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Presented byKirsty Young

Desert Island Discs Presenter Kirsty Young
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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

Others who chose this artist

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

4.

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov

Scheherazade - 3rd movement

Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Pierre Monteux

Others who chose this artist

John Tavener

6.

John Tavener

The opening of John Tavener's The Protecting Veil

Soloist: Steven Isserlis

Others who chose this artist

Felix Mendelssohn

7.

Felix Mendelssohn

A Midsummer Nights Dream Overture

Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic

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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