Main content

Harry Enfield

Harry Enfield gives a rare interview and shares with Michael Berkeley his journey from punk to opera lover, with Verdi inspiring the theme tunes to his television series.

In the early 1990s Harry Enfield went from being a part-time milkman to one of our biggest comedy stars, and many of the characters he created have become embedded in our national psyche - Loadsamoney, Kevin the Teenager, Tim Nice-But-Dim, Wayne and Waynetta Slob, Stavros and Smashie and Nicey, to name just a few. He started out on Spitting Image and Saturday Night Live, and his television shows in the 1990s reinvigorated British sketch comedy, gaining him more than 13 million viewers a week. Films, documentaries, and more comedy series have followed, as well as a hugely successful theatre show with his comedy partner of nearly 30 years, Paul Whitehouse.

Harry tells Michael Berkeley about how his journey from punk to opera - his great musical passion - developed when he was living in a council flat in his twenties and borrowing a record a week from the library. We hear parts of two Verdi operas that inspired the theme tunes for his first two television series.

He reveals why he’s chosen the aria Largo al Factotum from The Barber of Seville in tribute to Paul Whitehouse and we hear a moving performance by John Tomlinson as Boris Godunov.

Music by Elgar and by Schubert brings back memories of Harry's time at university and he talks movingly about family life and his relationship with his father Edward, who enjoyed a late-flowering career as a journalist and broadcaster. And he quotes a less than flattering entry about his grandparents from Virginia Woolf’s diary.
Harry doesn’t usually do interviews so it’s a real pleasure to hear him talking about his life through the music he loves.

Producer: Jane Greenwood
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3

Available now

38 minutes

Last on

Sun 30 Jun 2019 12:00

Music Played

  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Partite? Crudele... (Rigoletto, Act 1)

    Orchestra: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Conductor: James Levine.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Harry Enfield and Chums - Signature Tune arr. from Verdi's Rigoletto

    Music Arranger: Julia St. John. Ensemble: Soundtrack.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Soldiers' Chorus (Il Trovatore)

    Orchestra: La Scala Milan Chorus & Orchestra. Conductor: Riccardo Muti.
  • Edward Elgar

    Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61 (3rd mvt: Allegro molto)

    Performer: Yehudi Menuhin. Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Edward Elgar.
  • Franz Schubert

    Piano Sonata in A minor, D.845 (1st mvt: Moderato)

    Performer: Alfred Brendel.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    Largo al Factotum (Il Barbiere di Siviglia)

    Orchestra: Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Conductor: Neville Marriner. Singer: Thomas Allen.
  • Samuel Barber

    Adagio for Strings

    Orchestra: Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Andrew Litton.
  • Paul Oakenfold

    Another Day

    Orchestra: NBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Arturo Toscanini. Ensemble: Skip Raiders. Featured Artist: Jada.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Queen of the Night's Aria (The Magic Flute)

    Singer: Florence Foster Jenkins.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Boris Godunov (Act 1, excerpt)

    Orchestra: Orchestra of Opera North. Conductor: Paul Daniel. Singer: John Tomlinson.


11 things we learned from Harry Enfield’s Private Passions

11 things we learned from Harry Enfield’s Private Passions

Harry doesn't usually give interviews – but he couldn't say no to Michael Berkeley.

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.