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Arnold Wesker

Kirsty Young's castaway is playwright Arnold Wesker.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the playwright Sir Arnold Wesker. He's a prolific writer and has penned more than 40 plays as well as books of poetry, short stories, children's tales and most recently a novel. But he first came to prominence in the late 1950s as one of the group of Angry Young Men; dramatists who made their art out of the stuff of everyday life.

He was the son of Jewish communists and was brought up in the East End of London in the 1930s. He remembers being taken on marches and demonstrations and says that memories of Cable Street, when Oswald Mosley was prevented from marching his blackshirts through predominantly Jewish areas of London, weighed heavily in his home. His background strongly informed his writing and his first five plays were all staged at the Royal Court Theatre. He says that even today, he must write something each day as a way of justifying his existence - even if it is only his daily diary entry.

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

Favourite track: The end of Gurrelieder by Arnold Schoenberg
Book: Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
Luxury: Supplies of pen and paper

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 22 Dec 2006 09:00

Music Played

  • José Pablo Moncayo


    Orchestra: Orquesta Sinfonica De Minerai Conductor: Herrera De La Fuente

    • Herrera De La Fuente: Works by Moncayo.
    • IMP.
  • Shigeaki Saegusa

    Oratorio Yamato Taker

  • Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

    Magnificat in D major

    Soloist: Venceslava Hruba-Freiberger, Barbara Bornemann, Peter Schreier, Olaf Bar

    • Magnificat.
    • Berlin Classics.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Arnold Schoenberg

      Gurrelieder (finale)

      Orchestra: The Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir of Berlin

      • Schoenberg: Gurrelieder.
      • Decca.
  • Ben Till / Arnold Wesker

    Shone with the Sun

    Soloist: Katina Kangaris, Fiona Brice, Alice Butcher, Rebecca Todd, Megan Stewart

    • Shone with the Sun.
  • Richard Strauss

    Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren (from Der Rosenkavalier)

    Soloist: Christa Ludwig and Teresa Stich-Randall Orchestra: The Philharmonia Orchestra Conductor: Herbert von Karajan

    • Der Rosenkavalier.
    • EMI.
  • Lionel Richie

    Dancing on the Ceiling

    • Back to Front (Best of Lionel Richie).
    • Motown.
  • Joe Satriani


    • The Extremist.
    • Relativity.
  • Book Choice

    • A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu - Marcel Proust

  • Luxury Choice

    • Supplies of pen and paper


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Arnold Wesker


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