Cover image of Desert Island Discs
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Rank #29 in Personal Journals category

Society & Culture
Personal Journals

Desert Island Discs

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #29 in Personal Journals category

Society & Culture
Personal Journals
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Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

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Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

iTunes Ratings

916 Ratings
Average Ratings
775
70
30
21
20

Very good podcast!

By paulgagnon - Oct 21 2019
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Loved listening to it. Will continue!

Louis

By DID listener - Sep 15 2019
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Why is Louis Theroux the artwork for Desert Island Discs?

iTunes Ratings

916 Ratings
Average Ratings
775
70
30
21
20

Very good podcast!

By paulgagnon - Oct 21 2019
Read more
Loved listening to it. Will continue!

Louis

By DID listener - Sep 15 2019
Read more
Why is Louis Theroux the artwork for Desert Island Discs?
Cover image of Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

Latest release on Jan 19, 2020

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Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

Rank #1: Malcolm Gladwell

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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 a knowledge of people's backgrounds is necessary to understanding their success; his own achievements may presumably then be attributed, not just to his keen mind and polished prose, but also to his parents - an English mathematician and a Jamaican psychotherapist.

He says, "I am the bird attached to the top of a very large beast, pecking away and eating the gnats.... I am someone who draws inspiration from the brilliance of others and repackages it ... I am a populariser, a simplifier and a synthesizer."

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Aug 10 2014

36mins

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Rank #2: Tom Hanks

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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 and four Golden Globes and was the youngest ever actor to be given a lifetime achievement award by the American Film institute. The voice of Woody in the 'Toy Story' films, he won the first of his two Oscars in 1993 for Philadelphia and again the following year for Forrest Gump.

His parents split up when he was 5 and he went to live with his father. By the age of 10 he'd lived in ten different houses in five different cities. He loved school and developed a passion for history which is reflected in the film he made with Steven Spielberg, 'Saving Private Ryan' and the TV mini-series 'Band of Brothers' and 'The Pacific' which he also produced.

His latest film is 'Hologram for The King'.

He is married to the actor & producer, Rita Wilson.
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

The podcast version of this programme is an extended version of the broadcast interview.

May 08 2016

47mins

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Rank #3: Ed Sheeran

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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.

Born into a creative family, Ed had piano and cello lessons as a youngster and briefly sang in a local church choir. At the age of 11, seeing Eric Clapton play Layla on TV at the Queen's Golden Jubilee concert inspired him to take up the guitar. Ten years later, Ed himself was performing at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert.

Ed left school and home at 16 to focus on playing gigs in London. Despite relentless performing he failed to secure a recording contract and decided to try his luck in America. During a successful stint performing in Los Angeles, he came to the attention of the Academy Award-winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx, and within months of returning to the UK he'd signed a record deal. His first single, The A Team, became a top ten hit around the world and won him an Ivor Novello award, and his second and third albums topped the UK and US charts.

In 2015 he performed at Wembley Stadium as a solo artist for three nights to capacity crowds, and this year he is headlining the Pyramid stage on the final night of Glastonbury.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

May 07 2017

49mins

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Rank #4: Stephen Fry

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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 lying, he was expelled from two schools and imprisoned for credit card fraud. The turning point came when he knuckled down and won a scholarship to Queens' College, Cambridge, where he read English and joined the Cambridge Footlights, becoming lifelong friends with Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie.
His career highlights include the fruits of his collaborative work with Laurie - from A Bit of Fry and Laurie to Jeeves and Wooster, he played Lord Melchett in Blackadder and Oscar Wilde on the big screen. He is a best-selling author of fiction and three volumes of autobiography, is the voice of the Harry Potter audio books and presents BBC Two's QI. He has also spoken of his experience of mental health issues and in 2006 he made a documentary exploring the effects of living with Bipolar - it won an Emmy Award.
Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Jun 24 2015

39mins

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Rank #5: Bruce Springsteen

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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 role in his early life. The family teetered on the brink of poverty, and his first guitar was rented, rather than bought. He spent his apprentice years as a musician and singer with local bands before landing a record deal in 1972. When 'Born to Run' was released in 1975 it turned him into a household name. His first Top Ten single was 'Hungry Heart', ahead of his most successful album 'Born in the USA' which was released in 1984.

In spite of having long transcended the environment he grew up in, Springsteen has remained a chronicler of blue-collar lives. His records are frequently a political commentary on the struggles of ordinary Americans. In the Nineties he settled into family life with his wife Patti Scialfa who sings with his E Street Band.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Dec 18 2016

48mins

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Rank #6: Damian Lewis

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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 Homeland saw him win both an Emmy and Golden Globe and along with Band of Brothers, The Forsyte Saga and a long list of other credits, he now ranks as one of our most well recognised and highly regarded performers.

Things didn't always look so peachy: aged 11, and in the school production of Princess Ida, he forgot the entire third act and stood mute in front of a packed auditorium. Tellingly, rather than scuttling into the wings with shame he soldiered on and by 16 he knew performing was, more than anything, what he wanted to do.

He says, "I am a person who is ambitious. I'm ambitious to get the very best from every moment and even if that's just taking my children to the zoo ... I want it to be the best it can be.".

Nov 30 2014

35mins

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Rank #7: Keith Richards

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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 Dartford train station in 1961 and discovering they shared a taste in blues music. Keith picked up his love of the guitar from his grandfather and honed his skills whilst at art college.

If one single, living person could be said to personify rock n' roll then it is surely him. He's been making music and causing havoc for over half a century and counting. His song writing, singing and guitar playing have helped to make The Rolling Stones a stratospherically successful group and his early and single minded dedication to the triumvirate pursuits of sex and drugs and rock and roll made him a counter-culture icon.

No surprise then that as a boy he would go to sleep at night with his arm around his first guitar.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Oct 25 2015

34mins

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Rank #8: Bill Gates

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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 revolution. In 2000, he and his wife, Melinda, launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has given to date over $34 billion to projects aimed at reducing health inequality around the world.

Born into a professional family - his father was a lawyer, his mother a former teacher who later became involved with volunteer work - he was introduced to the idea of 'giving back' at an early age. An avid reader as a child, he attended Harvard where in his sophomore year he and Paul Allen developed software for the first micro-computers. The company would go on to achieve huge success with its Windows operating system.

