BBC writer's wife wanted subtitles

BBC writer's wife wanted subtitles

Gabriel Byrne stars in BBC drama Quirke

Gabriel Byrne during filming of the BBC Crime thriller Quirke in Dublin. Dramatist Andrew Davies has revealed that subtitles had to be used when it was screened in his house because of mumbling by the actors.

First published in National News © by

The writer of the latest BBC drama to be hit by complaints about mumbling has revealed that subtitles had to be used when Quirke was screened in his house.

Veteran dramatist Andrew Davies said that although he understood what was going on because the lines were his, his wife struggled to decipher the dialogue and needed visual help.

The BBC received a number of complaints from viewers unhappy with the sound on the series starring Gabriel Byrne, just weeks after concerns about the audibility of another high-profile drama Jamaica Inn.

Speaking to, Davies said: "I could hear it because I knew what the words were and I think that's often the problem with the people in the production - when you know what the lines are, there's a tendency to think you've heard them alright, whereas if you didn't know the thing, maybe you wouldn't."

He said his wife, Diana Huntley, had difficulty making out the sound. "She said, 'Do you mind if we have the subtitles on?'" Davies explained.

"It's a funny thing, mumbling. It's a bit to do with actors, a bit do with with modern, flat-screen televisions and both my wife and I are of an age where our hearing is beginning to go."

Dublin-set crime drama Quirke stars Byrne as an Irish sleuth and is based on books by John Banville, writing under the pseudonym Benjamin Black.

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