desert island disks
In 1951 George Formby was invited to appear on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs which was hosted by Roy Plomley. There are many recordings of Desert Island Discs which are now available to listen to on the BBC website but sadly, George's appearance was either deleted and the tape reused, or maybe never even recorded. It is not available at the BBC's website but details of George's choices are there. However there appears to be a discrepancy in that one of GF's choices lists his biggest hit "Leaning On A Lampost" - according to a new book, "Desert Island Discs - 70 Years of Castaways" written by Sean Magee and published by Bantam Press, the list of George's choices omits 'Lampost' but includes "Standing At The Corner Of the Street" by George Formby Snr. I believe George would have chosen one of his dad's songs rather than one of his own so I believe the book to be the more reliable source. ‘Always an exciting event in the West End theatre,’ says Roy Plomley, ‘is the advent of a new star comedian. On our desert island this evening is a brand new discovery who is packing the customers into one of the largest theatres in London – but although he’s new to the West End I’m quite positive that to you and me, whose horizons are larger, he’s no new discovery at all. In fact he’s a very old friend of ours, George Formby.’ What would this castaway miss most? The thing that would really get me down would be not being able to get a pot of tea. I’m lost without my tea, you know. ‘That’s where you’d have to be ingenious,’ suggests Plomley solicitously. ‘You’d have to experiment with different sorts of dried leaves, and brew up in a coconut shell.’ But Formby is adamant that being cast away would be no fun at all: ‘Let’s face it – I can’t cook, I couldn’t kill anything, I don’t like fruit... I’d last out on grass for three weeks – not that I like grass, mind you. The castaway’s early choice of records concentrates on the vocal: Bing Crosby (There’s nobody in the world quite like him and I don’t think there ever will be’); Vera Lynn (It’s a genuine pleasure to hear the clean way she hits every note, and the way she phrases the song’). By this period Roy Plomley was tending to vary the Desert Island Discs pace a little more than in the earliest days, by making a fresh injection of autobiographical material as the programme neared its end. On this occasion he prompts his guest to reminisce about his father. ‘He didn’t want me to go into the profession.’ Says George Formby junior of George Formby senior: “My son’s going to have a proper career,” he said... It was soon after dad died. I went into a music hall one evening and heard a comic using the old man’s gags. I said to myself, “If anyone’s entitled to those jokes, I am.” I went out and bought a couple of Dad’s records – including the one I’m going to play now – and I learned the songs. A week later I opened at the Hippodrome, Earlstown [near St. Helens].’ ‘As easy as that,’ observes Plomley. ‘It wasn’t easy, I can tell you. I had to learn the whole business from the start. I was a raw amateur. But I suppose it was in my blood, and I didn’t find it as difficult as I might have done. But I took the precaution of not starting under my own name. If I was going to flop, I didn’t want to drag my dad’s name into it. By now the final minute of Desert Island Discs brought in that newly minted question: ‘If you could take one extra object to the island, apart from something useful like a knife or a kettle, what would it be?’ Formby does not hesitate: ‘My uke. I’d be lost without that. But not the uke I use nowadays. I’d take the first one I ever had – the one I serenaded Beryl with when we were courting – the one I taught myself to play on first of all. It would keep my spirits up, and I might even be able to find a monkey who liked listening to it.’ Desert Island Discs - 70 Years Of Castaways BBC Desert Island Discs
Castaway George would miss his cup of tea most
MacNamara's Band - Bing Crosby
 Hear My Song, Violetta - Josef Locke
Be Like the Kettle And Sing - Vera Lynn
The Shot Gun Boogie - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Londonderry Air
The Kerry Dance - John McCormack
Never Trust A Woman - Phil Harris
Standing At The Corner Of The Street - George Formby senior
Listen to George’s selection
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In 1951 George Formby was invited to appear on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs which was hosted by Roy Plomley. There are many recordings of Desert Island Discs which are now available to listen to on the BBC website but sadly, George's appearance was either deleted and the tape reused, or maybe never even recorded. It is not available at the BBC's website but details of George's choices are there. However there appears to be a discrepancy in that one of GF's choices lists his biggest hit "Leaning On A Lampost" - according to a new book, "Desert Island Discs - 70 Years of Castaways" written by Sean Magee and published by Bantam Press, the list of George's choices omits 'Lampost' but includes "Standing At The Corner Of the Street" by George Formby Snr. I believe George would have chosen one of his dad's songs rather than one of his own so I believe the book to be the more reliable source. ‘Always an exciting event in the West End theatre,’ says Roy Plomley, ‘is the advent of a new star comedian. On our desert island this evening is a brand new discovery who is packing the customers into one of the largest theatres in London – but although he’s new to the West End I’m quite positive that to you and me, whose horizons are larger, he’s no new discovery at all. In fact he’s a very old friend of ours, George Formby.’ What would this castaway miss most? The thing that would really get me down would be not being able to get a pot of tea. I’m lost without my tea, you know. ‘That’s where you’d have to be ingenious,’ suggests Plomley solicitously. ‘You’d have to experiment with different sorts of dried leaves, and brew up in a coconut shell.’ But Formby is adamant that being cast away would be no fun at all: ‘Let’s face it – I can’t cook, I couldn’t kill anything, I don’t like fruit... I’d last out on grass for three weeks – not that I like grass, mind you. The castaway’s early choice of records concentrates on the vocal: Bing Crosby (There’s nobody in the world quite like him and I don’t think there ever will be’); Vera Lynn (It’s a genuine pleasure to hear the clean way she hits every note, and the way she phrases the song’). By this period Roy Plomley was tending to vary the Desert Island Discs pace a little more than in the earliest days, by making a fresh injection of autobiographical material as the programme neared its end. On this occasion he prompts his guest to reminisce about his father. ‘He didn’t want me to go into the profession.’ Says George Formby junior of George Formby senior: “My son’s going to have a proper career,” he said... It was soon after dad died. I went into a music hall one evening and heard a comic using the old man’s gags. I said to myself, “If anyone’s entitled to those jokes, I am.” I went out and bought a couple of Dad’s records – including the one I’m going to play now – and I learned the songs. A week later I opened at the Hippodrome, Earlstown [near St. Helens].’ ‘As easy as that,’ observes Plomley. ‘It wasn’t easy, I can tell you. I had to learn the whole business from the start. I was a raw amateur. But I suppose it was in my blood, and I didn’t find it as difficult as I might have done. But I took the precaution of not starting under my own name. If I was going to flop, I didn’t want to drag my dad’s name into it. By now the final minute of Desert Island Discs brought in that newly minted question: ‘If you could take one extra object to the island, apart from something useful like a knife or a kettle, what would it be?’ Formby does not hesitate: ‘My uke. I’d be lost without that. But not the uke I use nowadays. I’d take the first one I ever had – the one I serenaded Beryl with when we were courting – the one I taught myself to play on first of all. It would keep my spirits up, and I might even be able to find a monkey who liked listening to it.’ Desert Island Discs - 70 Years Of Castaways BBC Desert Island Discs
Castaway George would miss his cup of tea most
MacNamara's Band - Bing Crosby
 Hear My Song, Violetta - Josef Locke
Be Like the Kettle And Sing - Vera Lynn
The Shot Gun Boogie - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Londonderry Air
The Kerry Dance - John McCormack
Never Trust A Woman - Phil Harris
Listen to George’s selection
desert island disks
MacNamara's Band - Bing Crosby
 Hear My Song, Violetta - Josef Locke
Standing At The Corner Of The Street  George Formby senior
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