Stars and Stripes Forever
Performer: Vladimir Horowitz
Award winning actor
Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the actor Sir Ian McKellen. Ian grew up in Lancashire attending Wigan Grammar school and then Bolton School where he was Head Boy. His first trip to the theatre was as a three year old when he went to see Peter Pan at Manchester Opera House. At seven, a treasured Christmas present was a fold-away Victorian theatre from Pollocks Toy Theatres. Ian's older sister Jean introduced him to Shakespeare - taking him to see Twelfth Night at Wigan's Little Theatre. His first Shakespeare performance was playing Malvolio from the same play at the amateur Hopefield Miniature theatre when he was thirteen years old.
Ian won a scholarship to read English at St Catharine's College, Cambridge and was soon appearing in regular productions, including appearing alongside now famous alumni such as Derek Jacobi, David Frost, Trevor Nunn and Margaret Drabble. By the time Ian graduated in 1961 he had decided to become an actor, and got his first job in a production of A Man for All Seasons at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. He has not been out of work since, appearing at the National Theatre and the RSC, and he has also forged a successful film career. He's played an acclaimed Richard III for which he also wrote the screenplay, and had parts in X-Men, Gods and Monsters, for which his performance was Oscar-nominated, and, most recently, playing Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Ian was made a Knight of the British Empire for services to the performing arts in the Queen's New Year Honours of 1990.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
Performer: Joanna MacGregor
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Roy Plomley's castaway is actor Ian McKellen.
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