Main content

Rachel Parris

Comedian Rachel Parris talks to Michael Berkeley about her musical passions, and how her life as a classical musician led to her career in improvised comedy and on television.

The comedian Rachel Parris talks to Michael Berkeley about her musical passions and how her life as a classical musician led to her career in comedy. Her hugely versatile career includes improvised comedy shows, stand-up, musical comedy and appearances on Radio 4’s The Now Show. She’s caused quite a stir with her hilarious turns as a faux-naïve reporter on BBC2’s satirical news show The Mash Report.

During her teens Rachel thought she would have a career as a classical musician –– she has a Music degree from Oxford, she’s an accomplished singer, and an excellent pianist; indeed, until recently she was a piano teacher.

Rachel talks to Michael about how she moved from music to comedy via drama school and how music still has a central place in her life. Her choices of pieces reflect the breadth of her musical passions, from a recording of Tallis in which she sings, to Bernstein and the American Songbook. She loves music that tells a story, particularly Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and music that makes her laugh, like Tom Lehrer’s songs. Rachel talks movingly about depression and her work with The Samaritans, and we hear music by Debussy which she finds a comfort in difficult times.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Available now

36 minutes

Last on

Sun 3 Mar 2019 12:00

Music Played

  • Rachel Parris

    Don't Take my Advice

    Performer: Rachel Parris.
  • Tom Lehrer

    Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

    Performer: Tom Lehrer.
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

    The Sea and Sinbad's Ship (Scheherazade)

    Performer: Michel Schwalbé. Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan.
  • Thomas Tallis

    Te lucis ante terminum

    Choir: Magdala Choir. Conductor: David Skinner.
  • Leonard Bernstein

    The Dance at the Gym (West Side Story)

    Performer: Members of the Cast.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Serenade to Music

    Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Matthew Best.
  • Claude Debussy

    Arabesque no.1

    Performer: Jacques Rouvier.
  • Cole Porter

    My Heart Belongs to Daddy

    Performer: Oscar Peterson.

Broadcast

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Six mind-expanding music podcasts to download in 2019

Love music? Looking for new ear-fodder for your commute? We've got you covered.

Archive Unlocked: Two Decades of Private Passions

Archive Unlocked: Two Decades of Private Passions

Michael Berkeley introduces memorable interviews from Private Passions' archives.

Podcast