Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qnmr
Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.


John Cooper Clarke, poet
Jul 21 • 44 min
John Cooper Clarke first achieved fame with his poetry during the punk rock era of the late 1970s. Born in Salford in 1949 to Hilda and George, he suffered from tuberculosis as a child and was sent to recuperate with a relative in Wales. He failed his 11…
Marcus Wareing, chef
Jul 14 • 37 min
Marcus Wareing is a prize-winning chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and cookery book writer, who gained his first Michelin star at the age of just 26. He grew up in Southport, and by the age of 11 was helping out in his family’s fruit and vegetable…
Sue Biggs, DG Royal Horticultural Society
Jul 7 • 37 min
Sue Biggs is the Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society. She’s been at the helm of the RHS since 2010 and during that time, its membership has grown to more than half a million people. The RHS is also renowned for its spectacular flower shows…
Jared Diamond, academic and author
Jun 30 • 41 min
Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, although his interests and expertise range far wider, from physiology to ornithology, history to ecology and from anthropology to evolutionary biology. His 1997 book,…
Emily Eavis, festival organiser
Jun 23 • 46 min
Emily Eavis is co-organiser of the Glastonbury Festival. Together with her husband and her father, she masterminds the booking of bands and oversees the setting up of what is the largest greenfield festival in the world. The site itself becomes the size…
Nitin Sawhney, musician, producer, composer
Jun 16 • 39 min
Nitin Sawhney is a composer, musician and producer working in the worlds of music, film, video games, dance and theatre. He has released 10 studio albums, scored over 50 films and television programmes, and is known for his collaborations, with musicians…
Professor Monica McWilliams, social scientist
Jun 9 • 37 min
Professor Monica McWilliams is an academic, peace campaigner and former politician. In 1996, she was the co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected to a seat at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which led to the…
Lubaina Himid, artist
Jun 2 • 38 min
Lubaina Himid is a Turner Prize-winning artist, curator and Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. Lubaina was born in Zanzibar in 1954. Her mother was from Britain and her father was originally from the Comoros Islands. He…
Derren Brown, illusionist
May 26 • 39 min
Derren Brown, illusionist and mentalist, chooses the eight tracks, book and luxury he want to take with him if cast away to a desert island. BOOK CHOICE: Collected works of Carl Jung LUXURY: Leica Camera CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE: Goldberg Variations…
Pat McGrath, makeup artist
May 19 • 39 min
Pat McGrath is a renowned make-up artist. She works with the world’s top designers, photographers, editors and models, creating images for the pages of the world’s most glamorous magazines. She and her team also work at the most high-profile catwalk shows…
Louis Theroux
May 12 • 51 min
Louis Theroux is a television documentary maker. He has received two BAFTAs and a Royal Television Society Award for his work which includes the series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and When Louis Met… Born in 1970, and brought up in south London, he is…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Tracey Emin
May 5 • 33 min
Another chance to hear artist Tracey Emin’s Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley, first broadcast in November 2004. Tracey Emin is one of the most successful and controversial artists to emerge during the 1990s. Her work was championed early on by…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Apr 28 • 35 min
Another chance to hear Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell choose her Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley. First broadcast 24th December, 2000. Jocelyn Bell Burnell was only twenty-four when she made the discovery of a lifetime: As she was mapping the…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Mary Berry
Apr 21 • 43 min
Another chance to hear Mary Berry’s Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young from 2012. Mary Berry is one of the UK’s best-known and respected cookery writers. More than six million copies of her books have now been sold - not bad for a girl who failed her…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Ade Adepitan
Apr 14 • 32 min
Another chance to hear Paralympian and broadcaster Ade Adepitan interviewed by Kirsty Young in 2012. When he’s not stuck in a studio explaining the intricacies of Goalball he’s reporting from the rainforests of Nicaragua or the middle of the Atlantic…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Ricky Gervais
Apr 7 • 33 min
Another chance to listen to the comedian, Ricky Gervais speaking to Kirsty Young in 2007. In just twelve episodes, his show The Office changed the face of British television comedy. At its centre was the comic monster, David Brent, a middle-manager being…
Martin Freeman, actor
Mar 31 • 53 min
Martin Freeman is a multi-award winning actor, best known for his roles as the lovable Tim in BBC Two’s The Office and as Dr Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. He also played Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, Lester Nygaard…
Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK
Mar 24 • 37 min
Lauren Laverne’s castaway this week is Jacqueline de Rojas, the President of techUK, the body that represents 900 companies in the technology sector. She is Chair of the Board of Digital Leaders, co-Chair of the Institute of Coding and sits on the…
Marlon James, writer
Mar 17 • 44 min
Marlon James is a writer who won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 for A Brief History of Seven Killings, a novel which centres on an attempt to assassinate Bob Marley. Marlon was the first Jamaican to win the Prize. He was born in Kingston in 1970 and grew up…
Dame Esther Rantzen, broadcaster and campaigner
Mar 10 • 49 min
Dame Esther Rantzen is best known as the presenter of the long-running TV series That’s Life, which began on BBC One in 1973. She was both presenter and producer of the programme, which was hugely successful, regularly reaching 20 million viewers. It…
Trevor Sorbie, hairdresser
Mar 3 • 36 min
Trevor Sorbie is known as an innovative hairdresser and is the founder of the charity, MyNewHair. Born into a family of hairdressers – both his father and grandfather were barbers – he spent the first decade of his life in Scotland before the family…
Margaret MacMillan, historian
Feb 24 • 39 min
Professor Margaret MacMillan is a Canadian historian, author and broadcaster. In 2018 she delivered the Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4, in which she examined the tangled history of war and society. She was born in Toronto in 1943, and her interest in…
Ann Cleeves, writer
Feb 17 • 37 min
Ann Cleeves is a crime writer best known for two series of novels, both of which have been adapted for television. Vera, for ITV, features her detective Vera Stanhope, and Shetland, for the BBC, focuses on DI Jimmy Perez, who works for the Shetland…
Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
Feb 10 • 40 min
Cressida Dick is Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. She was born in 1960, the youngest child of two university professors. Her parents divorced when she was still at primary school and she and her older siblings grew up in Oxford. Their father died…
Bob Mortimer, comedian
Feb 3 • 46 min
Bob Mortimer is a comedian best known for his work with his comedy partner Vic Reeves. For 30 years, he and Vic have appeared in numerous TV series together, including Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, Shooting Stars and The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. Bob…
Wendy Cope, poet
Jan 27 • 40 min
Wendy Cope is one of England’s most popular and widely-read contemporary poets. Wendy was born in Erith, Kent. Her father was 29 years older than her mother and she was sent to boarding school at the age of seven. Although English was her favourite…
James Rebanks, Shepherd and Writer
Jan 20 • 49 min
James Rebanks is a shepherd and the best-selling author of The Shepherd’s Life. Born in Cumbria in 1974, he grew up venerating his grandfather, who taught him what he needed to know in order to take over the family farm from his father one day. He found…
Ruth Jones, actor and writer
Jan 13 • 35 min
Ruth Jones is an actor and writer. She co-created and starred in the award-winning TV comedy series Gavin and Stacey, and also wrote and took the title role in the comedy drama Stella, which ran for six series. She grew up in Porthcawl, in South Wales,…
Jeremy Deller, artist.
