A host of stars have joined forces to celebrate William Wordsworth on the 250th anniversary of his birth.
The celebrities who each recorded their favourite Wordsworth poems include QI’s Stephen Fry, Prof. Brian Cox, comedian and actor Caroline Quentin, and actor William H Macy.
Wordsworth’s descendants are now appealing to the public to send in their own readings in order to help them build a living archive of his work.
Wordsworth 250 came about after the COVID19 pandemic halted original plans to mark the anniversary with a range of celebrations in the Lake District.
“After that was cancelled, I emailed everybody in the family and said, ‘Look, why don’t we all send in our favourite Wordsworth poems, we could just put those out, us recording them on our iPhones’. I thought Wordsworths reading Wordsworth would be a bit amusing,” said Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the poet’s great-great-great-grandson.
Around 50 direct Wordsworth descendants had initially began the project as a family but after one contacted Stephen Fry, who jumped at the chance to join in, an avalanche of celebrities also got involved, including Ruth Wilson, Tom Conti, and Hugh Bonneville.
“Lo and behold, we found that actually everybody rather likes Wordsworth,” said descendant Christopher. “Not just the daffodils and Westminster Bridge, but a whole load of other things as well. I was terrified about getting 50 daffodils readings, but actually people have sort of veered away from that.”
“The celebrities tend not to want to be filmed because they’re not going to be looking beautiful, but everyone else is doing it on their phones. Video or audio, I don’t mind,” he said.