WATCH: The Dig's dialect coach teaches us how to 'talk Suffolk'

Dialect specialist and author, Charlie Haylock , was behind the brilliant Suffolk accents in The Dig

Dialect specialist and author, Charlie Haylock (left), was behind the brilliant Suffolk accents in The Dig and helped coach Ralph Fiennes on set to play Basil Brown (top right). - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/ Larry Horricks/ Netflix © 2021

Dialect coach Charlie Haylock shows us how he taught Ralph Fiennes to 'speak Suffolk' for his role as Basil Brown in Netflix's hit movie The Dig. 

Mr Haylock was contacted by the A-list celebrity - who is known for playing Voldemort in Harry Potter - back in July 2019 after he had been impressed by the Sudbury man's dialect tour of the UK on Youtube. 

Mr Fiennes told Netflix he wanted Mr Haylock to be his dialect coach for the Sutton Hoo film, and two days later the vocal expert "Suffolk-ated" the script.

Dialect specialist and author, Charlie Haylock , was behind the brilliant Suffolk accents in The Dig

Dialect specialist and author, Charlie Haylock, was behind the brilliant Suffolk accents in The Dig. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Haylock spent time going through the script, writing words out phonetically and slipping in a few Suffolk phrases and idioms.

From there, Mr Haylock gave Mr Fiennes a number of dialect coaching sessions at The Quay Theatre in Sudbury and also out in the community. 

Charlie Haylock with Ralph Fiennes on set of The Dig

Charlie Haylock on set with Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown in The Dig, the story of the discovery of Sutton Hoo - Credit: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX © 2021

Mr Haylock said that from very early on Mr Fiennes chose to remain in a Suffolk dialect at all times, both on and off-set, until filming was completed. 

Mr Haylock said: "He was getting the sound of the accent right, but also the rhythm of the dialect, and the delivery with those pauses. The latter being very important."

Dialect specialist and author, Charlie Haylock , was behind the brilliant Suffolk accents in The Dig

Dialect specialist and author, Charlie Haylock, was behind the brilliant Suffolk accents in The Dig. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Today, Mr Haylock gave reporter Sophie Barnett the run-down on how to speak Suffolk, like Mr Fiennes' character Basil Brown does in the highly praised movie.  

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In the video he teaches her "how to pucker the lips" to always get the right sound, and also why it is important to speak from the front of the mouth to get the perfect Suffolk accent. 

Just like he did with the actors in The Dig, Mr Haylock taught Sophie with the use of a mirror, so she could copy his lip movements.

Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown in The Dig Picture: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX

Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown in The Dig. - Credit: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX © 2021

Mr Haylock said some of the actors even returned for extra coaching sessions so they could master the accent, with Mr Fiennes continuing his personal coaching out in the community. 

He talked to a number of locals and sang a couple of songs, as he wanted to nail the accent, understanding it's importance to viewers. 

Mr Haylock said: "All the actors knew they must not sound like West Country pirates."

'Loved it!' How viewers reacted to Netflix's The Dig

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Netflix film The Dig has brought the greatest Suffolk story ever told to the screens of millions of people - but what are people making of the movie starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan?

The film, also starring Lily James, was released on the streaming service on Friday.

Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty and Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown in The Dig Picture: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX

Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty and Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown in The Dig Picture: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX - Credit: Larry Horricks/Netflix

It tells the story of one of the most significant archaeological digs of the last century, where self-taught archaeologist Basil Brown was commissioned to excavate Edith Pretty's Sutton Hoo estate near Woodbridge after she became curious about several mounds on her land.

After several hours of excavation, Mr Brown's team was shocked to discover the outline of a 27-metre long 7th century Anglo-Saxon ship.

Many historians believe the ship was used as the grave of Rædwald, King of East Anglia, who is thought to have died in 624.

The first trailer for The Dig, filmed in Suffolk, has been released. The film is released in January

Carey Mulligan stars as Mrs Edith Pretty in The Dig with Ralph Fiennes as the self-taught archaeologist Basil Brown who uncovered the Anglo-Saxon ship burial - Credit: Larry Horricks/Netflix

Alfred Bowden, the East Anglian Daily Times journalist who broke the story in 1939, described it as being "as important in this country as was the finding of the tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt".

Reviews for the film have been overwhelmingly positive - with the performances of the cast universally praised.

But with many people settling down to watch The Dig on Netflix on Friday night and this weekend, what do people think so far?

Many people gave positive verdicts on our Facebook page, with Mairi Howlett saying it was "well worth watching" and Sharon Hawes saying: "I really enjoyed it, makes you appreciate what happened there all those years ago."

Katrina Sewell said: "Watched and loved it.. Has made me appreciate what Sutton Hoo is all about again as I was underwhelmed the last time I visited."

Adam Thorpe added: "Brilliant film. We shouldn't take our local history for granted! We have so many amazing places on our doorstep."

Mr Fiennes and other cast members put great effort into mastering the Suffolk accent, with dialect expert Charlie Haylock giving advice during filming.

Rebecca Bland said: "The Suffolk accents are done brilliantly," while Julie Hood said: "Thought it was lovely, well acted. Really got the feeling of Suffolk. Brilliant!"

Jane Hosking said: "Loved it... I thought Ralph Fiennes pretty much nailed the gentle Suffolk accent."

Many people have also reacted on Twitter, with Dan Adams saying: "Just finished watching this tonight. Great film, acting and true story. Really want to head back to @NT_SuttonHoo now."

The National Trust at Sutton Hoo itself also welcomed the film, saying on Twitter: "Wonderful to see so many people coming together to have a (virtual) evening chatting about archaeology in these strange times."

Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty and Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown in The Dig

Carey Mulligan played Mrs Pretty in The Dig, and Ralph Fiennes played Basil Brown. Both were taught how to speak the Suffolk dialect by Sudbury vocal expert Charlie Haylock. - Credit: LARRY HORRICKS

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