Jan 6 • 36 min
The Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller is perhaps best known for We’re Here Because We’re Here, a moving and powerful memorial to the Battle of the Somme, and The Battle of Orgreave – a re-enactment of the confrontation between police and pickets…
Alan Carr, comedian
Dec 23, 2018 • 52 min
Alan Carr, comedian and chat show host, is known for his love of silliness, dressing up and camp daftness. His stand-up shows have filled arenas, and on TV he co-hosted the Friday Night Project and then his own show - Chatty Man. Alan was born into a…
Hella Pick, journalist
Dec 19, 2018 • 39 min
As one of the Guardian’s first female foreign correspondents, Hella Pick reported on events that shaped the world in the second half of the 20th century, from Martin Luther King’s civil rights activism to Watergate, the Gdansk shipyard strikes to the…
Mariana Mazzucato, economist
Dec 16, 2018 • 36 min
Professor Mariana Mazzucato is an economist, who focuses on value and innovation. Born in Italy, Mariana moved to America as a child, when her father accepted a post at Princeton University. She has lived in the UK for the last 20 years and is currently…
Gary Barlow, singer-songwriter
Dec 9, 2018 • 58 min
Gary Barlow, musician and Take That lead singer, has written more than a dozen chart-topping songs, and has received six Ivor Novello awards including the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Born in Cheshire in 1971, his interest in music…
Tom Kerridge, chef
Dec 2, 2018 • 45 min
Tom Kerridge is a chef, restaurateur and TV presenter. Tom made his name with his Buckinghamshire pub The Hand and Flowers, which he opened with his wife in 2005. It is the only British pub with two Michelin stars. Tom grew up near Gloucester. After his…
Kate Atkinson, novelist
Nov 25, 2018 • 47 min
Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for her 1995 debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has won the Costa Novel Award twice, for Life After Life in 2013 and for A God in Ruins two years later. Born in York in 1951, she was the…
Tracey Thorn, musican and writer
Nov 18, 2018 • 53 min
Tracey Thorn, musician and writer, is best known as one half of the duo Everything but the Girl. Brought up in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, she bought her first guitar, a black Les Paul copy, when she was 16 and her first band was called the Stern Bobs.…
Vanley Burke, photographer
Nov 4, 2018 • 39 min
Vanley Burke is a Jamaican-born photographer often described as the Godfather of Black British Photography. His body of work is regarded as the greatest photographic record of African Caribbean people in post-war Britain. He is motivated by a desire to…
Jacqueline Gold
Oct 28, 2018 • 37 min
Jacqueline Gold is the CEO of the retail brands Ann Summers and Knickerbox. She joined the business at the age of 19 for work experience, and faced resistance because her father, David Gold, was the owner. By the time she was 21, she had persuaded the…
Venki Ramakrishnan
Oct 21, 2018 • 40 min
Venki Ramakrishnan is a Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist. He is most renowned for his research into the atomic structure of the ribosome - a complex molecule in the cell which translates DNA into chains of amino acids that build proteins, the…
Nile Rodgers
Oct 14, 2018 • 58 min
Nile Rodgers is a Grammy-winning composer, musician, and producer. With his own band, Chic, he’s been enticing people on to the dance floor since the mid-1970s with hits like Le Freak and Good Times. With over 200 production credits to his name, he has…
Thea Musgrave
Oct 7, 2018 • 39 min
Composer Thea Musgrave celebrated her 90th birthday this year, an event marked by celebrations and concerts around the world, including the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival. She has published more than 150 compositions, including major…
Tom Daley
Sep 30, 2018 • 52 min
Tom Daley started diving aged seven and by the age of 14 was representing Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He has won six British Championships, three European Championships and won the World Championships in 2009 and 2017. Born in Plymouth…
Henry Marsh
Sep 23, 2018 • 36 min
Henry Marsh is a neurosurgeon, who pioneered a technique of operating on the brain while the patient is under local anaesthetic. The procedure is now standard practice. He is also an acclaimed writer. He was born in 1950 in Oxford, where his father was an…
Danielle de Niese
Sep 16, 2018 • 36 min
Danielle de Niese is a soprano who has taken starring roles with leading opera companies around the world. She was born in Melbourne, Australia, to Sri Lankan parents, and at the age of eight she won a national TV talent show, singing a pop medley. When…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Malorie Blackman
Sep 9, 2018 • 35 min
Another chance to listen to the writer speaking to Kirsty Young in 2013. A prolific and multi-award winning author, Malorie Blackman has powered her way to success not just through talent but determination and perseverance. From the careers mistress who…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Dame Cicely Saunders
Sep 2, 2018 • 37 min
Another chance to listen to the founder of the Hospice Movement speaking to Sue Lawley in 1995. Dame Cicely Saunders talks about her schooldays at Roedean, how she trained as a nurse and much later, as a doctor. When she was 29 she fell in love with a…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Cilla Black
Aug 26, 2018 • 33 min
Another chance to listen to the singer and television presenter speaking to Sue Lawley in 1988. Cilla Black reveals her three remaining burning ambitions in life: to make a number-one record, to become a grandmother and to be treated as a real sex symbol…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Brian Redhead
Aug 19, 2018 • 34 min
Another chance to listen to the journalist and broadcaster speaking to Michael Parkinson in 1986. Brian Redhead presented the Today programme for almost 20 years. He talks about his appearance on Children’s Hour as a clarinetist, his early days as a…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Sir Michael Tippett
Aug 12, 2018 • 35 min
Another chance to listen to the composer speaking to Roy Plomley in 1985. Sir Michael Tippett is regarded as one of the foremost composers of the twentieth century. Other than a period as Director of Music at Morley College, he allowed very little to…
Pam Ayres
Aug 5, 2018 • 38 min
Pam Ayres is a poet and broadcaster. Pam was born in the Vale of the White Horse and retains her characteristic Berkshire burr. She is the youngest of six children, and grew up in the company of her four brothers and a sister in a small council house.…
Marianne Elliott
Jul 29, 2018 • 34 min
Marianne Elliott is the first woman to win two Tony awards for theatre direction: the first for War Horse and the second for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Both transferred to Broadway from the National Theatre, London, and have gone…
Baroness Newlove
Jul 22, 2018 • 35 min
Baroness Newlove is the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales. She became a campaigner after her husband, Garry Newlove, was murdered by several youths in 2007. Born in Salford in 1961 she grew up in a working class family. Having left school at…
Billie Jean King
Jul 15, 2018 • 57 min
Billie Jean King won 39 Grand Slams and a total of 20 Wimbledon titles and is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Born in California in 1943, she was the eldest daughter of Bill and Betty Moffitt. She discovered tennis at the age…
Philip Treacy
Jul 8, 2018 • 42 min
Philip Treacy is one of the most prolific and acclaimed hat designers working in the UK. His work was very much in evidence at this year’s Royal Wedding and at Royal Ascot. Meghan Markle wore one of his designs for her first official public engagement as…
Guy Singh-Watson
Jul 1, 2018 • 38 min
Guy Singh-Watson is an organic farmer and founder of Riverford, a major British supplier of organic vegetables through a box delivery scheme. Born in 1960 and the youngest of five children, his parents became tenant farmers in Devon in 1951. He describes…
Martina Cole
Jun 24, 2018 • 37 min
Martina Cole is a British crime writer, known to her fans as the Queen of Crime. Martina has written 24 novels, 15 of which have topped the original fiction sales charts - more than any other author. She has sold more than 16 million books around the…
John Motson
Jun 17, 2018 • 51 min
John Walker Motson, OBE, also known as Motty, has been commentating on football since 1971. He covered more than 2000 games on television and radio, including all the major football championships, 29 FA Cup finals (with an additional five replays), 10…
Professor Carlos Frenk
Jun 10, 2018 • 40 min
Professor Carlos Frenk is a cosmologist and one of the originators of the Cold Dark Matter theory for the formation of galaxies and the structure of the universe. He has worked at Durham University since 1985, where he was appointed the inaugural Ogden…
Gillian Reynolds
Jun 3, 2018 • 40 min
Gillian Reynolds spent 42 years as the radio critic of the Daily Telegraph before she was headhunted by the Sunday Times at the age of 82. Born into a working class family in Liverpool, her mother ran a market stall and her father was a seaman, but also a…
David Baddiel
May 27, 2018 • 48 min
David Baddiel is a comedian and writer. Known both for his solo work and for his comedic collaborations with, among others, Rob Newman and Frank Skinner, he has also written a screenplay, a musical and several books. Born in 1964 to Jewish parents, the…
Dr Sue Black
May 20, 2018 • 38 min
Dr. Sue Black is a computer scientist, academic and social entrepreneur. She was instrumental in saving Bletchley Park, the home of vital codebreaking during the second world war. Currently an honorary professor at UCL, she founded BCS Women for women in…
Sir Peter Lampl
May 13, 2018 • 38 min
Sir Peter Lampl is a philanthropist who has given over £50 million and worked for 20 years to combat educational inequality. In 1997 he founded the Sutton Trust with the aim of improving social mobility. The Trust has funded over 200 research studies, and…
Abi Morgan
May 6, 2018 • 37 min
Abi Morgan is a screenwriter and playwright best known for TV dramas The Hour, River and The Split and the films Shame, Suffragette and The Iron Lady. She won two Emmy Awards for The Hour, as well as two BAFTAs for Best Single Drama for White Girl and Sex…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Sue Townsend
Apr 29, 2018 • 37 min
Another chance to listen to the writer speaking to Sue Lawley in 1991. Her most famous creation was Adrian Mole, and, in many respects, his life mirrored her own: like her hero, she came from a poor but not deprived background and always nursed a secret…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Annie Lennox
Apr 22, 2018 • 36 min
Another chance to listen to the singer-songwriter speaking to Kirsty Young in 2008. Her extraordinary voice has captivated us for decades and, as one half of the group Eurythmics and as a solo artist, she’s sold tens of millions of records and won…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Stephen Hawking
Apr 15, 2018 • 41 min
