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Dean Gaffney and the (Toilet) Role of a Lifetime

Press release   •   Mar 12, 2019 00:01 GMT

  • Open auditions have launched to find the next voice of Virgin Trains’ onboard lavatories
  • The talking toilets were first unveiled in 2013 to deliver a serious message about safety and hygiene in a typically Virgin way
  • National treasure Dean Gaffney was the first to audition but lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, so instead he’s helping with the audition process 

London, 12th March 2019 – If you’ve travelled on a Virgin Train, there’s a good chance you’ll have encountered the inimitable talking toilets. Whether you love or hate a chatty loo, from today you now have the chance to be the new voice. Ably assisted by seasoned actor Dean Gaffney, Virgin Trains is launching a nationwide search to find a handful of lucky winners from across the UK who will bag the (toilet) role of a lifetime.The winners’ vocal stylings will be heard on Virgin Trains services right across the West Coast route, giving them an audience of more than 38 million passengers a year – more than three times the total that tuned in for last year’s Britain’s Got Talent final.

As well as delivering an important health and safety message of the perils of flushing the ‘unflushables’ (baby wipes, sanitary items and nappies etc), the current voice of the loo lifts the lid, in trademark Virgin Trains tongue-in-cheek style, on her far less salubrious stint as a public toilet.The current toilet voice has been in place for over a year, so is ripe for a reboot.

First to ‘audition’ was Albert Square’s finest, Dean Gaffney, but when it was explained to the TV stalwart that Virgin Trains was looking for ‘real people’ for this particular role, he instead agreed to help spread the word about the opportunity. Dean is also lending his expertise to the audition process in the form of the Virgin Trains GaffBot- an automated entry system in which Dean guides hopefuls through a warm-up and helps them deliver the perfect audition.Would-be vocal artistes can visit the Gaffbot and enter the competition here:

Peter Broadley, Executive Director, Customer Experience & Operations at Virgin Trains said: “We make it our mission to ensure our customers get a warm welcome when they travel with us on Virgin Trains services. That friendliness extends to our toilets too.

“As well as bringing a smile to those that pop in for a visit onboard, the talking toilet delivers an important message. Most of the time, if a toilet is out of use, it’s because something untoward has been flushed down it; we’ve found glasses, wedding rings and even a bra have been the cause of clogged loos in the past. We’re hoping that our selection of winning voices will help us continue to deliver the message about what not to flush in our signature light-hearted Virgin Trains way.”

The search is open now with the closing date set for Friday 5th April 2019. Winners will be judged by an internal Virgin Trains panel, with all entries submitted after the closing date not being considered for selection.

To audition or for more information about being the next voice of the Virgin Trains toilet, please visit

About Virgin Trains

Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the West Coast inter-city route under the Virgin Trains brand, revolutionising travel on one of the UK’s key rail arteries.

The network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and London.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains ahead of other long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.

Virgin Trains has a proud record of challenging the status quo - from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme, introducing the industry-leading onboard entertainment streaming service, BEAM, and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.

Virgin Trains operated the East Coast route between March 1, 2015 and June 24, 2018. In that time, we invested £75m to create a more personalised travel experience, including over £40m in the existing fleet. Customers have benefitted from 48 additional services between Edinburgh and London every week, and an extra 22 Saturday services between Leeds and London – a total of 1.74 million additional seats since May 2015.

Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country whilst enabling further investment and improvement, and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail. For more information go to Britain Runs on Rail.

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