Walliams rejects the Bible

…as he reveals loneliness on Desert Island Discs

David Walliams has become one of the few interviewees to refuse the Bible on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

All guests on the show are given the holy book, plus the Complete Works Of Shakespeare, when they are cast away on their fictional island.

But in today's show, Walliams breaks with tradition by telling host Kirsty Young: 'I don't want the Bible. I don't like the Bible.'

The 37-year-old also asked for a gun as his luxury item on the island, explaining: 'I would like to take a gun, because I don't like being on my own, so if I really start hating it I'm going to shoot myself.'

He describes himself as a 'driven' yet introverted person, who goes out to celebrity parties to avoid staying at home by himself. He said: ‘When I’m with my own thoughts I start to unravel myself and I start to think real dark thoughts, self-destructive thoughts. If somebody said to me you have to spend a weekend on your own, in your house, I wouldn’t be able to hack it.’

Walliams added that he found it hard to make friends and took up long-distance swimming because ‘it meant achieving something to counter my own self-loathing. It was something of which I could be proud.’

He admits that he has 'not been in love - not a love that was requited - for about seven years'

Walliams's choice of eight records included Nick Cave's Into My Arms and The Smiths song Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want. Young told him: 'I don't think I've ever seen a list more full of longing.'

The comic also addressed the constant talk about his sexuality, saying that although he may be 'camp' and 'effeminate', he prefers women.

He said: 'Sometimes I just think it'd be simpler if I was [gay], because everyone thinks I am. I'm quite camp. But, no, I don't think I am. If I was gay, I'd just get on with it. But, definitely, I love women, I love being around women. I find them intoxicating, and I've never had that feeling that I get with a woman, with a man.'

But it is his refusal to take the Bible that may provide one of the more controversial moments of the interview. Members of the National Secular Society last year lobbied the BBC when opera director David McVicar refused the bible, as host Kirsty Young told him the only permissible substitute would be another religious text.

Writer Tariq Ali also refused the book last year, and Joe Simpson, the climber who crawled for three days back to base camp when he smashed his leg in the Andes, refused the Bible in 2004.

Outspoken Seventies showjumper Harvey Smith refused to name a book he would take to a desert island, not even Shakespeare or the Bible – but his stance was not secular. He told original presenter Roy Plomley: 'I've never read a book in my life and don't intend to start for you, sir.'

Walliams can be heard on Desert Island Discs at 11.15am today and 9am tomorrow. Rights issues means the show is not available on the BBC's iPlayer catch-up service.

Published: 22 Feb 2009

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