June Brown invites Ipswich High choirs onto Desert Island Discs

On Sunday 12th February, the Ipswich High School for Girls combined choirs (Piccolo Chamber Choir, Senior Chamber Choir and Senior Choir) featured on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

Former Ipswich High School pupil, actress June Brown was the featured guest on the show and shared the eight records she would take with her to a desert island. June approached Mrs Chillingworth, Director of Music at Ipswich High School and asked if the School choirs could perform a rendition of ‘O Brother Man’, one of her favourite hymns which she fondly recalls singing during her time at Ipswich High School in the 1930s and 1940s.

Mrs Chillingworth, Director of Music recounted her conversation with June on the telephone:

“June had a clear idea of how she wanted the hymn to be sung by the choir and gave me some specific direction for the performance. She recalled her time at Ipswich High School and how she used to sing this hymn as a lullaby for her six small children. We were delighted to follow her direction and perform the song for her Desert Island Discs appearance.”

June Brown was born in Suffolk in 1927 and came to Ipswich High School for Girls on a Scholarship. After school, she was classically trained at the Old Vic and became a hardworking actress despite having a large family. June is best known for her role as Dot Cotton (now Dot Branning) on the BBC TV soap EastEnders, a part she has played since 1985. June was awarded an MBE for services to drama and charity in 2008.

The programme, which coincided with June’s 90th birthday is available to listen back to using the BBC iPlayer. Please visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08dmr01

The Ipswich High School performance can be found on our Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-128501458/o-brother-man