business is booming for voice coaches (aka speech therapists). Lots of people are sufficiently unhappy with their accent or way of speaking to ask a voice coach to help them change it.
They think their voice is too posh and want it to be more ordinary. Or they have a regional accent and want a London one. Or they're foreigners who still speak English with a foreign accent and want to lose it. Or they feel they don't speak clearly or forcefully enough.
Whatever the motive, they're ready to spend £400 upwards to have their voice altered so they feel more confident and less of an oddity.
Well, I won't be joining them any time soon. I'm quite happy with my accent, even though it's very noticeably posh English and makes many people assume I'm a rich bastard with a country mansion full of priceless antiques. If they only knew....
I'm not keen on the daft assumptions, but I don't mind that little extra respect my accent encourages. Service does sometimes seem a little brisker and friendlier as soon as I start speaking. Or maybe I'm imagining it.
But I don't know why someone would want to shed a regional accent. Most of them are very attractive and a refreshing change from bog-standard BBC English. In fact I gather some employers prefer regional accents because they sound more friendly and reassuring than cool, clipped London posh.
I can understand those foreigners who want to lose the foreign accent, though. Unfortunately racism and xenophobia are a fact of life and people are very likely to treat you badly if you don't speak "proper" English. Naturally foreigners want to blend in and be taken for "one of us".
But I doubt anyone would actually hanker after the genuine "Queen's English". Who on earth would aspire to that bizarre nasal, strangled tone the Queen uses? I would want to die if I spoke like that.