Another chance to listen to the theoretical physicist speaking to Sue Lawley in 1992. Stephen Hawking wrote the best-selling A Brief History of Time and was the founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, where he was…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Victoria Wood
Apr 8, 2018 • 35 min
Another chance to listen to the comedian speaking to Kirsty Young in 2007. For decades she was one of our best-loved writers and performers. The television series she made - including Acorn Antiques, Dinnerladies and Housewife 49 - won her a devoted…
Classic Desert Island Discs: Hugh Masekela
Apr 1, 2018 • 34 min
Another chance to listen to the world famous musician speaking to Sue Lawley in 2004. As a boy growing up in the impoverished townships of South Africa, he was inspired to learn the trumpet after seeing Kirk Douglas play Bix Beiderbecke in Young Man With…
Anne-Marie Duff
Mar 25, 2018 • 34 min
Anne-Marie Duff is a stage and screen actor. Born in 1970 to Irish parents, she grew up in a working class household in west London. A shy child and a voracious reader, she took acting classes from the age of 11, but failed to get into drama school on her…
David Byrne
Mar 18, 2018 • 34 min
David Byrne was a founding member of the band Talking Heads. Born in Dumbarton, Scotland, he emigrated first to Canada and then to the USA before the age of ten. He started playing in bands at school and, when art school didn’t work out for him, he…
John Gray
Mar 11, 2018 • 36 min
John Gray is a philosopher. His academic career included professorships at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, and visiting professorships at Harvard and Yale in the USA. He retired from academia in 2008, and has dedicated himself to…
Matt Smith
Mar 4, 2018 • 46 min
Matt Smith is best known as the eleventh Timelord in the BBC One series, Doctor Who. At 26, he became the youngest actor to take the part. His future looked set to be in football: he played at youth level for Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest and…
Dame Minouche Shafik
Feb 25, 2018 • 35 min
Dame Minouche Shafik is the director of the London School of Economics and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. She was born in Egypt but her family had to flee the country when she was four years old, because her parents lost everything…
Christopher Nolan
Feb 18, 2018 • 36 min
Christopher Nolan is best known for reviving the Batman film franchise and for directing the blockbusters Inception and Dunkirk. His films have taken nearly $5 billion at the box office. Born in London in 1970 to an English father and an American mother,…
Chi-chi Nwanoku
Feb 11, 2018 • 37 min
Chi-chi Nwanoku is a double bass player and founder of Europe’s first professional majority black and minority ethnic orchestra, Chineke!. Chi-chi is the eldest of five children, born to a Nigerian father and an Irish mother. Early on, she discovered two…
Jack Whitehall
Feb 4, 2018 • 34 min
Jack Whitehall, stand-up comedian, actor, sit-com writer and producer is Kirsty Young’s castaway. He co-wrote and starred in the sitcoms Fresh Meat and Bad Education. He and his father launched their chat-show Backchat in 2013 and recently made a TV…
Garry Kasparov
Jan 28, 2018 • 35 min
Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, who became the youngest ever world champion at the age of 22. He is also a writer and a political activist. He grew up in the Soviet Union, the only child of engineer parents. He learned chess by watching his…
Christina Lamb
Jan 22, 2018 • 35 min
Christina Lamb is chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times and travels the world reporting from war zones and hot spots, speaking not just to key protagonists but also seeking out and detailing the daily impact of conflict on civilians. An only…
Angela Hartnett
Jan 14, 2018 • 35 min
Angela Hartnett is a chef, TV presenter and cookery writer. She holds a Michelin star and runs her own restaurants. Angela was born in 1968 to an Italian mother and Irish father, and her culinary career has been influenced by her Italian background and…
Charlie Brooker
Jan 7, 2018 • 36 min
Charlie Brooker is a satirist, broadcaster and writer. He created the Emmy-award winning series, Black Mirror, and presents Screenwipe and Newswipe which won Best Comedy Entertainment Show award at the British Comedy Awards in 2011. Born in 1971, his…
75 Years of Desert Island Discs
Dec 31, 2017 • 42 min
75 Years of Desert Island Discs - Kirsty Young ends the programme’s anniversary year with some gems from the archive, including the creator of the format, Roy Plomley, actress Bebe Daniels, broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, trumpeter Louis Armstrong,…
Bruno Tonioli
Dec 24, 2017 • 34 min
Bruno Tonioli, dancer, choreographer and a judge on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, is Kirsty’s guest. He was brought up in Ferrara, Northern Italy, and was the only child of hard-working parents who hoped he would be an accountant. Bruno wanted to…
Christine McVie
Dec 17, 2017 • 48 min
Christine McVie enjoyed huge success with Fleetwood Mac, penning many of their signature songs including You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy, Little Lies, Everywhere and Songbird. The band has sold more than 100 million records and the album Rumours remains one…
Kelsey Grammer
Dec 10, 2017 • 35 min
Kelsey Grammer is best known for his two-decade-long portrayal of psychiatrist Dr Frasier Crane which began on the NBC sitcom Cheers. He continued the role in the hugely successful spin-off series Frasier which ran for 11 years. When the series ended in…
Tim Martin
Dec 3, 2017 • 34 min
Tim Martin is the chairman and founder of the pub company JD Wetherspoon. He opened his first pub, Martin’s Free House, in 1979 in North London. Now the chain employs 37,000 people, in 891 pubs of which 54 are hotels. Travelling from his home in Devon,…
Naomi Klein
Nov 26, 2017 • 34 min
The writer and activist Naomi Klein reached an international audience with her first book, the best-selling No Logo, a rallying cry against the power of corporate brands and the replacement of traditional manufacturing jobs with sweatshop labour. Since…
Micky Flanagan
Nov 19, 2017 • 34 min
Micky Flanagan found mainstream success as a comedian in 2007 with his autobiographical ‘What Chance Change?’ show at the Edinburgh fringe, where he was nominated as best newcomer. Raised in the East End of London, he left school at 15 with no…
Anna Pavord
Nov 12, 2017 • 36 min
Anna Pavord, writer & gardener, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
Professor Phil Scraton
Nov 5, 2017 • 34 min
Professor Phil Scraton is Professor Emeritus at the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast. A criminologist and author, he’s director of the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative and was lead researcher of the Hillsborough Independent…
Kay Mellor
Oct 29, 2017 • 35 min
Kay Mellor, OBE, is an English screenwriter and director best known for TV drama series including Band of Gold, Playing the Field, Fat Friends and The Syndicate. She has won a Bafta award, along with numerous nominations, and she received a Royal…
Edna Adan Ismail
Oct 22, 2017 • 36 min
Edna Adan Ismail is a midwife and campaigner. As a 12 year old growing up in British Somaliland, her dream was to build her own hospital. It took her some 50 years and all her savings to realise her ambition, and the state of the art hospital she built is…
Jane Gardam
Oct 15, 2017 • 37 min
Jane Gardam is best known for her trilogy of novels about an ex-colonial QC nicknamed Old Filth. A writer for both adults and children, she has won two Whitbread awards, the Katherine Mansfield Award and has been shortlisted for the Booker and the Orange…
Sir James MacMillan
Oct 8, 2017 • 37 min
Sir James MacMillan is a Scottish composer and conductor. He’s one of Britain’s most successful living classical composers, with his percussion concerto, Veni Veni Emmanuel, receiving more than 600 performances since its premiere in 1992. He draws…
Siddhartha Mukherjee
Oct 1, 2017 • 37 min
Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer specialist. His biography of the disease, The Emperor of All Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. A haematologist and oncologist by training, his research focuses on cancer therapy and gene functions related to blood…
Professor Dame Jane Francis
Sep 24, 2017 • 35 min
Professor Dame Jane Francis is the Director of the British Antarctic Survey. She is no stranger to surviving in extreme conditions, because for much of her career her research has taken her to the Polar Regions. Travelling with her fossil hammer, her…
Paul Greengrass
Sep 17, 2017 • 35 min
Paul Greengrass has directed three Jason Bourne films, starring Matt Damon, Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks in the title role, and the 9/11 film United 93, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. He won a Bafta for the film The Murder of Stephen…
Dr Kevin Fong
Aug 6, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Dr. Kevin Fong. He is a consultant anaesthetist at University College Hospital London, and an expert on space medicine. He is a senior lecturer in Physiology at UCL and the co-director of the Centre for Aviation, Space and…
Sheryl Sandberg
Jul 30, 2017 • 35 min
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, is Kirsty Young’s castaway. She worked for Google at the beginning of the tech boom before joining Facebook in 2008. Raised in Miami Beach, Florida, she studied economics at Harvard. She became chief…
Jayne-Anne Gadhia
Jul 23, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive of Virgin Money. She is currently the government’s Women in Finance Champion. She worked for Fred Goodwin at RBS just prior to the financial crisis before returning to Virgin Money in 2007. A…
John McEnroe
Jul 16, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the tennis player and commentator, John McEnroe. He won three singles and five doubles Wimbledon titles, four singles and four doubles at the US Open and was ranked number one in the world for four consecutive years in the…
Sue Perkins
Jul 9, 2017 • 52 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the comedian and TV presenter Sue Perkins. She and her friend Mel Giedroyc first appeared as a comedy duo at the Edinburgh Fringe over 20 years ago and together they presented the first seven series of The Great British Bake…
Professor Carlo Rovelli
Jul 2, 2017 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the theoretical physicist, Professor Carlo Rovelli. His book ‘Seven Brief Lessons on Physics’ became one of the fastest-selling science titles of all time, catapulting him from the world of academia into the global spotlight.…
Stella McCartney
Jun 25, 2017 • 50 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the fashion designer Stella McCartney. Born the middle child of Paul and Linda McCartney, Stella’s early years were a paradox: she would either spend her days riding ponies, sharing one of two bedrooms with her sisters…
Jed Mercurio
Jun 18, 2017 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Jed Mercurio. Creator of Line of Duty, and an award-winning TV writer, producer, director and novelist, he is one of the few British script-writers to work as an American-style show-runner. A former hospital doctor and RAF…
Rick Wakeman
Jun 11, 2017 • 36 min
Rick Wakeman, musician and composer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs Producer: Paula McGinley.
