Dirk Bogarde In His Own Words

Dirk Bogarde In His Own Words


This fascinating selection of extracts provides a vivid audio portrait of Dirk Bogarde, the award-winning actor and accomplished writer and artist who died in 1999.

Interviews include: Picture Parade, broadcast on BBC TV, 10 January 1961 (with Robert Robinson); The Movies, broadcast on BBC TV, 17 April 1967 (with Roger Hudson); Film Time, broadcast on BBC Radio, 12 June 1971 (with Anthony Bilbow); Parkinson, broadcast on BBC TV, 10 October 1971 (with Michael Parkinson); The Sounds of a Lifetime, broadcast on BBC Radio, 3 June 1972 (with Sheridan Morley); Profile, broadcast on BBC Radio, 18 March 1980 (with Kathleen Cheesmond); Parkinson, broadcast on BBC TV, 19 March 1980 (with Michael Parkinson); Woman's Hour, broadcast on BBC Radio, 19 March 1980 (with Jenni Mills) and 15 September 1986 (with Sarah Dunant); Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio, 31 December 1989 (with Sue Lawley); Bookshelf, BBC Radio, 13 March 1992 (with Nigel Forde).

Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the author

Dirk Bogarde

Dirk Bogarde was a legendary British actor and writer. Born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde in 1921, he was the son of art editor Ulric van den Bogaerde and actress Margaret Niven. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art, initially intending to follow in his father's footsteps and become an art critic, but dropped out to become an actor. He made his acting debut in 1939, and the same year performed in his first West End play, Cornelius by J. B. Priestley. He joined the Queen's Royal Regiment during World War II, and was deeply affected by the terrible inhumanity of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He made a number of sketches and paintings of the war, several of which are now in the Imperial War Museum's collection. After the war, he returned to acting and changed his name to Dirk Bogarde. His performance on stage in the 1947 play Power Without Glory was acclaimed by Noël Coward, and he was signed by the Rank Organisation , making his first credited film debut in Dancing with Crime. His first lead role came the following year, as William Latch in Sin of Esther Waters, but he did not make his breakthrough until 1950, when he was cast as young cop-killer Tom Riley in The Blue Lamp. In 1954, he made his first film with Joseph Losey, a Communist director who had been blacklisted in Hollywood. The Sleeping Tiger was not a great success, but later that year came the film that made him a star - Doctor in the House, in which he played Dr. Simon Sparrow. The role made him into a matinée idol and one of the most popular film stars of the 1950s. He reprised it in Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957). In 1958, he performed on stage in Jezebel, which received poor reviews. This, combined with the pressure of public adoration and stage fright, led him to give up acting in the theatre. The Sixties saw a complete change of direction for Bogarde's career. After leaving Rank, he decided to concentrate on arthouse films rather than mainstream ones, and left behind his heartthrob image when he appeared as a homosexual barrister in Victim (1961). The film alienated many of Bogarde's fans, but he was unrepentant, going on to appear in many subsequent 'anti-hero' roles. He won a BAFTA for his starring performance in Joseph Losey's classic 1963 film The Servant (scripted by Harold Pinter) and played the lead in another Losey/Pinter collaboration, Accident (1967), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Another great director/actor partnership was formed in 1969 when Bogarde starred in Luchino Visconti's The Damned, and two years later in a career-defining role as Aschenbach in Death in Venice. Bogarde described his performance as 'the peak and end of my career', but he went on to star in several other highly-acclaimed films, including Liliana Cavani's controversial The Night Porter (1974), co-starring Charlotte Rampling; the award-winning Providence (1977); and A Bridge too Far (1977), which won three BAFTAs. His last film role was as a dying father in Daddy Nostalgia (1990), which won him widespread praise. Bogarde's successful writing career started in 1977, when he published his memoirs, A Postillion Struck By Lightning, the first in a series of eight autobiographies. He also wrote six novels, including Voices in the Garden (1981) which was televised in 1983 and two mystery novels, Jericho (1991) and its sequel A Period of Adjustment (1994). He also wrote articles for several newspapers, and reviewed books for the Daily Telegraph. In 1990, the French Government awarded Bogarde the Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the following year he received the London Film Critics Circle Lifetime Award. He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1992. Dirk Bogarde died in 1999, aged 78.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more