BT is to offer people sending text messages to BT landlines the choice of having them read out by a male or female voice.

The new service, which is launches on 1 May will replace the voice of former Dr Who Tom Baker, which was introduced at the end of January 2006 for a special 3-month period.

BT research shows that people need to think carefully when choosing a male or female voice to deliver their texts.

Seven out of ten people think male voices are better for telling jokes. Male voices were considered more “powerful” and better for disciplining children.

Female voices were described as more “comforting”, “truthful” and “persuasive” than male voices.

To date, more than 11 million texts have been sent to landlines delivered in Tom's dulcet tones.

BT Text allows people to send and receive texts on their home phones.

From May 1, 2006, users who insert *M# in front of any text to a landline will have their message read out by a male voice rather than the usual female voice.

Texts can be sent to any UK landline and will automatically be delivered as spoken messages unless the phone has been text-enabled, in which case they will be delivered as written texts in exactly the same way as on a mobile phone.

Users will be able to still send text messages for Tom Baker to read out until the end of the month.