BBC branded 'unacceptable' by Corrie star after an actress is rejected for AI alternative

Actress Sara Poyzer has revealed that she’d been turned down by a production company after an artificial intelligence programme was approved to replace her BBC voiceover contribution. One Coronation Street star standing up in her defence, Sally Carman, fumed that the choice was “not acceptable on any level”.

Sara had shared an email from the unnamed production company, which bluntly told her: “Sorry for the delay. We have had the approval from the BBC to use the AI generated voice so we won’t need Sara anymore.”

The actress, who had previously performed in the theatrical production of Mamma Mia, shared the email on Instagram, lamenting: “Sobering…@bbc @equityuk.” A string of celebrities immediately showed their disapproval about the decision.

Former Strictly Come Dancing contestant and Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington blasted: “F*** that!”, followed by a string of furious emojis. Coronation Street actress Sally Carman, who plays Seb’s (Harry Visinoni) mother Abi Franklin in the ITV soap, was equally dismayed.

“Not acceptable on ANY level. I hate where this is heading,” she exclaimed. “Greedy companies killing creativity and ultimately a profession for a cheap buck.”

Meanwhile, Kirsty Hoiles, who stars in new ITV drama The Passenger, chimed in: “Jesus that’s depressing.”

The trio are not the only celebrities to have waded into the AI debate, with GMB’s Richard Madeley previously describing the technology as a “pernicious threat”.

A spokesperson for the BBC has since addressed the controversy, telling GB News that the person Sara was due to portray was scarcely able to speak, hence why AI had been satisfactory as an alternative.

“We are making a highly sensitive documentary which features a contributor who is nearing the end of life and is now unable to speak,” they stated.

“We have been working closely with their family to explore how we might best represent the contributor’s voice at the end of the film when words they have written are read out.”

The statement comes after the BBC announced plans to axe a number of shows due to “ongoing pressure” over finances.

However, fans weren’t buying the excuse, and some of Sara’s almost 4,000-strong list of Instagram followers rushed to the comments section to offer support.

The news was described as “demoralising” and “slightly heartbreaking”, while it was debated whether AI represented “the fall of humanity”.

“Absolutely horrible. I am from the States and from what l recall, this was a huge reason the Screen Actors Guild went on strike. I can completely understand why. AI is truly scary to me,” one fan wrote, before reassuring her: “Your talent is a beautiful gift and I thank you for sharing it. Sending love and support.”

Another agreed: “Not liking the way the industry is going at all.”


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