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Speaking clock gets Disneyfied

Tinker Bell takes to the mic at BT's 123

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Middle England should prepare to drop its trousers, bend over the table and accept the painful truth that if anything in this Sceptred Isle was ever sacred, it isn't any more.

As of the end of British Summer Time on Sunday, BT's famous speaking clock will be voiced by Tinker Bell - the result of a "sponsorship deal with Disney" which will also see the traditional pips replaced with bells.

Of course, Tinker Bell doesn't usually speak, but this detail has not stopped Disney deploying actress Mae Whitman to voice the part in its forthcoming film entitled, you guessed it, Tinker Bell. Whitman will also grace the three-month speaking clock promotion for the movie, according to Sky News.

The old timers among you who can remember when it was all fields round here will recall the dulcet tones of London telephonist Jane Cain, who was the first voice of the speaking clock when it came into service in July 1936. She was followed by London telephone exchange supervisor Miss Pat Simmons, who intoned the hour from 1963 until 1984.

Enter Brian Cobby, an assistant supervisor at Withdean exchange in Brighton, the third verbal timepiece until 2007, when incumbent Sara Mendes da Costa won the post in a competition.

As Sky notes, the Tinker Bell outrage is not the first time the time has been read by an imposter. Back in 2003, Lenny Henry's 123 gig helped raise £200k for Comic Relief - but then that was for charity and not to punt some bloody speaking fairy flick.

British Summer Time ends on Sunday 26 October at 01:00 GMT, when the clocks go back an hour. That means you'll have an extra hour over the weekend to listen to Tinker Bell, should you so wish. ®

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