Sonia Friedman
Jun 4, 2017 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the theatre producer, Sonia Friedman. Acclaimed as the most influential producer in British theatre today, she has produced over 160 new shows. They include Funny Girl with Sheridan Smith, Jerusalem starring Mark Rylance,…
Elif Shafak
May 28, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the Turkish writer Elif Shafak. Elif Shafak has published ten novels and several volumes of non-fiction and her work is translated into 47 languages. She is the most widely read female novelist in Turkey today. Born in…
Demis Hassabis
May 21, 2017 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Dr Demis Hassabis. An artificial intelligence researcher and co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, he is also a neuroscientist, a computer games designer, an entrepreneur, and in his youth, a world-class chess player. Born in 1976, he…
Liz Lochhead
May 14, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the writer and poet Liz Lochhead. She was the Makar, the Scottish national poet, between 2011 and 2016. Liz was born in Motherwell, not far from Glasgow, in 1947. She was always drawing at school and so decided to…
Ed Sheeran
May 7, 2017 • 49 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Ed Sheeran. His songs have brought him two Grammys, four Brit awards and global success. Shortly after the release of his latest album, Divide, tracks from it occupied nine of the top 10 places in the UK singles chart.…
Arundhati Roy
Mar 26, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the writer, Arundhati Roy. She won the Booker Prize for her first novel, The God Of Small Things, which has been translated into 40 languages and became the best-selling book ever by a non-expatriate Indian. After a gap of 20…
Amanda Levete
Mar 19, 2017 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the architect Amanda Levete. She won the Stirling prize in 1998 for the Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground which she designed with then husband, the late Jan Kaplicky. Later this year the Victoria and Albert Museum…
Marian Keyes
Mar 12, 2017 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the writer Marian Keyes. Her twelve novels to date have sold 35 million copies and are published in 33 languages. Some of her novels have been adapted for the screen. She has also published three volumes of journalism. Marian…
Jimmy Carr
Mar 5, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the comedian and television presenter Jimmy Carr. He is the son of Irish immigrant parents and grew up in Berkshire. Despite being dyslexic, he got good enough A levels to study at Cambridge University. After graduating with a…
Dame Katherine Grainger
Feb 26, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the Olympian and rower, Dame Katherine Grainger. A six-time rowing World Champion across a variety of classes, her silver medal at Rio in 2016 made her the most successful female British Olympic athlete ever, having won medals…
Sir Antony Beevor
Feb 19, 2017 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is military historian, Sir Antony Beevor. His books about some of the key battles of the Second World War are best-sellers and have been credited with reinvigorating the whole genre. There was little indication of this future…
Clive James
Feb 16, 2017 • 39 min
Roy Plomley’s castaway is broadcaster and writer Clive James. Favourite track: Baby Love by Diana Ross and The Supremes Book: Book about how to build a plane out of palm fronds and coconut fibre by Willy Messerschmitt Luxury: Space invaders
June Brown
Feb 12, 2017 • 37 min
June Brown is best known today for her role as the long-suffering chain-smoking Dot Cotton (now Dot Branning) in the BBC TV soap EastEnders. She arrived on a three month contract in 1985 and is still in the show. She was nominated for a BAFTA in 2008. She…
Nigel Owens
Feb 5, 2017 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the rugby union referee Nigel Owens. His steely authority and quick wit on the field have won him worldwide praise - he’s widely regarded as one of the best referees in the business for the impact he makes on the flow…
David Beckham
Jan 29, 2017 • 52 min
David Beckham is Kirsty Young’s guest as Desert Island Discs celebrates its 75th Anniversary. As a professional footballer he’s the only Englishman to win the league titles in England, Spain, the US and France. He spent the bulk of his career as a…
Desert Island Discs at 75
Jan 28, 2017 • 174 min
Kirsty Young celebrates 75 years of Desert Island Discs with some of the wonderful voices in the archive and chooses some of her favourite interviews from her 10 years as presenter. From Dustin Hoffman to Maya Angelou, Stephen Hawking to Victoria Wood, we…
Caitlin Moran
Jan 22, 2017 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the writer Caitlin Moran. A columnist for The Times newspaper for 25 years, she’s published five books and co-wrote the Channel 4 sitcom Raised by Wolves. The eldest of eight children, and raised on benefits on a…
Wayne McGregor
Jan 15, 2017 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the choreographer Wayne McGregor. Despite his background in contemporary dance, he has been resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet - the first from outside the company - for the past ten years. He has brought to Covent…
Pinky Lilani
Jan 8, 2017 • 34 min
Pinky Lilani, who was awarded a CBE in 2015 for services to women in business, is the founder of the annual Asian Women of Achievement Awards and the Women of the Future Awards. She also runs her own company, which uses Indian food as a means of…
Sir Kenneth Grange
Jan 1, 2017 • 37 min
Sir Kenneth Grange is a designer. He’s been designing elements of our everyday lives for the past six decades. Born in London in 1929, he went to Willesden art school aged fourteen and four years later he left and embarked on a remarkable career. He is…
Gareth Malone
Dec 25, 2016 • 35 min
Gareth Malone is a choirmaster who has coaxed and cajoled people from nervous adults to reluctant teenagers to open their mouths and sing for the pure joy of it - in front of television cameras. Gareth’s first two TV series, which charted his attempts to…
Bruce Springsteen
Dec 18, 2016 • 48 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Bruce Springsteen. His career has brought him 20 Grammys, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award and his albums sell in their millions around the world. He grew up in New Jersey where the Catholic church played a central…
Sir Philip Craven
Dec 14, 2016 • 33 min
Sir Philip Craven is the President of the International Paralympic Committee and a former wheelchair basketball athlete. Craven represented Great Britain in wheelchair basketball at five editions of the Paralympic Games, from 1972 to 1988. He also…
Davina McCall
Dec 11, 2016 • 35 min
Davina McCall is an English television presenter. She began her career on MTV before moving to Channel 4 with the cult hit Streetmate. She was the presenter of Big Brother during its run on Channel 4 between 2000 and 2010 and enjoyed it so much that she…
Emma Bridgewater
Nov 27, 2016 • 35 min
Emma Bridgewater is a British ceramic designer and businesswoman. She set up her pottery business in 1985 in Stoke-on-Trent, when many other manufacturers in the city were either closing down or going overseas. Her pottery is instantly recognizable,…
Nicola Adams
Nov 20, 2016 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Nicola Adams. She made history when she won the first ever Olympic gold medal in women’s boxing at London 2012, retaining it in Rio 2016. She is the first woman fighter to hold European, World, Commonwealth and Olympic titles.…
Yotam Ottolenghi
Nov 18, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the cookery writer and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi. His food mixes the flavours of the Middle East and the Mediterranean and has been credited with changing the way many eat and cook, fuelling the surge in popularity of…
Ali Smith
Nov 6, 2016 • 34 min
Ali Smith is a Scottish writer. Born in Inverness in 1962, the youngest of five children by seven years, she says, “I grew up completely alone but with all the comforts of knowing I had a cushioning family structure around me - and yet I could free myself…
Michael Bublé
Nov 1, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the singer, Michael Bublé. Born in Burnaby, British Columbia, as a young boy he spent hours listening to his grandfather’s record collection which featured the stars of the Great American songbook - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin…
Jackie Kay
Oct 23, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the poet and writer Jackie Kay. Born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, she was adopted as a baby by a white Scottish couple, Helen and John Kay, and grew up in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. Her father…
Dr Robert Langer
Oct 16, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the scientist Dr Robert Langer. Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is the most cited engineer in history, and was awarded the prestigious US medals of both Science and of Technology and…
Stephen Hough
Oct 9, 2016 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the concert pianist and composer Stephen Hough. He discovered he liked playing the piano when he went to visit his aunt’s house and could pick out more than one hundred nursery rhymes on her piano. After much pestering, his…
Christiane Amanpour
Oct 2, 2016 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the journalist and broadcaster Christiane Amanpour. Her career as a reporter was forged in some of the world’s most hostile environments from Bosnia to Rwanda and Iraq to Israel. From the early ’90s onwards she was so ubiquitous…
Joyce DiDonato
Sep 25, 2016 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Winner of two Grammy Awards, she is best known for her interpretations of Handel, Mozart and Rossini operas. Born into a Catholic family in Kansas, she was the second-youngest of seven children.…
Nadiya Hussain
Aug 14, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the baker and winner of The Great British Bake Off in 2015, Nadiya Hussain. One of six children born to Bangladeshi parents in Luton, it was her father - a restaurateur - who encouraged her to cook. Having grown up in a culture…
Michael Heath
Aug 7, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the cartoonist Michael Heath. He’s been working for newspapers and magazines for sixty years and sold his first drawing to the Melody Maker in the 1950s. For the past twenty five years he’s been the cartoon editor of The…
Jilly Cooper
Jul 31, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the writer Jilly Cooper. Her long writing career spans newspaper columns for the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday, non-fiction books on class, marriage and animals in war and novels that sell in their millions. Her romances…
Professor Dame Ann Dowling
Jul 24, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the engineer and international expert on aircraft noise reduction, Professor Dame Ann Dowling. The first female president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, one of her passions is encouraging more young people, particularly…
Levi Roots
Jul 17, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the entrepreneur, Levi Roots. His business success began following an appearance on BBC Two’s Dragon’s Den in 2007. With guitar in hand, he sang about his ‘Reggae reggae sauce’ which he had been selling for years at London’s…
