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A great British institution; long live the Sniffy-nosed Telephone lady. British Telecom's recorded messages are all done by the same woman, whose name temporarily eludes me... but her voice becomes so familiar that sometimes you feel more comfortable when she's talking that when you're on the phone to a mate.

Sniffy-nosed phrases regularly encountered (in no particular order) include:

Beep beep beep; "The other person has cleared."
"Please hold the line. We are trying to connect your call, please hold the line. We are trying to connect your call, please hold the line. We are trying..." Repeat ad infinitum
Beep beep beep; "The number you have dialled has not been recognised, please try again."

It's difficult to describe the nuances of the Sniffy-nosed Lady's voice... she speaks perfect Queen's English, managing to outdo most 1950's BBC commentators, and never, ever uses a contraction. The slightly stilted affectation is more to do with the fact that everything she says is stuck together in bits by a computer, but it's what makes her voice her own.

Interestingly, upon recently moving from England to Scotland I discovered that there was more than one Sniffy-nosed Lady; and the one in Scotland is even more affectaciously English than the English one. I'm not quite sure what that means, and I'm not sure I want to find out.

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