Stephen Fry Reads the Legendary British Shipping Forecast

If you live in Eng­land, you’re prob­a­bly famil­iar with the Ship­ping Fore­cast, a night­ly BBC radio broad­cast that details the weath­er con­di­tions for the seas sur­round­ing Britain. The broad­cast has been on the air­waves since 1911. And many Brits will tell you that the fore­cast, always read in a soporif­ic voice, can lull you to sleep quick­er than a dose of Ambi­en. The broad­cast has a strict for­mat. It can’t exceed 350 words, and it always begins: “And now the Ship­ping Fore­cast, issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Mar­itime and Coast­guard Agency at [fill in the time] today.” Below y0u can lis­ten to a record­ing of actu­al fore­casts. (Or catch the one from 6/29/2014 here.) Don’t lis­ten to it while dri­ving, or oper­at­ing heavy machin­ery. A primer that decodes the unfa­mil­iar ter­mi­nol­o­gy in the radio trans­mis­sion can be found here.

All of this gives you just enough con­text to appre­ci­ate Stephen Fry’s par­o­dy read­ing of the Ship­ping Fore­cast. It was record­ed in 1988, for the first episode of his radio show Sat­ur­day Night Fry. (Full episode here.) You can read along with the tran­script, while lis­ten­ing to the clip up top:

And now, before the news and weath­er, here is the Ship­ping Fore­cast issued by the Mete­o­ro­log­i­cal Office at 1400 hours Green­wich Mean Time.
Fin­is­terre, Dog­ger, Rock­all, Bai­ley: no.
Wednes­day, vari­able, immi­nent, super.
South Utsire, North Utsire, Sheer­ness, Foul­ness, Eliot Ness:
If you will, often, emi­nent, 447, 22 yards, touch­down, stu­pid­ly.
Malin, Hebrides, Shet­land, Jer­sey, Fair Isle, Tur­tle-Neck, Tank Top, Courtelle:
Blowy, quite misty, sea sick­ness. Not many fish around, come home, veer­ing sug­ges­tive­ly.
That was the Ship­ping Fore­cast for 1700 hours, Wednes­day 18 August.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen Fry Reads Oscar Wilde’s Children’s Sto­ry “The Hap­py Prince”

Shakespeare’s Satir­i­cal Son­net 130, As Read By Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry Pro­files Six Russ­ian Writ­ers in the New Doc­u­men­tary Russia’s Open Book

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