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Fake Brit
"What's so special about an English accent? A lot of Englishmen have them. Pip, Pip, and all that pap!"

A non-British actor pretending to be a British character. (Please note that "British" here actually indicates "Southern English", not Northern (English), Scots, Welsh, Ulster, or Republic-of-Ireland.) They tend to get the accent either a) wrong, b) generic (with exaggeratedly posh Received Pronunciation as the most used accent, blame The BBC), rather than specific to a British country or c) too Cockney (think the accent that Bart Simpson adopts whenever he pretends to be a Londoner). In fact, Received Pronunciation and Cockney (and the middle-class compromise between the two, Estuary English) are pretty much the most commonly imitated English accents by American actors, the failures of which are typically derided by British audiences as pretentiously ridiculous.

Accent type b), the generic "British accent" is common with English characters on American TV, even if they're being played by actual Brits. Brits do not sound like this on a general basis.

Some suspect that American actors do this deliberately and with malice to poke fun at the British after all the years they had to endure British actors adding a million R's to the end of their words to sound like cowboys.

The most glaring error in fake British accents stems from American English's lack of the short "o" (IPA: [ɒ]) sound with which Brits pronounce words such as "pot" and "orange". Americans tend to hypercorrect this to the long "o" (IPA: [ɔː]) sound as in "all" or "door".

Irish actors in particular commonly play British characters, in partly because they are likely to be closely familiar with real British accents (and can thus fake them well) and partly because most young Irish actors looking to build up an international career end up moving to London (it is a rare Irish actor indeed who doesn't have half a dozen British characters on his résumé.)

A subtrope of Fake Nationality, and cousin to Fake American.

See also British Accents, The Queen's Latin, Not Even Bothering with the Accent, and Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • American actor Rodney Mason as English (?) socialite Tony Sinclair in the series of Tanqueray gin commercials.

    Anime and Manga 
  • 4Kids Entertainment seems to like this trope a lot.
    • Ryo Bakura from Yu-Gi-Oh! is played in 4Kids' English dub with a rather thin British accent. The Abridged Series mocks this by making Bakura be extremely British (at one point, he excuses himself by saying he has to go "drink cups of tea and eat bangers and mash"). LittleKuriboh, the creator of the Abridged Series is British himself.
      • Repeated with Daichi/Bastion Misawa in the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.
    • Dren (Kish) in Mew Mew Power too. When he debuted fans of the original Tokyo Mew Mew balked. On one forum someone complained "Whoever heard of a British alien", Gracie Lizzie had to resist the temptation to sign up just so she could say "Oh, we have quite a few thanks".
      • Ren and Jun in the 4Kids dub of Shaman King. They gave the brother and sister a consistent British accent, but um... they're Chinese. And then, for some reason, they chose to not give a British accent to Lyserg... who actually is British.
  • In Code Geass, the mad scientist Lloyd ended up with a British accent in the American dub that sounded like a cross between a Brooklyn accent and a New Zealand one. Quite odd, since no one else speaks with an accent. And he's disturbingly poncy, although that might be on purpose. His voice actor, Liam O'Brien, was born in New Jersey.
  • In the dub of the anime Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, American voice actor Rob Paulsen gives Saber Rider a surprisingly convincing English accent.
  • Subverted with Integra Hellsing as Victoria Harwood is truly British. Played straight with Seras, though, as K.T. Grey is an American.
  • Kurama of YuYu Hakusho also has a thin British accent in the US dub.
  • The dub of Darker Than Black has Troy Baker voicing November 11... and doing a really good job.
    • The other Brits in the series were also given accents in the dub.
  • The English dubs for the assorted Mahou Sensei Negima! anime series have the voice actors for Negi, Eva, Chachamaru and Anya providing British accents for their characters. Aside from the fact that Negi (and probably Anya, although its mentioned she's spent time in London) should have a Welsh accent instead of an English one, they're quite good. Though, of course, Welsh is a British accent.
  • In the original Japanese version of The Adventures of Kotetsu, the series' diminutive Fiery Redhead protagonist, Lynn "Kotetsu" Suzuki, hails from Kyoto and she has a Kyoto accent as a result. However in ADV's English dub, she is given a generic English accent.
  • The Read or Die dub has many British characters voiced by Americans, with varying degrees of success.
  • Zentraedi advisor Exedore in Robotech was given a fake British accent by Ted Layman. Probably to play up on his frail appearance and detached, intellectual demeanor. Alien scientists types are almost always given English accents, even when they are good guys (Exedore defects to the good guys). This is probably to keep them from all sounding like Mr. Spock, who is noted as being the progenitor of the trope but not speaking with a Brit accent.
  • In Naruto The Abridged Series Kabuto and Chouji have British accents.
  • According to Black Butler, even English nobles had loud cockney accents.