Nicole Farhi
Jul 10, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the designer and sculptor Nicole Farhi. Born into a Turkish family in France, Nicole’s interest in fashion was present from an early age. As a child, she used to design clothes for her paper dolls; as a teenager, she was taken…
Matthew Barzun
Jul 3, 2016 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Matthew Barzun. Born in New York City as the second of four children to Roger Barzun, a lawyer, and his wife Serita Winthrop, he was brought up in the small Massachusetts town of Lincoln.…
Sara Khan
Jun 26, 2016 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Sara Khan. A British Muslim human rights activist, she’s the director of Inspire, a counter-extremism and women’s rights organisation which she co-founded in 2009. Born in Bradford in 1980 to Pakistani parents, she decided to…
Barrie Rutter
Jun 19, 2016 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the actor and theatre director Barrie Rutter. He is the founder and artistic director of the touring theatre company Northern Broadsides. There was nothing in his background to suggest he’d spend his life on stage. He was…
Warwick Davis
Jun 12, 2016 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the actor Warwick Davis. His career began thanks to his grandmother who heard a radio advert calling for short people to be in the latest of George Lucas’s Star Wars films. He played his first role as an Ewok in Star Wars when…
David Nott
Jun 5, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the surgeon, David Nott. He works across three London hospitals performing general, vascular, trauma & reconstructive surgery. In addition, for the past two decades, he’s spent several weeks every year working in conflict zones…
Professor Louise Richardson
May 31, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the political scientist and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University Professor Louise Richardson. She was born in Ireland, is one of seven children and has gone on to have an international career as an academic with a particular…
Berry Gordy
May 22, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the producer Berry Gordy. He founded the Motown record label and his musical empire made worldwide stars of Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson 5 and Marvin Gaye. The second youngest of eight…
Inga Beale
May 15, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the business woman, Inga Beale. She has been the CEO of Lloyd’s of London since January 2014 and was the first woman to hold the post in the 325 years since the insurer was founded in 1688. She is the middle child of a…
Tom Hanks
May 8, 2016 • 47 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Tom Hanks. From ‘Big’ to ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, ‘Captain Phillips’ to ‘Apollo 13’, his long and distinguished film-making career has brought him multiple awards and many plaudits. He’s the recipient of eight Emmys, one Bafta…
John Timpson
Mar 27, 2016 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the businessman, John Timpson. He is chairman of his eponymous high street retailers and the business is in his blood: started by his great-grandfather in 1865 it is now run by one of his sons. Although he fulfilled his family’s…
Gloria Steinem
Mar 20, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the writer, feminist & activist, Gloria Steinem. At the forefront of the second wave of feminism, she came to prominence after publishing an article entitled “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” in 1969. Two years later she…
Yinka Shonibare
Mar 13, 2016 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the artist Yinka Shonibare MBE. His work has populated museums around the globe, with a vivid, subversive and often tragi-comic presence; exploring themes of cultural identity, post colonialism and the impact of globalisation. A…
Dr Dame Sue Ion
Mar 6, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the engineer and nuclear scientist Dr Dame Sue Ion. The first woman to be awarded the highly prestigious President’s Medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering, she has worked her way to the heart of an industry that remains very…
Hugh Bonneville
Feb 28, 2016 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Hugh Bonneville. Known around the world for his portrayal of Lord Grantham in ITV’s hugely popular Downton Abbey, he made British audiences laugh with his portrayal of the hapless Ian Fletcher in the BBC comedies Twenty Twelve…
Dame Zaha Hadid
Feb 21, 2016 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the architect, Dame Zaha Hadid. The first woman to be awarded architecture’s highest honour, the Pritzker Prize, she designed the Aquatic Centre for London 2012, Glasgow’s Riverside Museum and has twice won the Stirling Prize -…
Ben Saunders
Feb 14, 2016 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the polar adventurer Ben Saunders. In his own words he “specialises in dragging heavy things around cold places”. He’s one of only three people to have skied solo to The North Pole and he holds the record for the longest solo…
Professor Dame Carol Black
Feb 7, 2016 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Professor Dame Carol Black. She is Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, and is a special adviser to the Department of Health and Public Health England. She is also Chair of the Board of the Nuffield Trust, the health policy…
Bill Gates
Feb 4, 2016 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Bill Gates. He sat at his first computer while still at school in Seattle, wrote his first computer programme aged just 13 and went on to co-found the company Microsoft, becoming one of the key figures of the technological…
Sigrid Rausing
Jan 24, 2016 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the philanthropist and publisher Sigrid Rausing. Founder of one of the UK’s largest philanthropic foundations, her trust has given away around £230m to human rights causes since it began. Brought up in Sweden, she is currently…
Sir Anthony Seldon
Jan 17, 2016 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the educationalist and writer, Sir Anthony Seldon. Now Vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University, he was the Master of Wellington College. He has written, co-written and edited more than 30 books, including political biographies…
Alex Crawford
Jan 10, 2016 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the Sky TV news correspondent Alex Crawford. She’s won the Royal Television Society’s Journalist of the Year award an unprecedented four times - reporting from the world’s worst war zones and hot spots. Where most people would…
Colm Toibin
Jan 3, 2016 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the writer Colm Toibin. Best-known for his novels “Brooklyn” - now made into a film - “Nora Webster” and “The Master,” he has been nominated for the Booker Prize three times. Born in 1955 in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, the…
Patricia Greene
Dec 27, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Patricia Greene. For nearly sixty years she has played the role of Jill in Radio 4’s The Archers which celebrates its 65th anniversary on January 1st 2016. Over the decades the storylines have followed her character…
Commander Chris Hadfield
Dec 20, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Chris Hadfield. He was the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station and took part in three space missions spending a total of 166 days orbiting the Earth. He has spent over 14 hours doing two space walks. He…
Kylie Minogue
Dec 13, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Kylie Minogue. With seven number ones and ten million singles sold in the UK, she is the third-biggest selling female artist in Britain and has sold around 70 million records worldwide. Born in Melbourne in 1968, Kylie and her…
Atul Gawande
Dec 6, 2015 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the surgeon, author and former Reith lecturer, Atul Gawande. A general and endocrine surgeon in Boston, he is professor in both the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and the…
Sandi Toksvig
Nov 29, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Sandi Toksvig. Host of BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz until June 2015, she is also a writer and comedian and recently entered the world of politics, helping to found the Women’s Equality Party. Her parents were both…
Gurinder Chadha
Nov 22, 2015 • 32 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is filmmaker Gurinder Chadha. Writer, director and producer behind the films Bend it like Beckham, Bhaji on the Beach and Bride and Prejudice, she began her career as a BBC news reporter. She was born in Kenya to Sikh parents and…
Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon
Nov 15, 2015 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, MSP. Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the fifth First Minister of Scotland in the devolved era, she is the first woman to hold either post. The eldest of two daughters, she…
Lord Indarjit Singh
Nov 13, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the broadcaster and religious leader, Lord Indarjit Singh. Creator of The Sikh Messenger newspaper and co-founder of the Inter Faith Network he also has the distinction of being the first member of the House of Lords to wear a…
Marjorie Wallace
Nov 1, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the mental health campaigner and Chief Executive of SANE, Marjorie Wallace. After leaving University College London with a psychology and philosophy degree, her first job in the media was working on The Frost Programme with…
Keith Richards
Oct 25, 2015 • 34 min
Keith Richards, member of the Rolling Stones, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Keith was born in Dartford and grew up as an only child. He and Mick Jagger went to the same primary school, but then lost touch until meeting again at…
Professor Sue Black
Oct 18, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Professor Sue Black. She is Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee, founder and past President of the British Association for Human Identification and heads the Centre for Anatomy and Human…
Lemn Sissay
Oct 14, 2015 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Lemn Sissay. As a poet, writer and playwright, much of his work tells the story of his search for his birth parents. Born to a young Ethiopian woman who wanted him temporarily fostered while she completed her studies,…
Alison Balsom
Oct 4, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the musician, Alison Balsom. Widely considered the finest classical trumpet player of her generation, she’s performed in all the great concert halls of the world, winning a huge amount of fans and a string of awards…
Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
Sep 27, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaways this week are the comedy writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. They’ve been at the rock-face, mining for laughs, for over 40 years and they’ve given us plenty of gems … amongst them monologues in the ’70s for Frankie Howerd,…
Dame Judi Dench
Sep 20, 2015 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Dame Judi Dench. Born into a family with dramatic leanings, she followed one of her older brothers, Jeffery, to drama school. Having abandoned ideas of becoming a set designer, she made her professional debut as…
Dr Bill Frankland
