At some point in my Oxford career I latched on to the notion of the great vowel shift , that is the change in pronunciation of the long vowel sounds in English, sometime between Shakespeare's day and ours. I got the idea that the Birmingham accent still used the old pronunciations. So I would regale my colleagues with Hamlet's "To, be or not to be" as pronounced by the members of Slade. How we laughed. The Brummie accent (like American southern accent or the Australian ocker accent) is commonly parodied badly and my attempt – "tu bay oor nat tu bay" – was no better.
A father (linguist) and son (actor) present an attempt to reconstruct the pronunciation (pronun-tsee-ay-tsee-on) of Shakespeare's period.