Voices of the London Underground: Emma Clarke

Mind the Gap!
Emma Clarke is an London Underground.
Some of you might know her, whilst others may not, although are familiar with the voice. If you're a morning commuter on today's Bakerloo, Central, Waterloo & City and/ or District Lines, then she speaks those immortal words "Mind the Gap".

She used to do almost all London Underground lines, and unlike announcers that sound the same on every single line they did (Example given; Sarah Parnell, except the Victoria Line), Clarke had a different tone for each line she did. 

One may be able to hear the difference of her voice on the Bakerloo Line, compared to the District Line (Where she sounded the best). The reason for this is because TfL, at the time of recording the Bakerloo and Victoria Line decided to do "the announcements in one go". What I mean by this is the on most lines right now, (as an example) "The next station is" and "King's Cross St Pancras" is recorded separately. On the Bakerloo and former announcements on the Victoria (1967 stock), she does altogether "The next station is Oxford Circus. Change here for the Central & Victoria Lines." These recordings on a normal line would be "The next station is" "Oxford Circus". "Change here" "For the Central & Victoria Lines". This "All in one go" is easy to spot on the Bakerloo Line, compare the announcements when she says "Change Here" at Oxford Circus, Baker Street and Paddington. All sound different, don't they? Hopefully you get the drift. 

On the Central Line and Waterloo & City, her voice sounds the same, but then these two underground lines are like siblings, they have the same announcer, same rolling stock (1992 stock) and same signalling. A unique thing is now, two different versions of "Please Mind The Gap Between The Train and The Platform" are actually used on the Central Line. At Notting Hill Gate, the original Central line "Mind the Gap" is used, but the recording from the District Line is used at stations such as Stratford and Hanger Lane. 

Emma Clarke made several announcements, some which got slightly indecent. She is now well known for her London Underground Spoof Announcements. This didn't fly by Transport for London and they wanted to remove her voice off the trains when possible. Some of this has already been done, such as the brand new S Stock on the District Line, which has Sarah Parnell's voice instead or the 2009 stock on the Victoria Line, which also has Parnell's voice whereas the 1967 stock had Emma Clarke's recordings.

Still, many enthusiasts enjoyed the spoof announcements and said that TfL had made a wrong decision of wasting money on a new voice (Parnell) who, really, doesn't sound as good. She was the favourite voice of London Underground, which is shown on the poll. She beated Julie Berry (Who was 2nd), Celia Drummond, Sarah Parnell and Anita. 

Personal Statement:
In my personal view, I think Emma Clarke is actually the best voice in the tunnels of the underground. Different tones, different styles on different lines, TfL have made a mistake removing her voice. If you really want to get rid of her voice, don't TfL officials. I think, at least leave her voice on the District Line. She was a major, and the biggest part of London Underground. She is history on the Underground. A proud part, a proud memory. 

Having e-mailed TfL about restoring Emma's voice, they said no because they didn't like her. I was a bit shocked to hear that but they stated no more. Does this go to show they treat the voice-over artists like trash?

We'll miss you Emma! Great work has been done by you! Stay safe!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post as always Jacob ;) I Liked Emma as She, to me, Had the voice of a tube line. Although I like Sarah as well Emma will be missed by everyone. But She will always be Remembered for doing the First Automated Announcements on the Underground.