Soundtrack Of My Life: David Mitchell

Comedian. Actor. Writer. Owner of two albums

The first song I remember hearing

The theme tune to Van der Valk

“I think I was maybe four, but this was a song that I remember very clearly. I used to sing the theme tune from [’70s crime drama] Van der Valk a lot. I didn’t at the time know it was the theme tune from Van der Valk, but I heard it and liked it and I would hum it to myself. That was officially my favourite tune. It was a time in my life when it was important to officially have a favourite everything: colour, animal, food. This was my favourite song.”

The first album I ever bought


Phil Collins – ‘…But Seriously’

“As I have revealed on [BBC panel show] Would I Lie To You?, I have only ever bought two albums. For a long time I had only ever bought one, which was ‘…But Seriously’ by Phil Collins. I was 15 and I thought I should be more into music. So I went to WHSmith and I looked on their chart on the wall and at Number One was Phil Collins ‘…But Seriously’. I thought ‘well I’ll buy that one then’. If you want to know why I never bought another one – listen to it.”

The first gig I went to

Shirley Bassey – The SSE Arena, Wembley, 2006

“Again, I’ve only been to two. I went to see Shirley Bassey at Wembley Arena. It was remarkable. A friend of mine had been given two tickets and it was basically a lot of old couples and a lot of gay men in the audience. And she sang extremely loudly. Her technique for singing was to do the quiet bits very, very loudly and then when it gets to the loud bits, as much louder as someone who had done the quiet bits quietly would be able to do. She has got some lungs.”

The song I can no longer listen to


All nursery rhymes

“[When my daughter was] two years old, she insisted on nursery rhymes in the car over and over again. I think ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ [was the favourite], which I didn’t know had a tune.”

The song I do at karaoke

Fats Domino – ‘Blueberry Hill’

“I’ve only had a go at karaoke about twice. Maybe three times. I remember once doing ‘Blueberry Hill’. In my head I thought I would do it really well and then there was a terrible realisation of lack of talent on my part.”

The song that makes me want to dance

Anything after a drink

“Songs don’t really make me want to dance. Alcohol sometimes makes me want to dance. I think it would be unfair to credit the music. Credit the drink instead.”

The song I can’t get out of my head

Daft Punk – ‘Get Lucky’

“It’s got a very, very catchy tune but without being good, I would say. It’s like cigarettes. You’ve got straight to the addiction without providing the high. That’s the brilliance of nicotine. At least with heroin you presumably have a nice time before you suddenly start stealing people’s video recorders. But with nicotine, all it does is restore a feeling of normality. So I would say this song has got to the addictiveness without the high.”

The song that reminds me of home

The theme tune to Inspector Morse

“I grew up in Oxford in the heyday of Inspector Morse and we’d all sit down and watch it together on a Wednesday night. It’s not very creative of me, it’s the theme tune of a programme set in my hometown. It’s only particularly special because they were actually making it at the time I was living there as a child and teenager. In those days, television was the mightiest medium of anything that had ever existed, so we all felt very important that there was this hit show in ITV that was all filmed where we lived.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Whatever they want

“I work very hard not to care what happens at my funeral. The trouble is, you start thinking about it, then you realise you’ve been assuming you’ll be there and then you’ll be disappointed. They can do what they like, I won’t be there.”