Reader Theory: Lampkin’s Accent

Kevin writes:

I think that Lampkin is Baltar’s brother or in some way connected to his past. My main reason for this is the fact that in the “Dirty Hands” episode when Baltar was talking about his secret past as a farmer’s son on Arelon, he started speaking with a different accent, and even a different voice. I thought that it sounded like a pack-a-day Liverpool accent, and Lampkin’s voice and accent was almost identical. Anyway I doubt that I am the first one to bring this up, but there it is.

Several people have written in on this one, including Angela Earle and anonymous others. The general concensus seems to be that there’s some significance to Lampkin’s accent, although what that might be varies with the responses. Personally, I just figured that’s the actor’s accent, since he sounded just like that as Badger on Firefly. But you never know… sometimes the smallest detail can be important in BSG.

30 Responses to "Reader Theory: Lampkin’s Accent"
  1. Matt says:

    Interesting theory, I had never even thought about until I read it but it is a very plausible theory. I canÒ€ℒt wait till Sunday; it never comes quick enough though.

  2. Joe says:

    At most it probably just means they are from the same planet. I forget which one. Same episode. Baltar himself says that it was the common accent present on the planet.

  3. Joe says:

    Yes, Arelon.

  4. john patrick says:

    Hi guys, I’m not sure the two characters had the same accent. I did study linguistics (though not British dialectology) but my ear tells me that Baltar’s was a kind britanic accent (scottish? somewhere north of London!) and that Lamkin’s was a kind of Irish accent. (Sorry, I’m much better at identifying American and ESL dialects, I promise!)

    There are a lot of different accents/dialects of English in the UK and Ireland, some of our friendly British sociolinguistics specialists might be able to help us in this department, but probably anyone who grew up in Great Britain would be able to tell us that they are different.

    One thing I can tell you, Baltar’s “Caprican” accent sounds pretty “RP” to
    me. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_Pronunciation)

    I can also tell you that Boomer/Athena and the Chief sound Canadian to me, and that Jamie Bamber’s American pronunciation is impeccable, but his American intonation is pretty thin, which comes across in his character as ‘always whiney.’ Compare this to the deep growling intonation of EJO.

    In grad school, I once told a friends’ husband that he sounded exactly like my friend from Ephrata, Washington. He exclaimed “I’m from Moses Lake, just 15 miles down the road from Ephrata!” Then everyone agreed that I was the most talented linguist in the world.

    Sigh. Then I burnt out on grad school and got a job teaching high school Spanish.

    Sigh. And on Friday nights, I sit home alone, making speculative dialectology comments on a Battlestar Galactica blog.

    Please somebody shoot me. No! Don’t shoot me, I’ll wake up in a tub of goo…..

  5. Matt says:

    John, great comment I learned a lot from it. I have always had a great respect and admiration for people who could tell so much from listening to people or by seeing their body language.

  6. perry ostrin says:

    sounds irish to me..isn’t this the guy who’s old friends with jamie bamber and was on the 3hr scifi roundtable podcast?

  7. Pike says:

    John, nice insights. I think you may be spot on about Lee’s accent/whining. I’ll have to pay more attention to that. Someone else commented after Baltar’s accent scene that his “original accent” was a northern English one (forgot where, exactly) while Lamkin’s sounds more Irish to my ears. Of course, we haven’t heard that in the show so who knows what they’ll map that to in the BSG ‘verse.

    FWIW, I don’t hear Boomer’s accent, but then I didn’t register Tigh’s accent until Audra pointed it out. Now I can’t stop hearing it. Funny how stuff like that works.

  8. Elspeth says:

    I think it’s great you pinned down Lee’s whining.

    I kinda wonder about Baltar’s accent. I feel that with other actors mostly using American type accents, it was always stange that the makers let Baltar keep his. I really don’t think they knew in the beginning that Baltar was going to have a backstory as he does now. I feel like that was added later. Initially, I think that Baltar’s accent was allowed because, in general, American’s think the British sound “smart”. Which of course was very important to the credibility of the mini series.

    (I am kinda making the assumption that many actors can change accents.)

    If this holds true for Lampkin, What does Irish “sound” like to Americans?

  9. Alasdair Lumsden says:

    Hi, I’m British and I don’t mean to piss on anyone’s parade but…

    The two accents are different and being that I hear them most days I think I can place them quite accurately. Baltar’s accent is definitely modeled on a Yorkshire accent. This region is well know for it’s country lifestyle of mining and farming which would seem to fit the description of Arelon. I can’t think of any show to recommend which would show you this in use.

