Britain’s Got Talent winner Lost Voice Guy has found a new voice, with a Geordie accent.
The comedian and author, whose real name is Lee Ridley, has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak.
He currently communicates in an electronic voice through a speech app on his tablet, but went in search of a new voice which pays tribute to his roots in Consett, Co Durham.
Ridley, who turned 40 in December, spent the last month listening to almost 500 voices from across the Newcastle area, with each potential donor reading a short extract from his 2019 book, I’m Only In It For The Parking.
He eventually selected voice-over artist Dan Pye, who grew up in Whickham and currently lives in Hunwick, Co Durham.
Ridley said: “I’m very excited to finally be getting a Geordie accent, so I can sound more like my family and friends.
“I had a great response to my request for a voice donor. In fact, the number of people willing to help out blew me away. So, it was hard to choose the voice that I thought suited me best.
“But, in the end, Dan’s voice was the one that I kept coming back to and listening to over and over again.
“Thankfully, my family agreed with my choice too. I can’t wait to get started on the project with Dan and (technology company) CereProc, and I look forward to you all hearing my new Geordie accent soon.”
Pye said it was “such an honour” to lend his voice to an “inspirational” public figure such as Ridley.
He said: “I spend much of my life lending my voice to fictitious characters for a range of projects, the idea of being able to lend my voice to an actual human is just such an honour at the best of times, but when that individual is as inspirational as Lee, it’s an even greater one.
“Being able to help Lee communicate in a tone which is more personal to him is fantastic. Being a Geordie has a very distinctive, nationally recognisable tone which I am very proud of. Sharing that with Lee, I hope will give him a sense of identity that the rest of the North East are famed for.”
Ridley captured the heart of the UK to win Britain’s Got Talent in 2018 by the public vote, taking home £250,000 and a slot at the Royal Variety Performance.
He previously won the BBC New Comedy Award in 2014 and has performed at a range of festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe.
The comic also created a sitcom on BBC Radio 4 called Ability.