A IS for accents. “There’s nothing quite like hearing a Scottish singer in a Scottish voice break their heart in three minutes,” Colin Murray announced on his 5 Live show on Monday night. “Or the Ulster R being heard in a Snow Patrol song or in My Perfect Cousin by The Undertones.”

Too true, Colin.

As someone whose own accent has been mid-North Channel for years now (though ask me to say “power shower” and you’ll know exactly which side of the Channel I hail from), it’s always thrilling to hear a Scottish or Northern Irish accent on the radio outwith Radio Scotland and Radio Ulster, and Murray has long flown the flag for the latter.

On Monday, inspired by Sam Fender talking in the press about why he sings in his own Geordie accent, Murray hosted a segment talking about why singing in your own voice matters. He was joined by two exponents of the form, Billy Bragg and Kate Nash.

What followed was a chatty and entertaining 40 minutes that never felt rushed (something that can often feel the case on daytime 5 Live) and ranged far and wide, taking in everything from Grime to grief and the song that always makes you cry (Wild is the Wind in my case, especially if Bowie is singing it).

The Herald:

Bragg, the ultimate example of the Essex accent in pop, admitted that when he started singing, he tried to sound like Smokey Robinson, which, frankly, I would love to hear. Kate Nash meanwhile admitted she wanted to sound like Alicia Keys. But both found a way to use their own accents to enhance their songs. It’s hard now to imagine either Sexuality or Foundations sung in any other accent.

Accents from Ayrshire (Biffy Clyro), Falkirk (Arab Strap) and Leith via Auchtermuchty (The Proclaimers) were all rolled out on the show and as Nash pointed out, “How can you sing Fog on the Tyne without a Geordie accent?”

And yet, as Murray pointed out, the Beatles didn’t sing in their Scouse accents to begin with. They had to grow into them.

Authenticity is a very powerful currency in culture, suggested Bragg. “And that’s why lots of nice middle-class kids sing with cockney accents. Look at the Stones. Listen to how Mick Jagger talked back in the sixties. He was a posho.”

Nash agreed on the importance of authenticity and diversity, but worried how long either will last. “Actually, we can’t talk about that without pointing out artists are being paid so poorly for their work that it’s going to become quite difficult to have that diversity. To have people from working class backgrounds. Because 0.002 of a cent that you’re splitting with a record label and your band mates doesn’t pay the rent.”

In that case, the future may mean fewer Sam Fenders and a lot more Mick Jaggers.

Talking about Scottish accents, yesterday Val McDermid’s The Roads and The Miles to Dundee (Radio 4) offered a short drama – semi-autobiographical, it seems – starring Louise Oliver and Susannah Laing about love and grief which was also notable for Caledonian flavouring McDermid sauteed it in.

That in part came from having a character called Senga and the use of the phrase “breenged in.”

But what really stood out were the three appearances of Barbara Dickson who showed that not only could she do the panto villain thing very adequately, but also revealed the range of her vocal abilities by singing as badly as the script required. If you have heard her live, you’ll know that makes her quite the actress. Thankfully, she also got to sing the title song at the end in her own voice. Which takes us back to where we came in at the top of the page.

Listen Out For: Kermode and May’s Film Review, 5 Live, Friday, 2.30pm. The end of an era as the pair out bow from their film review show after 21 years.