Presented byKirsty Young
Actor, Wildlife campaigner
Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna. She was born in London and, after spending five years of her childhood in South Africa to escape the Blitz, she returned to England. She enrolled at the Central School of Drama but left after two years when offered six months in Repertory at Dundee. Classics such as the Cruel Sea, Carve Her Name with Pride and A Town Like Alice, for which she won a British Academy Award for Best Actress, have been highlights in a long and successful career.
However her most remembered and best loved roles have been in Born Free and Ring of Bright Water, starring opposite her actor husband the late Bill Travers. For Born Free, she won the Variety Club Best Actress Award . Making Born Free in 1964, which told the true story of George and Joy Adamson as they returned Elsa the lioness to the wild, profoundly affected Bill and Virginia and it was a key influence in their lives. They realised that wild animals belong in the wild and should be protected there, not imprisoned in captivity. But the premature death in London Zoo of Pole Pole, a young elephant, who had featured in their film, An Elephant Called Slowly, led to the founding of Zoo Check in 1984. The Trust was dedicated to preventing the abuse of captive wild animals and strove to protect and conserve them in the wild. Zoo Check grew to become a major force in the animal welfare movement and was renamed The Born Free Foundation in 1991. She was awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours List in 2004 for services to wildlife and the arts.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
This programme is not currently available to listen. Why?
British film actor
Roy Plomley's castaway is actress Virginia McKenna.
Adagio in G Minor for Organ & Strings
Orchestra: Orchestre de Chambre de la Radiodiffusion Sarroise
Search the whole archive by typing into the box below. To find out who has picked particular music, books or luxuries on the programme use the buttons to refine your search.
This site contains archive material. To comment or bring something to our attention, please get in touch.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.