Can't work out the mumblings of Jamaica Inn? Try these other BBC dramas – quiz

Jamaica Inn (or Jmmmccchhh Nnnn as it's more widely known) Photograph: Robert Viglasky/BBC/Origin Pictures The BBC is being inu...

Jamaica Inn (or Jmmmccchhh Nnnn as it's more widely known) Photograph: Robert Viglasky/BBC/Origin Pictures
The BBC is being inundated with complaints about all the indecipherable mumbling in its flagship drama Jamaica Inn. So what's new? For years, viewers have found themselves so up in arms about hard-to-understand dialogue that they’ve either been forced to lipread or make up their own storylines based on what they thought they heard.
To prove how impossible it is to understand what’s going on at any point in time in most BBC dramas, here’s a quiz. Below is audio of eight line readings from eight different, yet equally prestigious, TV shows. Can you work out what the garbled nonsense is supposed to mean? Good luck. And don’t try to cheat with Siri, because I did that - and it’s rubbish.

Question 1: Doctor Who

A) “System malfunction, motor casing interference. What is happening?”
B) “Seize the mad funk, Alta Vista fears us. What is happening?”
C) “Sister malfunction, pissing up here much? Water’s happening!”

Question 2: Birdsong

A) “Coughed behind the black wire. Baby greys. Bloody where’s knockout? Stuff caught up.”
B) “They've gone off behind the bloody wire. Barely grazed it. Bloody wire’s not cut. Staff cock-up.”
C) “Go off and hide behind the choir. Emily Grey’s bloody snot cut. Staff cock-up.”

Question 3: Parade’s End 

A) “My culture is in the market. But according to the plan once occupied by the medicare contract, two people are coming.”
B) “My cuddles are in the nud. Snotty getting found herself living by night, modey codey con duck. Pee-pee tackle Toby Four.”
C) “My colours are in the mud. It’s not a good thing to find oneself living by an outmoded code of conduct. People take you to be a fool.”

Question 4: Garrow’s Law 

A) “Be yourself.”
B) “Feel yourself.”
C) “Pee yourself.”

Question 5: Luther

A) “You’ve spent your life thinking you’re the whirlwind. Well, you’re not. Because I’m the whirlwind, John."
B) “You spanked your life hinky, you’re a wolfman. Are we or not? Put it in the wee-wee jar.”
C) “Leon Spink’s wife thinks that you’re a whirlwind. Will her nut. Pecans and a whirlwind, Jah.”

Question 6: Ripper Street 

A) “Matty wet and sucre, bees’d be kind to bring joy to your comedy”
B) “If matters weren't so grave, I'd be inclined to enjoy your comedy”
C) “Mutt here’s wont to crave, eyes climbed tinjoy, come Eddy”

Question 7: Shetland 

A) “She came looking for her father. I'd seen him going to the Henry house. I said I'd take her. I wouldn't have, had I known.”
B) “Become, friend. Should’ve gone in, who’s all ‘I said at Dhaka, I won’. Unknown”
C) “She come looking for her feather. I saw them gun to the Henry-Ohs. I sit at doctor. A wooden hat, I know”.

Question 8: Jamaica Inn 

A) “What do you know of the deal of indecision?”
B) “Hotty potty dizzy piscine!”
C) “What do you know of the dealings at this inn? 


1A 2B 3C 4A 5A 6B 7A 8C
0-3: Terrible. You have no idea about what’s happening on TV at any given point in time. Television to you is just a pretty kaleidoscope of images and white noise. To be fair, you’re not missing out on a lot. But maybe try lipreading from now on.
4-6: Congratulations, your hearing is completely average. Sure, you might miss out on the odd garbled line of dialogue here or there, but so what? You more or less get the gist of what’s going on. You should be proud of yourself or, as they say on Jamaica Inn “Yuufsood knee prondo mmfffhfff”.
7-8: Wow. You’re doomed to be the person who everyone comes to whenever an actor exhales an important piece of exposition out of his nose because he can’t be bothered to open his mouth properly. You see everything that’s going on all the time, which means that nobody will ever trust you. Well done!


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