    Music 
  • 80s synthpop band Information Society.
  • Rapper Slick Rick's mid-Atlantic drawl is authentic (he was born and raised partly in London and partly in New York), but numerous American rappers, including Rockwell, Dana Danenote  and Snoop Dogg, have been inspired to imitate his "British" style with varying degrees of success.
    • Andre 3000 does so early on in Outkast's 'Funkin Around', which is not a bad attempt to start with, until he lapses back into Atlantan almost immediately soon after.
  • The Shins, likely imitating 60's British Invasion rock.
  • Many American New Wave bands, eg The Ramones.
    • In this case it was more with the way Joey Ramone sounds like.
  • On the first two Ministry albums (as well as their early singles), Al Jourgensen was singing with a faux-British accent despite being from Chicago, probably because he was emulating contemporary British Synth Pop at the time (e.g. "Revenge" has him repeatedly pronouncing "again" as "agayn" rather than the American "agehn"). Once the band switched to more of an Industrial Metal sound with The Land of Rape And Honey, and the earlier work became Old Shame, the accent pretty much disappeared. He also sounds somewhat British on their cover of "The Light Pours Out Of Me" by British Post-Punk group Magazine, since he's imitating Howard Devoto's vocal style on the original version.
  • LA-born Emilie Autumn, whose persona is that of a Victorian London Bedlam House inmate, uses an English accent in much of her music and poetry readings. She does a good job with it, although there are times when it's clear that a rhyme was written with an American accent in mind.
  • Rogue, frontman of the Floridian darkwave act The Crüxshadows, often sings with a faux Essex-type accent.
  • The Guns N' Roses cover of the UK Subs song "Down on the Farm" has W. Axl Rose attempt one of the worst English accents in music history, comparable to Dick van Dyke's infamous attempts at Cockney on film.
  • Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone of The Lonely Island put on fake English accents in their famous "Jizz in My Pants" single, since the song is intended as an homage to the Pet Shop Boys (particularly "West End Girls"). Most hilariously, it allows the following rhyme to happen:
    Andy: Last week, I sawr a film
    As I recall it was a horror film

    Musical 
  • In On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, Daisy Gamble, under Dr. Bruckner's hypnotic influence, acquires an English accent when recalling her previous life in 18th-century London as Melinda Welles. Barbara Harris originated the role on Broadway, and Barbra Streisand starred in the film version; neither actress was British.

    Pinball 

    Radio 
  • Producer "Nigel", of Tony Kornheiser's radio show, is actually Marc Sterne, a native of the DC/Maryland/Virginia area.

