Steve Woodmore

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Steve Woodmore
BornSteven Woodmore
1959 (age 58–59)
London, England
OccupationElectronics salesman, comedian
Known forBeing the fastest English speaker in the world

Steven "Steve" Woodmore (born 1959)[1] is a British electronics salesman and comedian known for his rapid speech articulation, being able to articulate 637 words per minute (wpm), a speed four times faster than the average person. Woodmore was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's fastest talker, a title which he held for five years, taking the helm from the previous record holder, John Moschitta Jr.

According to Woodmore, he first discovered his talent at 7, when tasked with reciting long texts as punishment for being too talkative in school.


Fastest talker[edit]

Steve Woodmore can rapidly articulate at a rate of 637 words per minute.[2][3][4] That is four times faster than the average human.[5][6]

Woodmore first realised his skills at rapid speech when he was seven years old. At school, he was asked by his form teacher to recite an 8-minute speech, as a punishment for his talkativeness. It took him only two minutes.[7]

On the British ITV television show Motor Mouth on 22 September 1990, Steve Woodmore recited a piece of the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark in 56 seconds, yielding an average rate of 637 words per minute, breaking the previous record of 586 wpm, set by John Moschitta Jr.[3][8] Guinness World Records listed Woodmore as the world's fastest talker[9][10] until his record was beaten by Sean Shannon, the current record holder, when Guinness clocked Shannon at a rate of 655 words per minute on 30 August 1995.[11]

His ability to articulate at such a fast rate is apparently due to his recruiting more portions of his brain to the task than the average person, as shown in an fMRI.[12]

Woodmore has attempted reading out aloud the United Kingdom tax code.[13][14] However, after thirty hours, he was less than a quarter of the way through.[15] Eventually he took five days to finish the task.[16][17]

Reality television[edit]

Woodmore has appeared on numerous television and radios shows, including BBC's 1Xtra Breakfast Show with Twin B[18] and the documentary Stan Lee's Superhumans.[12]

Electronics salesman[edit]

Fast talking aside, Woodmore also acts as an electronics salesman for Currys, an electrical retailer in the United Kingdom and Ireland.[19]


Woodmore also works as a comedian.[20]

Other appearances[edit]

In June 2011, Woodmore officially launched the 5050 Phone a Friend nationwide competition, together with John Lonergan, at an event held in Dublin, in which the Irish public is challenged to beat Woodmore's world record of 637 wpm live on television.[21] The finals were held on 10 September 2011.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Married and with eight children,[19] he resides in Orpington, London, Great Britain.[23] Woodmore is currently trying to slow down the speed of his speech, so as to have a normal conversation with others.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Talk about a fast show: Londoner rattles off Raglan in 25 seconds". Independent. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  2. ^ Heath, Allister (3 March 2011). "Time to tackle our terrible tax code". City A.M. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Follow Your Dream - Time Out". BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  4. ^ Georges, Marc (29 July 2012). "How Dictation Tools Can Help Speed Up Your Workflow [INFOGRAPHIC]". Mashable. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Stan Lee's Superhumans 2: Character List by Episode" (PDF). Headbalancer. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  6. ^ "OUR MEMBERS AND THEIR WORLD RECORDS". Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  7. ^ Callihan, Jon R. (2 January 2002). "Hear This (Or Try To)". Popsci. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  8. ^ Steve-o Stonebraker. "Absurdly Long BotCon 2000 Report". Archived from the original on 18 August 2004. Retrieved 6 October 2012. There's a man in the UK named Steve Woodmore who had a talk-off with Moschita on a live morning TV news show and completed the speech in .01 seconds less time. The Guinness judge then had to make an immediate declaration of the winner without having time to review the tapes of the contest because of a pressing international news item which had taken up more time than expected. Going just by the time, Woodmore was declared winner.
  9. ^ Mathews, Peter (1992). The Guinness Book of Records 1993. Guinness World Records Limited. p. 64. ISBN 9780851129785.
  10. ^ "Thursday 16th June". RTÉ Radio. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Faster Talker". Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  12. ^ a b c "Pain Killer". Stan Lee's Superhumans. Season 2. Episode 14. History.
  13. ^ Dalton, Rachel (15 April 2011). "Video: World's fastest speaker takes on UK tax code". ifa online. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  14. ^ Bagnall, John. "What is the maximum number of words that an average person can use in spontaneous speech?". Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  15. ^ Beard, Stephen (13 April 2012). "Silly taxes historically made for clever dodgers". Marketplace. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  16. ^ "The 2020 Tax Commission". Retrieved 6 October 2012. Taxes in Britain are too high and have become increasingly complicated. Spending has risen dramatically as a share of national income across the developed world in the 21st century, but this rise has been particularly sharp in Britain. As a result, government expenditure accounts for a rising share of the economy relative to private expenditure... The guides are now so long that it would take the world’s fastest speaker, Steve Woodmore, more than 5 days to read them aloud.
  17. ^ Martin, Daniel (25 August 2011). "Struggling HMRC misses out on £27bn of unpaid tax as company failures soar". Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  18. ^ "1Xtra Breakfast Show with Twin B - World's Fastest Talker". BBC. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  19. ^ a b Haywood, Bob (2003). "LOST FOR WORDS; Mercury's motormouth challenges the world's fastest talker". The Free Library. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  20. ^ Davies, Amanda. "What's the upper limit on how fast someone can talk?". Focus Magazine. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  21. ^ "World's fastest talker launches nationwide competition for Mayo charity". Mayo Today. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  22. ^ Tubridy, Ryan (11 June 2011). "Tubridy Monday". RTÉ 2fm. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  23. ^ Robert J. Petry. "The Only Official Site for Rap Lin Rie /World Speedwords". ReoCities. Retrieved 6 October 2012. Steve Woodmore of Orpington, Great Britain, spoke 595 words in a time of 56.01 seconds, or 637.4 words per minute, on the ITV program Motor Mouth on 22 September 1990.

External links[edit]