Main content

James Nesbitt

Kirsty Young's castaway is actor James Nesbitt.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is James Nesbitt. He is one of our most popular and successful actors and his long list of credits includes Cold Feet, Bloody Sunday, Jekyll and Murphy's Law. In this warm and illuminating interview he recalls his childhood in County Antrim where he grew up in a close-knit, rural community. He was the only boy and the youngest of four children and, when he was told he was 'spoilt', says he always understood that it meant the same as 'loved'.

His father was the headmaster of the local primary school and there was an expectation that his children would follow him to become teachers. But James was a keen actor and says it is only now, in his 40s, that he can look back clearly and see he always felt an affinity to being on the stage. The first role he was cast in was as the Artful Dodger in Oliver. It's a character, he jokes, that has stayed with him through many of the roles he has taken on since.

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

Favourite track: Come Fly With Me by Frank Sinatra
Book: Collected writings by James Lawton
Luxury: A bottle of chilled Sancerre for every night.

Available now

45 minutes

Music Played

  • Callum Kennedy

    The Green Glens of Antrim

    • Songs of Scotland and Ireland.
    • Beltona.
  • The Beatles

    If I Fell

    • A Hard Day’s Night.
    • Parlophone.
  • Slade

    Cum On Feel The Noize

    • Rock Classics Vol 3.
    • Pickwick.
  • The Undertones

    Get Over You

    • The Undertones.
    • Dojo.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Frank Sinatra

      Come Fly With Me

      • Sinatra at the Sands with Count Basie & the Orchestra.
      • Reprise.
  • Vernon Midgley

    Hear My Song

    • Hear My Song.
    • Big Screen Music.
  • Van Morrison

    The Way Young Lovers Do

    • Astral Weeks.
    • Warner.
  • Laura Marling

    Failure

    • Laura Marling: Alas I Cannot Swim.
    • Virgin.
  • Book Choice

    • Collected writings - James Lawton

  • Luxury Choice

    • A bottle of chilled Sancerre for every night

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest James Nesbitt

Broadcasts

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes

Articles

Articles

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?

Podcast