    Video Games 
  • Krystal may have averted this in Adventures where she really was voiced by an actual Brit named Estelle Ellis, but in Assault and Brawl an American named Alesia Glidewell filled in for her.
  • (American) Cam Clarke's Liquid Snake from Metal Gear Solid. In the same game, Liquid pretends to be Solid Snake's American boot camp instructor, Master Miller.
    • Jennifer Hale (Naomi) also used an English accent in the original Metal Gear Solid; Hale's from Newfoundland. In the remake and MGS4, she dropped the accent in favour of a fairly non-regional North American one.
    • American Vanessa Marshall did a fairly good English accent as Strangelove in Peace Walker, marred mostly by the fact that it sounded vaguely southern and Strangelove was supposed to be from Manchester.
  • Luke in the US version of Professor Layton and the Curious Village is played by an American woman, adopting a mostly Cockney accent. Professor Layton himself is also voiced by an American but pulls off a more convincing accent.
    • This is averted when it comes to Luke's voice in UK versions of the game however, where he's instead voiced by (British-born) Maria Darling. This is reportedly due to acutal British-English test players hating Luke's accent.
    • In the US version of Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, "Future Luke"/Clive is played by Yuri Lowenthal and Dr.Stahngun is played by Liam O'Brien, two famous American voice actors. Both their fake accents are very convincing.
  • The characters in the Legacy of Kain series speak in a pseudo-Shakespearean manner, but a fair few of them are voiced by Americans.
  • All but three of the Preps from Bully.
    Jimmy: Hey, are you English?
    Tad: Well, no. I just speak this way because I'm very insecure.
  • Crispin Freeman affects an awful "British" accent in Resident Evil: Degeneration. He comes in at around the five minute mark.
  • Anomen from Baldur's Gate II is an example of an in-story character being one. No one else in his family has such an accent, and the characters eventually decide that he puts it on so that he will sound more cultured.
  • In The Last Remnant, Jason Liebrecht puts on a fake Brit accent to play David Nassau, the Marquis of Athlum. He doesn't do a generic cockney, though his accent is an amalgamation of three different English accents. It's oddly fitting.
  • Crash Bandicoot's main Evil Brit N. Tropy was voiced by American Corey Burton in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. Although he had a grand total of one line, it's now infamous and widely considered the weaker of Burton's two roles in the game. Contrary to popular belief, N.Tropy's regular voice actor, Michael Ensign, is actually British.
  • Dolores Rogers as Earl Grey in Backyard Soccer.
  • The first Spyro series often used RP accents for its dragon characters. The third game introduced a character voiced by the same actor as the title character, and while he does speak with a 'pip, pip' accent, it's fairly good.
  • The voice-actors for the generic Fake Brit voices in Oblivion do it blandly at the best of times, and at other times get it horribly wrong.
  • Dwight Schultz voices two distinct British-sounding characters in Final Fantasy X - the merchant O'aka, and the scholar Maechen. However, Maechen's slightly more cultured accent is far better than O'aka's rougher, working-class one; as O'aka, Schultz has a tendency to jarringly mispronounce certain "Britishisms", such as elongating the E sound on the word "ye" when it's usually pronounced more like "yuh".
    • Also applies to O'aka's brother Wantz, voiced by Tom Kenny.
  • Yuri Lowenthal voices British teenage hacker Matt Miller, leader of the Deckers gang, in Saints Row: The Third.
  • Troy Baker as Quintessential British Gentleman Arlon from Kid Icarus: Uprising. He does it again in Binary Domain as Consummate Professional Charlie.
  • Sheva Alomar from Resident Evil 5 is voiced by the Jamaican-American Karen Dyer.
  • Maggie Powers, the British Mission Control in Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain and Dark Mirror, is voiced by the aforementioned Jennifer Hale, who also goes Fake Russian as Mara Aramov.

    Web Original 
  • Commodore, the token Brit of Lego Pirate Misadventures is voiced by Alex Jeffrey, a Minnesotan. Taken to an extreme in #4, when he voices a small army of Royal Marines that includes Scottish and Irish accents as well as English.
    • Series co-creator Ben Lifson gets in on the fun in #3 as the voice of a pompous prosecutor.
  • Shiny Objects Videos: Played for Laughs in "Fishsticks".
  • Megan Wessels, when playing Susan in The Fanfic Critic
  • An actual plot point in The Nekci Menij Show, as Xtine calling out Medoner for not being British while pretending to be sets off the Ballroom Blitz later in Episode Five.
  • Media Whorz round table member Caveman would have some occasions where he would act like a sophisticated professor. He would put on an ocular and start speaking in a fake English Accent.

