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Soothing Celebs: VSO Study Reveals the Most Relaxing Famous British Voices

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2024-01-05

Soothing Celebs: VSO Study Reveals the Most Relaxing Famous British Voices

VSO has listed the most and least relaxing famous voices in Britain. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

From movie stars and musicians, to comedians and even sports people, certain famous voices tend to soothe our souls. And whether we’re relaxing with a podcast or falling asleep to an audiobook, lots of us turn to the dulcet tones of our favourite celebs to help us chill out. But, which ones do we find most relaxing of all?

measuring the public’s heart rates as they listen to interviews and audiobooks

To find out, the team here at VegasSlotsOnline has conducted a new experiment, measuring the public’s heart rates as they listen to interviews and audiobooks narrated by some of the nation’s most popular celebrities. The participants were also asked to score how relaxed they felt after listening, on a scale of one to ten.

The top 6 most relaxing celebrity voices 

1. Michael Caine

Taking the crown as the most relaxing British celebrity voice is film icon Michael Caine. The actor is known for his distinctive cockney accent, and when listening to a recording from his biography audiobook, average heart rates stayed at a very low 58 bpm. Participants also recorded a score of 7/10 for how relaxed they felt after hearing his voice. 

Known more recently for roles such as Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman trilogy, Caine is also responsible for one of the most famous lines in British cinema history, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off,” from 1969’s Italian Job.  

2. Tom Hardy and Sir Trevor Mcdonald 

Despite being known for the now-iconic voice of Batman villain Bane, in joint second place is actor Tom Hardy. After listening to his CBeebies bedtime story compilation, participant heart rates raised ever so slightly to 60 bpm, and they also gave him a relaxing score of 8/10.  

Sir Trevor McDonald is a well-known face (and voice) on British television screens

Sir Trevor McDonald has also come in second place, with heart rates staying at a chill 60 bpm when listening to an interview with the broadcaster. Participants also gave his voice a relaxing score of seven. Best known for his career as a news presenter with ITN, Sir Trevor McDonald is a well-known face (and voice) on British television screens, and was knighted in 1999 for his services to journalism. 

3. Liam Neeson and Sir Ian McKellen

Two more actors have come in third place, with Liam Neeson and Sir Ian McKellen both keeping heart rates at a relaxed 61 bmp. 

Perhaps most famous for his role as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, participants listened to Sir Ian McKellen’s deep, soothing tone as he narrates ‘The Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 

Participants were also played Liam Neeson’s Northern Irish lilt as he retells the story of The Polar Express. Both actors were given a relaxing score of 8/10 by participants. 

4. Dame Julie Andrews 

In fourth place is singer and actress Dame Julie Andrews, who’s career has spanned over seven decades. As they listened to a clip of her reading her 1987 book, Mandy, participant heart rates averaged just 62 bmp. 

Known for films such as The Sound of Music and The Princess Diaries, Dame Julie Andrews is often cited as having a ‘cut glass’ accent, which refers to a way of speaking that is very clear and careful. She also received the highest relaxation score of the whole of the top 10, with participants giving her voice a score of 9/10. 

5. Sir Elton John and Ewan McGregor

With average heart beats staying at 63 bmp when listening to an excerpt from his autobiography, Sir Elton John has come in fifth place. One of the best-selling musicians of all time, both his singing and speaking voice are instantly recognisable, and participants recorded a relaxation score of seven after listening to his dulcet tones. 

The Star Wars star received an average relaxation score of seven

Ewan McGregor has come in joint fifth. His Scottish accent kept participant heart rates at a low 63 when they listened to a nature documentary narrated by the actor. The Star Wars star received an average relaxation score of seven after listening to the clip.

6. Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant 

In joint sixth place are Benedict Cumberbatch and David Tennant, with both actors’ voices seeing participant heart rates reach an average of 64 bmp. Participants listened to clips of the Dr. Who actor narrating a children’s book, and the Sherlock actor reading Sherlock Holmes stories. Both actors were also given a relaxing score of 6/10. 

In a shock twist of events, national treasure Sir David Attenborough didn’t make it into the top 10, despite many Brits voting him as their favourite celebrity voice in a recent survey. When listening to an excerpt from his audiobook, participant heart rates rose to an average of 66 bmp, though he was given a relaxing score of 9/10. 

The top 8 least relaxing celebrity voices

1. Stephen Fry 

Actor, comedian, and writer Stephen Fry has been crowned the least relaxing celebrity voice. When listening to his audiobook, the average heart rate of participants was sent soaring to 86 bpm, and they also recorded a relaxing score of just 5/10. 

He might not have the most relaxing of tones, but Fry has lent his voice to numerous projects, including the audiobooks for all seven of the Harry Potter novels, as well as the Paddington Bear books.

2. Dame Hellen Mirren 

The second least relaxing celebrity voice belongs to Dame Hellen Mirren. Participants’ heart rates averaged at a significant 84 bpm when listening to Dame Helen read a children’s story for Save the Children. 

on par with the likes of Dame Julie Andrews and Sir David Attenborough

However, when asked to record how relaxed they felt after listening to the actress, participants did give a score of 9/10 — on par with the likes of Dame Julie Andrews and Sir David Attenborough. 

3. Sir Sean Connery

In third place is James Bond himself (or one of), Sir Sean Connery. Known as the first actor to portray the secret agent on film, he starred in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983. 

Listening to an interview with the Scottish actor, participant’s heart rates averaged 83 bpm, and they also only gave a score of 5/10 for how relaxed they felt after listening to the clip.

4. Daniel Craig 

There must be something about being James Bond, because Daniel Craig has come in as having the fourth least relaxing voice. Participants listened to a Radio One interview with the actor, and heart rates reached an average of 74. 

They recorded a slightly higher relaxation score than with Sir Sean Connery though, giving Craig’s voice a 6/10. 

5. Idris Elba

Rounding off the top five least relaxing British celebrity voices is actor, rapper, and DJ Idris Elba. Perhaps best known for his role as Luther in the TV series of the same name, Elba’s audiobook clip sent heart rates up to 70 bpm, though he was given a relaxing score of seven. 

So, who do you think has the most relaxing voice of all?

Methodology and Sources

VegasSlotsOnline pulled together a seedlist of Britain’s favourite celebrity voices. We then asked participants to listen to audiobooks, interviews, or voice recordings of these celebrities while wearing a heart rate monitor. After that, participants scored how relaxed they felt after listening to the clips, on a scale of one to ten.

Each participant recorded their resting heart rate before the recording started. They then listened to each recording for five minutes, and recorded the following using a heart rate tracker:

  • Average heart rate during the recording
  • Maximum heart rate during the recording
  • Minimum heart rate during the recording

To ensure the experiment only collected heart rate, the participants set their heart rate tracker to ‘work out’ or similar, and stopped the session once the recording was over. The celebrities were then ranked according to average heart rate. 




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