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Alastair Campbell to discuss how music helped him manage his depression on Radio 3's Private Passions

The former director of communications to Tony Blair will join BBC Radio 3's Michael Berkeley to discuss his favourite music, from Mozart and Schubert to Jacques Brel and bagpipe tunes

Published: June 14, 2021 at 12:16 pm

Alastair Campbell will appear as this week's guest on BBC Radio 3's Private Passions, sharing the music that helped him manage his depression. The former politician and Downing Street director of communications will join Michael Berkeley to discuss his lifelong passion for the bagpipes, which he and his brother Donald learned when they were children. Alastair went on to play the bagpipes as a busker in the south of France when he was a student. It was here he discovered the songs of Jacques Brel, which will be featured in the programme.


When Donald died, he left Alastair his bagpipes and a number of recordings of himself playing, one of which will be featured in the programme. Both Campbell brothers have lived with mental illness: Donald was diagnosed with schizophrenia when Alastair was 19, an event which he refers to as 'a defining event in my life'.

Since leaving Number 10, Campbell has become a writer and mental health campaigner, recently releasing a memoir, Living Better: How I Learned to Survive Depression. In Private Passions, he describes the role the music of Mozart and Schubert played in managing and living with depression.

You can buy Alastair Campbell's new book, Living Better: How I Learned to Survive Depression, from the following outlets:

Alastair Campbell will appear on Radio 3's Private Passions with Michael Berkeley on Sunday 27 June at 12pm.


Image credit: Getty Images


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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