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

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 19 Mar 2004 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestBill Nighy

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes


Desert island discs 75th anniversary 1920x1080

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

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs at 75 1920x1080

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?