Jonathan Clays - The Versatile Voiceover Artist

We catch up with Mandy member Jonathan Clays on his experiences as a voiceover artist.


How did you get started in voiceover work?

I worked in radio. I'd been a presenter, a newsreader on Virgin Radio and - for half a million miles and two engine failures (about five years) - a flying-eye traffic reporter in an aeroplane.

When did you get into recording for live productions?

That was in 2007. I got a call from my agent to say I'd been booked to do the voiceover for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. I wasn't even aware that I'd been put forward for it but was really thrilled to be on such a huge show.

I see that you've worked on programmes such as Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and I'm a Celebrity.... How did these roles compare with your work as a continuity announcer?

They're very different reads. The voice used for TV shows is very much an over the top, larger than life excitable style of read that has to cut through a studio audience, whereas TV continuity is generally a far more natural, believable sounding delivery. Also, as a continuity announcer I write my own scripts. I love doing both.

What would you say are the key qualities necessary for prime-time broadcasting?

You're working with very busy producers with narrow time windows available when recording. They need and expect you to to be able to get it right pretty quickly.

Your voice style varies greatly. How do you prepare for such different roles as, for instance, an excitable ITV personality and a responsible and caring in-flight safety announcer?

The excitable ITV work certainly requires a lot of energy. It can often take a few warm up reads to lift your voice to the level of energy required, whereas with the in-flight voice you'd be pulling your voice in the other direction trying to make it sound as calm and relaxed as possible.

Do you think it's necessary for a voice artist to be versatile?

Definitely. I think it's rare to find a voiceover artist who can rely on just one style of read so if you can tick as many boxes as possible and be able to offer something to as many people as possible you'll get a wider range of bookings. I've played anything from a worm who sounds like John Motson to an evil monkey and recently a downtrodden pigeon. They're all fun but as you can see from my previous answers, thankfully I mostly get to play humans!

What would be your dream role?

To be the regular voice of a long-running well-known TV show wouldn't be bad would it? Homer Simpson, though I believe the position may be filled!

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