Main content

Bill Nighy

Sue Lawley's castaway is actor Bill Nighy.

This week Sue's castaway is the award winning actor Bill Nighy.
Originally from Caterham in Surrey, he left school at 15 without any qualifications and ended up working at his local employment office. He hoped to become an author and began work on The Field magazine as a messenger boy, but then ran away to Paris at seventeen to write a novel. This venture failed and he ended up begging on the streets before returning to Britain and the Guildford School of Drama and Dance.

His first film role was as a delivery boy in Joan Collins' steamy film The Bitch. He's featured in numerous stage, TV, and radio dramas including the acclaimed Men's Room in 1991 and, more recently, in State of Play, where he played a newspaper editor. His career has been described by some critics as a slow burn rather than a beacon, although he's now widely recognised as achieving the acclaim he deserves. In February he won Best Supporting Actor at the Baftas for his role as Billy Mack, a washed up singer in the film Love Actually.

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

Favourite track: Winter by The Rolling Stones
Book: 1st edition of 49 Stories by Ernest Hemingway
Luxury: Boxed set of blues harps (harmonicas) and instruction book

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 19 Mar 2004 09:00

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • The Rolling Stones

    Gimme Shelter

    • Let It Bleed.
    • London.
  • James Brown

    I Feel Good

    • Soundtrack to Good Morning Vietnam.
    • AM & PM.
  • Bob Dylan

    Just Like Tom Thumb Blues

    • More Bob Dylan: Greatest Hits.
    • Columbia.
  • The Who

    Won't Get Fooled Again

    • My Generation: The Very Best Of The Who.
    • Polydor.
  • Marvin Gaye

    My Love Is Waiting

    • Midnight Love.
    • CBS.
  • John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison

    Healing Game

    • Don't Look Back.
    • Pointblank.
  • Freaky Realistic

    Koochie Ryder

    • Frealism.
    • Polydor.
  • Castaway's Favourite

  • Book Choice

    • 1st edition of 49 Stories - Ernest Hemingway

  • Luxury Choice

    • Boxed set of blues harps (harmonicas) and instruction book


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Bill Nighy


Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes


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

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

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