    Lampkin, of which I was not sure appears to be London as I had suspected, though it’s is not as you may suspect cockney. This is further proved by his IMDB profile which puts his place of birth as London, England.

  10. Ray says:

    Lampkin’s accent was definitely Irish, (RDM also said so somewhere in his commentary, if you need proof), and Baltar’s hidden accent was definitely more English, can’t narrow it down much more than that apart from it sounded further north than where I live (London), which doesn’t help much. RDM didn’t seem to make a big deal out of Lampkin’s accent, like it was just in there for variation. I mean, what explanation could they possibly come up with for D’anna Biers’ accent, apart from variation?

    I think it would make sense if Lampkin was also Arelon-ian, which might have some impact on the story, but I doubt there’s any stronger relation between him and Baltar. Although I’m open to being wrong if that’s how things turn out.

    Oh, and Audra, on Firefly, Badger had a cockney accent, which sounds different enough to me, but that’s probably because I’m English. I can’t personally tell much difference between the American accents or the Canadian one(s?), I guess it just depends on where you’re from.

  11. Alasdair Lumsden says:

    Oooh also, Apollo is British and I’ve seen him in “Hornblower” which is a historical naval show where we are at war with the french. He also plays an officer in ultimate force. A Poor british show about the sas, kind of like your show “The Unit”.

  12. Alasdair Lumsden says:

    I’ve rewatched ep 18 and I see the irish that I missed mixed in with the london accent.

  13. Pike says:

    Alasdair, I think you’re right. Lamkin’s is probably Irish-by-way-of-London, which would make perfect sense if he’s from there and is modeling it on the Irish he heard there.

  14. The 13th Cylon says:

    Boy I don’t know. I don’t think it really means something else. It might just be to show there are other accents out in the fleet. Look at all the versions of the English language we have on one planet, even in our country. Now imagine if we had 12 planets where English is (apparantly) the only language.

    But I am so excited now for the final two, even more so than before, after reading on AintItCool.com that “it could very well be the best two hours of
    ‘Galactica'” to date. They’re BSG fans like us and for them to say that raises the bar on my expectations. I didn’t read anymore because I didn’t want to be spoiled. Remember than in these next two episodes- and it will almost certainly be in the last 10 minutes of the final one lol- we will have someone discover or possibly make it to Earth and another character will discover he or she (not they!) is a Cylon.

  15. Red says:

    For an example of a Yorkshire accent, check out Sean Bean (when he’s not trying to do an American one) I laughed so hard during Lord of the Rings as he tried to “posh up” his Yorkshire accent. He does voice-overs on a lot of commercials here in England so I recognized Baltar’s Arelon accent straight away. The strength of his accent has been diluted over the years, but it’s still there.

  16. BoxytheBoxed says:

    over analize thats what i have to say

  17. The 13th Cylon says:

    Boxy, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s impossibly to over analyze a sci fi show.

  18. BoxytheBoxed says:

    grrrrr i know your right, too

  19. suzanne says:

    what if Romo’s accent is not real, but affected for the purpose of getting and winning Baltar’s case? maybe he uses the accent as another aspect of his image, such as the sunglasses… we know from baltar’s working so hard to conceal his accent, that accents are not perceived well in the educated world of caprica. it could definitely have helped him seem the fool to roslin and adama when they interviewed him. romo might use his accent to appear to NOT be from Caprica, and to be “one of the people”, which he could use to garner support for baltar during the trial, to appear less slick, etc. than the prosecution, witnesses and jury. since he lies on so many occasions, why not an affected accent. (the other possibility is that it is real, but romo did not try to get rid of his accent like baltar because it would help with his work)

    if his accent does not mean anything, then why haven’t we heard more accents in the course of the show? dee is sagitarrian, but has no accent. nor did the other sagitarrians in “the woman king”. and i cannot remember other accents from episodes with quorum meetings or during roslin’s trip to kobol.

  20. Pike says:

    Suzanne, I love the idea that Lambkin is affecting his accent. That would be so BSG. And so Lambkin, for that matter.

  21. themosh says:

    I am impressed by the knowledge put forth by John Patrick. I learned a lot. The thing is, although little things usually turn out huge in the show, i don’t think most people who watch the show would be able to pick the accents apart. I think the theory is a good one. Of course, are we entirely sure Lampkin is not a Cylon?

