back to article Stephen Fry's truly terrible mistake

It's little wonder that Stephen Fry holds such a place in the nation's affections. He's earned it through a string of unforgettable performances. There's his voiceover for Direct Line's pet insurance, his voiceover for the 2008 Argos catalogue, not to mention voiceovers for Anchor Butter, Tesco, Dairylea, Kenco, Coca Cola, …

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oh, stephen you can't help yourself

yep those direct line/kenco/argos voiceovers are the sign of a man wholikes to be seen as highbrow but will take any skanky pound note.....

i went off fry when he tried to defend the mp expenses row with some line about 'oh, we've all stolen from the stationery cupboard'.....silly, out of touch twat...hope he's reading these comments...

oh, and DAB - love it especially 6music which will be saved, i have no problems with DAB - internet radio over wireless though is a fooking waste of time....

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Pirate

It's a small big world

I can forgive Stephen this DAB foolishness because of his fine work making us love SackBoy in Little Big Planet ("For every rude-shaped creation you make a little Sackboy dies.").

He does seem to have a unquenchable penchant for fiddling with male-oriented accessories. We should expect nothing less that a few comments on what's enveloping our aerials.

Also, is he gay?

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@holding out

I'm not going to trade in my fm's

1) Because the DAB signal here is crap

2) They are all styled by some retro fanatic and all look shit -and (compared to my electrostatic speakers) don't actually sound very good at all despite the hype - when they're not drowning due to lack of signal

3) even with trade in the prices of sets are EXTORTIONATE.

4) internet radio will do me - and I can listen to most of the content when I want.

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Heart

Excellent

A very nice summary of Fry's career to date. Made me laugh out loud anyway!

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FAIL

Debacle

The launch of the DAB system in the UK has got to go down as the most incompetent technical decision ever made in the history of broadcasting.

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What's with the Fry Hating?

As far as I can see, your two topics are totally unrelated. Your argument appears to go like this:

1. I hate Stephen Fry

2. I hate the DAB scheme

3. Fry is doing a voice over for the DAM scheme

4. Therefore he must be to blame and even if he isn't I'll still use it as an opportunity to slag both of them off

What crap. The DAB scheme wasn't Fry's idea and if he believes in it, why shouldn't he use his influence to promote it? If people are against it, they should speak out about it themselves instead of trying to silence or denounce people with different opinions.

Let's not get personal, eh?

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FAIL

Huh?

So let me understand this - you're bashing him for doing lots of voice-over work on adverts?

Isn't he an actor? Last time I checked they need to make a living like the rest of us.

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Fry

Increasingly he reminds me of Peter Cook, spiraling into a world of narcissistic irrelevance, while Dudley went onto to Hollywood and more stellar things....only House scores quite a bit better than 10 - and Cook would never have done Kingdom.

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Coat

Yet another poor piece of journalism....

All we ever get from Mr Orlowski (on the subject of DAB) is complete and total "it's pants" opinion.....it's almost like the same old record being played over and over again....

IMHO, for most people DAB works very well - it's not strictly "hi-fi" on many stations (excepting Radio 3) but as most people aren't actually listening to it "intently", and simply have it on in the background, whilst doing something else, it's more than good enough....

And in time, if the techie bods want to improve the DAB radio broadcast standard, then fine.....after all, it's happened before on TV's - going from 405 to 625 and now to HD.....the only difference is that that took 40 years...

So, Mr O...give DAB a chance....and stop boring us with your completely over the top ridicule of it.....it's SO repetitive...and so predictable.....and it's hardly worth reading.....

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FAIL

terrible joke incoming...

"All we ever get from Mr Orlowski (on the subject of DAB) is complete and total "it's pants" opinion.....it's almost like the same old record being played over and over again...."

A bit like the music selection on FM...

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Anonymous Coward

"give DAB a chance"

You *are* having a laff!?

There are people who were born in the same year as DAB who now have children of their own!

What the hell kind of chance do you want to give it? No one else is seriously rolling out DAB. Anyone who has any serious plans is going for DAB+ or another system.

No matter what hype the radio industry, government or anti-DAB anoraks want to spout, the definitive yard stick for me is the motor industry. Ford and all the other major car manufactures simply have no time for it because they know it's a dead parrot. Every now and then, they're strongarmed into a campaign promoting one specific new model that has DAB as standard and within weeks you never see it again because they get too many complaints from customers (maybe they're stupid customers, who cares - they don't like it in their car and want analogue instead) and the costs are too high.

You'll know what the future of radio will be the moment you see car manufacturers putting it into all their cars. Until then, ignore awareness campaigns, special offers, websites, articles, promises and even actual products. You can now buy radios that are FM, DAB and Wi-Fi all in one. They do not sell because people don't want it, they just want FM, and they're certainly not going to spend £150 on a kitchen radio when an FM-only equivalent sounds better for £20!