Aug 9, 2015 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Dr Bill Frankland. Frequently referred to as the “grandfather of allergy”, his achievements include the introduction of the pollen count to the British public and the prediction of increased levels of allergy to…
Ruth Rogers
Aug 2, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the chef and restaurateur, Ruth Rogers. Born in America, she has become one of the UK’s most celebrated cooks. Despite not being a trained chef, she set up The River Café with her business partner, the late Rose Gray, in 1987.…
Professor Monica Grady
Jul 26, 2015 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University. Well-known in scientific circles, at NASA and the European Space Agency, she came to the attention of the general public with her enthusiastic…
Noel Gallagher
Jul 19, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the musician, Noel Gallagher. He was the principal songwriter of the band Oasis - his younger brother, Liam was the lead singer. Born to Irish parents, as a child he spent his summers visiting his mother’s family in…
Imtiaz Dharker
Jul 12, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the poet and artist, Imtiaz Dharker. Winner of the Queen’s Gold Medal for her work, her life seems a perfect reflection of the inter-relatedness of The Commonwealth. Born in Pakistan she was no more than a few months…
Freddie Flintoff
Jul 5, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty’s castaway this week is the former England cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff. One of the best players of his generation, he was part of the England team that won the Ashes in 2005, a year that marked his sporting coming of age. On the strength of…
Harry Rabinowitz
Jun 28, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty’s castaway this week is the conductor and composer Harry Rabinowitz. His list of credits and collaborations read like a Who’s Who of 20th century music - Gracie Fields, Charles Aznavour, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Matt Monro & Barbra Streisand are only a…
Stephen Fry
Jun 24, 2015 • 39 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Stephen Fry. Comedian, actor, writer, director, presenter & award-ceremony host - his list of accomplishments is long, varied and impressive. His younger years were troubled and with a propensity for stealing and…
Rebecca Adlington
Jun 14, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Rebecca Adlington - Britain’s most successful female swimmer. A multiple medal winner and record breaker she’s packed a lot in at a young age, first grabbing the nation’s attention by winning two golds at the Beijing…
Lisa Jardine
Jun 10, 2015 • 37 min
Professor Lisa Jardine, academic, biographer and public thinker, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Historian, biographer, public thinker, mathematician - her proclivities are wide ranging and well regarded with prize winning books on…
Pamela Rose
May 31, 2015 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Pamela Rose. Now aged 97, she was a Bletchley Girl who spent her war years working in total secrecy, painstakingly indexing snippets of information that would prove vital to the the war effort. Alan Turing and his fellow…
Jimmy Wales
May 24, 2015 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the internet entrepreneur Jimmy Wales. He is best known as the co-founder of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. He grew up in Huntsville, Alabama and was the eldest child of a grocery store manager and his wife who ran a…
Helen Browning
May 17, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the farmer, and Chief Executive of the Soil Association, Helen Browning. Born and brought up on the farm in Wiltshire she runs today, she told her father she wanted to be a ‘proper farmer’ aged just 9. By the time she was 24 her…
Sir Bradley Wiggins
May 10, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins. Winner of four Olympic gold medals, six track World Championship gold medals and the first Briton to win the Tour de France, cycling is in his blood. His parents met through the sport - his…
Paul Hollywood
Mar 29, 2015 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Paul Hollywood. One of the UK’s leading artisan bakers, he’s a judge, together with Mary Berry, on BBC One’s the Great British Bake Off. The programme enjoyed viewing figures of 15.6m for the 2014 final and has won two…
Pat Albeck
Mar 22, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the designer Pat Albeck. Born in Hull, Pat went to art school there when she was 16. In 1950, she earned a place at The Royal College of Art to study textile design and moved to London. As Britain emerged from the…
Robin Millar
Mar 15, 2015 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the record producer, Robin Millar. One of the UK’s most successful record producers with over 160 gold, silver and platinum discs, he has over forty-four number one records to his credit. His 1984 production of Sade’s…
Bryan Stevenson
Mar 8, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s guest this week is Bryan Stevenson. An American lawyer, he is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, not-for-profit organisation working on death penalty cases, cases of children sentenced as adults,…
Julia Samuel
Mar 1, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the psychotherapist, Julia Samuel. Counsellor for Paediatrics at London’s St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, she works with parents whose children have died and children who’ve experienced loss themselves. She is a Vice…
Jonas Kaufmann
Feb 22, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the tenor, Jonas Kaufmann. Frequently referred to as one of the greatest singers of his generation, both his parents fled East Germany for Munich between the end of the war and the Berlin wall being erected. Jonas was…
Mark Rylance
Feb 15, 2015 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the actor, Mark Rylance. Born in Kent and brought up in America where his father was a teacher, Mark played Hamlet for the first time while he was still at school. Since then he has become particularly well known for…
Dan Pearson
Feb 8, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s guest this week is the garden designer, Dan Pearson. His style is governed by a desire to create a sense of place and he is drawn to wild plants and gardens. Aged just five he discovered this passion, while building roof gardens for his…
Professor Angie Hobbs
Feb 1, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield - a role which has brought her to the attention of a large audience. Brought up in Surrey, she was the youngest of three children.…
Professor Peter Piot
Jan 25, 2015 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the Director of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor Peter Piot. As a microbiologist he is known for his research into viruses and into the public health aspects of sexually transmitted diseases, and, more…
Julia Cleverdon
Jan 18, 2015 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the campaigner, Dame Julia Cleverdon. As head of the charity, Business in the Community, she fine-tuned to perfection the art of persuasion. A phone call from her and many of the big beasts of the business world - the…
Jo Malone
Jan 11, 2015 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the business woman, Jo Malone. If her name automatically conjures the citrusy scents of lime, basil and mandarin or spicy notes of amber and lavender then you’re doubtless one of the customers who flock into the…
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell
Jan 4, 2015 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the scientist, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, who is best known for her work in the field of neuroscience and stroke research. She is now President and Vice-Chancellor of Manchester University. She claims that her…
Ray Winstone
Dec 28, 2014 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the actor Ray Winstone. Nil By Mouth, Sexy Beast, Vincent, The Sweeney - he’s probably best known for totally authentic tough-guy, geezer-parts. But his work has more range and nuance, encompassing roles as varied as…
The Most Reverend Justin Welby
Dec 21, 2014 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway for Christmas week is The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby. Ordained as a priest in 1993, 19 years later he was appointed to lead the Anglican communion of over 77 million people spread across 167 countries.…
Sarah Millican
Dec 14, 2014 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the comedian, Sarah Millican. Her every woman yet no-holds-barred style of comedy has brought her sell-out tours and several of her own highly successful TV series. Revelling in normality and drawing on the difficult,…
Julie Bentley
Dec 7, 2014 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the Chief Executive of the Guide Association, Julie Bentley - or, more accurately, Girlguiding. The name change is surely a clue to the evolving nature of an organisation determined to be relevant and useful to girls…
Damian Lewis
Nov 30, 2014 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the actor, Damian Lewis. As part of the wave of British talent that’s crashed onto America’s shores in recent years his impact has made a deep impression on the creative landscape. His role as Sergeant Brodie in…
Rt Hon Theresa May
Nov 23, 2014 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the Right Honourable Theresa May MP - the longest serving Home Secretary in fifty years. For those who think her political lineage seems directly descended from the Iron Lady, Theresa May’s metal has certainly been stress-tested…
John Agard
Nov 16, 2014 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the poet John Agard. His work is studied widely in British schools. He was the BBC’s first poet in residence and along with WH Auden and Philip Larkin, he’s a recipient of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Born in…
Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown
Nov 14, 2014 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s guest is former Royal Navy test pilot Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown - the programme’s 3000th edition. The Fleet Air Arm’s most decorated pilot, his life reads like a handbook in beating the odds. Landing on a flight deck is acknowledged as…
Wendy Dagworthy
Nov 2, 2014 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the fashion designer, Professor Wendy Dagworthy. During her time as Head of Fashion at both Central St Martins and The Royal College of Art she has taught students who’ve gone on to great success - Stella McCartney,…
Roger Graef
Oct 26, 2014 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s guest is filmmaker and criminologist, Roger Graef. Pioneering in his chosen subjects and style, for the past fifty years he has shone a spotlight on hitherto hidden areas of society and influenced the entire genre of modern day documentary…
Debbie Wiseman
Oct 19, 2014 • 37 min
Kirsty Young interviews the composer Debbie Wiseman. Her work is wide ranging, but her talents are most often employed in crafting lyrical, melodic scores for film and TV. Her credits include Land Girls, Judge John Deed, Haunted and Father Brown. Now a…
Sir Roy Strong
Oct 12, 2014 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the historian, gardener and diarist Sir Roy Strong. He stormed the establishment in the 1960s - a proto-meritocrat, in possession of a sharp mind, fizzing ambition and a brown velvet frock coat. An avowedly unhappy and…
