London Underground In Sense-Of-Humour Bypass

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 128 months ago
London Underground In Sense-Of-Humour Bypass

Londonist imagines that saying "mind the gap, "stand clear of the closing doors" and endless variations on "The next station is...." for a living can get a little wearisome. Professional voice-over artist Emma Clarke does just that. Hence, she decided to spice up her days by making a few spoof announcements and posting them onto her website, including one that went: "We would like to remind our American tourist friends that you are almost certainly talking too loudly". Arf.

Good, clean, harmless fun, you might think. Yet those grim-faced Gradgrinds at London Underground weren't of the same opinion, and Ms. Clarke has been fired. While LU graciously admitted that the spoofs were funny, they allege that the artist described the Underground as "dreadful". The cheek of it! Like some chortling Chekist trying to impress his Politburo boss, a Tube spokesperson said: "London Underground is sorry to have to announce that further contracts for Ms Clarke are experiencing severe delays".

Pause for one moment while that tumbleweed rolls off into the distance. Now, really, is this the image we want to be showing the world? That London is a place of stiff-upper-lippedness and no-fun faultfinders who can't take a joke? Are the poor minnows in charge of the Tube so afraid of criticism that they'll smite anybody who sneers at their beloved network? More importantly, with Ms. Clarke seemingly out of the picture, they need to find a replacement voice artist. Could be a great idea for a reality show, that.

A selection of the spoofs can be heard on the BBC website

Image from neilsphotoalbum's Flickrstream

Last Updated 26 November 2007


Shame on London Underground.

I would rather they spent more time and effort on sorting out their fucking atrocious, dehumanising excuse for a transport system, and less on waging petty vendettas against people with a sense of humour.

Now that I've criticised them in public, does this mean that they're going to petulantly disable my Oyster card? I do hope not.



yes, they had a sense of humour bypass, but if I publically slated my company even in a jokey way, of course I'd get fired. (And believe me, I'm very tempted to do this sometimes!)

Funny as it was, I do think the woman was a bit of an idiot. In honesty, I actually think that she knew she would get fired. It's the only reason I can think of why anyone would be so openly stupid.


Describing the service as "dreadful" is hardly a public slating, is it? If she'd singled out the head of LU and called him mean names, then perhaps she should've been fired, but simply agreeing with the opinion of 99% of the Tube-using public hardly seems a fair case for dismissal.

Anyway, Emma claims that she has in fact been misquoted:

She told BBC News: "What I actually said was that travelling in a Tube train would be dreadful for me, listening to my own voice and seeing the haunted faces of commuters being subjected to me telling them to 'mind the gap'.


she abused her position in a way which makes the company look bad. She did this in writing on her website as well as verbally (or maybe not if she was in fact misquoted)...

The city and tourists having faith in the Underground is vital to the company. If one of their employers does anything to knowingly damage this then I'm not surprised she was fired.

God this makes me sound dull doesn't it? I did find the whole thing very funny... but she can hardly kick up a fuss. I'd be surprised if she even did voiceover work again.


She may not get professional voiceover work again, but I'll bet there's a spot waiting for her on the Friday Night Project or the Jonathan Ross show.


ooh that's true. So really, everyone wins!