Documentary Narrator

An increasing number of TV programmes and channels are educating us in ways that would have been impossible just a decade ago.

4K pictures from the depths of the ocean to the rings of Saturn are quenching our ever increasing thirst for knowledge.

And all of this factual programming needs voice overs.

The role of the voice over in a documentary is a tricky one. On the one hand, we are there to educate, and there can often be a LOT of information to impart. However, as interesting as the story might be, it’s also important that we don’t become a part of it.

We have to find the delicate balancing act between not sounding emotional, whilst at the same time, not sounding like a robot.

Of course, that’s not always the case. If we’re talking about, say, the cosmos, then we’ll want to impart a sense of wonder. If they’re stories of heroic deeds, then a sense of awe can work very well, and if there’s tragedy, then there needs to be a sense of empathy.

But above all, the voice OVER, needs to be more of a voice UNDER – letting what can often be some very powerful visuals do their work.

Throughout my own career I’ve narrated biblical stories, spoke about icons in modern Chinese history, shared the plight of people living in devastation and taught people how surgical sutures are made. With each project, I learn something new, and it’s my privilege to pass that knowledge on.