BT has signed up actor Tom Baker to become the voice of its BT Text service.
The service lets people send and receive text messages on their home phone and have them read out by the former “Doctor”.
BT has said that Tom was chosen as the voice of BT Text for his instantly recognisable voice. In a recent poll of celebrity voices, Tom was voted the fourth most recognisable voice in the UK, behind only the Queen, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher.
Tom Baker said: “It's a big responsibility to be Britain's voice of text. What appeals to me most is the thought that I will be bringing good news to people whether it is a cheeky message, a Birthday greeting or just a quick hello. Whatever it is, hopefully my voice will bring a smile to people's faces”.
It took about 5 months to produce the voice from start to finish, with Tom spending a total of 11 days recording every single sound in the English language. It was not a simple case of reading out the dictionary from A-Z. Instead, Tom had to record 11,593 phrases, which covered every single sound in the English language in each of their different contexts.
These were then broken down into combinations of sounds that could be separated and reassembled by computer to make new words following the rules of English pronunciation - similar to the way children are taught to read. This means there is no limit to the words the voice can say, even rude ones.
It has also been programmed to recognise abbreviations and even text speak such as gr8, cu l8r and “smilies” like :-).
According to a statement from BT, you could even get Tom to blow kisses to your loved one on Valentine's Day. Text “xx” and Tom Baker's voice will say “kiss, kiss” or four or more x's and he will say “lots of kisses”.