In fact, that last statement may hold the key to why they chose Fry for the current campaign. Buying an iPhone or iPad makes no sense, yet loads of people do. Perhaps what the DAB people are trying to do is recreate the same illogical desire for DAB radios, and as Fry is the UK voice of the iPhone, who better?

It won't work though.

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Tech savvy?

Since when has Stephen Fry ever be considered 'tech savvy'? Using an Iphone does not make one tech savvy.

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Anonymous Coward

the prols have a different idea of what tech savvy is

based entirely around brand names. i.e. the bigger the brand names you drop, the more tech savvy you evidently are.

If Fry started talking about the awesome new C++ code he just wrote to implement SQL support in his homegrown database engine his fans would just assume he's a complete idiot and they'd start tweeting crap at him such as "just use Windows 7, it has better wallpapers lol" or "OMG hav u heard the headphones that come with the new ipod. dare AMAZING" or "you should write it in Visual Basic, that's what I do and I have a GCSE in compotors so I no what I'm talking about" or some other such useless bullshit.

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FAIL

DAB's real problem

the real problem with DAB is that the pips are late. Try having an analogue radio in one room and a digital radio (DAB/Freeview) in the next.

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What about Freeview radio?

I have not tried one, but there are a bunch of Freeview/USB devices for TV on your PC around that have quite small uni-directional antennas.

If that's good enough to get a picture, surely it must be possible to make a dedicated radio?

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Internet radio fail

Sorry, am I the only person in the country who still uses a (DAB) radio to wake me up in the morning? What the hell makes you think I want to be arsing around with a PC, router and a potentially dodgy broadband connection to do that?

I can just see it now, turning up late for work and having to explain to my boss "well, my broadband was down, so my internet radio failed to wake me up...". Yeah, right.

I love Spotify et al, but they have their place, and DAB radios have their's as well.

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Mobile Phone

I, and I suspect millions of others, use a mobile phone as an alarm. I wish you luck with you employer if there is a power outage.

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I quite liked the article

I thought that was one of the most beautifully constructed piece of irony I've seen all year, Andrew. Frankly I don't care which sacred cows you trampled, given how well you did it.

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DP

FM complemented by Internet

FM radio is not going away. Not in the foreseeable future. It works very well for almost everyone, almost everywhere—about 99%.

The BBC is increasing their DAB coverage from about 86% to 90% in 2011—with about double the transmitters and double the physical network and transmission costs—under the current license fee agreement. Commercial radio has not committed financially beyond their current 86%. They are struggling to pay for that (leaving transmission slots to specialist stations for short terms).

To get to 95% DAB coverage is about another doubling in transmitters and costs. To get to about the same 99% DAB coverage as FM is another doubling in transmitters and costs. Neither the BBC nor commercial radio can pay for expansion to 95% or 99% DAB without Government authorization, financial support—which seems increasingly unlikely. In the meantime, participants’ licenses get extended, devices get sold, and leadership remains respected and funded. Facts get short shrift, dissed. http://grantgoddardradioblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/cost-of-upgrading-dab-radio-why-it-will.html

Internet radio complements terrestrial radio—all broadcast systems, analog and digital: FM, AM, MW, DAB, DAB+, DMB, HD, etc. Internet radio adds location-shifting and time-shifting—wherever you are, wherever they are, and whenever.

Broadband, mobile broadband, Wi-Fi and 4G are driving Internet access and use wider and deeper in our lives. Including Internet radio. Capacity for Internet radio, particularly as a complement to FM, is not a problem—only declared one by the DAB protagonists. (Video, with much greater promotion, is more than 10X more difficult.)

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what did you expect?

I expect a comedian / actor to have about as much authority in the field of technology as a jaded, second rate, technology blogger does in climate change or copyright law personally.

As for DAB radio, we've had one for 4 maybe 5 years alongside some traditional FM radios. Depending where we have lived either one, the other and occasionally both have worked.

However I can't agree more about the power requirements of DAB, we'll never bother trying to run our DAB on batteries after the first time.

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Coffee/keyboard

Another smegging keyboard laid to rest...

"Now it's a car crash with Stephen Fry telling us there's room for one more car at the back".

Ta, muchly, El Reg ;-)

But seriously, what the hell is wrong with FM? Reasonably good quality - not CD, but pretty close. At least we could build our own radios, if we had the desire, plus fire up that old Quad receiver in the garage.

Like the internet does for Amateur Radio, it kinda sucks the fun, skill and learning experience out of it.

Thank fuc*k I'll be retired - or dead - soon. "Yoof of Today" will end up wielding knives, not soldering irons when they want to learn how to make a it o' cash.

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He's a smooth talking bar steward don't you know.

You forgot about his classic Heineken adverts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVqghPdRqpc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgwFVjbNnik

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FAIL

Regarding Graham Linehan ...

... I assume what the author meant was that he has had most of not all of his success in comedy in Britain, not that he is British.

So Fry is a bit of a voice-over whore. Who knew.

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A title

I think some of those ads that Fry did voiceovers for were shown on Sky TV channels so...Can't be all bad, eh?

