About this Recording
NA217212 - SOAMES, N.: Famous People in History, Vol. 1 (Unabridged)

Nicolas Soames

Nicolas Soames


Christopher Columbus • Elizabeth I • William Shakespeare

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart • Lord Nelson • Charles Darwin

Florence Nightingale • Abraham Lincoln • Anne Frank


It is not given to everyone to change the world they live in — or have an effect on generations of people well after they have gone. It happens to only a few — these are the famous people in history.


You cannot always tell when a person is young that he or she will make a mark upon the world. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a musical prodigy — everyone who saw him perform when he was five, six or seven, knew that. But not all prodigies grow up to be exceptional adults — though Mozart did, writing music that is far more popular now than when he was alive.


And some people seem very ordinary when young; Anne Frank, who was just a normal girl until circumstances suddenly showed that she was  rather exceptional as a personality as well as a writer. And then there is William Shakespeare, who is one of the greatest mysteries because his remarkable genius seemed to have emerged from the most normal background.

Famous people lay the big stepping-stones of history — though

sometimes becoming famous is a surprise to the person himself. Charles Darwin didn’t mean to produce the theory of evolution and change the way we view the development of life on Planet Earth. He just couldn’t stop himself realizing it.


There are also those people who were put into situations by circumstances and just had to make the best of it — and their best was brilliant. Thus Queen Elizabeth, Admiral Nelson and Abraham Lincoln turned the tide of history because they were in positions of authority, which made them achieve what they did; much the same applies to Florence Nightingale, who was truly a woman with a mission.


And then, there are the people of vision and madness. What prompted Christopher Columbus to forge ahead single-mindedly to find the land that he KNEW was out there? Who knows what possessed him in his dreams, which made him brave the wild, unknown seas and even worse, the indifference of very ordinary, boring people who only wanted one thing — gold.


These are the qualities that make up the truly famous person. For him or her, fame is a result, not a goal. Some people say they want to become famous, but none of the figures featured on this recording cared about fame. They just had a burning desire to do something —  and as a result, they achieved a fame that will last for as long as history is read and told and heard.


About the Readers


Trevor Nichols has read many serials and short stories for BBC Woman’s Hour including Knowledge of Angels (Jill Paton Walsh) and The Crossing of the Heralds (Rose Tremain). Also Morning Story and Afternoon Story for BBC. Readings for Cleo Press and Chivers include Gold Mine (Wilbur Smith). Also poetry: Trevor McDonald’s Favourite Poems. Wide range includes young voices, many regional accents - and comfortable playing women on audio!

Katinka Wolf is a well-known figure in fringe theater having taken a variety of roles in both classical and modern drama. She recently appeared in The Duchess of Malfi in the West End. The voice of Katinka Wolf, a fluent Dutch speaker, has been the voice of Anne in the Anne Frank Museum in Prinsengracht for more than a decade.

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