Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Jane Horrocks. She specialises in unconventional, complex roles - from the eccentric secretary Bubble in the cult sit-com Absolutely Fabulous to a bulimic teenager in Mike Leigh's film Life is Sweet. But the role that brought her the greatest public recognition and critical acclaim was Little Voice. Written especially for her, it told the story of a cripplingly shy girl who only finds liberation and expression when she takes on the voices of musical legends. Jane Horrocks's ability to sing like Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe, among others, was so convincing that the film's credits had to make it clear she had sung every note and not been dubbed by the originals.

The film had parallels with Jane's own life - as a shy school-girl, she too had discovered her facility for copying voices and would entertain family and friends with her portrayals of Shirley Bassey and Julie Andrews. She says that as soon as she found her gift she used it to win friends - and knew she had discovered her niche in life.

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

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