Channel 4 debuted its brand new drama, Kiri, last night, but viewers were distracted by one thing: Sarah Lancashire’s accent.
The Bristol-set drama sees Sarah play a social worker who allows a young girl to have an unsupervised visit with her birth grandfather. When the girl goes missing during the visit, she comes under fire for her decision, with the public, the press, and the girls foster family.
But viewers found fault with her accent – calling it inconsistent and inaccurate – taking to twitter to complain.
“Sarah Lancashire her usual excellent self, questionable accent tho. Overall good, but not great. #Kiri,” one viewer responded.
“Sarah Lancashire’s Bristolian accent is bloody awful and as she’s portraying a social worker, of course they’ve put her in a baggy old pink cardigan! haha. Looking forward to this though. #Kiri,” said another.
“Sarah Lancashire is great but her accent keeps changing & it’s really distracting #Kiri,” said one, while another said “I can’t take Sarah Lancashire seriously with her Bristolian accent but I still love her, she’s ace. #Kiri”
Some enjoyed recognising the location: “Lots of familiar filming locations in #kiri! 😍 Not sure about Sarah Lancashire’s #Bristol accent 🙈 but great acting as always 👍🏽”
“Looking forward to #kiri and then the talking started. What bloody awful accent is that???? It’s not right coming from Sarah Lancashire!,” said one viewer. Another said “What kind of accent does Sarah Lancashire think she’s doing? … because I’ve never heard that in Bristol before! #kiri.”
The Sun reports that Sarah had help with her accent from the on set electrician.
“The sparky on the job,” she said, “specifically I would give him the line I’d have to say and I’d ask him, ‘What happens to the letter A here?’ and he’d say, ‘Oh, you shorten that’.
“Or I might say the word ‘responsibility’, and he’d say, ‘You take the T off that’.
“I’d just copy him before he disappeared off on the set somewhere else.”
And for a few viewers, her efforts paid off – although not everyone agrees.
“The first episode of KIRI has been excellent, and reallt(sic) authentic Brizzle accent from Sarah Lancashire,” said one viewer.
“#kiri #Sarah Lancashire shines in this great new drama,by gum this Yorkshire lass is sooo talented,she can do anything with such grit+world class genius,the accent spot on👏👏,” said another.
For some the accent was just enough to keep them happy.
“Love Jack Thorne’s dramas and the shots of Bristol but disappointed that, aside from Sarah Lancashire’s token efforts, hardly any of cast have got the Bristolian accent. Feels like it could be set anywhere. #Kiri,” said one fan.
“Yes, Sarah Lancashire’s Bristol accent in #Kiri is inconsistent, but the story is so compelling and her performance so committed, it ceases to matter after a while,” said another.
Kiri continues next Wednesday.