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Hepburn joins Scooby Doo on cringe-inducing cast list

THE journey of the Scottish accent on screen is the focus of a new TV documentary, looking at the grammatical guddle of the Scots language over the years.

Among performances featuring in Dream Me Up Scotty! on BBC Scotland, presented by Alex Norton, is that of Katharine Hepburn's appearance in The Little Minister from 1934, which was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

With a Scottish accent that was more Brigadoon than Broughty Ferry, it was as sugary sweet as a tin of shortbread.

There are also clips from other films and television programmes featuring magnificent manglings of our language by actors such as Hepburn, who should have known better, as well as wonderful sketches from contemporary television shows, including Chewin' the Fat, Burnistoun and Gary Tank Commander, which celebrate the spoken word north of the Border in all its subtle and not-so-subtle nuances.

"When I was watching the Katharine Hepburn clip I thought, it's Hollywood, she was a big star in a big movie, did they not have the money to pay for a Scottish voice coach?" says Norton.

"Or maybe there weren't any Scottish voice coaches or there was somebody who claimed to be able to teach her an authentic Scottish accent and conned them, and they thought it was OK.

"I'm a big fan of her work, I think she's fantastic, but when I watched it I wished I could have been there and said, Katharine, let's sit down and have a wee talk and I'll tell you how you should be doing this. It was just such a completely hokey accent."

Accent aberrations include a wonderful pronunciation of Drumnadrochit in Scooby Doo and the Loch Ness Monster, with the cartoon mutt struggling to get his chops around the word.

Brigadoon, Kidnapped starring Michael Caine, and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in The Barkleys of Broadway also feature.

Dream Me Up Scotty! is on BBC 1 Scotland on Monday at 9pm.

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