Scotland

Film crimes against the Scottish accent

What happens when Tinseltown paints its tonsils tartan? A BBC Scotland documentary - Dream Me Up Scotty - examines the good, the bad and the totally bowfing of mock-jock acting. Here is a small selection of crimes against the Scottish accent.

1. Mel Gibson in Braveheart

Mel Gibson in Braveheart
Image caption Mel Gibson in Braveheart

Australian-American Mel Gibson took on the lead role as the legendary 13th Century Scottish "Freedom" fighter William Wallace, and few would say he did not give the role 100%.

Despite the movie unleashing a patriotic fervour on its release and containing many quotable lines, Gibson's Scottish brogue has often been lampooned and voted among the worst screen accents of all time.

Prolific Scots actor James Cosmo, who appeared in the 1995 blockbuster alongside Gibson, jumps to his defence.

He says: "We were all lined up and it was a big speech for Mel and everyone was thinking 'What's it going to be like?'

"I have got to say I think he did a great job of it.

"It was a tough call for this guy but he had the cahonas to get up there and do it."

2 James Doohan in Star Trek

James Doohan in Star Trek
Image caption James Doohan in Star Trek

Canadian Doohan played Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise, in the original television and film series Star Trek.

His strange Scottish/Canadian/Irish accent is often repeated in catchphrases such as "I cannae change the laws of physics" and "She cannae tak it nae more Captain".

Scottish comic actor Sanjeev Kohli admits the accent is odd but says we should celebrate the character.

He says: "We are talking about a cross-section of the human race being sent into space. There was a Scot there, so why are we complaining?

"I didn't see the Lithuanians represented."

Comedy writer Phil Differ says: "It wasnae a good accent.

"Scotty is supposed to be from Linlithgow. Then years later the real Linlithgow put up a plaque for a guy from the future that didnae really exist!"

3. Mike Myers in Shrek

Shrek was voiced by Mike Myers
Image caption Shrek was voiced by Mike Myers

Canadian actor Mike Myers loves to do a Scottish accent. In his black comedy So I Married An Axe Murder, he plays the main character Charlie McKenzie as well as his Scottish father Stuart, with lines such as "Gie ya mother a kiss or I'll kick your teeth in".

But perhaps his greatest crime against Scotland was the fat henchman character, who shall remain nameless, from the Austin Powers series.

Myers, whose parents were from Liverpool, says he heard lots of Scottish accents when he was growing up in Canada. So when he got the chance to play the world's most famous animated green ogre, which accent did he choose?

Scottish comedian Susan Calman says: "The ogre and all of the short ginger people in films, the ugly ones really, are Scottish. You rarely get a handsome prince from Paisley."

Although Brave did have a princess who was beautifully voiced by Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald.

4 Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire

Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire
Image caption Robin Williams as Mrs Doubtfire

Robin Williams, a native of California, plays a divorced father who adopts the alter ego Mrs Doubtfire and some kind of British accent to try to get to see his children more often.

I say British because Mrs Doubtfire claims to be English in the film but speaks with a cod Scottish accent. Maybe this is the worst English accent ever.

5 Christopher Lambert in Highlander

Christopher Lambert in Highlander
Image caption Christopher Lambert in Highlander

French actor Christopher Lambert plays immortal hero Connor MacLeod in this 1986 fantasy epic.

The whole film is a crime against accents. Lambert's English is not good to begin with so his attempt at the Scottish tongue is something barely recognisable.

And then there is legendary Scottish actor Sean Connery playing an Egyptian/Spaniard with an equally wayward charm - proving Scots can be accent sinners, as well as being regularly sinned against.

Dream me up Scotty is on BBC One Scotland at 21:00 on Monday 23 December

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