People in Birmingham and the Black Country celebrate their accents despite least desirable rating

As part of a special report, Pablo Taylor has been exploring the reasons behind why the Birmingham and Black Country accents are frequently ranked as the least desirable in the UK

Most people from the Midlands will, at some stage, have heard jokes about the Birmingham and Black Country accents.

However for some, having the accent can come with real life implications that are no laughing matter.

That's because the accents are often ranked as the least desirable, least trustworthy and least intelligent in the UK - affecting things like jobs and salary.

The Theatre Workshop in Birmingham prepares children for auditions for roles on television

The Theatre Workshop in Birmingham is a drama school that prepares children for regular professional and amateur performances, festivals and auditions. 

Its director, Suzy Petty, says although the acting industry has learnt to accept some regional accents, casting directors still haven't warmed to the sound of the Midlands.

'I think people think we are a bit thick, however we are not'

Joshua Millard-Lloyd is one of the school's most experienced actors.

At just 14 years old however, he's already been rejected by casting directors, purely because of the way he speaks.

Joshua's family come from Oldbury in Sandwell.

His mum, Adele, says they're proud of where they come from and thinks the industry should change its views to accommodate more actors from the Midlands.

'We always say to him be proud of where you are from'

Some people have taken the decision to soften their regional accent in favour of a more neutral sound.

Amneet Sidhu from Wolverhampton is one of them.

She's been working with voice coach, Robin Wooldridge, for the past year and says the lessons have help boost her confidence.

Some have blamed Benny from television soap, Crossroads, for the poor reputation of the Birmingham accent

Robin says the way people from Birmingham have been characterised on television over the years has had a negative impact on the accent's reputation - the most famous example being Benny from the TV soap Crossroads.

His character, although friendly and innocent, was not exactly the brightest, and also had the strongest regional accent on the show.

But historian Carl Chinn says negative associations about the Birmingham and Black Country accents actually started more than 100 years prior, in the 1800s.

That anti-Birmingham sentiment reached a fever pitch in 1934 when J.B. Priestly wrote about the city in his book, 'English Journey'.

Novelist J.B. Priestly visited Birmingham in the 1930s and didn't like what he saw.

Carl Chinn, a historian said: "He said it was ugly, it was beastly, it was squalid. And as the national education system grew in the late 19th century, we see leading figures from the teaching profession decrying the Birmingham accent as the worst in the country.

"So all these factors are coming together: a prejudice against towns and cities and a prejudice against people who are not as educated as they are."

The TV show, Peaky Blinders, has helped popularise the Birmingham accent

In recent years however, TV shows like Peaky Blinders have helped to popularise and even celebrate the Midlands accent.

While big names including the MP Jess Phillips and the England football star, Jack Grealish, mean the sound of the Midlands is never too far away.

And despite the negative press devoted to the Birmingham and Black Country accents over the years, people living in the Midlands remain as proud as ever.