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Internet radio recommendations?

I see a lot of posts regarding internet radio by plugging a gadget into an ADSL router. I am looking for something like this, with only two-and-a-half criteria; namely: 1. Inexpensive. 2. Can receive most, if not all, of the stuff listed on Shoutcast. 2-and-a-half: WiFi support would be *very* nice, but not essential.

Recommendations? Maybe with all this hoo-ha over DAB, it is time to point out other options...

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Stop

Sorry if I'm confused

Doesn't all the campaign information, including Fry's voiceover, all talk about "digital radio".

Surely that would include "more modern digital radio broadcast technology, such as DVB-H or DAB+"? One might even go so far as to say it includes Internet radio devices, which would surely be another form of digital radio?

"Digital radio" may have become synonymous with DAB, but I don't see the rant here being spurred by anything other than resentment for a particular campaign being less informative than it perhaps should be. This would certainly be my interpretation of the author's opinion.

(The grammar pedant in me would also like to point out the author's gross abuse of the comma in the article. It becomes quite difficult to read.)

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Think you're right

When the Beeb talks about people listening on Digital they mean DAB, T'internet etc. So yeah, for them at least you're correct.

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Paris Hilton

The emperors new clothes

I thought I was the only one puzzled by Stephen Fry's recent accession to the 'national treasure' throne.

I have nothing against him, and like QI, but he's just as capable of spouting tripe as the next man, even when the next man is the stranger sat next to you in a pub at 11pm on a Friday night.

It's bizarre how the public have elevated him to his present status. Perhaps people still feel the gap left by Princess Diana and the Beckhams, and are now adopting Stephen instead?

His defence of the first iPhone was irrational, and I seem to recall that after some criticism he wrote a piece for the Guardian basically admitting there was no logical reason for it to be good but he was just infatuated by its loveliness. He sounded like one of those new mothers who thinks they're the first woman to have a baby. Some of the things he's endorsed since then have been questionable too. His technology opinions are no more definitive or wise than Jason Bradbury's. Even Barry Fox spoke more sense, albeit about televisions, which were cutting edge at the time.

People hang on every word Fry Twitters like one of those friends of Queen Elizabeth I whose jokes everyone would laugh at or poems everyone would applaud even though they were tripe. It was just that being a close personal friend of the monarch made them part of the in-crown and people followed blindly, hoping that some of their coolness would rub off.

If you're one of his followers, understand that you are Lord Percy whilst he is Lord Flash. Not quite sure who Queenie is though, which makes the whole affair even more bizarre.

I'm not bashing Stephen Fry, just the cult that has gathered around him like a shoal of fish. I don't get it, any more than victims who contracted the viral "Wasaaaaaap" from the Budweiser adverts. or people who buy OK/hello magazine every week in case there's some Paris gossip.

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You Said It fLaMePrOoF

I couldn't agree more. Focus on the technology and its short comings - that's potentially interesting. Don't attack a successful performer for doing his job. Your article is simply mean.

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Faulty premise

Arguing that DAB is inferior to internet radio is not a valid premise for suggesting it should not replace FM.

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Happy

@ janimal

God, I wish I had said that!

You've made my evening, thanks.

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Pandora

"Your WinAmp receiver is as good in Mozambique as it is in Manhattan"

So why can't I listen to Pandora?

And please explain how I can get internet radio without an ISP-provided (i.e. subscription) connection. And don't say PAYG mobile, there are several dozen places I visit regularly where even the GPRS signal drops below one bar every couple of minutes.

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The Original Word

To hear Stephen Fry's advert for DAB...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/extra/video/p004dk37

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Am I the only one...

,,,who gets the "DAB Profundis" reference?

I suppose it could have been worse. It could have been "The Picture of DABian Gray",

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Noddy holder

Noddy Holders turn now surely?

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Anonymous Coward

Noddy Holder

I really wouldn't be surprised if Noddy Holder can't hear any difference between Capital FM on an FM radio and, say, 'Amazing Radio' on DAB.

In fact, what would surprise me is Noddy Holder hearing anything above 4Khz and lower than 90dB.

Yes, it's ten-past-two.

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Think I'll pass

In theory DAB should be great, but what is the point if it's a downgrade. If they made it CD quality (lossless 44.1khz 16bit stereo) then I could see the appeal as it would be more in-line with acceptable sounding audio. Anything more would be a bonus.

As it is no...

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FAIL

Earth to Andrew

"It's simple. It's Stephen Fry's indiscriminate love of a voiceover cheque. And it's the ruin of his reputation."

No, really, it isn't. Andrew, I know it's hard to believe, but the rest of the world does not place such a huge value on your personal hobby horses as you do. Out of all the people in the UK, probably less than 1% would consider it a terrible blow to Stephen Fry's reputation that he does voiceovers for a digital radio switchover campaign (I mean, sheesh). If he were actively endorsing eating babies, maybe you'd have a point.

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