The Dig

I really enjoyed this film amount the Sutton Hoo excavation. Set in 1939…


It’s on my to watch list … once I subscribe to Netflix again.
The site is iconic so looking forward to seeing the story.

Indeed an enjoyable film, but possibly enjoyed it more as I was location spotting, as Sutton Hoo is a stone throw away from where I live… recognised many of the locations where it shows Basil Brown riding his bike… however the ride of Diss to Sutton Hoo is about 30 miles and that is a long cycle on mostly country lanes.

Charlie Haylock was used to coach Ralph Fiennes playing Basil Brown with his east Suffolk accent… its mostly right but some of the vowels don’t sound right in places… but at least they didn’t use a generic ‘Norfolk type’ accent ! But if you can get to hear some of Charlie Haylock’s talks on dialect and accents, it’s fascinating.
One fact I learnt from him was that the Australian accent was originally rooted by the crossing of London cockney and East Suffolk accents, as it was these populations that were predominately used to settle in early Australian immigration.


We joined Netflix just to see this. Very interesting and enjoyable. Has stirred a desire to read more on the subject.

Oh, and probably now cancel Netflix.

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LOL… yes not much on Netflix to enjoy unless you feast on TV series … but occasional nuggets…
I think Amazon Prime offers more varied cloud streaming…

The history of the Saxon King Raedworld of East Anglia is fascinating… the artefacts found in his burial mound included coins from the Middle East.

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Pleasant, enjoyable but predictable. Can’t say I’d rave about it.

I agree. Started well but halfway through decides to move way away from decent Ralph Fiennes/Carey Mulligan story to silly Johnny Flynn/Lilly James side story. The two mains are v good though

Think I’ll stop reading this thread as Mrs Pete wants to watch it this evening.

It was a very pleasant film.

But you mentioned Aussie accents. I think there is some debate there. Dean Frenkel, a tutor and lecturer at Victoria Unviersity in Melbourne, attributes this, in a recent paper, to drunkenness and slurred speech by early settlers who were mostly inebriated. As you can imagine, it’s not a particular popular viewpoint - though popularity and whether something might be true or not have no relation.

I’ve heard some other theories from my days studying linguistics including aboriginal influence. I have to day, every single theory I’ve heard on the origin of the accent seems equally iffy.

The UK is really unique in that such a massive diverse range of dialects cropped up in such a small area. Often you can hear the dialect change in the UK between any two areas that are walking distance from each other. And we use dialect to peg background indicators for characters in domestically made dramas even more so than other English speaking countries.

I am sure there is debate, but I don’t think drunkenness comes into it. it’s to do with the vowel focus and speed and shape of the mouth when speaking due to cultural and environmental influences… and he has modelled it… and based on historical record of the mass population clearances of specific parts of England at the time with specific dialect traits which I am informed can be heard today in many modern Australian dialects. But yes it would be the root influence… it would have evolved over time…and certainly had other influences from indigenous languages and other later mass migrations.
But it is interesting some US when they hear me think I am Australian, and I don’t have a strong East Suffolk accent at all, especially compared to many of my neighbours in the village… but it is a mix of northern Home Counties and Suffolk… as that has been where I have lived for most of my life.
Charlie Haylock is a historian on spoken English dialects… and has undertaken interesting research the world over… read some of his books if you can. His CDs are peppered with humour as well as they are informative. This is a good YouTube series he published about accents and dialects of the British and Irish isles.

I resemble that comment :rofl::rofl:

This seems strong language! In researching family history I have found that the nineteenth century was a period of emigration to Canada and Australia in particular. Canadians immigrants often moved to the United States.

The pressures for emigration seemed to be population growth outstripping resources. Many who emigrated seemed to prosper.


Yes it was a hard and unjust time not least with the New Poor Law amendment of 1834 and you can read a fair amount on the hardships after the Napoleonic wars and the mass rural unemployment through the advances of mechanisation where sizeable rural populations had to emigrate or starve because of the controls put into law by the higher classes (wigs). But yes many did prosper in their adopted lands, but not all. It is interesting to see many current village and town names from East Anglia, replicated in Australia and eastern USA by the early settlers that came from these parts of England.
If you are studying mass emigration from East Anglia, these resources might be useful


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Life was harder in the past for everyone but to differing degrees. I think that being deported or worse for theft was deplorable. Most emigration I have found was not deportation. Deportation may have had unexpected and favourable outcomes but the justice is hard to defend.


Yes, and to my mind the most abhorrent were children (upto 150,000) separated from their parents and deported/enforced emigrated… that is still quite raw with some and happened in the 20th century.

I had the same, I used to go to US a few times each year mostly always to the cmpy HQ in Minneapolis for best part of 30 years. Somewhat amused by this “Azzie” label they had stuck on me I asked why this was. The most logical answer was that the US is more used to British TV/film actors & although us Brits may think these actors don’t have an accent, the US think its an ‘English’ accent & any variant from that is … lets say confusing. Scottish & Irish is recognised OK, but the many English accents & dialects are in the most part not understood, at least by those who have not travelled outside US.
My accent is Bucks/Oxford(shire) BTW.

The Dig outside filming location is a small village near Godalming Surry.

Excellent… Mrs SinS were scratching our heads on that as we said those village scene are definitely not in East Suffolk and not likely East Anglia… I had guessed somewhere in Hampshire…but we can sort that now…
But luckily the shots of Basil riding his bike absolutely were down the road from here… where there are still several country lanes non tar marked… and obviously the dig and Deben shots were correct :grinning:

The house near the dig site (according to Google street view is not at like the house shown in the film). The outside village scenes were shot in Shackleford near Guildford, the house used in the film does also look more Surrey than what is shown in the movie. IMDB is a great place to find out the secreets of the movie world

This is the real house

And is now part of the National Trust Sutton Hoo Anglo Saxon visitor centre…

Funny. I was returning to the U.K. from Saudi for a holiday back in the 90s, and was sat next to an Australian businessman. We hit it off straightaway (no alcohol!) and chatted non-stop. After an hour or so, he asked me where in Oz I was from…

I’m from Essex! He was pretty shocked, but said there were a few characteristics in my accent that he recognised from home.

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