    Western Animation 
  • Stewie from Family Guy is portrayed with a Rex Harrison-inspired accent. Especially funny when he meets an actual British character and complains about her horrible accent.
    • In an episode showing what an English Family Guy would look like, Stewie's British counterpart speaks with a heavy American Southern accent.
  • Numbuh 1 and his father in Codename: Kids Next Door (voiced by Ben Diskin and Frank Welker)
  • Colleen from Road Rovers (voiced by Tress MacNeille).
  • Mike Myers in the Shrek films. He does come from Scottish stock, but he's Canadian all the way through.
    • Extra points for gaining the approval of uber-Scott Craig Ferguson.
    • Mike Myers as Austin Powers and Fat Bastard.
    • And Myers has been doing the Scottish accent since Saturday Night Live ("Welcome to All Things Scottish - if it's not Scottish, it's craaaapp!!").
      • Another Canadian of Scottish descent, Alan Young, was the voice of Uncle Scrooge in DuckTales.
    • Myers is not far removed; his tendency toward British characters and settings comes from his father's influence.
  • Animaniacs has Jess Harnell as Scouse-sounding Wakko and Rob Paulsen as Pinky, though aside from the accents there's nothing to indicate that either character is actually British (especially considering that Wakko's two siblings have American accents).
  • In Gargoyles' opening episode (and anytime they flash back to medieval Scotland) the loose association of Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members playing the various bit parts display truly awful Scottish accents.
  • King of the Hill's LuAnn uses an extremely bad British accent for one of her "Manger Babies" puppet's voice—-it sounds very much like a dirt-ignorant young Texas girl's attempt at a toff....
  • Futurama's Bender (built in Mexico, based in New New York and voiced by an American) occasionally uses (what he thinks is) a "British" accent, which is labelled "King" in one episode and sounds a great deal like the late Ronald Coleman. "Let me have a go at this mechanised chap, I can be quite the rough customer!"
  • In Chaotic, the voice of Klay contains a terrible British accent. But seeing how 4Kids assigned an Australian accent to Jack Atlas in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, they are just doing to emphasize that the character is a Jerk Ass.
  • Whenever English people turn up on Celebrity Deathmatch, they always have Cockney accents, even if they're the Gallagher brothers (actually from Manchester) or the Spice Girls (variously from Hertfordshire, Yorkshire and Merseyside).
  • Rejected Nickelodeon pilot The Modifyers has Agent Xero using a really fake British accent for her disguise as Perky Goth Lacey Shadows.
  • Jerry, the Q role in Totally Spies! was voiced by American Jess Harnell in seasons one and two, and by British-born and Canadian-raised Adrian Truss from season three.
    • James, the antagonist of the episode "Evil Boyfriend", masquerades as a British exchange student.
  • The few Brits (if they're not acting as themselves) who have shown up in South Park have accents so ridiculous that it might even avert this trope. Richard Dawkins in particular was pretty agitated by his portrayal.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar, Private has a British accent, but his voice actor, James Patrick Stuart, is from California. This is lampshaded by Skipper in "Hard Boiled Eggy" when he notes that Eggy picked up an "adorably fake British accent" from Private.
    • James Patrick Stuart's father is a real Brit, however: Chad Stuart of Chad & Jeremy fame.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Peeps, a boy with a Cockney accent, is voiced by Christian Potenza, a Canadian.
  • Mr. Herriman, the British, stuffy rabbit on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is voiced by American voice actor Tom Kane. To be fair, he was imagined up by a little girl in the United States, so he might actually be a Fake Brit.

    Real Life 
  • The American astronomer Edwin Hubble spent two years at Oxford University beginning in 1910, and fell in love with England. A scholar who'd known him in America met him again at Oxford:
    He was dressed in plus-fours, a Norfolk jacket with leather buttons, and a huge cap. He also sported a cane and spoke in a British accent I could scarcely understand ... Those two years had transformed him, seemingly, into a phony Englishman, as phony as his accent.
    • Same thing with the Canadian writer Robertson Davies, who kept the Oxford accent that he picked up from university for the rest of his life.
  • Within a year of spending much of her time in England, as well as being married to an Englishman, Madonna somewhat notoriously, and improbably for the amount of time passed, began to display a bit of an English (and a hilariously fake one too) accent seeping into her speech. Granted, Madonna had spent the previous two decades as a convincing fake New Yorker (seeing as though she's actually from Michigan)....
    • Kenneth Branagh apparently had an Irish accent when he was young (seeing as his family was from Belfast), but affected an English accent to avoid bullying at school. It seems that it's become his natural accent.
    • In a subversion many viewers assume Irish actress Katie McGrath sounds a little 'English' because she lived in Britain for a long time. In fact she was living in Ireland right up until the start of Merlin and her native Wicklow/South Dublin accent sounded quite English to begin with.
  • Richard Burton was Welsh, but early in his career adopted an Oxbridge accent because he felt that his natural accent would hurt his career.
    • It can be heard in his reading of Under Milk Wood.
      • It might have seemed inappropriate to hide his natural accent there, given that it was written by a Welsh poet (Dylan Thomas) and set in a fictional Welsh village.
  • T.S. Eliot, born in St. Louis, became a naturalized British citizen in the late 1920s and for the rest of his life affected a decidedly more British accent.
  • Bill Bryson managed to invert this trope. He lived in the UK for most of his professional life without picking up a British accent, but he became so much of an Anglophile that he gained a reputation for being "more British than the British", something that real Britons find equally endearing and annoying.
  • This video takes shots at the number of foreign-born players who are part of the English Cricket team.

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