14 May 2014

Nine accents dodgier than David Tennant’s US drawl

David Tennant’s “rogue” American accent in new television series Gracepoint is slated by critics – but does it make it into the pantheon of all-time great, terrible accents?

David Tennant, Mel Gibson, Dick van Dyke and Russell Crowe (pictures: Getty)

Mr Tennant’s accent has been criticised by some US reviewers – saying it sounds like Batman (“When Americans get serious, do they just get gravel-voiced?” writes Alicia Lutes for Bustle.com) whilst another blogger branded the performance “the worst I’ve ever heard by a British actor”.

You can judge the Doctor Who star’s US accent for yourself, below.

But how does Mr Tennant’s accent compare with “dodgy” accents from film and television? Channel 4 News asked our social media followers for their opinions on the worst accent performances.

The Untouchables – Sean Connery

In a 2003 poll by Empire magazine, Sean Connery’s Irish twang in Brian DePalma’s acclaimed crime drama was voted the worst film accent of all time.

The Weather Man – Michael Caine

He is one of Britain’s greatest actors, and his accent has been mimicked by millions – but when it comes to trying an American one of his own, for the 2005 film The Weather Man, things are looking gloomy with a chance of ridicule.

Michael Caine is, however, much better at doing a Michael Caine accent – as you can see in this clip from an interview with Michael Parkinson.

Mary Poppins – Dick van Dyke

It’s not just British actors that struggle with accents. Second in the aforementioned Empire poll was another accent suggested by Channel 4 News social media users – the notorious cockney accent used by American actor Dick van Dyke in Disney’s Mary Poppins.

Ocean’s Eleven – Don Cheadle

“Leave it aaaat” Don Cheadle exclaims. No, he is not appearing in an episode of Eastenders, but the star-packed 2001 movie Ocean’s Eleven. In 2008, Mr Cheadle apologised for the accent attempt, joking: “Forgive me! I won’t do it again!”

Robin Hood – Russell Crowe

Someone who didn’t take criticism of his accent in such a light-hearted manner was Australian actor Russell Crowe, for his English accent in Robin Hood.

Mr Crowe walked out of a Radio 4 interview after interviewer Mark Lawson suggested the accent had “hints” of Irish in it.

Braveheart – Mel Gibson

As an Australian actor criticised for a UK accent, Mr Crowe is not alone. Mel Gibson’s Scottish accent has been described as “trans-Gaelic”. It didn’t stop the film picking up a host of Oscars, however – with Gibson himself picking up the best director gong. For some reason he was not nominated for best actor.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Keanu Reeves

Another Hollywood A-lister on the Channel 4 News list is Keanu Reeves. Whilst we believe Mr Reeves has sometimes been on the wrong end of unfair criticism for his acting abilities (Point Break is clearly a masterpiece), we have to agree that his English accent for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaption of the classic vampire tale is “bloody” suspect.

Blow Dry – Josh Hartnett

Despite starring so major names including Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy and Josh Hartnett, the 2001 British hairdressing comedy Blow Dry was blasted by the critics. Josh Hartnett’s Yorkshire accent probably didn’t help.

Frasier – Anthony Lapaglia

And of course it is not just films where unusual accents surface. Joining David Tennant in the club of dodgy US television accents is Anthony Lapaglia for his take on “cockney” as Daphne Moon’s brother in Frasier.