Are you sitting comfortably?

Writers are told that listening to their work, reading it out loud, is the only way to check the rhythm and pace – and to hear any glaring errors with mangled syntax.

With the modern technology of digital recordings it’s also possible to record those Whitbread winning words – and listen to them afresh.

Anyone who’s ever tried this will soon realise that their spoken words rarely sound how they imagine them to be.

As we trip over punctuation and pronunciation we take our virtual hats off to those clever people that record their voices for a living. Audio books in particular require much more than just a good tone. We all remember listening to stories as children and we might presume that we were easily pleased. But what about Jackanory? Those stories came alive as actors and actresses took us on a magical journey.

In my head I can still hear Bernard Cribbins et al – some voices will always be heard.