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Desert Island Discs

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

Alle Folgen

  • 21.06.2020
    37 MB
    39:04
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    Mark Johnston, racehorse trainer

    Racehorse trainer Mark Johnston is a lynchpin of British flat racing. In August 2018 - when 20-1 shot Poet's Society, ridden by Frankie Dettori, streaked to victory at York - Mark became the most prolific winning trainer in British racing history, saddling 4,194 winners.

    Based in a 300-acre training yard in Yorkshire, he has never trained fewer than 100 winners each season for the last 26 years including champions such as Attraction, Mister Baileys, Double Trigger and Shamardal.

    Mark grew up on a council estate in East Kilbride and learned to ride when he was a child. His father was a horse lover who enjoyed a flutter and took the young Mark to the bookies when he placed his bets - although Mark was too young to go inside. As a 14-year-old Mark raced whippets and later studied veterinary medicine at Glasgow University but his dream was always to become a racehorse trainer.

    In 1986, together with his wife and business partner Deirdre, Mark bought his first yard. He had no money or connections in the racing world and had three-and-a-half paying horses rather than the 12 he needed under the terms of his trainer's licence. In these early days, the horses trained on a nearby beach that doubled up as an MOD bombing range.

    Johnston horses are known for their front-running style - he believes races aren't won by horses accelerating and passing the other runners, but when the horses in front slow down. He says: "I tell my jockeys to bowl along at the speed the horse is happiest."

    DISC ONE: Get Down and Get With It by Slade
    DISC TWO: Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nutini
    DISC THREE: You May Be Right by Billy Joel DISC FOUR: You're Still The One by Deirdre and Angus Johnston DISC FIVE: Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits DISC SIX: I Knew the Bride Dave Edmunds DISC SEVEN: Not Ready to Make Nice by Dixie Chicks DISC EIGHT: Don't Stop by Fleetwood Mac

    BOOK CHOICE: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas LUXURY ITEM: A pair of binoculars CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Don't Stop by Fleetwood Mac

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley

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  • 14.06.2020
    36 MB
    38:17
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    Joe Wicks, fitness trainer and author

    Joe Wicks, professionally known as The Body Coach, is a fitness and nutrition coach. Since the lockdown, he has been running daily free virtual PE lessons for children and adults stuck at home. In March he became a Guinness World Record holder after his second PE with Joe class was watched by 955,158 people around the world, a record number of viewers for a live streamed YouTube workout. Getting children to be more active has been a long-held ambition and in 2019 he went on a tour of fifteen schools around the UK delivering High Intensity Interval Training workouts as part of his mission to get school children working out for 15 minutes a day.

    Born in 1985, Joe’s mother was nineteen when she gave birth to him while his father was in and out of his life with a heroin addiction. He was a hyperactive child whose salvation at school was channelling his excess energy into PE lessons.

    With a Sports Science degree under his belt, he briefly became a teaching assistant himself, but found it wasn’t for him and set himself up as a personal trainer instead, preaching the importance of combining training with the right nutrition. With the advent of the video function on Instagram, he started posting free 15-second recipes using the name The Body Coach, building up a following of first hundreds, then thousands and eventually millions.

    His phenomenally successful business began when he created a commercial 90-day plan with workouts and meals. He published Lean in 15 in 2015 which became the bestselling non-fiction book of the year, and he has since written eight further cook books.

    He married his wife, Rosie, in 2019 and the couple have two children, Indie and Marley.

    DISC ONE: Shotgun by George Ezra
    DISC TWO: Bright Side of the Road by Van Morrison DISC THREE: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley And The Wailers
    DISC FOUR: When You Were Young by The Killers
    DISC FIVE: Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen DISC SIX: River by Leon Bridges DISC SEVEN: Nothing Can Change This Love by Sam Cooke DISC EIGHT: You’re Welcome by Dwayne Johnson

    BOOK CHOICE: Lord of the Flies by William Golding LUXURY ITEM: An acoustic guitar CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: River by Leon Bridges

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 07.06.2020
    34 MB
    36:25
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    Martin Lewis, financial campaigner

    Martin Lewis is a financial journalist, campaigner and broadcaster.