By 1987, Gates had become the world's youngest self-made billionaire, then worth $1.25 billion. Consistently listed as the Richest Man in the World, he stepped down as CEO of the company in 2000 although he remained as Chairman until 2014.

These days his primary focus is his philanthropy. In 2010, Gates and his friend Warren Buffett announced the Giving Pledge which aims to inspire the wealthy people of the world to give away the majority of their net worth to worthy causes.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Feb 04 2016

35mins

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Rank #9: Zadie Smith

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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 growing up in public.

Yet in spite of the scrutiny she blossomed. In the 13 years since, her novels, essays and short stories have brought numerous literary prizes and critical praise. Born to a Jamaican mother and a British father she was brought up in Willesden, North London where many of her characters live. She began writing at the age of 5 and was a voracious reader - devouring the greats of literature. Now she divides her time between Willesden and New York where she teaches creative writing.

She describes herself as "an English novelist enslaved to an ancient tradition" and yet her chosen areas of exploration could not be more of the moment.

She says, "I'm really interested in what memory feels like ... we only have snapshots of the past ..." she continues to declare that writing isn't about "being experimental, it's about finding something true."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Sep 22 2013

34mins

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Rank #10: Dame Judi Dench

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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 Ophelia at the Old Vic in 1957. An illustrious stage career followed in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet in 1960, in Cabaret in 1968 and as Lady Macbeth for Trevor Nunn in 1976. On TV she found huge success in sitcoms - appearing with her husband, the late Michael Williams, in A Fine Romance and with Geoffrey Palmer in As Time Goes By.

She received an Oscar nomination for her first big-screen part as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown; Shakespeare in Love won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress; Mrs Henderson Presents, Notes on a Scandal, Iris, and Philomena followed. She played the part of 'M' in the James Bond films seven times and is about to appear as Paulina in Sir Kenneth Branagh's production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.

Married to Michael Williams for 30 years, their daughter, Finty, is also an actress.
Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Sep 20 2015

38mins

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Rank #11: Miranda Hart

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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 misunderstanding underpin her work along with the impression that she's just a really, jolly, lovely 'girl': her father was a naval commander and her mother has devoted much of her life to tending a glorious garden.

Making her mark has been something of a slog. After her first appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe it was another 11 years before she could give up her job as a P.A. - for a good while she was photocopying scripts rather than performing them.

She says: "I started writing comedy because it was more fun inside my head than the real world, but that's no longer true."

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Dec 22 2013

36mins

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Rank #12: David Beckham

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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 midfielder for Manchester United, winning the Treble - Premiership, FA Cup and Champions League - in 1999, before moving to Real Madrid in 2003. He headed to the US to play for LA Galaxy in 2007, and ended his career at Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, retiring in May that year.

Born and raised in East London, the middle child of Ted and Sandra, David Beckham discovered football early and spent hours kicking a ball around at the local park with his father. At the age of seven, he played for his first team, Ridgeway Rovers, before coming to the attention of Manchester United while attending the Bobby Charlton Soccer School. He became a trainee with Manchester United in 1991, and progressed to make 265 first team appearances, winning the Premier League six times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Champions League once. He played for England from 1996 to 2009 and captained the side for six years.

He has been married to Victoria Adams - known as Posh from the Spice Girls - since 1999 and they have four children. Since retiring from professional football in 2013, David has spent more time on his work with UNICEF which he has supported since 2005.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Jan 29 2017

52mins

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Rank #13: Noel Gallagher

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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 rural County Mayo, in sharp contrast to the Manchester council estate where they lived. He taught himself to play the guitar and loved music: he was road manager for the Inspiral Carpets before joining Liam in Oasis.

Their debut album in 1994 marked the beginning of the band's rise to fame as part of the Britpop movement. In 1996 they played in front of 250,000 fans over two consecutive nights at Knebworth and following the Labour landslide in 1997, Noel attended what became known as the Cool Britannia party held in Downing Street by Tony Blair. Oasis won six BRIT Awards and two Ivor Novello Awards before disbanding in August 2009.

He's since formed his own band - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Jul 19 2015

36mins

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Rank #14: Thom Yorke, musician

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Thom Yorke has been the front man of Radiohead, one of Britain’s most successful British bands, for 34 years. They have sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and have won three Grammys and four Ivor Novello awards. Their debut studio album, Pablo Honey, was released in 1993, with their debut single, Creep, becoming a big international success.

Thom decided on his career at the age of seven, when he lay on the floor between large speakers at a friend’s house and listened to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. He made his own electric guitar when he was 10, and wrote his first song at 11. At his secondary school he joined up with fellow pupils and they formed a band called On a Friday, as that was the only day they were allowed to rehearse. They all went their separate ways as university students, but then signed to Parlophone in 1991 and renamed themselves Radiohead.

Thom has collaborated with artists including PJ Harvey and Björk and has composed for film and theatre. His first feature film soundtrack, Suspiria, was released last year. His first classical piece, Don’t Fear the Light, was premiered in Paris this year, and he has also been touring his latest solo album Anima. He is an activist on behalf of human rights, animal rights, environmental and anti-war causes.

DISC ONE: Ravel - Le jardin féerique – the Labèque sisters
DISC TWO: Scott Walker - It’s Raining Today
DISC THREE: Talking Heads - Born Under Punches
DISC FOUR: Squarepusher and Aphex Twin - Freeman Hardy & Willis Acid
DISC FIVE: Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
DISC SIX: REM – Talk about the Passion
DISC SEVEN: Sidney Bechet - Blue Horizon
DISC EIGHT: Nina Simone - Lilac Wine

BOOK CHOICE: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
LUXURY ITEM: A recording studio
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) by Talking Heads

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Sep 22 2019

54mins

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Rank #15: Mark Rylance

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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 his acclaimed and award-winning Shakespearean stage roles. He won an Olivier and a Tony award for his portrayal of Johnny 'Rooster' Byron in Jez Butterworth's 'Jerusalem' onstage in both Britain and the United States. He has also appeared in a number of film roles, was the first artistic director of The Globe Theatre - a post he held for a decade - and his portrayal of Thomas Cromwell in the BBC Television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall has now brought him to a wider audience.

Producer: Isabel Sargent.

Feb 15 2015

37mins

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Rank #16: Christiane Amanpour

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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 on screen that her peers in the press pack coined the darkly comic phrase "where there's a war, there's Amanpour."

Born to an Iranian father and a British mother, she initially wanted to be a doctor, but the Revolution in Iran in 1979 galvanised her political consciousness and she turned to journalism. Her first major assignment was in Saudi Arabia where she covered the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. She describes her time in Bosnia as a life-changing experience which made her determined to tell the stories of ordinary people caught up in the chaos of conflict.

During her career she has interviewed some of the biggest names on the world stage from Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to Robert Mugabe and Colonel Gaddafi. The winner of 11 Emmy Awards, she now anchors her own nightly television show on CNN although she can be whisked away at a moment's notice to cover major disasters around the globe. She has borne witness to some of history's worst atrocities but what gets her through is her eternal optimism and the courage and dignity of humanity.
Producer: Paula McGinley.

Oct 02 2016

33mins

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Rank #17: Classic Desert Island Discs: Ricky Gervais

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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 filmed for a mock-documentary who saw the ever-present cameras as his route to popularity and fame. Ricky Gervais's performance was both excruciating and unmissable - one critic called the programme "among the most affecting and invigorating works of fiction since the turn of the century".

As he discusses with Kirsty Young, comedy was the language he grew up with - the youngest of four children, being able to come up with a gag or a smart rejoinder was the linguistic currency of his home. That, he says, is where the 'show-off performer' was born. Now with seven Baftas, two Golden Globes and an Emmy to his name, Ricky Gervais is gratified that his work is recognised and says his aim has always been to bring art into comedy.

Apr 07 2019

33mins

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Rank #18: Billie Jean King

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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 of ten: at 15 she won in her age bracket at the Southern California championships, and in 1961, she won the women's doubles at Wimbledon with Karen Hantze, the youngest pair to achieve such a victory.

In 1968, when professional competitors were admitted to Grand Slam tournaments, she won Wimbledon for the third time and was paid just £750 while Rod Laver, the Men's champion, took home £2,000. So began her campaign for gender equality, which involved boycotting tournaments and setting up their own professional women's circuit. In 1973, then aged 29, she beat the 55-year-old former tennis champion Bobby Riggs in a match which became known as 'The Battle of the Sexes': it remains the most-watched tennis match ever. That year the US Open awarded the same financial reward to men and women and in 2007 Wimbledon followed suit. Billie Jean also founded the Women's Tennis Association and the Women's Sports Foundation in the 1970s.

She married her husband, Larry, in 1965 but by the late 1960s, she had realised that she was gay. She was outed by a former lover who sued her for palimony in 1981, and although she won the case, she lost almost all her commercial endorsements. She has been with her partner, Ilana Kloss, for nearly 40 years and retired from singles matches in 1983 and doubles in 1990. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009 and has continued to be an ambassador for her sport and for gender equality.

Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Jul 15 2018

57mins

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Rank #19: Sheryl Sandberg

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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 of staff for Larry Summers, Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, before moving to Silicon Valley.

Sheryl published her first book called Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead in 2013 which tried to answer the question why so few women reach the top echelons of their professions. In 2015, her husband of eleven years and father of their two children, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly while they were on holiday. In her second book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, she describes her struggles in dealing with this sudden loss.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Jul 30 2017

35mins

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Rank #20: Rt Hon Theresa May

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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 in the past few weeks. She's apologised twice in parliament for having failed to appoint a suitable head to lead the historical child abuse inquiry; a minister in her department resigned, claiming working with her had been like "walking through mud". Then there has been the controversy over the non-vote on the European Arrest Warrant and finally news this week that 1 in 5 crimes are unrecorded.

Just as well that she has a reputation as a woman who knows her own mind and is willing to speak it. She famously said the Conservatives were perceived as the 'nasty party'. Her excoriating speech to the Police Federation dealt head on with long-term corruption and incompetence in their ranks and was received with stunned silence.

So unflinching, resilient, driven and, if a recent poll is to be believed, a popular choice among Conservative voters to be the next Prime Minister. She has, so far, remained tight-lipped on any ambition to lead her party.

She says, "I think you have to believe in what you're doing - that's key. If you do believe you are doing the right thing - that gives you resilience".

Nov 23 2014

38mins

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Dame Sue Campbell, Director Women's Football at the FA

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Dame Sue Campbell is the Director of Women’s Football at the Football Association. The women’s game has become increasingly popular recently and last year the England team - the Lionesses - made it to the World Cup semi-finals.

Born in 1948, just outside Nottingham, Sue was sporty from an early age, even changing schools to allow her to play football. She became a PE teacher in Manchester and realised how transformative sport could be, increasing self-esteem, motivation and self-belief.

In the mid-1980s, after learning about excellence in sport at Loughborough University and playing netball for England as well as dabbling in the pentathlon, Sue became deputy chief executive (and a year later chief executive) of the National Coaching Foundation, which provided education for coaches at both ends of the spectrum, from parent volunteers to elite coaches.

Ten years later, in 1995, she co-founded the Youth Sport Trust to set up a sports activity programme for every primary school in the country. It was hugely successful: in 2003 only 23% of school children were getting two hours of PE a week. By 2008, this figure had risen to 95%. In 2010, the coalition government cut their funding.

By this time, back at the elite end of the sporting spectrum, Sue was also in charge of UK Sport, where she presided over Team GB's biggest Olympic medal haul in living memory, at the London 2012 games. In 2016, she took her current job as head of Women’s Football at the FA. She has also been a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords since 2008.

BOOK CHOICE: The Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
LUXURY ITEM: A photo album
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Music Of My Heart by Gloria Estefan And *N SYNC

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Jan 19 2020

52mins

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Michael Lewis, writer

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Michael Lewis is a best-selling non-fiction writer and journalist. He initially worked for an investment bank, and his experiences of Wall Street excess in the 1980s informed his acclaimed first book, Liar’s Poker. Three of his later books – Moneyball, The Blind Side and The Big Short – have been adapted into Hollywood feature films.

He was born in New Orleans in 1960, where his father was fond of quoting the family motto: 'Do as little as possible, and that unwillingly, for it is better to receive a light reprimand than perform an arduous task.' After studying at Princeton and the LSE, he joined an American bank in London, and wrote articles about the quirks of the industry under a pseudonym. In spite of his father’s opposition, he decided to quit his highly-paid job to become a writer.

In Moneyball, he examined how a struggling baseball team used intensive data analysis to find undervalued players overlooked by richer clubs. The Big Short focused on the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and his most recent book, The Fifth Risk, is about the Trump administration’s approach to government.

Michael lives in California with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their three children.

BOOK CHOICE: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
LUXURY ITEM: A photo album
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Old Days by Chicago

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Sarah Taylor

Jan 12 2020

36mins

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Rupert Everett, actor

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Rupert Everett is an actor, writer and director whose breakthrough came in 1981 when he was cast as a gay schoolboy in Another Country, Julian Mitchell's play and subsequent film.

Rupert later starred in Dance with a Stranger before making a splash in Hollywood playing Julia Roberts's gay confidante in My Best Friend's Wedding. But his movie career took a dive after The Next Best Thing - in which he played the gay father of Madonna's baby - flopped. After a period out of the limelight he turned his attention to writing and won great acclaim for his witty and illuminating memoirs about his life in showbusiness.

In 2018 Rupert starred in his directorial debut, The Happy Prince - a film about Oscar Wilde's final years in exile. The film was a decade-long labour of love for Rupert from writing the screenplay to securing the funding and persuading his friends Colin Firth and Emily Watson to join the cast. The film was well-received, with one critic calling it a 'deeply felt, tremendously acted tribute to courage'.

Later this year Rupert is starring in the Broadway revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

BOOK CHOICE: Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene
LUXURY ITEM: Vegetables
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Being Boring by Pet Shop Boys

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Paula McGinley

Jan 09 2020

37mins

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Stephen Merchant, writer, comedian and actor

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Stephen Merchant first came to fame with the TV sitcom The Office, which he co-wrote and co-directed with Ricky Gervais. He continued to work with Gervais on the series Extras, Life is Short and An Idiot Abroad. His comedy hero as a young man was John Cleese and as a fellow tall West Country boy, he felt he would try his hand at a comedy career.

As a teenager, he worked at Radio Bristol, was a wedding DJ and enjoyed drama at school. While at Warwick University, he created his own radio programme, The Steve Show. Those radio production skills encouraged him to send in his CV to a new London radio station, XFM, where the head of speech was Ricky Gervais. Following a successful interview – conducted in a pub – Stephen became Ricky’s assistant.

Stephen left XFM to join a BBC training scheme. It was the short film he made with Ricky as part of his course which would eventually lead to the creation of The Office.

Alongside his successful comedy partnership with Gervais, Stephen has pursued his acting and writing ambitions and this year wrote and directed his first film, Fighting with my Family, based on a family of wrestlers. His performance as a stand-up led to his HBO series Hello Ladies, and he starred in his first stage play, Richard Bean's The Mentalists, in London in 2015.

His work has earned him two Golden Globe Awards, three BAFTAs, a Primetime Emmy Award, and four British Comedy Awards.

DISC ONE: Whole of The Moon by The Waterboys
DISC TWO: Raspberry Beret by Prince
DISC THREE: Babies by Pulp
DISC FOUR: Regulate (Jammin' Remix) by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg and Michael McDonald
DISC FIVE: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen
DISC SIX: A Case of You by Joni Mitchell
DISC SEVEN: Change of the Guard by Kamasi Washington
DISC EIGHT: Love Letter by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

BOOK CHOICE: Roger's Profanisaurus by Viz and Roger Mellie
LUXURY ITEM: A piano
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Dec 22 2019

47mins

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Heidi Thomas, screenwriter

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Heidi Thomas is a screenwriter and playwright best known for Call the Midwife. The BBC TV series, which began in 2012, was originally a six part adaptation of a trilogy of memoirs by Jennifer Worth, recalling her experiences as a midwife in the East End of London. It was an immediate hit, with 10 million viewers a week, becoming one of BBC One’s most popular dramas and a fixture in the Christmas schedules.

Born in 1962, Heidi Thomas grew up as the eldest of three children in the leafy suburbs of Liverpool. Her father ran a drain cleaning business while her mother looked after the children, including Heidi’s youngest brother David, who was born with Down’s Syndrome.

Heidi studied English at Liverpool University, supporting herself by selling ladies’ underwear at a department store. During a bout of viral hepatitis, which left her unable to apply for jobs when she graduated, she entered a competition for new plays and won a prize for her debut, All Flesh is Grass. During the production,of her next play, Shamrocks and Crocodiles, she met the actor Stephen McGann. They went on to marry, and many years later Stephen was cast as the GP in Call the Midwife.

After nearly a decade in the theatre, Heidi made the leap into television, first writing on existing series such as Soldier, Soldier and Doctor Finlay. Her other screenwriting credits include Lilies, based on her grandmother’s recollections, and adaptations of classic novels including Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

DISC ONE: You Belong to Me by The Duprees
DISC TWO: Penny Lane by The Beatles
DISC THREE: Gentle on my Mind by Dean Martin
DISC FOUR: Who Will Sing Me Lullabies? by Kate Rusby
DISC FIVE: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack
DISC SIX: Finishing The Hat by Josh Groban
DISC SEVEN: Agnus Dei from Requiem, op. 48, conducted by Nigel Short and performed by London Symphony Orchestra Chamber Ensemble and Tenebrae
DISC EIGHT: Both Sides, Now by Joni Mitchell

BOOK CHOICE: London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew
LUXURY ITEM: A hot water bottle
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Both Sides, Now by Joni Mitchell

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Sarah Taylor

Dec 15 2019

53mins

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Professor Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience

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Professor Russell Foster is head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford, professor of circadian neuroscience and the director of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology. An expert in sleep, he describes it as 'the single most important health behaviour we have'.

Born in 1959, as a child he loved his toy microscope and digging up fossils. Despite being labelled “entirely non-academic” by his headmaster and attending remedial classes for some years, he achieved three science A levels which won him a place at the University of Bristol.

There, he developed an early interest in photo-receptors - cells which convert light into signals that can stimulate biological processes. This eventually led to his post-doctoral discovery, in 1991, of a previously unknown type of cell – photosensitive retinal ganglion cells – in the eyes of mice. His proposition that these ganglion cells – which are not used for vision, but to detect brightness – exist in humans too initially met with scepticism from the ophthalmological community.

Russell’s research has made a significant impact, proving that our eyes provide us with both our sense of vision and our sense of time, which has changed the clinical definition of blindness and the treatment of eye disease. He has published several popular science books.

Russell is married to Elizabeth Downes, with whom he has three grown-up children.

DISC ONE: Ode to Joy from the 4th movement of Symphony No. 9, conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler, performed by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Elisabeth Höngen, Hans Hopf, Otto Edelman and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
DISC TWO: Die Walkϋre Act 3, Finale, from Der Ring des Nibelungen, sung by Hans Hotter and performed by Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna State Opera Chorus
DISC THREE: Don Giovanni, K. 527: Mi tradi quell'alma ingrata by Kiri Te Kanawa
DISC FOUR: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics
DISC FIVE: (Nimrod): Adagio by BBC Symphony Orchestra
DISC SIX: Title: Chasing Sheep Is Best Left To Shepherds by The Michael Nyman Band
DISC SEVEN: The Mikado, Act II: The Sun Whose Rays by The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company
DISC EIGHT: Let’s Misbehave by Irving Aaronson

BOOK CHOICE: The collected works of Adrian John Desmond
LUXURY ITEM: A mask, snorkel, flippers and underwater camera
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Die Walkϋre Act 3, Finale, from Der Ring des Nibelungen, sung by Hans Hotter and performed by Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna State Opera Chorus

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Dec 08 2019

41mins

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Asif Kapadia, film director

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Asif Kapadia is an Academy Award-winning film director, renowned for his documentaries about the musician Amy Winehouse, the Brazilian motor racing star Ayrton Senna, and the Argentinian footballer, Diego Maradona.

Born in 1972, Asif is the youngest of five children. His parents emigrated from Gujarat in the mid-1960s. His father’s ambition to seek his fortune took the family to the US for a short time in the late 70s, but by 1980 they had returned to London. Asif grew up in Hackney, and describes his all-boys secondary school as tough. His mother was ill while he was taking his GCSEs, and he vowed never to sit exams again. At 17, he worked as a runner on a film and so enjoyed feeling part of a crew that he decided he wanted to make a career in the industry.

He studied film at the Newport Film School, going on to the Polytechnic of Central London where his graduation film, Indian Tales, was highly regarded. His 1997 Royal College of Art graduation film, The Sheep Thief, shot in Rajasthan in the Hindi language, won a prize at Cannes. He made two feature films, The Warrior which won two Baftas, and Far North, which was filmed close to the North Pole.

His first documentary was Senna, which was widely acclaimed and won two Baftas. Asif used the same collage technique - drawing on camcorder snippets, TV news, and entertainment specials – on Amy, his film about Amy Winehouse. It won an Oscar, a Bafta and a Grammy Award and surpassed Senna to become the highest grossing documentary of all time in the UK. His latest documentary is about the footballer Diego Maradona: he calls it “the third part of a trilogy about child geniuses and fame”.

Asif is married to Victoria Harwood with whom he has two sons.

DISC ONE: Tears Dry On Their Own by Amy Winehouse
DISC TWO: Good Times by Chic
DISC THREE: Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein by Lata Mangeshka And Mukesh
DISC FOUR: Rebel Without a Pause by Public Enemy
DISC FIVE: No Good (Start The Dance) by The Prodigy
DISC SIX: Man With A Harmonica by Orchestra Ennio Morricone
DISC SEVEN: A Morte by Antônio Pinto
DISC EIGHT: Just by Radiohead

BOOK CHOICE: The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
LUXURY ITEM: A polaroid camera with film from the seventies
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Man With A Harmonica by Orchestra Ennio Morricone

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Dec 01 2019

38mins

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Isabella Tree, writer and conservationist

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Isabella Tree is a conservationist and writer of the award-winning book Wilding: the Return of Nature to a British Farm, which tells the story of rewilding a 3,500 acre farm estate in Sussex, which she oversaw with her husband Charlie.

The adopted daughter of Michael Tree and Lady Anne Cavendish, Isabella grew up in Mereworth Castle in Kent, and then in Shute House, a vicarage in Dorset. Following her expulsion from two secondary schools, she attended Millfield School as a sixth former, where mutual friends introduced her to her future husband. After reading classics at the University of London, she went on to work as a journalist and travel writer for the Evening Standard and The Sunday Times. Her first book, The Bird Man, about the Victorian ornithologist John Gould, was published in 1991. She married Charles Burrell in 1993 and settled at Knepp, a dairy and arable farm in Sussex. She continued to travel, writing books about Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Mexico.

In 2000 Isabella and Charlie closed the farm business at Knepp, and turned the estate into a conservation project, letting the land develop on its own, and eventually introducing free-roaming animals – cattle, pigs, deer and ponies. Two decades later, the project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife, fungi, and vegetation with extremely rare species like turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies breeding there. The soil is richer in micro-organisms which help to recapture carbon from the air and promote a functioning ecosystem where nature is given as much freedom as possible.

She lives at Knepp with her husband Charlie and has two children, Ned and Nancy.

DISC ONE: ‘The Whole of the Moon’ by The Waterboys
DISC TWO: ‘These Foolish Things’ by Billie Holiday
DISC THREE: ‘Life’s a Gas’ by T. Rex
DISC FOUR: ‘Where’s the Telephone Bill? by Bootsy’s Rubber Band
DISC FIVE: ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley
DISC SIX: Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, played by the Brindisi String Quartet
DISC SEVEN: BBC Sound recording of Nightingales And Bombers The Night Of The Mannheim Raid
DISC EIGHT: ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ by Toploader

BOOK CHOICE: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
LUXURY ITEM: Mask, snorkel and a neoprene vest
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: These Foolish Things by Billie Holiday

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Nov 24 2019

40mins

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Stephen Graham, actor

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Stephen Graham is an actor, whose credits include key roles in films including This is England and The Irishman, and in TV dramas such as Boardwalk Empire and Line of Duty.

Stephen was born in Kirkby just outside Liverpool in 1973. He discovered acting at school, where a starring role in a production of Treasure Island at the age of 10 was a turning point: local actor Andrew Schofield was in the audience and suggested that Stephen should join the Everyman Youth Theatre in Liverpool.

After leaving school, Stephen won a place to study drama in London, but left after a year. His first roles as a professional actor, when he once pretended to be his own agent to talk his way into an audition, gave little indication of the success to come. In 2006, his performance as Combo the skinhead in This is England, directed by Shane Meadows, won widespread critical acclaim. More recently, he has played Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire, and the undercover policeman Corbett in the most recent series of Line of Duty.

Stephen, who lives in Leicestershire, is married to fellow actor Hannah Walters, who he met at drama school.

DISC ONE: Kasabian - Fire.
DISC TWO: Marvin Gaye - Save the Children
DISC THREE: Young MC - Know How
DISC FOUR: Pink Floyd – Shine on You Crazy Diamond
DISC FIVE: Rufus and Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody
DISC SIX: Maverick Sabre – I Need
DISC SEVEN: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - Talk Tonight
DISC EIGHT: DJ Fresh and High Contrast, featuring Dizzee Rascal – How Love Begins (The Hardcore will Never Die Edit)

BOOK: Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
LUXURY: His own pillow
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Ain’t Nobody - Rufus and Chaka Khan

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Sarah Taylor

Nov 17 2019

35mins

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Lauren Laverne picks some of her favourite episodes

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Hear stories & track choices from castaways including Len Goodman, Maya Angelou and Stephen Hawking.

Nov 13 2019

37mins

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Kimberley Motley, lawyer

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Kimberley Motley is an American attorney and the first foreign lawyer to practise in Afghanistan.

Born in 1975 to an African-American father and a North Korean mother, she grew up in a poor neighbourhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where hers was the only mixed-race family - and the only family with two parents. Education was very important to her parents, who sent their four children to private schools and also paid for extra tutoring.

After completing degrees in Criminal Justice and Law, Kimberley spent five years working as a Public Defender before taking up the opportunity in 2008 to go to Afghanistan for a year to train local lawyers. Her husband, Claude, stayed in the US to take care of their three children. When her one-year contract in Afghanistan came to an end, she decided to stay and started her own private legal practice.

Initially she only took on foreign clients, but once she had familiarised herself with the intricacies of local laws and customs, she accepted her first Afghan client. She has gone on to build a thriving practice, with a 70-30% ratio of paid to pro-bono work. Her practice now extends to other parts of the world including Uganda, Ghana and the UAE and earlier this year she published a book about her working life.

DISC ONE: Will Smith - A Nightmare on My Street
DISC TWO: Elton John - I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues
DISC THREE: LL Cool J - I'm Bad
DISC FOUR: KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See
DISC FIVE: Dizzee Rascal featuring Calvin Harris - Dance Wiv Me
DISC SIX: Ed Sheeran - I See Fire
DISC SEVEN: The Black Eyed Peas - Pump It
DISC EIGHT: Kendrick Lamar - DNA

BOOK CHOICE: 1984 by George Orwell
LUXURY ITEM: Business card holder with photo of her children
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Pump It by Black Eyed Peas

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Nov 10 2019

51mins

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Russell T Davies, screenwriter

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Russell T Davies is one of the U.K.’s most successful television writers. He spent his teenage years learning his dramatic craft with the West Glamorgan Youth Theatre, and his career in television began in the children’s department at the BBC.

His first solo hit TV series was the ground-breaking, sexually frank drama Queer as Folk, first broadcast on Channel 4 in 1999.

A lifelong Doctor Who fan, he relaunched the series in 2005 for a new generation of viewers. Such was its success, he found himself working around the clock.

More recently, he wrote the highly-acclaimed series A Very English Scandal, starring Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe, and the dystopian drama Years and Years.

DISC ONE: Julie Covington, Charlotte Cornwell, Rula Lenska - Sugar Mountain
DISC TWO: Hora Staccato (1950 version) performed by Jascha Heifetz and Emanuel Bay
DISC THREE: The New Christy Minstrels - Three Wheels on My Wagon -
DISC FOUR: Leonard Bernstein's Gloria in excelsis, performed by The Norman Scribner Choir
DISC FIVE: Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights
DISC SIX: The OT Quartet - Hold That Sucker Down (Builds Like A Skyscraper Mix)
DISC SEVEN: Neil Hannon - Song For Ten
DISC EIGHT: Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky

BOOK CHOICE: Asterix and the Roman Agent by by René Goscinny with illustrations by Albert Uderzo
LUXURY ITEM: A black Ball Pentol Pen
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Leonard Bernstein's Gloria in excelsis

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Sarah Taylor

Nov 03 2019

46mins

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Wendell Pierce, actor

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Wendell Pierce is an American actor best known for his role as Bunk Moreland in the television series The Wire. Since the series ended in 2008, he has made around 40 film and television appearances, including Treme, Selma and the legal drama Suits, in which he played Robert Zane, the father of Rachel Zane, played by Meghan Markle. His theatre credits range from The Cherry Orchard to Death of a Salesman.

Born in 1963, the youngest of three sons, Wendell grew up in the Pontchartrain Park area of New Orleans, which was the first middle-class African-American suburban-style development in the city. He graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York and his career got off to a flying start with a small part opposite Tom Hanks in a film called The Money Pit. He hasn’t been out of work since.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Wendell’s childhood home in New Orleans and he was instrumental in rebuilding his parents’ house in Pontchartrain Park. He also built 40 new homes and staged a production of Waiting for Godot on an empty street corner in one of the most devastated districts of the city.

He is currently reprising his role as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman on stage in London.

DISC ONE: Jim Henson - Bein' Green (Featuring Kermit The Frog)
DISC TWO: Wynton Marsalis - Green Chimneys
DISC THREE: Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove (Part 1)
DISC FOUR: Mahalia Jackson - Take My Hand, Precious Lord
DISC FIVE: Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now
DISC SIX: Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up on Me
DISC SEVEN: Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring (Doppio Movimento), performed by New York Philharmonic
DISC EIGHT: John Coltrane - A Love Supreme Part I: Acknowledgement

BOOK CHOICE: The Omni-americans: Black Experience And American Culture by Albert Murray.
LUXURY ITEM: A multi-burner barbecue grill
CASTAWAY'S CHOICE: Take My Hand, Precious Lord by Mahalia Jackson

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Oct 27 2019

1hr 1min

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Dame Glenys Stacey, former Chief Inspector of Probation

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Dame Glenys Stacey has spent 40 years in public service, including high profile work as a regulator in key areas of national life. She has just stepped down after her five year term as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation during which she criticised the decision to privatise the Probation service calling it “irredeemably flawed”.

Glenys was born in Walsall Wood in the West Midlands, where her father was a painter and decorator for the council and her mother worked full time in Union Locks. She left school at 16 and her first job was in an explosives factory. She became a legal executive before deciding to take A levels and then study law at the University of Kent. She was the founding CEO of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, set up by the government in January 1997, after the miscarriages of justice in the cases of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four. As Chief Executive of Animal Health, she oversaw the management of the outbreak of foot and mouth in 2007 and then led Ofqual for five years, during the reform of GCSEs and A levels.

She was awarded a Damehood in 2016 for her services to education and earlier this year she became a founding Board Member of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, an advisory body established by the government.

DISC ONE: Loch Lomond – Sir Harry Lauder
DISC TWO: Harry Belafonte - Scarlett Ribbons (For Her Hair)
DISC THREE: T.REX –Ride a White Swan
DISC FOUR: Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
DISC FIVE: Wagner - The Ride of the Valkyries
DISC SIX: Second movement of Saint Saen’s Piano concerto number 2 in G minor
DISC SEVEN: Bob Marley and the Wailers - I Shot the Sherriff
DISC EIGHT: Soave sia Il vento from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte

BOOK CHOICE: Oxford Book of English Short Stories
LUXURY ITEM: A selection of seeds
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale
Photo: BBC / Amanda Benson

Oct 20 2019

39mins

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Baroness Arminka Helić

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Baroness Arminka Helić is credited with persuading William Hague, the former foreign secretary, and the actor and director Angelina Jolie to launch the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) to campaign against rape as a weapon of war.

Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Arminka fled her home country as violence escalated in the former Yugoslavia and her family appeared on a Serbian death list. Following the intervention of Lady Miloska Nott, wife of the former secretary of state for defence Sir John Nott, she arrived in London as a refugee in October 1992.

She completed a master’s degree in international history at the LSE which ignited her interest in politics. Her first Westminster job was filing press cuttings in the House of Commons Library where she was spotted and started working for MPs including Robert Key, Liam Fox and William Hague. When William Hague became foreign secretary in 2010, she joined him as a special adviser and made it her mission to bring compassion and humanity to foreign policy.

After watching Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey, the story of an inter-ethnic love affair set against the backdrop of the war in Bosnia, Arminka persuaded the foreign secretary to join forces with the Hollywood star. The PSVI highlights how sexual violence in conflict zones is often a hidden crime in which the perpetrators go unpunished.

In 2014 the PSVI held a global summit in London which brought together activists and policy-makers with the aim of recognizing this crime and bringing about successful prosecutions. In the same year, Arminka Helić entered the House of Lords as a Conservative Life Peer.

DISC ONE: Tereza Kesovija - Prijatelji Stari Gdje Ste
DISC TWO: Kim Wilde - Cambodia
DISC THREE: Zaim Imamović - Kraj Tanana Šadrvana
DISC FOUR: Tracy Chapman - Fast Car
DISC FIVE: Bijelo Dugme - Pljuni i zapjevaj moja Jugoslavijo
DISC SIX: Madonna - True Blue
DISC SEVEN: Vivaldi - Concerto in F minor, RV 297 “Winter”, 1st movement by performed by The English Concert
DISC EIGHT: Josipa Lisac - O jednoj mladosti

BOOK CHOICE: A DIY book
LUXURY ITEM: A pen and paper
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Kraj Tanana Šadrvana by Zaim Imamović

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Paula McGinley

Oct 14 2019

37mins

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Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer & lyricist

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known as the composer, lyricist and original star of the multi-award-winning Broadway musical, Hamilton. It won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, 11 Tony Awards and Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. The London production won seven Olivier Awards in 2018.

Lin-Manuel was brought up in New York by his Puerto Rican parents, and his creativity and sensitivity to music began when he was a child: he performed in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance as a teenager and created films using his father’s camcorder. He attended the elite Hunter school for gifted children and spent his summer holidays in Puerto Rico with his extended family.

His first musical, In the Heights, opened on Broadway in 2008, directed by his long-time collaborator, Thomas Kail. It received four Tony Awards including Best Score as well as a Grammy Award for its Original Broadway Cast Album. Among his TV and film acting credits are Fosse/Verdon, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Mary Poppins Returns, and he is currently filming the second series of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials for the BBC. He recently collaborated with J.J. Abrams on the song Dobra Doompa, for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and he contributed music, lyrics and vocals to several songs in the Disney animated feature film Moana.

Lin-Manuel supported the relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, performing Hamilton there and raising funds for arts and culture on the island. He co-founded the hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme in 2003 and they have just begun a debut run on Broadway.

He lives in New York City with his wife, sons and dog.

DISC ONE: Liza Minelli - Cabaret
DISC TWO: The Decemberists - The Crane Wife Part 2
DISC THREE: Rubén Blades and Seis del Solar - El Padre Antonio y el Monaguillo Andrés
DISC FOUR: The Pharcyde - Passin’ Me By
DISC FIVE: Ali Dineen - What You Know
DISC SIX: Regina Spektor - On the Radio
DISC SEVEN: Gilberto Santa Rosa - Déjate Querer
DISC EIGHT: Outkast - Rosa Parks

BOOK CHOICE: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
LUXURY ITEM: Coffee
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: What You Know by Ali Dineen

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Oct 06 2019

43mins

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Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, firefighter

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Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton is the Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. She is one of the most senior women in the Fire and Rescue Service in the UK.

After spending some time living on the streets as a teenager, her work as a firefighter began at the age of 18, after she had applied to 31 different fire services. During her career, her interest in psychology and fascination with how people make choices in stressful situations led to her studying for a degree, followed by a PhD. Her research into risk, decision-making under extreme pressure and human error has won awards and she has shared her findings with fire services in other countries.
She is also an ambassador for The Big Issue magazine, in the wake of her own experiences of homelessness.

DISC ONE: Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire
DISC TWO: J Balvin and Willy William - Mi Gente
DISC THREE: The Clash - Bankrobber
DISC FOUR: IDLES - Samaritans
DISC FIVE: Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK
DISC SIX: Oasis - Don’t Look Back in Anger
DISC SEVEN: Stereophonics - Local Boy in the Photograph
DISC EIGHT: Toots and the Maytals - 54-46 Was My Number

BOOK CHOICE: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
LUXURY ITEM: A photo album
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Bankrobber by The Clash

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Sarah Taylor

Sep 29 2019

52mins

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Thom Yorke, musician

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Thom Yorke has been the front man of Radiohead, one of Britain’s most successful British bands, for 34 years. They have sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and have won three Grammys and four Ivor Novello awards. Their debut studio album, Pablo Honey, was released in 1993, with their debut single, Creep, becoming a big international success.

Thom decided on his career at the age of seven, when he lay on the floor between large speakers at a friend’s house and listened to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. He made his own electric guitar when he was 10, and wrote his first song at 11. At his secondary school he joined up with fellow pupils and they formed a band called On a Friday, as that was the only day they were allowed to rehearse. They all went their separate ways as university students, but then signed to Parlophone in 1991 and renamed themselves Radiohead.

Thom has collaborated with artists including PJ Harvey and Björk and has composed for film and theatre. His first feature film soundtrack, Suspiria, was released last year. His first classical piece, Don’t Fear the Light, was premiered in Paris this year, and he has also been touring his latest solo album Anima. He is an activist on behalf of human rights, animal rights, environmental and anti-war causes.

DISC ONE: Ravel - Le jardin féerique – the Labèque sisters
DISC TWO: Scott Walker - It’s Raining Today
DISC THREE: Talking Heads - Born Under Punches
DISC FOUR: Squarepusher and Aphex Twin - Freeman Hardy & Willis Acid
DISC FIVE: Neil Young - After the Gold Rush
DISC SIX: REM – Talk about the Passion
DISC SEVEN: Sidney Bechet - Blue Horizon
DISC EIGHT: Nina Simone - Lilac Wine

BOOK CHOICE: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
LUXURY ITEM: A recording studio
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) by Talking Heads

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Sep 22 2019

54mins

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Classic Desert Island Discs: Lemn Sissay

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Another chance to hear Lemn Sissay's Desert Island Discs from October 2015. Interviewed by Kirsty Young.

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, he was with a family until he was 12. He would spend the next five years in a number of children's homes where he began to write. On leaving care at 17, he self-published his first book of poetry while on the dole.

Several poetry collections, plays and programmes for radio and TV followed and his work has taken him around the world. He was the first poet to be commissioned to write for the 2012 London Olympics and his success has also brought him two doctorates and an MBE for services to literature. He is about to be installed as Chancellor of the University of Manchester, an elected post he will hold for the next seven years. He takes writers' workshops for care-leavers and set up Culture World, the first black writers' workshop.

DISC ONE: Yegna featuring Aster Aweke - Taitu
DISC TWO: Nils Frahm - Says
DISC THREE: The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - Amazing Grace
DISC FOUR: Symphony No 3, 2nd movement - Henryk Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful songs
DISC FIVE: Annie Lennox - Cold
DISC SIX: Aretha Franklin - Bridge Over Troubled Water
DISC SEVEN: Prince, featuring Rosie Gaines - Nothing Compares 2 U
DISC EIGHT: BB King - Better Not Look Down

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Sep 15 2019

34mins

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Classic Desert Island Discs: Judith Kerr

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Another chance to hear Judith Kerr, interviewed by Sue Lawley. From February 2004.

A writer and illustrator known to generations of children both for her charming Mog picture-books and for her careful rendering of the life of a Jewish child fleeing Nazi Germany. Judith Kerr escaped with her family on the day the Nazis were elected. The following day, police turned up at the doorstep in a belated attempt to confiscate their passports. The Kerr family moved across Europe, trying to support themselves and escape from the nearing threat, until they eventually settled in England in 1936. The family stayed in London throughout the war; surviving the Blitz and in fear of invasion. Judith Kerr wrote an autobiographical trilogy about her experiences and the books - in particular When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - have been used ever since as a way of explaining to children the horrors of the Nazi threat. Today, they are set texts in many German schools.

She was always a keen painter but had never thought it could be a career; it was only when she had two children who enjoyed the tales she told that she decided to try her hand at picture books. Her first book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, was instantly successful when it was published in 1968 and has never been out of print. But it is probably her series of books about Mog the Cat that have won her most affection with children - over the past 30 years they have sold more than three million copies.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

DISC ONE: Wilkommen, from Cabaret sung by Joel Gray
DISC TWO: Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler? - Bud Flanagan & The Band of the Coldstream Guards
DISC THREE: Second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major performed by La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulin
DISC FOUR: Memorial Prayer Al Malei Rachamin, performed by the Ne’imah Singers
DISC FIVE: Mars (The Bringer of War) from Holst’s The Planets, performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Conducted by Andrew Davis
DISC SIX: The Cat Duet performed by Elisabeth Soderstrom and Kerstin Meyer
DISC SEVEN: Dance of the Knights, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, performed by The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Convent Garden
DISC EIGHT: Mozart’s Mass No. 18 in C minor 'Great' – Kyrie, performed by the Vienna State Opera Chorus Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Favourite track: Kyrie - the Opening of Great Mass in C Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Book: A big, beautiful coffee table book of pictures by impressionists
Luxury: Pencils and thick paper to write and draw on

Sep 08 2019

36mins

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Very good podcast!

By paulgagnon - Oct 21 2019
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Loved listening to it. Will continue!

Louis

By DID listener - Sep 15 2019
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Why is Louis Theroux the artwork for Desert Island Discs?