Robert Powell talks about ancestors and his latest show on Rudyard Kipling

Stage and screen actor Robert Powell’s ancestry was deemed too boring for Who Do you Think You Are?

Tuesday, 7th April 2015, 5:29 pm
Actor Robert Powell ... photograph by Hattie Miles
Actor Robert Powell ... photograph by Hattie Miles

Stage and screen actor Robert Powell’s ancestry was deemed too boring for Who Do you Think You Are?

The legendary actor (Jesus of Nazareth, Holby City, Detectives) divulged his disappointment whilst talking about his theatre show, coming to Buxton this weekend.

“The programme asked me to give them a few dates of family births, but after three months they said they wouldn’t do it as it was too boring – seven generations back of Powells and they were all born in Salford and none of them had gone to prison or anything like that,” he said.

Robert will be treating audiences at the Opera House to Just So, a tribute to The Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling, with music and poetry.

The evening explores idyllic memories of the writer’s life, from his time in India which inspired the 1894 collection of stories –The Just So Stories and The Jungle Book, to the horrors of the First World War.

“As a kid I was an avid reader of the Just So Stories,” he said. “When we were thinking of another subject for our recitals – we’d already done Jane Austen, Debussy and Charles Dickens – we suggested Kipling. It sparked a memory in me and quite a lot of research and effort later we had a show.”

The evening provides audiences with a rare chance to revisit Kipling’s broad range of work, enhanced with music from Christine Croshaw on Piano and Clive Conway on flute. The talented trio have won admiration from audiences and critics alike.

“The show has had a terrific response, it surprised me slightly. I knew it was interesting to me and it has lovely music as well, but the response has been very powerful.

“It’s a great tale in itself. People think they know Kipling’s work, they think they know all about him, but a lot of the show comes as a revelation, I think. One of the things I didn’t realise was that he had a desperately unhappy childhood. It’s sad to know that about someone whose work has provided so much happiness to children. This year marks the 150 anniversary of Rudyard’s birth and it just felt right to do the show.”

The piece also ties in with the anniversary of the First World War since Kipling was one of the prime chroniclers during that time.

‘It covers the start of the First World War from the point of view of what happened to Kipling. As a result he lost his son and he very presciently foresaw the war long before anyone else, as early as the late 1890s he had a feeling of foreboding.’

Just So with Robert Powell takes place in Buxton Opera House on Sunday, April 12, at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £18 and discounts are available. To buy tickets visit the box office, call 0845 127 2190 or book online at