  22. Nod says:

    As someone who’s other favorite channel is BBCAmerica, I hear a lot of differences in the accents, but maybe because I am used to it. Same with the Canadian actors, I totally hear the accents. Tigh’s is distracting sometimes, since it seems like he tried to hide it earlier in the series, but maybe has given up or the PTB* think it doesn’t really matter and let him relax a little.

    I love that John Patrick can do that parlor trick! I can do it with Buffalo NY area, an old roommate was from North Tonawanda, and it’s so distinctive that I can spot it in a minute

    Whether it means anything in the galactaverse? Who knows?

    *PTB, powers that be, or maybe pointy-headed-bosses, you choose.

  23. john patrick says:

    Is anyone besides me waiting for Olmos to bust into spanish?

    Ya sabemos de donde vienes, eduardo. dile “hijito” a lee, el pobrecito, todo lo que quiere es que le digas lo orgulloso que eres de el.

  24. Audra says:

    John Patrick – Thanks for all the great insights on accents. I’ve always been fascinated with accents and dialects – linguistics in general, but when I was in a class that spent weeks on hard vs. soft palate noises, it got a little tedious. So I’m just a hobbyist now. πŸ˜‰ Y escribes muy bien en espanol – eres del mismo lugar de Olmos (East Los Angeles)? O simplemente haces chistosos. Y tambien, perdoneme porque mis abilidades en espanol no son tan buenos.

    Thanks to the Brits here for your input! It helps to have your perspective. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know how to identify the different British accents. I can hear the differences usually, but have no idea what areas they are associated with.

    Nod, lol. I grew up in New York State, up north where a lot of us sound like Tigh. The Ontario accent spills over more than I knew when I lived there. I guess that’s why when I first moved to the South, people asked me, “are you from Canada?” I’ve tried to neutralize a little since then. πŸ™‚

  25. Romo's cat says:

    I am Irish so along with the British guys I think I can help settle the debate a little. Romo’s accent is supposed to be and is Irish. Mark A. Sheppard is from London I think so his natural accent comes through a little but Romo speaks with a definite Irish brogue. Dublin, Clondalkin to be really exact (gives it the rough sound) with a lot of time spent in the midlands cause there is a bit of countryside there as well (softens it a bit).

    I know James Callis (Baltar) is from London (his parent own a Bed and Breakfast! an inn in Americanlish) and speaks fairly naturally. RP Queen’s English, almost but not quite, Baltar still uses slang like “doin’ my head in” so is more upper middle class.

    Baltar’s Arelon accent is definitely North English Midlands, Yorkshire farming accent with a bit of mucky Newcastle. See James Cromwell in babe for a Yorkshire accent even though it was shot is Oz “That ‘ill do pig, that ‘ill do”

  26. Barny says:

    I live in Drumcondra, Dublin and Romo’s accent is definately northside Dublin, the real working class area. It’s regarded by southsiders as a bit of a scumhole but then they’re all a shower of wankers anyway πŸ™‚ I was pretty amazed that Sheppard pulled it off so well. Most foreigners usually butcher the Irish accent and drag it into Far and Away/Darby O’Gill and the Little People territory but then his father use to work quite a bit in Dublin theatres so maybe that’s where he learned it…

  27. Joe says:

    Whoa! haha. I’m listening to RDM’s podcast and what’s on tv, but the CSI episode with Badger guest starring. hahaha… Yes. He has the same accent.

  28. sushi says:

    Barny: I’m from Drumcondra and I have to say that Lambkin’s accent sounded nothing like the locals in Drumcondra, who tend to sound like the two links at the bottom of this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertie_Ahern. His is very patchy, going through spots of I’m-so-hard-Colin-Farrell, but mostly succeeding in sounding like the old blokes that left Dublin in the 50s and spent the rest of their lives in Kilburn. He sounds like a Londoner trying to ‘do’ a Dublin accent, with indifferent success.

  29. Barny says:

    Ah now Sushi I didn’t say it WAS a Drumcondra accent, just a northside accent, which it is :p

  30. Brendan says:

    Being Irish born and bred, I can tell you that Lampkin’s accent is most definitely not Irish. It is not really British either. I would describe it as “London Irish” for want of a better term.

    Gaius Baltar’s native accent (i.e. before he changed his accent) would appear to be a Yorkshire accent, with a Manchester twang.

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