There are some actors who can perform a range of accents that are indistinguishable from an actual resident of the location they are pretending to hail from. Anyone who first saw Idris Elba in The Wire was likely shocked when they discovered that he is from London.
There are also actors who do the same accent in almost all of their roles and no one cares because they pull it off with such charisma, such as Jack Nicholson.
Not all actors are willing to put in the research for their roles. There are some actors who just aren’t talented enough to portray a person from a different part of the world. They give it their all, but all they will hear from the audience is laughter at their botched attempt at an accent.
We are here today to name and shame the worst accents ever attempted in a television show– from the Moon family that couldn’t decide on where they came from, to the citizen of Westeros who cannot keep his accent straight.
Here are the 15 TV Show Characters With Unbelievably Bad Accents.
15. Daphne Moon From Frasier
This whole list could have been dominated by members of the Moon family from Frasier. It became a running joke on the show that no one in the family had the same accent as any other member.
Simon Moon (Anthony LaPaglia) sounded like he was trying to do a Cockney accent, while Michael Moon (Robbie Coltrane) did an unintelligible drawl as if he were a Scottish version of Boomhauer from King of the Hill. Steven Moon was played by Richard E. Grant, who didn’t even bother to affect an accent and just spoke in the same voice that he uses in everything.
The biggest culprit for the incorrect British accents in Frasier goes to Daphne Moon, however. It boggles the mind why she claimed to be from Manchester when the writers could have easily had her say she comes from London and saved themselves from years of eye-rolling from the British fan base whenever she talked about coming from the North of England.
14. Captain Jean-Luc Picard From Star Trek: The Next Generation
Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation was played by Patrick Stewart, who brought all of his years of treading the boards to the role. He played the part of Picard with an English accent, despite the fact that Jean-Luc comes from France. Picard occasionally slipped some French swear words into his dialogue, even though he sounds like a guy playing Hamlet the rest of the time.
One excuse that is often given for Captain Picard’s lack of accent is the notion that accents had become defunct over time, due to English becoming a dominant language on Earth and the invention of the universal translator.
The problem with this explanation is that there are lots of characters with diverse accents in Star Trek. Chekov and Worf’s parents seemed to have retained their Russian accents, even though they speak English.
Patrick Stewart has admitted that he attempted to audition for the role of Picard with a French accent, but it was so terrible that he was asked to stop. This footage has been sealed away like some sort of ancient evil within the archives of Paramount.
13. The Majestics From Beyblade
The original series of Beyblade featured characters from all over the world. The Bladebreakers often needed to travel to other countries in order to challenge and defeat the greatest Beybladers in each region.
One of the story arcs in Beyblade involves the Bladebreakers traveling across Europe. It is here that they encounter the four greatest Beybladers on the continent; Robert Jürgens of Germany, Johnny McGregor of Scotland, Enrique of Italy, and Oliver of France. They would later form a team called The Majestics and challenge the Bladebreakers to a battle.
None of the voice actors of The Majestics even attempted an accent that was relevant to their region. Robert Jürgens had a British accent, while Oliver and Enrique had American accents. The worst of these was Johnny McGregor, who had an accent that can only be described as “anime cat girl.”
12. The Manhattan Clan From Gargoyles
The story of Gargoyles follows a clan of ancient Scottish Gargoyles who revert to stone statues during the day. They were cursed to not return to their living form until the castle they guarded was lifted above the clouds.
This happened in the modern day, when the Gargoyles were taken to the top of a skyscraper in New York City. The Gargoyles decide to become the protectors of New York, which meant that they essentially became superheroes.
Each member of the Manhattan Clan had a different accent and only one of them was Scottish. Hudson was the eldest of the group and was the only one who retained his Scottish accent.
Goliath sounded like a mix between Beast from Beauty and the Beast and Kevin Conroy’s Batman. Demora sounded like Counsellor Troi, while the rest of the clan had generic American accents. This was made even weirder by the fact that we see the Gargoyles in Scotland in the first episode, yet only Hudson had the accent.
11. The Geordie From Castle
Newcastle is one of the oldest and most populous cities in the UK. The residents of Newcastle are popularly known as Geordies. Like most of the people in England, the Geordies have a unique accent.
