Sunday, 5 February 2017

Betty's Desert Island Discs


Like many Coronation Street fans I still miss seeing the legendary Betty Driver behind the bar of the Rovers Return. With her twinkly eyes and sparkling sense of humour, Betty was a natural fit for Corrie and graced our screens for over forty years as the no-nonsense hot pot queen.

There was much, much more to Betty than the cobbles of Weatherfield though. Before she died, at the grand old age of 91, Driver joined Kirsty Young for one of my all-time favourite editions of BBC Radio Four's Desert Island Discs. The show sees well-known public figures select the eight records they'd want with them should they find themselves cast away on their desert island. The premise is pretty simple but we learn so much about the individuals from their choices and thanks to a little gentle probing from Kirsty. I remember listening to the programme when it was originally broadcast and thanks to the brilliant archive online, you can listen again whenever the mood takes you.


Betty was her usual warm, lovable self during the interview but for me it was the amazing optimism of the woman that struck me most. She told her life story, which was often far from easy and straight forward, without so much as a hint of self-pity and given some of the experiences she'd had, few could blame her if she had. Betty's career dated back to the 1930s and she really was a phenomenal all-rounder. She was a recording artist, made films, toured the country in musicals, revues and plays and entertained the troops during the Second World War. It was so refreshing to hear such honesty from a famous face, while not courting controversy or recognition. It was also lovely to hear how much she still (in 2011) loved being part of the Coronation Street family. 

I'll be honest, Betty's Desert Island Discs moved me to tears, particularly as she talked about her early life and her wartime experiences. As fans, we were so lucky to have her in Coronation Street for 42 years. She was a true force of nature and they quite simply do not make them like that any more. 


If you want to listen again to Betty's appearance on Desert Island Discs, you can find it on the BBC's fabulous DID Archive. A link to their site is here

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the link, Graeme. Very happy that it works in Canada! Have saved for my future enjoyment.

Maricha said...

Thank you Graeme.

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