Jamie Dornan leaves fans in tears with ‘incredibly moving’ Desert Island Discs confession

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Jamie Dornan has reflected on the Fifty Shades of Grey “ridicule” he still faces to this day in a highly “emotional” episode of Desert Island Discs that left many listeners in tears.

On Sunday (28 January), Dornan appeared on the BBC Radio 4 show, hosted by Lauren Laverne, where he discussed his involvement with the franchise as well as his “guilt” at struggling to “remember” details about his mother, who died when he was 16.

About EL James adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey, the Northern Irish actor, who played Christian Grey opposite Dakota Johnson, said that the 2015 film’s director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and her actor-husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson supported him in the wake of the negative reviews by offering him a stay at their empty country home so he could escape the criticism.

Dornan told Laverne that he “hid for a while” with his wife Amelia Warner in the immediate aftermath of the first film’s release, saying: “They let us have their place in the country and we just shut ourselves from the world for a bit and then came out the other side.”

He continued: “I was coming off the back of career-altering reviews for The Fall and Bafta nominations and all of this sort of madness – and then I was brought to just ridicule, almost.”

Dornan, who was recently interviewed by The Independent, said it was a particularly “strange” situation as he was contractually required to do two more Fifty Shades films despite knowing how poorly the first one was received.

“It was a strange thing because then you are like: ‘Well, there is a bit of ridicule here, yet I’m now contractually doing two more of them’ – and knowing there would be more of that damnation to come,” he said.

“And even now, when I’ve just had very glowing reviews for recent work, there wouldn’t be many of them that don’t mention Fifty Shades. A lot of reviews are like: ‘He’s great, but lest we forget, here’s when he wasn’t great.’ Give us a chance!”

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (Rex Features)
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (Rex Features)

Dornan has been praised for the interview, in which he could be heard fighting back tears while talking about his mother’s death, which occurred when he was 16. The actor recalled how his dad Jim, who died during the pandemic, told him of his mother’s terminal illness in a frank conversation following a rugby match.

“I am sort of thankful it was told to me straight like that,” he said, adding: “It’s a funny thing. I sometimes feel guilty saying this, but there’s a lot I don’t remember about her. You are not expecting any of that to be taken away.”

Jamie Dornan fought back tears in ‘emotional’ ‘Desert Island Discs’ episode (Getty Images for Loewe)
Jamie Dornan fought back tears in ‘emotional’ ‘Desert Island Discs’ episode (Getty Images for Loewe)

Listeners have been praising Dornan for the “incredibly moving” appearance, with one person writing: “My hungover state cannot cope with the lovely Jamie Dornan fighting back tears on Desert island discs on @BBCRadio4 this morning.”

Another listener added: “In bits listening to Jamie Dornan on @BBCRadio4,” with one person writing on X/Twitter: “Didn’t think it was possible to love him more, but I was wrong.”