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Send in the Clowns

Soul Music, Series 10 Episode 1 of 5

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 07 September 2010

Stephen Sondheim's song, Send In the Clowns, from the musical 'A Little Night Music' was written late in rehearsals for the actress Glynnis Johns, playing the part of Desiree. A song of regret and anger, the part has famously been played by Judi Dench, and the song became an independent hit, sung by Judy Collins, Shirley Bassey and Barbra Striesand. Hannah Waddingham played the youngest ever Desiree in Trevor Nunn's production, and used her memories of an unhappy relationship to inspire her performance.

  • Dame Judi Dench

    Watch a clip of Dame Judi Dench singing 'Send in the Clowns' from the 'Stephen Sondheim at 80' concert at the 2010 BBC Proms.

    Dame Judi Dench
  • Stephen Sondheim

    Listen to Stephen Sondheim talking about his 80th birthday BBC Prom.

    Stephen Sondheim


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    The stories behind pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact.

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