Gemma Arterton says she’s ‘sad’ her accent has gone

·2 min read

Gemma Arterton has admitted she feels “sad” about the fact that her estuary accent has faded after being told it risked her being typecast.

The British actor grew up on a council estate in Gravesend, Kent, and once had a “strong working-class estuary accent”.

However, the Quantum of Solace star has now said she was advised to phase her accent out to boost her career prospects.

“[My accent] was associated with people from less affluent backgrounds,” she told The Observer in a Q&A published on Sunday 19 March.

“It’s different now at drama school but in my day, we were told to lose the accent or you’d only play maids or whatever. It’s a shame because I did have a strong working-class estuary accent. I feel a bit sad that it’s gone.”

The 37-year-old added that her accent does tend to return after a few drinks: “Or around my family. If I’m on the phone to my dad, my husband says my accent really changes.”

Arterton spent time researching Blackpool accents for her lead role in Funny Woman, the TV adaptation of Nick Horbny’s novel Funny Girl.

The series follows a beauty queen from Blackpool who moves to London in the Swinging Sixties to pursue a career in comedy.

In a three-star review for The Independent, Jessie Thompson observed that Funny Woman felt like a paean to “a certain era of innocent, slapstick comedy”.

“Barbara’s own humour has clearly been modelled on many hours of watching and loving Lucille Ball, and this can all be read within Arterton’s performance,” she wrote.

“The dialogue is knowingly pastichey, which is unfortunately not something all of the cast have the confidence to carry off.

“But if the show feels less than the sum of its parts, there’s something in its celebration of a plucky, bold heroine, in the vein of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, that feels comforting, like a warm hug. It’s a nice show, with a nice message – and a very funny woman at its heart.”