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RIP Michael Jayston

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  • RIP Michael Jayston

    On receipt of Ian Lavender's death, we have also lost another acting legend who was someone who I think was more famous for his familiar serious "army"-style voice rather than his name, and had voiced so many TV commercials and Public Information Films, quite often doing the serious "stand to attention and listen" ones. Michael Jayston, who was originally born just a few miles away from me in West Bridgford, Nottingham, has died aged 88. One could not say that he actually had a Nottingham accent (nor did anyone from that city sound anything like him), but his south Nottingham roots put him in great company with others stars born in the same area such as Leslie Crowther and Roy Skelton; the voice of Zippy and George on Rainbow. Born Michael James, he changed his last name to Jayston, probably due to Equity rules, or just to be more unique.

    How many 1970s and 1980s off-air ad breaks contained Jayston's unique voiceover? One of them was the classic early 1980s "the new Ford Sierra - man and machine in perfect harmony" which was imitated on the Radio 4 panel show First Impressions, and some of them did impressions of the man whose name wasn't too familiar as his voice was. He also narrated for Tunes, telling us that they help us breathe more easily; for St Ivel Gold margarine with the ten pin bowls, and the artwork in the butter before the silver foil lid was replaced; and Domestos, reminding us that the big blue bottle (and not big bluebottle, mind), killed all known germs - dead. When the sub-B&Q DIY warehouse The Depot opened in the early 1990s, guess which actor was chosen for the voiceover in their adverts? On screen he seemed to be stereotyped in later years into playing barristers and judges and had appeared in series like the obvious place, Crown Court and Coronation Street a few times. He even did local radio jingles in the late 1990s for BBC Radio Leicester and other local stations; his voice was so unique and kept getting offers for voiceover work. One could imagine Jayston being a news reporter, signing off as: "Michael Jayston, ITN, Beirut".

    Jayston was also an actor with links with James Bond, and in fact, he lent his voice to the Bond parody in a PG Tips advert, proclaiming: "the name's Bond - Brooke Bond". He was a panelist on Call My Bluff many times over the 1970s and 1980s, and one wanted his voice to last longer with the definitions that he had. I know that I saw him in a 2011 episode of Casualty, playing the husband of a relatively elderly lady, going on a nostalgic trip down Memory Lane, although his most recent Coronation Street appearances were later on in the last decade.

    It makes me think whether Mr Advert-Voiceover himself, Gary Watson is still with us ("Nescafe - coffee at its best" was almost one of his catchphrases), as he was also up there with Jayston. All those voiceovers in the ad breaks which we grew up with when we were not going to the other room when the adverts were on, were powerful to us, and not because they just happened to be the voice ambassador to advertising a familiar product.

    Michael Jayston - if you don't recognise his name, then you will definitely recognise his voice.
    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

  • #2
    Post Script (because it has only come to me an hour after making the original post): He was also one of the many actors to play Colonel Mustard in the early 1990s Cluedo show on ITV - it always seemed to be Colonel Mustard who did the murder in most weeks...



    One can almost hear his voice when one looks at the thumbnail.
    Last edited by George 1978; 2 weeks ago.
    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

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    • #3
      Sad news but seeing that st ivel gold ad i do remember the voice and the add.

      Yes i know the voice behind the name but not the name.

      Rip michael.
      FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

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