The creators of Castle had clearly never met anyone from Newcastle, nor heard how they speak, when they wrote an episode that featured one as a witness in a case. This Geordie speaks in a guttural language that is so intelligible that the American characters cannot understand him. They have to bring in another British person to translate the Geordie’s words.
The Geordie in Castle was played by an actor named Greg Bryan, who was ridiculed mercilessly in the tabloids. The British press had a field day with this episode, with multiple newspapers mocking Castle for its bizarre idea of how Geordie’s speak.
10. Nancy Donovan From 30 Rock
Julianne Moore is an amazing actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2015, for her performance in Still Alice, and also won a BAFTA for the same role. Julianne Moore has also won two Emmys, two SAG awards, and two Golden Globes.
No amount of awards can wash away the horrible performance she gave as Nancy Donovan in 30 Rock, though. Her Boston accent was so bad that the show itself started to mock it, with both Julianne Moore and Tina Fey making fun of the terrible accent in later episodes of the show’s run.
What makes Moore’s performance even worse is that she studied at Boston University, so she has no excuse for not being familiar with the accent. It’s a sad state of affairs when Meowth from Team Rocket and Mayor Quimby of Springfield have better Boston accents than an Academy Award winning actress who actually studied in Boston.
9. Scotty From Star Trek: The Original Series
The most iconic Scottish accent in fiction has to belong to Montgomery Scott. He was the chief engineer aboard the Enterprise and was responsible for saving Captain Kirk and the rest of the crew on multiple occasions. Scotty was an eccentric and memorable character, who is still beloved by Star Trek fans to this day.
It may come as a surprise to learn that Scotty’s actor James Doohan wasn’t actually Scottish. He was originally from Vancouver. James Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery in his youth, which led to him seeing action in the Normandy landings.
You may not be surprised to learn that Scotty wasn’t Scottish if you are actually from Scotland. Scotty’s accent was so bad that Craig Ferguson swore vengeance on James Doohan by playing an over the top English stereotype on The Drew Carey Show.
8. The Cast of Narcos
It isn’t fair for us to only criticize the performances of actors speaking English. There have been many occasions when actors who usually speak English are called upon to perform in other languages.
This can lead to them being mocked in the country that they pretend to be from. It is one thing to be able to memorize words written on a page, but to speak them in a believable accent is a separate talent altogether.
Narcos is one of Netflix’s best original shows, but it has a lot of subtitles. A large portion of the show’s dialogue is spoken in Spanish, as it is set in Colombia. Narcos follows the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar, who was one of the most powerful and ruthless drug lords of all time.
While Narcos was a critical darling in most countries, it was actually mocked in Colombia. The reason for this is due to the actor’s wholly unconvincing attempts at the correct accent for the region.
7. Emmett Carver From Gracepoint
It was inevitable that David Tennant would move from British TV to become a success in the US. David Tennant is best known for his portrayal of the Doctor in Doctor Who, though he has found success in other shows on different networks.
Outside of his portrayal of the Doctor, he is best known in the US for playing Kilgrave in Jessica Jones and in the UK for playing Alec Hardy in Broadchurch.
Broadchurch was a popular crime drama about the murder of a small child in a close-knit community. An American remake of Broadchurch called Gracepoint was produced by Fox in 2014. David Tennant was chosen to star in this version of the show as well, where he played a character called Emmett Carver.
Gracepoint was criticized by Broadchurch fans for many reasons, but David Tennant’s botched attempt at a Californian accent was chief among them. He might have been able to pull it off in a show made for a UK audience, but Americans fans noticed something was off straight away.
6. The Cast of Doctor Who In “Daleks In Manhattan”
Since its revival in 2005, Doctor Who has mainly been filmed in locations across Wales. This has created a cottage industry in Wales, as Doctor Who fans will travel to the country in order to visit the filming locations. The BBC would much rather hire locals to appear in Doctor Who, which is usually fine, as there are a lot of talented actors in Wales and other parts of the UK.
However, Doctor Who tends to have issues when it sets a story in America. The biggest offender in this regards is “Daleks in Manhattan”, which used a cast of actors who put on the worst New York accents in television history. The whole episode sounds like a performance of Bugsy Malone that was put on by ten-year-olds.
