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Nicky Morgan MP, David Lammy MP, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Lord Newby

Presented byKirsty Young

Desert Island Discs Presenter Kirsty Young

Liz Smith

Liz Smith

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 09 Mar 2008

Royle Family actor

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Liz Smith. Her story is a triumph of talent and perseverance over circumstance. Her mother died when she was tiny, her father walked out of her life and for many years she was brought up by her grandmother who was in mourning for her only child and her own husband. For Liz, acting and making people laugh was an escape from the often harsh realities of life, but she had to wait until she was 50 for her first real break - a role in Mike Leigh's film Bleak Moments. By that time, she'd raised her two children on her own with very little money and knew that this was her opportunity to prove what she could do.

She won critical acclaim and was later awarded a Bafta for her appearance in Alan Bennett's A Private Function and finally, when she was in her 70s, she became a household name through her roles in The Vicar of Dibley and The Royle Family. She's now 86 years old and, although she concedes the characters she plays have a habit of dying on screen, she isn't planning to retire any time soon.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Choices

Roy Orbison

1.

Castaway's favourite

Roy Orbison

Only The Lonely

Performer: Roy Orbison

Others who chose this artist

Jack Hylton & His Orchestra

2.

Jack Hylton & His Orchestra

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

Performer: Jack Hylton & His Orchestra

Others who chose this artist

Glenn Miller

3.

Glenn Miller

In The Mood

Performer: Glenn Miller

Others who chose this artist

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

4.

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

Scheherazade - 3rd movement

Composer: Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

Others who chose this artist

Edith Sitwell

5.

Edith Sitwell

Polka

Performer: Edith Sitwell

Others who chose this artist

John Tavener

6.

John Tavener

The opening of John Tavener's The Protecting Veil

Composer: John Tavener

Others who chose this artist

Felix Mendelssohn

7.

Felix Mendelssohn

A Midsummer Nights Dream Overture

Composer: Felix Mendelssohn

Others who chose this artist

Peter Dawson

8.

Peter Dawson

The Floral Dance

Performer: Peter Dawson

Others who chose this artist

Book

A very large catalogue by

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

A complete artist's set

Others who chose a similar luxury

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