    His high-profile campaigns on bank charges, student finance, and mental health and debt have made headlines, and millions of people subscribe to his weekly money tips email. He founded the Money Saving Expert website in 2003 with just £100 and sold it less than a decade later for £87 million, although he calls himself an 'accidental entrepreneur'.

    He has since supported numerous groups and causes through charitable donations, most recently setting up a Coronavirus Poverty Emergency Fund to help small local charities. He has also campaigned for financial help and guidance for self-employed people who are unable to work during the current pandemic.

    Martin grew up in Cheshire and studied at the London School of Economics. After a brief spell working in financial PR, he took a postgraduate course in broadcast journalism with the aim of becoming a commentator on money matters, and he initially worked as a producer and presenter on radio and TV,

    DISC ONE: Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin
    DISC TWO: Stand and Deliver by Adam And The Ants DISC THREE: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off by Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald DISC FOUR: The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell DISC FIVE: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones DISC SIX: The Blue Danube, composed by Johann Strauss II, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent and performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra DISC SEVEN: I Fought the Lloyds by Oystar DISC EIGHT: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons

    BOOK CHOICE: A Game of Thrones: The Story Continues: The complete boxset of all 7 books (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin LUXURY ITEM: Solar powered electric carving knife CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor

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  • 05.06.2020
    48 MB
    50:55
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    Your Desert Island Discs

    Listeners choose the music that has been special to them during the weeks of lockdown. With Jane Moss, Hugh Mullally, Ailish Douglas, Professor Jason Warren, Niti Acharya, Margery Hookings, Simon Spiller, Clare Raybould and Garry Greenland.

    DISC ONE: Amazing Grace by Judy Collins
    DISC TWO: Who Knows Where The Time Goes? by Sandy Denny DISC THREE: The Whole of The Moon by The Waterboys DISC FOUR: Heimweh op. 57 Nr. 6: Homesickness, composed by Edvard Grieg, performed by Emil Gilels DISC FIVE: Ab Saunp Diya by Om Vyas DISC SIX: Prelude and The Sound of Music by Julie Andrews & Orchestra of St. Luke's DISC SEVEN: Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole DISC EIGHT: Six Million Steps (West Runs South) by Rahni Harris & F.L.O

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 31.05.2020
    35 MB
    36:44
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    Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, former nurse

    Elizabeth Anionwu is a retired nurse, campaigner and Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London. A fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, she spent 40 years in the profession and has been named one of the most influential nurses in the history of the NHS. Her career was distinguished by her pioneering work in the understanding of sickle cell disease - bringing better treatment and support to the thousands living with it. She was the first sickle cell and thalassaemia nurse counsellor in the UK.

    Her decades of dedication, care and service are a contrast to her own disrupted childhood as a mixed race child born out of wedlock in the 1940s, though it was the kindness of a nurse when she was just five that sparked a nascent interest in what would become her life’s work. After leaving school at 16, with seven O-levels, Elizabeth was made a Professor of Nursing in 1998.

    She left her day job behind in 2007, but as she puts it “it has not turned out to be a quiet retirement”. She spent nine years fundraising and campaigning for a statue to British-Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole. Unveiled in 2016 in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital, London, the statue is the first in the UK to represent a named black woman. Elizabeth received the DBE in 2017 for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal.

    DISC ONE: Faith’s Song by Amy Wadge DISC TWO: The Rakes of Mallow, Girl I Left Behind by The Gallowglass Ceili Band DISC THREE: Manman by Leyla McCalla DISC FOUR: A Te,O Cara by Andrea Bocelli DISC FIVE: Missa Bilban by The Jamaican Folk Singers DISC SIX: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone DISC SEVEN: Nnekata by Flavour N'abania DISC EIGHT: My Girl by Otis Redding

    BOOK CHOICE: Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama LUXURY ITEM: A trampoline CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 24.05.2020
    36 MB
    38:20
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    Charles Hazlewood, conductor

    Charles Hazlewood is a conductor and the founder of Paraorchestra, the world's first professional ensemble of disabled musicians.

    Once described as the Heston Blumenthal of orchestral music, Charles has spent his career challenging Britain’s musical palate, exploding boundaries and expanding our ideas about what an orchestra can be - and do.

    His repertoire encompasses Beethoven, Bruckner and Barry White, and his critically-acclaimed projects include more than 100 world premieres and the first orchestral headline performance at Glastonbury. Paraorchestra, the ensemble he established in 2011, reached a global audience at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympics. He also co-founded an opera company in South Africa, and its production of Carmen, with a mainly black cast, won international acclaim.

