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Kirsty Young's castaway is actress Liz Smith.

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]

Favourite track: Only The Lonely by Roy Orbison
Book: A very large catalogue
Luxury: A complete artist's set.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 14 Mar 2008 09:00

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Roy Orbison

      Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)

      • In Dreams: The Greatest Hits.
      • Virgin.
  • Jack Hylton & His Orchestra

    Tiptoe Through The Tulips

    • Got To Dance.
    • Saville.
  • Glenn Miller

    In The Mood

    • Modernaires: The Original Glenn Miller Reunion.
    • Vogue.
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

    Scheherazade - 3rd movement

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Pierre Monteux

    • Rimsky - Korsakov.
    • Belart.
  • Edith Sitwell


    • Walton: Facade.
    • Sony Classical.
  • John Tavener

    The opening of John Tavener's The Protecting Veil

    Soloist: Steven Isserlis

    • Tavener: The Protecting Veil.
    • Virgin Classics.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    A Midsummer Nights Dream Overture

    Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic

    • Mendelssohn Symphonie No.4 Italian. A Midsummer Night’s Dream Violin Concerto.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Peter Dawson

    The Floral Dance

    • Peter Dawson.
    • Pearl Flapper.
  • Book Choice

    • A very large catalogue

  • Luxury Choice

    • A complete artist's set


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Liz Smith


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