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Jack Higgins

Sue Lawley's castaway is writer Jack Higgins.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the thriller writer Harry Patterson - otherwise known as Jack Higgins. Harry Patterson grew up in the midst of the violence and disarray of 1940s Belfast and the turmoil he witnessed there has been an enduring influence on his work. He always knew he wanted to become a writer, but he wasn't a promising pupil at school and left without qualifications. He took himself off to evening classes, gained a degree and trained as a teacher - but he spent every spare evening dreaming up plots for thrillers, always hoping that they might earn him 'an extra bob or two'.

A chance encounter with one of his old teachers made him change his style and develop his characters more fully. He took on the pseudonym Jack Higgins and, in his mid-forties, wrote the book that made him a household name: The Eagle Has Landed. He's written more than sixty novels and sold hundreds of millions of books worldwide. He is one of the few British writers to be as successful in America as here and, at the age of 76, is still creating new plots and new characters.

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

Favourite track: Let's Face the Music and Dance by Fred Astaire
Book: Complete works by Charles Dickens
Luxury: Mobile phone

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 10 Mar 2006 09:00

Music Played

  • Fred Astaire

    They Can't Take that Away from Me

    • Songs from the Movies.
    • Past Perfect.
  • The Choirboys

    Danny Boy

    • The Choirboys.
    • Universal Classics.
  • Fred Astaire

    A Foggy Day

    • Songs from the Movies.
    • Past Perfect.
  • Giuseppe Verdi

    Grand March (from Aida)

    Orchestra: The Mounted Band of the Blues and Royals

    • Music from the 1991 Royal Tournament.
    • Bandleader.
  • Peter Katin

    Le Pastour (Shepherd)

    • Children's Corner: Peter Katin, piano.
    • Simax.
  • Ramirez

    Gloria - from Misa Criolla - the Brazilian Mass

    Soloist: Mercedes Sosa

    • Misa Criolla Mercedes Sosa.
    • Decca.
  • Rod Stewart


    • Atlantic Crossing.
    • Warner.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Fred Astaire

      Let's Face the Music and Dance

      • The Cream of Fred Astaire.
      • Flapper.
  • Book Choice

    • The complete works - Charles Dickens

  • Luxury Choice

    • Mobile phone


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Jack Higgins


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