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Voice artist, 56, behind iconic iPhone technology retrains as a funeral celebrant

The vocal artist behind the iconic smooth-talking iPhone assistant Siri has now retrained to become a funeral organiser.

Jon Briggs, 56, who is known to millions as the voice of Siri and the Weakest Link gameshow, has revealed he is now a funeral celebrant after selling his voice work agency Excellent Talent last year.

Mr Briggs, who began training for his new role around five years ago, described his new job as ‘fascinating’ and said it enabled him to ‘hear people’s life stories’.

He said: ‘You have to be able to write and speak, and not stumble over it on the day 

Jon Briggs (pictured), 56, who is known to millions as the voice of Siri and the Weakest Link gameshow, has retrained as a funeral organiser

‘It’s a fascinating job to have as you get to hear people’s life stories.’ 

Mr Briggs, who has lent his voice to both Apple and the BBC quiz show The Weakest Link in a varied and highly successful career, grew up in Oxford before he became one of the most famous voices on the planet.

His parents were students at the University of Oxford, and he grew up in Littlemore, before moving to north Oxford. 

The vocal artist attended the Dragon School and Magdalen College School, and in April 1981 – when he was just 16 – he was given the chance to be the voice for a teaser trailer at BBC Radio Oxford. 

‘I badgered them and finally they let me come in for a day – I made a little promo, a teaser trailer for the next day with Timmy Mallet,’ he said

‘Every waking moment I was at the radio station, right through from college to university.’ 

After leaving university, Mr Briggs worked in London for the BBC, and was then given a position at the breakfast radio show at Radio Oxford, when he was 20.

He said: ‘I was far too young to do it, but my news editor was mad enough to let me loose.

‘I was one of the youngest breakfast show hosts in the country at the time.’

He then spent time at BBC Radio 5, before setting up his own voice work agency, Excellent Talent, with his brother in 1996.

In 2005, the vocal artist recorded words to a text-to-speech service for a software company called Scansoft, who then sold them to Apple.   

He continued: ‘Siri was actually something we recorded for a completely different company in 2005.

In 2005, the vocal artist, who grew up in Oxford, recorded words to a text-to-speech service for a software company called Scansoft. The company then sold it to Apple and Siri was born.(Stock image)

 In 2005, the vocal artist, who grew up in Oxford, recorded words to a text-to-speech service for a software company called Scansoft. The company then sold it to Apple and Siri was born.(Stock image)

‘It wasn’t recorded by Apple, they licensed the four of us who had done it before.

‘I’m chuffed to bits to have been there for the original though, and the fact my voice turned up in millions of people’s pockets is bizarre.

‘One of the things I’m most proud of though is the artificial intelligence side of it.

‘It’s no credit to me but to some degree, my voice has helped people who use the phone and have visual impairments.’       

While many will recognise his voice work, it is as a journalist that Mr Briggs has spent most of his career.

‘I’ve always been a journalist at heart – if you ask me who I am, I say I’m a broadcast journalist, not a voice artist,’ he said.

‘Voice work is 10 per cent of what I do but it’s how everyone knows me.

‘In 2000, I got a call asking if I wanted to voice a daytime quiz show with Anne Robinson.

‘I wasn’t overly impressed at the beginning but when it launched in August, it was the only thing people were watching on TV.’             


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