“Daleks In Manhattan” has since become infamous for featuring a pre-Spider-Man Andrew Garfield, as he valiantly attempts a Tennessee accent.
5. The Cast Of The Beatles Cartoon
The unprecedented success of The Beatles left them open to being exploited in ways that later bands were able to avoid. They were the subject of a 98% income tax hike on their earnings, which led to them writing “Taxman”.
The Beatles were also merchandised without receiving a cut of the profits or having the right to protect their image. This was the reason why ABC was able to make a The Beatles animated series without the band having any sort of input.
The Beatles episodes were mainly just literal animated adaptations of Beatles’ lyrics. Two voice actors played all four members of the band. Paul Frees voiced John and George, while Lance Percival voiced Paul and Ringo.
It seems that Frees and Percival had never heard the iconic accents of the four Liverpudlians, as they sound like Fred from Scooby Doo if he was trying to affect a British accent. The closest any of The Beatles came to sounding like the original is Ringo, though why they would choose the least popular Beatle to mimic correctly is anyone’s guess.
4. Dr. Derange From James Bond Jr.
James Bond might be the most iconic fictional spy of all time. His British nationality is also closely associated with the character. This has prevented certain American actors from landing the role of James Bond, with Adam West being a major name who was denied the part.
While James Bond is a British character, his nephew wasn’t. James Bond Jr. was a cartoon series that followed the famous spy’s American nephew, as he went on adventures of his own. He would face off against a star-studded lineup of Bond villains, which included Jaws, Oddjob, Goldfinger, and Dr. No. It was as if James Bond Jr. was always trapped in a game of Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64.
One of James Bond Jr’s foes was a mad scientist from France named Dr. Derange. He was voiced by Julian Holloway, who performed what may be the worst French accent in all of television history. It goes passes the line of being a stereotype and becomes outright offensive.
3. Angel From Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Sometimes it’s hard to take Buffy the Vampire Slayer seriously. The actors can still be taken to task for doing terrible accents, especially when other members of the cast do a much better job.
Angel is a vampire and one of the most important characters in Buffy. We occasionally saw glimpses of his life in the old country, as he was originally from Ireland. Angel’s actor David Boreanaz performed one of the worst Irish accents in television history during these segments. The reason it was so bad was that he couldn’t maintain it for long. His American accent would return before he even finished a sentence.
What makes Boreanaz’s performance even more embarrassing is the presence of Spike. James Marsters is an American actor, yet he totally nailed Spike’s British accent.
2. Cassidy From Preacher
Fans of Preacher knew to be wary of the TV show when they saw the first trailer. It made Preacher look like a cheap knock-off of Dexter. Thankfully, the show turned out to be a lot better than people expected, so long as they knew not to expect a straight adaptation of the comics.
The sight of Cassidy’s eyes in the trailer was also suspect, as the reveal of what his eyes look like in the modern day is one of the best moments of Preacher. The show has made no attempt to emulate that great scene. They show Cassidy’s eyes almost as quickly as Sylvester Stallone took off his helmet in Judge Dredd.
The biggest affront to the character of Cassidy is the horrible Irish accent put on by Joe Gilgun. His accent sounds like someone doing an offensive impression of Graham Norton, or someone trying to mimic Brad Pitt’s accent in Snatch.
1. Littlefinger From Game Of Thrones
It might seem unfair to place a character on this list who comes from a fictional setting. We don’t know exactly what a Westeros accent sounds like because it isn’t a real place (except in our hearts).
The reason a Game of Thrones character was added to this list is that the show has a problem with consistent accents all around. One example of this is how the Stark kids all sounded like they come from different parts of England, despite the fact that they all grew up together.
Aidan Gillen earns the top spot on this list due to his inability to keep a consistent accent for Littlefinger. He is an amazing actor and has had some of the best scenes of the past seven seasons of the show, but he just can’t seem to decide on the accent that he wants to keep.
Littlefinger can sound wildly different from scene to scene. The worst case of this happened in the animated segments that Aidan Gillen voiced for the Game of Thrones home releases. You would be forgiven for not recognizing that it was him at all.
We love you Littlefinger, but we’d love you even more if you could settle on one accent.
Can you think of any other TV show characters with horrendous accents? Let us hear about them in the comments!
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