MAMMA MIA! Actor Sara Poyzer Reveals BBC Voiceover Role Was Replaced With AI

The post has gone viral, prompting a debate about the use of AI in the arts.

By: Mar. 28, 2024
MAMMA MIA! Actor Sara Poyzer Reveals BBC Voiceover Role Was Replaced With AI
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Sara Poyzer, a stage and screen actor who is best known for performing in Mamma Mia! in the UK for many years, has taken to social media to share a story she's calling "sobering."

Poyzer was recently cast as a voice actor in an unnamed BBC show, but was later told, via email, that she will no longer be needed as her voiceover role was replaced with AI.

"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," reads the email Poyzer shared on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

She captioned the photo "Sobering...." and tagged both UK Equity and BBC Arts.

The post has gone viral, generating 1.8 million views at press time, with hundreds of replies, prompting a debate about the use of AI in the arts.

Several replies came in from notable figures in the arts, including comedian Stevie Martin, who expressed "This makes me want to explode."

"This is incredibly enraging and upsetting and we should all be up in arms about this," wrote the 98% Podcast, which provides a platform for actors.

Voice Squad, Poyzer's voiceover agency, also expressed their disappointment over the situation on X, writing, "This is why we all need to stand strong in the face of AI. Sara has our total backing over this."

At press time, BBC has not commented on this issue.

Sara Poyzer was most recently seen on tour with Mamma Mia! in the UK. Her theatre credits include: Sarah Jane Moore in Assassins (Watermill/Nottingham Playhouse); Donna Sheridan in MAMMA MIA! (Novello Theatre, UK & International Tour); Janet in Rutherford & Son (UK tour/The Other Palace); Emilia in Othello (Trafalgar Studios); Mam in Billy Elliot the Musical (Victoria Palace); Forever Young and All Quiet on the Western Front (Nottingham Playhouse); Beverley in Abigail’s Party (Theatre Royal, York); creating the role of Teena Satin in Satin ‘n’ Steel (Nottingham Playhouse and UK tour); Lady Sneerwell in The School for Scandal, Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, Ismene in Antigone and Chorus in Poetry or Bust (Northern Broadsides); creating the role of Kate in Bollywood Jane (Leicester Haymarket); The Fly (Oldham Coliseum); Up ‘n’ Under (Leicester Haymarket) and Players Angels (UK tour).

On television, Poyzer has been seen on Casualty; EastEnders; Doctors; Cast Offs; Paradise Reclaimed; Dangerville; Dangerfield; Playing the Field; Peak Practice; Crossroads and The Pilot of ODDinary People.

Film includes: The Knife That Killed Me and My Last Five Girlfriends. Radio includes: Emilia in Othello, Leonie Snell in The Archers and numerous other drama series for BBC Radio 4. Sara recently recorded the The Legacy of Time for the Doctor Who audio series and the audio book series The Dark Side of The Mind and What Lies Buried.

Photo Credit: Brinkhoff/Mögenburg