Sally Wainwright
Oct 5, 2014 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the writer Sally Wainwright. TV is her chosen medium and Last Tango In Halifax, Happy Valley or Scott & Bailey are watched by millions of viewers. Her ear for dialogue and talent for story-telling place her among the…
Marin Alsop
Sep 28, 2014 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the conductor, Marin Alsop. Music Director of both The Baltimore Symphony and The Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, she is a maestro with a mission: music, she believes, is a powerful vehicle for social change. She…
Steve McQueen
Sep 21, 2014 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the artist and director Steve McQueen. These days his talents are well recognized - his art has won The Turner Prize and his most recent movie, “12 Years A Slave” scooped an Academy Award, a Bafta and a Golden Globe. He wasn’t…
Malcolm Gladwell
Aug 10, 2014 • 36 min
The writer Malcolm Gladwell is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Always concise, frequently counterintuitive and unexpectedly beguiling, his work orders the world in a way that gives fresh insights into human behaviour. He believes that…
Guy Garvey
Aug 3, 2014 • 37 min
Guy Garvey, musician and frontman of Elbow, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert island Discs. Front man of the group “Elbow” his voice and lyrics have helped the band win pretty much every music prize going … headlining Glastonbury too, and playing…
Dame Wendy Hall
Jul 27, 2014 • 34 min
Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, Dame Wendy fought long and hard to prove that her type of web science was highly significant and here to stay. If algebraic topology and open hypermedia systems really aren’t your…
Doug Allan
Jul 20, 2014 • 36 min
Doug Allan is Kirsty’s castaway this week. He’s spent thirty-five years capturing unique footage of animals in some of the most remote and least hospitable places on earth. If you’ve watched fuzzy little polar bear cubs frolic in the frozen wilderness or…
Anne Reid
Jul 13, 2014 • 33 min
Actress Anne Reid is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. For a long time the bedrock of Anne Reid’s successful career seemed to be her perfectly nuanced portrayal of a variety of northern mums - what she calls “skirt and jumper roles”.…
Sir Michael Marmot
Jul 6, 2014 • 39 min
Professor Sir Michael Marmot is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. He’s an epidemiologist who has spent his career studying what the key factors are in leading a long and healthy life and how your income and post code can affect your…
Lily Allen
Jun 29, 2014 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the singer-songwriter Lily Allen. Less than a decade ago she dipped her toe in musical waters by releasing her demos on social media, this summer she’s one of the headline acts at Glastonbury. It’s 29 years since she…
Judy Murray
Jun 22, 2014 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Judy Murray. A tennis coach since she was 17, she’s the current British captain of the Fed Cup, the premier team competition in women’s tennis, and was herself at one time ranked 8th in Britain - achievements worth…
Raja Shehadeh
Jun 15, 2014 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the Palestinian author and human rights activist, Raja Shehadeh. Born in Ramallah in the West Bank, his life and writing has been dominated by displacement, struggle and a search for justice. His father was murdered in…
Tamara Rojo
Jun 8, 2014 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the ballerina Tamara Rojo. On stage she is a principal dancer for the English National Ballet and when the curtain comes down she performs the role of the company’s artistic director. World-renowned as a stunning,…
Biddy Baxter
Jun 1, 2014 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the TV producer and former Blue Peter editor Biddy Baxter. In charge of Blue Peter for 23 highly successful years, she was responsible for the coveted Blue Peter badges, the multi-million pound charity fundraising…
Rene Redzepi
May 25, 2014 • 34 min
Rene Redzepi, Danish chef, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. His restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen has been named ‘best in the world’ for a fourth time, and holds two Michelin stars. His cooking captures not just the essence of his…
Alison Moyet
May 18, 2014 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the singer, Alison Moyet. She’s won three Brit awards, sold tens of millions in record sales and her career has spanned over 30 years. It all kicked off in 1981; just three months after forming her first band “Yazoo” she was on…
Jack Dee
May 11, 2014 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the comedian, Jack Dee. Comedian, actor and writer, his persona is that of the laconic miserabilist - his hit sit-com was called “Lead Balloon” and his autobiography entitled “Thanks For Nothing”. That is only part of…
Sir Andre Geim
Mar 30, 2014 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Professor Sir Andre Geim. Born in the Soviet Union, his early years were spent in Sochi with his grandmother, a meteorologist. And it was perhaps her small weather station on the beach that…
Dame Claire Bertschinger
Mar 23, 2014 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the nurse & humanitarian Dame Claire Bertschinger. She’s worked for The Red Cross in over a dozen countries including Sudan, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Liberia amid the sort of raw human suffering that most of…
Murray Walker
Mar 16, 2014 • 38 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the broadcaster Murray Walker His commentating career began in 1948 and he finally hung the lip mic at the end of 2001. His trousers-on-fire style of delivery brought excitement, emotion and fanatical obsession to Formula 1 -…
Lord Richards of Herstmonceux
Mar 9, 2014 • 36 min
Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, former Chief of the Defence Staff, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. He was a soldier for 42 years, rising through the ranks to the very top becoming the principal military advisor to government.…
Mairi Hedderwick
Mar 2, 2014 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the author and illustrator Mairi Hedderwick. Her most famous creation is a little red-haired character called Katie Morag who - in wellies and a kilt - has skipped her way through fourteen books and a 26-part TV…
Professor Hugh Montgomery
Feb 23, 2014 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Professor Hugh Montgomery. His area of academic specialism is intensive care medicine and he’s also known for his pioneering genetic research into the ACE fitness gene - which determines our capacity for either…
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
Feb 16, 2014 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaways this week are the ice skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. It’s 30 years since they enthralled the world winning gold at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. So memorable, it was truly a “where were you when” moment: the answer…
Dame Elish Angiolini
Feb 9, 2014 • 32 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the lawyer Dame Elish Angiolini. The first woman to become both Scotland’s Solicitor General and Lord Advocate she’s currently principal of St Hugh’s College Oxford. It’s a long way from Govan where her father heaved…
Bob Harris
Feb 2, 2014 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the broadcaster, Bob Harris. Known affectionately as Whispering Bob, he’s rarely been off our air waves in the past 44 years. His big break came standing in for John Peel and he was so good that not long after he was…
Sir Ben Ainslie
Jan 26, 2014 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the sailor Sir Ben Ainslie. Eleven times World and 9 times European Champion he’s also the most successful sailor in Olympic history. As he crossed the finishing line at the London 2012 Games, winning his fourth gold,…
Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Jan 19, 2014 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin. The first black woman to be chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen and also to the Speaker of the House of Commons, she’s also kept busy with her work in less rarefied surroundings -…
Nicola Benedetti
Jan 12, 2014 • 37 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the violinist, Nicola Benedetti. She had her first violin lesson at the age of four, and by the age of eight, she was leading the National Children’s Orchestra of Scotland. By the grand old age of ten she was boarding at the…
Ray Mears
Jan 5, 2014 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is woodsman Ray Mears. A traveller to the world’s remotest corners and a renowned expert in bushcraft, wild cooking and survival techniques, he’s one of very few castaways who would genuinely relish the challenges of a desert…
Ant and Dec
Dec 29, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaways are the TV presenters Ant & Dec - Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. The kings of Saturday night prime time, their careers and firm friendship spans twenty-odd years beginning as child actors on Byker Grove and currently…
Miranda Hart
Dec 22, 2013 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Miranda Hart. She writes and stars in the hit sitcom “Miranda” and has congaed her way to the top of TV comedy by exploiting the universal truth that awkwardness lies at the heart of the human condition. Slapstick and…
Gillian Clarke
Dec 15, 2013 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Gillian Clarke. Wales’s National Poet, she has received the Queen’s Gold Medal for her work. She writes about everything from dinosaurs to suicide, but the potency and power of nature is a recurring motif. Although she’s…
Barbara Hulanicki
Dec 8, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Barbara Hulanicki, designer and creator of Biba. Today her creativity spans fashion, illustration, interior design and architecture but it was the success of the label Biba that first made her name; launching a high street…
Clare Balding
Dec 1, 2013 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the broadcaster Clare Balding. The BBC TV coverage of London’s 2012 Olympics was her triumph and much like Team GB she’d been in training for her big moment for quite a while. She’s worked on five Olympic Games, four…
Rt Hon Ed Miliband
Nov 24, 2013 • 35 min
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, joins Kirsty Young to choose his Desert Island Discs. He’s been in charge of his party for three years and was the youngest leader they’d ever elected. But that fact got somewhat lost in the drama that…
Malorie Blackman
Nov 17, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the writer Malorie Blackman. A prolific and multi-award winning author she has powered her way to success not just through talent but determination and perseverance. From the careers mistress who told her, “black…
Alfred Brendel
Nov 15, 2013 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the classical pianist, Alfred Brendel. A performer of world renown, his career spans seven decades, and he is particularly famous for his interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt. An Austrian who’s lived in the…
Sir Ken Robinson
