too dark” I think he may have overstepped the mark slightly.

My personal favourite was Laura, the champion of the geeks. It takes real guts to go on national TV confessing your undying love for David Mitchell and telling the world that you know the Latin for SpongeBob Squarepants (I still inform people with pride that I know how to say “To the Batmobile, Robin!” in Bahasa Malay which has lead me to believe that Laura may be my long lost twin).

Of course, with bright young things, come pushy… sorry, proud parents. Adam’s mum  is one of the more extreme examples of said phenomenon – gaily gushing as her son expounds on the tactical wooing of his first crush.  She explains that his speech was better than he’d ever done it before, not that he’d ever voluntarily rehearsed in front of his mum. Oh no, she prefers the more underhand tactic of “listening in at the bedroom door” which could prove embarrassing for Adam and the aforementioned girl of his dreams. Or even just Adam and his right hand. She says, “He told me I can’t hug him and I can’t cry”, so she does both. Loudly.

Also for every success story there was an equally rubbish counterpart who forgetfully faltered, got hit by nerves or simply froze on stage. It was as though The Speaker was trying to emulate the epic fomat of The X Factor audition process, but with far less successful results. Still overall, I was impressed by the show and I’m eager to see what happens to the final twenty candidates when they are coached by influential figures such as Alastair Campbell, newsreader (and Natasha Kaplinsky impersonator) Kate Silverton and Dragon Deborah Meaden.

Geek chic Laura to win!

Sally McIlhone