Writer Andrew Davies reveals his wife needs subtitles to follow Qurike

The writer of the latest BBC drama to be hit by complaints about mumbling has revealed that subtitles had to be used when Quirke was screened in his house.

Andrew Davies said that although he understood what was going on because the lines were his, his wife struggled to decipher the dialogue and needed visual help.

The BBC received a number of complaints from viewers unhappy with the sound on the series, starring Gabriel Byrne, just weeks after concerns about the audibility of another high-profile drama Jamaica Inn.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Davies said: "I could hear it because I knew what the words were and I think that's often the problem with the people in the production - when you know what the lines are, there's a tendency to think you've heard them all right, whereas if you didn't know the thing, maybe you wouldn't."

He said his wife, Diana Huntley, had difficulty making out the sound. "She said, 'Do you mind if we have the subtitles on?'"

"It's a funny thing, mumbling. It's a bit to do with actors, a bit do with with modern, flat-screen televisions and both my wife and I are of an age where our hearing is beginning to go."

Dublin-set crime drama Quirke stars Byrne as an Irish sleuth and is based on books by John Banville, writing under the pseudonym Benjamin Black.


Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.