The Voice Behind The Simpsons
  There is a strange moment when Harry Shearer first opens his mouth to speak, when you start wondering what on earth he will sound like. 
  This is, after all, the man who gives voice to more than 100 Simpsons' characters, including the evil power station owner, Montgomery Burns, Principal Skinner and Ned Flanders. 
  "I sound quite stupefyingly normal actually," he said. 
  "I guess if you mix all the voices I've done, my real one is what you get, sort of how white is the combination of all colors." 
  Becuase he only lends his voice - and not his face - to The Simpsons, Harry Shearer is one of a small band of television stars who has managed to remain a mystery, despite the fact his work is known to millions of people around the world. 
  "Thats certainly true in Australia where I'm not often recognised for my part in The Simpsons," he said. 
  "After all, they don't see me." 
  "Things are a little different in America, howeve, where I do a lot of different things. 
  "I used to be on Saturday Night Live, so some people recognise me from that. I also have a radio show, and people recognise me from that." 
  It is only when shearer switches on one of his famous voices that he is recognised. So how does he swap from one character to another so easily? 
  "I don't really think about them too much, I just open my mouth and out they come," he said. "It's just a trick I can do. I started doing voices from a very early age and I'm lucky enough to have been able to make a living at it. 
  "As a child actor I worked with Mel Blanc, who did all the Warner Brothers cartoon voices and he really inspired me. 
  "Mel had such a range and such versatility that I really wanted to be as good." 
  Shearer said none of his Simpsons' voices was based on real people, with the exception of Principal Skinner, the insparation for whom was a fairly obscure American telivision newsman". 
  Hi insisted there is nothing of himself in his creations. 
  "God, I hope not," he said, "If so, I'm going to have to get professional help to root them out. 
  "When I create a voice from scratch, I tend to feel there is a certain part that is me, but with the Simpsons, they're more at arm's length - at least I certainly hope so".