Nov 3, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the educationalist Sir Ken Robinson. Creativity - how to nurture it, develop it and marshal its power - is his preoccupation. He believes that too many people have no sense of their true talents and passions, and his…
Professor Tanya Byron
Oct 27, 2013 • 35 min
Professor Tanya Byron, clinical psychologist and TV presenter, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Tanya has spent the last twenty years in clinical practice, helping children, young people and families deal with some of the most…
Jeremy Hutchinson
Oct 20, 2013 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the former barrister and member of The House of Lords, Jeremy Hutchinson.His life spans eleven decades of British history and he has spent much of it at the very centre of the action. Born during the First World War,…
Chris Packham
Oct 13, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the naturalist, Chris Packham.TV presenter, filmmaker, writer, photographer, every bit of his work revolves around wildlife. If he’s not busy telling us why we should love midges he’s enthusing about the hearing capacity of a…
Carolyn McCall
Oct 6, 2013 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is businesswoman Carolyn McCall.Currently Chief Executive of easyJet, she’s one of only three women in Britain in charge of a FTSE 100 company. Prior to that she ran the Guardian Media Group.An only child, she was brought…
Lee Mack
Sep 29, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young interviews the comedian Lee Mack. He writes and stars in the BBC One hit show “Not Going Out”. His stand-up tours do great business and his lightening sharp comedy reflexes are also put to good use on a number of prime-time panel shows. His…
Zadie Smith
Sep 22, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the novelist and critic, Zadie Smith. First published at just twenty four her debut novel “White Teeth” garnered huge attention and praise. As a result she suffered the unnerving experience of doing her literary…
Daniel Kahneman
Aug 11, 2013 • 34 min
The psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economics, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most influential living psychologists, his many years of study have centred on…
Eve Stewart
Aug 4, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is BAFTA award-winning production designer, Eve Stewart. Her big screen credits include Les Miserables, The King’s Speech and Vera Drake and for TV The Hour, Upstairs Downstairs and Call The Midwife. Responsible for locations,…
Mary Robinson
Jul 28, 2013 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and ex-UN Commissioner for Human Rights. Her professional life has been defined by public service at the very highest level and she appears the epitome of the cool-headed pragmatist.…
Russell Brand
Jul 21, 2013 • 34 min
Russell Brand, comedian & actor, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Actor, comic, writer, Russell Brand is a compelling cultural phenomenon who in 2006 was, in his own words, “plucked from a life of hard drugs and petty crime and…
Val McDermid
Jul 14, 2013 • 35 min
The writer, Val McDermid, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Crime fiction is Val’s chosen genre and the millions of novels she sells examine and dissect the darkest recesses of human behaviour. Domestic violence, murder, abduction -…
Jane Somerville
Jul 7, 2013 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the cardiologist Jane Somerville. Now an Emeritus Professor in her discipline at Imperial College London she’s gained a worldwide reputation for her pioneering work on congenital heart disease. She began studying…
Steven Pinker
Jun 30, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker. An author and Harvard professor he’s been named by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential scientists and thinkers. The psychology of violence and where language…
Hugh Laurie
Jun 23, 2013 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is the actor, Hugh Laurie. If life were straightforward he’d be marooned on the island because of his achievements as an Olympic rower. But his early promise on the water was scuppered by a bout of glandular fever - so he’s had to…
Alexandra Shulman
Jun 16, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman. In spite of being in charge of one of our leading ‘style bibles’ for more than 20 years, her reputation is that of someone rather down to earth. She thinks designers cut…
Conrad Anker
Jun 9, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the mountaineer Conrad Anker. Some of us choose a life in I.T. or event planning - Conrad Anker has opted to swing from a nylon stepladder 19,000 feet up a cliff with a dose of trench foot and a wedge of stale cheese…
Sir Mervyn King
Jun 2, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the out-going Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King. He has been in charge during a period of unprecedented global financial turmoil yet under his leadership the Bank of England has emerged as one of the…
Deborah Bull
May 26, 2013 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s guest this week is the ballerina, writer and broadcaster Deborah Bull. The Royal Ballet, where she was a principal dancer for almost two decades owes a debt of gratitude to the Janice Sutton School of Dance in Skegness. It was there, aged…
Alice Walker
May 19, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the Pulitzer Prize winning writer Alice Walker. Author, poet, feminist and activist, it was her novel The Color Purple that brought her worldwide attention and acclaim. The story of a poor black girl surviving in the…
Damien Hirst
May 12, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s guest this week is the artist Damien Hirst. Life, death, desire, fear, beauty, horror - his creative preoccupations are standard fair; his art - using sharks, maggots, butterflies, glass, formaldehyde and even sometimes paint - is not. His…
Sir Sydney Kentridge
Mar 31, 2013 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Sir Sydney Kentridge QC. Widely regarded as a leading advocate of the 20th century, he continues to make his mark in the 21st; he recently appeared for the first time in the European Court of Justice and at the end of…
Jasvinder Sanghera
Mar 24, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the writer and campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera. She has counselled government and travelled widely advising on how to put a stop to forced marriage and so called honour violence. At 14, Jasvinder was shown a picture of…
Julie Goodyear
Mar 17, 2013 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the actress Julie Goodyear. For a quarter of a century her Coronation Street character Bet Lynch set the gold plated standard for big, brassy, back chatting blondes. Behind the bar of the Rovers Return her bosom…
David Almond
Mar 10, 2013 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the writer David Almond. Most of his work is for children but the adults who populate the juries of heavyweight literary prizes really like it too. The accolades began with his first novel Skellig published in 1998…
Rankin
Mar 3, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the photographer Rankin. He started out doing fashion shoots and is very good at making pretty young things look even prettier. But his work and influence have spread well beyond the glossy pages of style bibles. From…
Uta Frith
Feb 24, 2013 • 35 min
Professor Uta Frith, developmental psychologist, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Uta Frith’s groundbreaking work on autism has revolutionized our understanding of the condition; overturning the traditional, long-held belief that…
Jonathan Agnew
Feb 17, 2013 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew. Known simply as “Aggers” to the army of fans devoted to Test Match Special, his charm, knowledge and ready wit have gained him a place in the heart of anyone who loves the game.…
Julie Burchill
Feb 10, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s guest is the writer Julie Burchill. As a columnist and author she is a committed non-conformist - daring the world to take issue with her vociferous life and work and depending on whom you ask is either a ‘Marxist critic’ or ‘a right wing…
Sir Terry Leahy
Feb 3, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway is Sir Terry Leahy, the businessman and former CEO of Tesco. His first job with the company was as a teenager when he worked as a shelf-stacker, but he made his name transforming the supermarket from a lack-lustre brand into…
Aung San Suu Kyi
Jan 27, 2013 • 44 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Aung San Suu Kyi. The programme was recorded on location in Naypyitaw, Burma in December 2012. Now Leader of Burma’s opposition party, she has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights and democracy in her…
Beryl Vertue
Jan 20, 2013 • 33 min
TV producer Beryl Vertue is Kirsty Young’s castaway on Desert Island Discs. In the famously fickle world of telly where last year’s hero is this year’s zero she has stood the test of time. Indeed in TV circles the noun “vertuosity” is defined as “the…
Martin Carthy
Jan 13, 2013 • 34 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Martin Carthy. A highly influential figure in the world of traditional music, about fifty years ago he was at the forefront of the English folk revival - inspiring not just his fellow countrymen, but Bob Dylan and Paul…
Sir Howard Stringer
Jan 6, 2013 • 36 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Sir Howard Stringer. Now Chairman of the Board and formerly CEO of Sony, he was surely the only Chief Executive who was a decorated Vietnam vet as he knelt before the Queen to be knighted. It gives you something of an…
Anya Hindmarch
Dec 30, 2012 • 33 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is the designer and businesswoman, Anya Hindmarch. Given her first handbag by her mother at 16, she knew that her future lay in fashion. At 18 she went to Florence to immerse herself in Italian style, and ended up deep in…
Dawn French
Dec 23, 2012 • 35 min
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Dawn French. Her career started back when dungarees were considered a legitimate fashion choice and she’s built her reputation on borderline surreal skits and glowingly warm characterisations. Brought up in a forces…
Henry Blofeld
Nov 30, 2003 • 35 min
This week Sue Lawley’s castaway is the cricket commentator Henry Blofeld. Blofeld’s become known as much for his musings on pigeons, planes, double decker buses, tea ladies, cakes and his catchphrase ‘my dear old thing’ as he is for his cricket…
Colin Montgomerie
Mar 12, 2000 • 35 min
Sue Lawley’s guest this week is Colin Montgomerie. One of the biggest earners in the history of golf, he’s ranked number three in the world. Despite having a natural talent for the game, he’d never expected to play it professionally. Having applied for a…
Kenneth Williams
Jul 26, 1987 • 35 min
The castaway this week is Kenneth Williams who, for 40 years, has occupied a unique place on stage, screen and radio. In conversation with Michael Parkinson, he recalls his long career which has ranged from working on radio classics like Hancock’s Half…
Lauren Bacall
Mar 3, 1979 • 28 min
Roy Plomley’s castaway is actress Lauren Bacall. Favourite track: My Mistress’ Eyes (Sonnet 130) by William Shakespeare Book: Collected Short Stories by John Cheever Luxury: Sun tan lotion
Jacqueline Du Pre
Mar 19, 1977 • 26 min
Roy Plomley’s castaway is cellist Jacqueline Du Pré. Favourite track: Piano Quintet In A Major by Franz Schubert Book: Thesaurus by Roget Luxury: Pencils and paper