Richard Burton
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Burton's late Under Milk Wood role

Richard Burton was a late replacement as the narrator of Under Milk Wood in the BBC's classic recording of the play for voices after author Dylan Thomas, who was to read it himself, died.

The Welsh actor was in the middle of a run at the Old Vic theatre in London playing both Coriolanus and Hamlet and had little spare time.

The recording took place in 1954 at BBC Broadcasting House in central London on a Sunday, Burton's only day off, and meant it was practically done as live, with little editing or mixing.

The play was broadcast the following evening.

Burton had shared the narrator's role with Richard Bebb. Nine years later Burton re-recorded the play doing the entire narration himself.

Vincent Dowd reports.

  • 25 Jan 2014