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Ronald Searle

Ronald Searle

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 10 Jul 2005

Illustrator, Satirist, Writer

Sue Lawley travels to Provence in the south of France to meet the illustrator and satirist Ronald Searle in his first recorded interview in more than 30 years. Ronald Searle is arguably Britain's foremost graphic satirist, though he has not lived in this country since 1961 and likes to comment that most people in Britain now think he's dead. He is best-known as the creator of St Trinian's, the horrible, suspender-wearing schoolgirls who devote more time to gambling, torture and arson than they do their lessons.

Ronald Searle was born in 1920 in Cambridge and drew obsessively from an early age. At the age of just 15 he had his first cartoon published in the local paper, The Cambridge Daily News and his career blossomed in the mid-to-late 1930s. However, in 1939 he joined up and after two years of training he was posted to Singapore. He says that for a month they were 'running backwards' through the jungle before being captured by the Japanese and he spent the rest of the war as a P.O.W. They were traumatic years - he felt driven to draw as a way of recording what was happening around him - but his work led to him being singled out as a trouble-maker and as a result he was assigned to work on the infamous 'death railway' that the Japanese were building between Thailand and Burma. Ninety-five per cent of those working on it died but, despite coming close to death on several occasions, Ronald Searle survived.

In 1961 he left Britain for a new life in France - one where he was not known as the creator of St Trinians - but where he could concentrate on his political, satirical drawings and reportage. Now aged 85, he still regularly produces cartoons and illustrations for The New Yorker and Le Monde. His work can currently been seen at the Imperial War Museum in London.

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

Choices

Ralph Vaughan Williams

1.

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Sir Adrian Boult

Others who chose this artist

Herbert Howells

2.

Herbert Howells

A Spotless Rose

Soloist: Gareth Morrell Choir: Choir of King's College, Cambridge Conductor: Philip Ledger

Others who chose this artist

Harald Paulsen

3.

Harald Paulsen

Moritat - the opening of The Threepenny Opera

Others who chose this artist

Richard Strauss

4.

Richard Strauss

Im Abendrot (from Four Last Songs)

Soloist: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Orchestra: The Philharmonia Orchestra Conductor: Otto Ackerman

Others who chose this artist

Louis Armstrong

5.

Louis Armstrong

What A Wonderful World

Others who chose this artist

Johnny Mercer

6.

Johnny Mercer

Moon River

Artist: Henry Mancini and his Orchestra and Chorus

Others who chose this artist

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

7.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major - 2nd movement

Soloist: Daniel Barenboim Orchestra: The English Chamber Orchestra

Others who chose this artist

Johann Strauss II

8.

Castaway's favourite

Johann Strauss II

Champagne Song (from Die Fledermaus)

Soloist: Regina Resnik, Erika Koth and Waldemar Kmenett Choir: The Chorus of Vienna State Opera Orchestra: The Vienna State Orchestra Conductor: Herbert von Karajan

Others who chose this artist

Book

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography by Lawrence Goldman

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Champagne (the best possible)

Others who chose a similar luxury

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Broadcast

First broadcast: Mon 12 Jan 1959

St Trinian's artist and cartoonist

Roy Plomley's castaway is illustrator Ronald Searle.

Choices

Lena Horne

1.

Castaway's favourite

Lena Horne

It's All Right With Me

Others who chose this artist

Édith Piaf

2.

Édith Piaf

De L'Autre Cote de la Rue

Others who chose this artist

Edvard Grieg

3.

Edvard Grieg

Piano Concerto in A Minor

Soloist: Artur Rubinstein Orchestra: RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra

Others who chose this artist

King's College Chapel Choir

4.

King's College Chapel Choir

Ding, Dong, Ding

Todd Duncan & Anne Brown

6.

Todd Duncan & Anne Brown

Bess, you is my woman now (from Porgy and Bess)

Ottorino Respighi

7.

Ottorino Respighi

Fountains of Rome

Orchestra: NBC Symphony Orchestra Conductor: Arturo Toscanini

Others who chose this artist

Book

Reproductions of works by James Gillray

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Car fitted with a telescope

Others who chose a similar luxury

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