Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: Gordon Griffin

Speaking Volumes

Pages: 186 Ratings: 5.0
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How did a fishmonger’s son from Tyneside, growing up in the 1950s with a Geordie accent, become the person who recorded over 900 audiobooks and received an MBE from the Queen in the Birthday Honours of 2017?
This ‘charming’, ‘entertaining’ and ‘heart-warming’ memoir answers that question.


AudioFile magazine
“…not simply a reader but an artist of the spoken word…”
“…Gordon Griffin, an entire acting company in one person…”

“Witty and moving memoir of how a working-class boy becomes THE voice of the spoken word.
and vivid account plus excellent advice for those of us who work with words.” Miriam Margolyes

Gordon Griffin has been an actor for over 50 years. In the theatre, he has appeared in everything from Shakespeare to the first national UK tour of Godspell. He has also worked extensively on TV and in films, but he is best known as a multi award-winning audiobook narrator with over 900 recordings to his credit, ranging from Homer to Hilary Mantel, from Gogol to Chris Ryan. He received an MBE from the Queen in the Birthday Honours of 2017.

Customer Reviews
1 reviews
1 reviews
  • David Learner

    ‘Do you want a cup of tea?’
    It’s an innocuous question. Except when you’re a young, determined actor who’s arrived early and headlong for your first telly audition and you’ve travelled a long way without refreshment.
    ‘I’d love one, thanks,’ was the actor’s equally open response.
    It wasn’t the right one and it got harumphs from the other side of the table. The line was the first line of the script and the actor was meant to say the next line. It was downhill from then on. He didn’t get the part.
    Gordon Griffin, a wonderful, implacable, gentle actor has been telling stories for the better part of fifty years. To those outside the business, his face is one of those that gets the ‘where do I know you from’ response. Inside the job, he’s the Underground sound of ‘Mind the Gap’, a Byker Grove regular, part of the first national tour of Godspell and the doyen of nigh on a thousand audiobooks.
    He’s got an MBE and he’s rightly proud of it. The stock photo of his day at the palace in 2017 shows him glowing; he’s at his best and Her Maj is looking good too. Over a cup of tea, had it happened, they’d have chatted about the former’s involvement with Jessie Matthews and The Dales. They might even have talked over the later success of Ant and Dec and Griffin’s early response to their attempts to be famous: ‘Don’t be upset if you’re disappointed!’
    The boy was born in Gilsland, his mother ejected from Newcastle in case of bombs, and his boyhood in the northeast comes over as idyllic. His dad ran a fish shop but Gordon always had his eye on the stage and when early amateur led to wandering professional it was via training at Rose Bruford and guidance from the indomitable Bru herself.
    Occasionally come along those books which take a snapshot of the acting times - Next Season by Michael Blakemore or The Garrick Year by Margaret Drabble - novelised responses to working in British theatre. They’re a joy to read by anyone in, out or merely passing through the profession. While Griffin’s own answer (like Kenneth Williams’) is a memoir it too has that resonance which allows the reader to peep behind the curtain and suck up the follow spot and the greasepaint. As such it’s wonderfully readable and a perfect introduction to anyone thinking of taking up the job.
    From the backstage compactness of the Players Theatre to coming home to the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, from the English speaking theatre in Hamburg to the dangers of falling off a horse while playing the Knight of the Torch the author’s love of his job and his amazement at his ability to profess to have made it in the dodgiest of careers each page of Griffin’s story is the product of a lover and it’s narrated with joy and utter involvement.
    Finally, it’s those talking books that have made Griffin the envy of his fellow voice artists. They’ve encompassed every genre thousand times over and his natural aptitude has imbued each and every line with a firm intention and complete resolution. He takes his job seriously and fully expects others to as well. For that, he deserves admiration and respect.
    But a cup of tea would come in handy as well. Thanks.

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