/ Motoring, Technology

Clarkson, Connolly or Homer: who should voice your sat nav?

Jeremy Clarkson driving

Another celebrity has given his voice to TomTom for drivers to download. Now, you can have Jeremy Clarkson telling you to turn right in 300 metres, take the second left at the roundabout, but presumably not ‘go faster’!

For many, the clarity of spoken instructions is the most crucial factor in the performance of a sat nav.

I’ve never tried it, but my colleague at the lab says that with some of the best sat navs, you can navigate successfully without looking at the on-screen map and arrows (although looking at the screen makes it easier).

If you get bored of the same old voice telling you what to do, though, you can switch it for a different one. Some are pre-installed on your device and you can download others, much like you might download a new ringtone to your mobile phone.

Unsurprisingly, a market has sprung up for these voices. There are a host of “unofficial” celebrity voices to download, some of them sound like pretty bad impressions. You can also buy official celebrity voices alongside fictional ones; Billy Connolly, Homer Simpson, Darth Vader to name a few. And in a few weeks, they’ll be joined on the TomTom roster by Jeremy Clarkson.

You can listen to voice samples on the sat nav makers’ websites. I did, and one or two raised a smile. While they may liven up a dull journey, I’m not sure I’ll be shelling out for one however.

How about you? Are there any voices you have downloaded and still use? Which person would you like giving you voice instructions?

Which celebrity Lamb would you like to voice your sat nav?

A lamb (bahhh) (51%, 44 Votes)

Larry Lamb (26%, 23 Votes)

Dave Lamb (10%, 9 Votes)

Darren Lamb (7%, 6 Votes)

George Lamb (6%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 87

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Brian Blessed would get my vote. If I had a car and needed a sat nav, of course 😉

Yes, same here – if I drove and needed a sat nav I’d have Brian Blessed on there. There was actually a campaign to get him to do it, which succeeded:

I’d quite like Joanna Lumley. Or George Lamb.

Mr T got a little tired after a while, as I am sure Clarkson would. Darth Vader was just some bloke with with vocal effects added, it’s not really James Earl Jones

As part of my testing at TomTom, I spent about half an hour one day recording my own directions (on one of the top models). For things like “Do a U-Turn” can quite easily be “T***, you missed the f****** turn, turn round and try again!” 🙂

I works really well considering I am more likely to pay attention to directions from myself than anyone else!

Or the guy from Come Dine With Me 😉

Dave Lamb…

Aviation Spirit says:
9 September 2011

Whenever I rented cars with Sat Navs in the USA I would take fiendish delight in handing them back with a ‘very posh English voice’ selected in an effort to show how effective a communications tool proper English is !

Having a fancy ‘celebrity’ voice in a car – at 70mph with tyre and wind noise – is as useful as a chocolate teapot if you cannot understand every single syllable the momet it is uttered. Of course you can turn the sound off anyway and rely on the visual alerts, but in that case what would be the point of having a ‘celebrity voice’ anyway ?

Bobkate says:
9 September 2011

Darren Lamb!!!!

Yes, Stephen Merchant would be great – but I’d prefer him being Wheatley from the video game Portal 2 than Darren Lamb!

Bobkate says:
9 September 2011

Darren Lamb would most likely send me in all the wrong directions but it would be funny.

Larry Lamb from Eastenders would do a good East London accent… So much choice!

I am starting to think I might invest in one of these celebrity tom toms!

I would love Mario to voice my sat nav. I’d start every journey with “Lets’a Go! Woo hoo!” I might even be tempted to get stuck in traffic on purpose just to hear more of it.

Steve Houghton says:
9 September 2011

How about the beautiful english tones of Joan Collins?

Can’t believe Murray Walker isn’t already an option – imagine the excitement as you pull away from the lights.

*Recycled from my google + comment*

HAL 9000 from 2001 gets my vote

“I’m sorry Dave – You are going the wrong way”

I couldn’t do with Murray Walker screaming at me.

Now how about Fenella Fielding?


Sean Connery would be nice.

How uninteresting, but then I hate hero woship. I’ll stick to the default, something like Jane TomTom.

I did like Lombear’s comment though.

David Cameron? “Make a U Turn at the earliest opportunity…. make another U Turn… make another U Turn”

Joanna Lumley

John Prescott ‘cars kill the entire world, get out and get on a bus, on the M4, with no bus stops, there ya go lad’