Follow me on Twitter: @janemcintyre12



I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Thursday 24 January 2013

That Soho studio...the sequel.

Got a minute? Well a couple of minutes, actually. That`s how long my new voiceover demo is. I didn`t pull it all together myself...a very clever, technically brilliant chap called Johnty O`Donnell (aka Kenwood) mixed it for me.

And because I`m really grateful to him, and to Tanya Rich who recorded a whole pile of my clips, and gave me some expert, one to one advice on looking for work in this crazy industry, I thought I`d look back at the sunny day in September which started it all off.

And add the demo at the end. Just in case you know someone...........

Soho. It felt less smutty, somehow, than it had back in the last century when, as a trembling teen reporter, I turned up for work on a paper in darkest Dean Street.

I was nnnn-nineteen. But I soon got the hang of it.You rushed in (always), holding a cappuccino and a croissant, hammered through your contacts book,clinched exclusives,bashed out your copy; got sneered at by sub editors for all your Tippex stains,and choked half to death by a constant fog of fag smoke;then emerged gasping for air at lunchtime. Tuesdays were good. You put the paper to bed and skipped over the road for a couple of bottles (each) (on expenses) and then you might end up in a club. Or..whatever. And there was plenty of extra dosh to be made selling anything mildly salacious on to the tabloids.

Thousands of words and years of radio shows later, Soho lured me back .The prospect was intoxicating. It was just round the corner from where it all a darkened room, somewhere under Bateman Street. The promise? A dozen complete strangers. A little one to one stuff. Some heavy breathing and some gentle panting. A soupcon of filthy banter. And lots of new tricks.

OK-so it was a voiceover training day with Peter Dickson and Tanya Rich. You`ll have heard them both. Peter`s the guy with the mahoosive voice on X Factor and any number of other big shows, ads, and events.Amazing to meet him. You know that scene where they find the Wizard of Oz,while he`s booming out some terrifying proclamation...and Toto whips a curtain away to reveal a fairly normal looking bloke? It was like that. But nicer. Gently spoken, articulate, elegant, lovely. And so damn clever. And his partner in crime, Tanya Rich. Rich? She might be.She should be...because she has a vast talent for being whoever people want her to be; and like Peter, you`ll have heard her.Apart from that, she has the loveliest laugh, endless patience and the coolest biker boots.

And with them in this subterranean, state of the art studio in the heart of Soho, their 12 disciples. From the deepest baritone to the chirpiest, most vibrant of voices --and all shades in between. Over a day we learnt how be ourselves. And how to be someone else. How to breathe, persuade, sell, sight read and in-to-nate.

So --was it a breeze for me...with over 25 years in radio...17 of them newsreading, and with a couple of Sonys under my belt? Far from it. I learnt loads (yes, Tanya, I`m still smiling....!!) and was inspired by my teachers, and by everyone around me.

So to Tim the boatman (don`t mention Snow White...), Randle the chocolate coated Baritone, James the highly talented ex teacher, Dave the DJ (knows his stuff; nice having lunch), Jas the amazing mimic (don`t you dare....), Simone from Shoreditch (shoes as well as a voice to die for), Anne and Laura (cool and classy and lovely to meet), Dan and Rich (late on parade after having a flat tyre but still sounded ace), and the gorgeous, fresh voiced was great to meet you and learn from you all. And thanks to Olly the technician for nipping and tucking us together so skillfully, and to Nigel for lending us his studio and leaving me a pink cake in an envelope.

And finally ...(this is the bit in my news bulletins where I honestly DID smile, Tanya....) back to business, and why we were all there. After a hell of a tasty taster I still want to do voiceovers?

Hell yes. Watch this space.

Well it`s been a long time since September. But to be fair, I`ve been busy writing, running and starting a little sideline as a film extra. One feature film, one children`s TV programme , a couple more in the pipeline and a whole pile of fun so far!

