Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Bristol man aims to follow new career after illness

Jonathan Fifield hopes to become a voice over artist
Jonathan Fifield hopes to become a voice over artist following illness

A Bristol man who was left with a unique voice after battling a rare disorder is using his distinctive tones to launch a new career.

Jonathan Fifield, from St Annes Park, is hoping to become a voice over artist.

The 38-year-old has undergone extensive treatment for a tumour on his pituitary gland, which has left him with a deep voice likened to film legend Christopher Lee.

Jonathan, who is working with the recruitment service Working Links, currently volunteers as a DJ on a hospital radio station in the city.

Some six years ago, Jonathan was diagnosed with acromegaly, a disorder where the pituitary gland causes an excess of growth hormone.

"By 2005 I was at death's door," he said.

"My tongue grew so big three to four years ago that people couldn't understand what I was saying."

Major operation

A specialist discovered a large tumour on his pituitary gland. Jonathan had a major operation before undergoing radiotherapy and taking regular medication.

"I'm on the waiting list for a new drug on trial in the US. I'll be one of the first people in Europe to try this," he added.

As well as undergoing treatment, Jonathan has also taken part in a series of elocution lessons with a voice coach at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

I tell people this was a gift; it's just changed my life
Jonathan Fifield

The elocution lessons were funded by Working Links.

Jonathan has also been working with speech therapist Andy Barrett who has helped to change his life.

"He said he couldn't believe the quality of my voice," said Jonathan.

"He's a great teacher who has kept pushing me to develop."

Despite the pain and the treatment, Jonathan is keeping a very positive outlook.

"I tell people this was a gift," he added.

"It's just changed my life.

"If I hadn't had this disease, I would have sleep walked through life and come to a point where I would have missed the opportunity to do something with my life.

"That's not going to happen now."

Second chance for 'golden voice'
06 Jan 11 |  US & Canada
What makes a great radio voice?
30 Dec 10 |  Today
Radio news tips
29 Sep 08 |  School Report



Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific