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Rank #26 in Personal Journals category

Society & Culture
Personal Journals

Desert Island Discs

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #26 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

933 Ratings
Average Ratings
789
72
31
20
21

Great pod

By hickory duff - Feb 17 2020
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Ian Wright’s one made me cry

Very good podcast!

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

iTunes Ratings

933 Ratings
Average Ratings
789
72
31
20
21

Great pod

By hickory duff - Feb 17 2020
Read more
Ian Wright’s one made me cry

Very good podcast!

By paulgagnon - Oct 21 2019
Read more
Loved listening to it. Will continue!
Cover image of Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

Latest release on Feb 16, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 4 days ago

Rank #1: 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 #2: 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 #3: 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 #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: 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 #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: 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 #9: 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 #10: 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 #11: 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 #12: 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 #13: 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 #14: 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

Play

Rank #15: 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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Rank #16: 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

Play

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: 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 #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: 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

Play