But anyway, here`s the demo. Thanks again to Tanya, Peter, Johnty O`Donnell, and all the great people I met in Soho that day.

Jane McIntyre Voiceover Demo -

Monday 21 January 2013

Tweet me; text me...just keep in touch!

So another day of snow; another day of school closures for thousands of pupils across the UK. And the re-opening of that debate on whether head teachers shut up shop too easily these days when local roads look slippy.

It`s a discussion that`s been aired on radio shows up and down the country, not least on Jim Hawkins` BBC show here in Shropshire--with a mixed response, as ever. Some parents are clearly pleased that authorities are erring on the side of caution. Others referred to their own school days, where you never got a day off, come hell or high water.

My point was this: would head teachers have thought about declaring it a `snow day` more readily `way back then`.... if they`d been able to? Today`s heads can send out a mass text to parents.They can use Twitter or a Facebook group. They can call their local radio station--and thousands of people get the message in no time at all. Teachers a generation ago, couldn`t spread the word like that. You could hardly have hundreds of pupils yomping through the drifts to a `not today, thankyou` sign on  the school gates.So it was business as usual. Complete with iced up mini milk bottles. (Did you use to put them on the classroom radiator to defrost, too? Yeuuuch.)

According to OFCOM, 92 per cent of UK adults have, or use a mobile phone. Many of those have a connection to the internet too. I`m a complete convert; a communications junkie. When I think about life without a mobile,and more particularly, my i-phone, I think of the dark ages. The terrifying night hours stranded in laybys in my clapped out little white mini. Not being able to find help.People not knowing I needed help.

I want to stay connected when there are problems, parties, offers of coffee and cake in town. All of this. I love that Shropshire`s hospitals are tweeting information about appointments today, and that Karen Higgins retweeted the messages, in case you missed them.

Train companies are using social media creatively too. Not just letting you check timetables, but linking you to real people while you`re on the move. I travelled to London from Stafford one Saturday morning a few months back--and idly mentioned on Twitter that even though I was in a (cheap) first class seat--there wasn`t a cup of coffee for love nor money.Within a couple of minutes, London Midland were right back at me; asking which service I was on, and letting me know that within half an hour or so, there`d be a regular, slightly longer stop at a station with a coffee shop right on the platform. The tweeter was *almost certain* that there`d be enough time for me to hop off, sprint down the platform, queue for a flat white, and OK,a bit of cake,walk gingerly back without spilling any....and jump back on. It worked. It did involve a fellow passenger keeping a door open for me for a second or two...but I made it, and loved Twitter all the more that day.

I`m so keen to stay connected, that I often carry a mobile (yes, I have two...)  in each boot. If my left leg rings, it`ll probably be friends or family. If there`s a text from the right, it`ll be a query about my holiday cottage. See? High tech, me.

I know there are downsides.Plenty of people loathe feeling `contactable` the whole time, and love switching their phones off so they can get some peace and quiet. Who hasn`t received a `cop out` text from someone they`re due to meet? Easier than a call, sometimes.And who doesn`t feel just a bit irritated to get a text from a teenage relative, instead of a thankyou letter, for that gift you sent?

But for now, on this snowy day in January 2013, technology has worked well spreading the word; letting people know about decisions head teachers have taken in others` best interests, backing up vital messages on local radio, and keeping people connected.

And for now... my phones are where they should be. Quite what will happen if both legs start ringing, AND I`m on an ungritted pavement, heaven only knows. But at least, if I do the splits`ll call for help on your mobile. Won`t you?

    thank you and I love your blog every week! Its a fine read :-)

SaTH ‏@sathNHS

Hello and thanks for reading...!

I was just off to bed and spotted that quite a few more people had stopped to read my blog...either the latest post or some of my older ones. I`ve been writing it for nearly 10 months and am thrilled to have notched up nearly 13,000 page views from people all over the world. People like you. So.....where in the world are you? And can you tell me a bit about yourself? I`d love to find out who`s `reading me` --and read your blog too, if you have one.

Anyway...I`ll add another post in a few hours, so pop back soon? Thanks again for calling !

You can leave me a message below, or on Twitter (@janemcintyre12) or feel free to email me?

Monday 14 January 2013

Les Mis, mascara and `that` song.

Les Miserables: Sunday Times review

I`ll be honest, I`m not a great fan of going to the cinema. I`d rather wait for the movie to come out on DVD and then settle down on the sofa with Pinot, popcorn and a pause button. I`m just wondering whether to make an exception for Les Miserables.

I haven`t been for several years-- since SoulBoy. Loved the film, but a man in a rustly jacket not only rustled all the way through it, but coughed and spluttered over me from start to finish.Nowhere to run (nowhere to hide......) It was vile.

Then there`s the er....delicate matter of shedding a tear or two in public. I know plenty of people who cry buckets during sad stories, trumpet-blow their noses matter of fact-ly at the end, and go home, having had a damn good night out.

I remember being taken to see a special, matinee screening of Gone With the Wind in London when I was probably about eight. There was my grandma, my mum, and me. It was mindblowingly good, and I was gripped all the way through; until the snuffling started. Mum first, then Grandma. Sniffing, snuffling, and the odd, muffled yelp of grief. Adults. Actually crying in public.Was know...ok? I slid down the itchy red tip up seat a bit and slyly clocked several more fully grown people with their faces half covered by rapidly dampening tissues. One woman`s shoulders were shaking. And not in a good way. I didn`t quite know what to make of it, but it felt like some kind of rite of passage that day. At the end, we emerged from the deep south, blinking at the Leicester Square sunlight. Mum and grandma sniffed loudly one more time, brushed themselves down, dabbed their pink noses with powder, asked me if I`d enjoyed myself, (err.....) and we headed for the tube.

I think I must have avoided `weepies` when going out on teenage dates. I ended up agreeing to see every kind of disaster movie ever made with the boy of the moment--just so I wouldn`t end up with `Maybe it`s Maybelline`-smeared cheeks.

`Weepies`, y`see, were limited to girls` nights out. You`d run through the listings, arm yourselves with mini packs of Kleenex and pots of Ben and Jerry`s, and go out for a damn good cry. Or, as I prefer to do these days, stay in and cry in private.

Les Mis is different though. I haven`t actually seen the whole show on stage yet. I did see an amazing version of it, performed by Shrewsbury Sixth Form College a few years ago. It was stunning. I realised then that I knew most of the songs--and that many of them made me cry. None more so, than `I dreamed a dream`. My mum was incredibly moved by this number too, when she saw the original stage show in London--probably soon after it opened. She knew at that time, ( though we didn`t) ....that she didn`t have long to live.

She was madly in love with a guy she`d married only seven years before--her boss--and she`d travelled the world with him. Stage shows in London were a special treat for her. It was only months after she died, when I was sorting out her things, that I found the words to `I Dreamed a Dream`, neatly written out in one of her notebooks. You couldn`t just look lyrics up on the internet then, so I guess she`d repeatedly stopped and started a recording of the song, jotting the words down in perfect shorthand, then transcribing them.

Finding the notes, and thinking about her state of mind at the time, was heartbreaking. And so, yep, the song gets me every time I hear it. I`ll definitely pack the standard `Kleenex and ice cream` survival kit if I see it at the cinema. Oh.....and I`ll go with the waterproof mascara option. But if you spot me getting the tissues me a favour and blow your nose loudly when I do. Thankyou.

 nice blog spot

 thanks Jane. Xx How are you? You MUST see Les Mis at cinema, everyone was in tears so you wouldn't be alone. It was amazing

 I wd love to see it but not at the mo if all in tears! May wait til it comes to Wem can sit with a G&T while watching then

RT “: Les Mis, mascara and me.”>got a lump in my throat already...