    He studied music at Keble College, Oxford and was the Organ Scholar there. He won the EBU conductor's competition in 1995 and has had an international career as a conductor.

    DISC ONE: Somebody’s Gonna Off The Man by Barry White & The Love Unlimited Orchestra DISC TWO: A Rainbow in Curved Air by Terry Riley DISC THREE: Ach, ich fühls, composed by Mozart, conducted by Otto Klemperer and performed by Gundula Janowitz and Philharmonia Orchestra
    DISC FOUR: R. Strauss: 4 Lieder, Op. 27 - 4. Morgen! by Richard Strauss, conducted by Kurt Masur, performed by Jessye Norman and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra DISC FIVE: Improvisation by Olivier Latry DISC SIX: Kraftwerk-Rewerk, composed by Charlotte Harding and Lloyd Coleman, conducted by Charles Hazlewood DISC SEVEN: Ndisakuthanda Mna, composed by Georges Bizet, performed by Pauline Malefane, Andile Tshoni and Dimpho Di Kopane, conducted by Charles Hazlewood DISC EIGHT: The Last Time/Ultima Vez by Pauline Oliveros

    BOOK CHOICE: A book of poetry by Ivor Cutler LUXURY ITEM: An espresso machine CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Ach, ich fühls, composed by Mozart, conducted by Otto Klemperer and performed by Gundula Janowitz and Philharmonia Orchestra

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 17.05.2020
    36 MB
    38:15
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    Sinead Burke, disability rights activist and teacher

    Sinead Burke is a disability rights activist and teacher. She has combined her love of education and style to campaign for more representation of diversity in the fashion industry.

    Born in Dublin, Sinead has achondroplasia – a genetic condition which causes restricted growth – and is 3’ 5” tall. She refers to herself as a “little person” and knew she wanted to be a teacher after her first day at school. She has used the classroom environment to discuss openly with her pupils the issues surrounding disability. She believes openness and kindness are the ways forward to develop understanding and respect.

    As a child she collected the September issues of Vogue and later on started writing a blog in which she held the fashion industry to account about diversity and representation. She continues to work towards greater inclusivity in fashion and her mission is to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to realise the industry is open to them whether as editors, designers or models. Last year she was selected as one of 15 trailblazing women to appear on the cover of the September issue of British Vogue.

    In 2018 Sinead spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos – the only Irish female delegate. She has taken her message to the White House at the invitation of the Obamas and was appointed to Ireland’s Council of State to advise the president about disability rights.

    DISC ONE: Like A Girl by Lizzo
    DISC TWO: Awoo by Sofi Tukker, feat. Betta Lemme DISC THREE: Small Town Boy by Bronski Beat
    DISC FOUR: You Should See Me in a Crown by Billie Eilish DISC FIVE: I Put a Spell on You by Nina Simone DISC SIX: The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel DISC SEVEN: Vogue by Madonna DISC EIGHT: Samhradh Samhradh by The Gloaming

    BOOK CHOICE: Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde LUXURY ITEM: A necklace CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Like A Girl by Lizzo

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley

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  • 10.05.2020
    38 MB
    39:57
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    Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate

    Simon Armitage was appointed Poet Laureate in 2019. His poems celebrate the everyday and the ordinary with wit and affection. But beyond the wood chip and washing lines he addresses the complexities and the profound feelings that underpin daily life.

    Born in Huddersfield, Simon Armitage grew up in the village of Marsden in West Yorkshire. Marsden has informed and inspired much of his work and as a boy he would look out of his bedroom window at night to watch the comings and goings of village life.

    He vividly remembers as a teenager discovering the work of fellow laureate Ted Hughes, recalling an almost electrical surge of excitement when he realised the power of words on a page. Hughes grew up in the next valley and Simon admits to thinking "If Ted Hughes can do it why can't I?"

    He worked as a probation officer in Manchester for several years, writing poetry in the evenings and at weekends. His first collection Zoom! was published in 1989 and a few years later he left the probation service to write full time. Prolific and popular, he was named the Millennium poet and in 2015 was appointed Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford. Three years later he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

    Today he lives not far from Marsden where, when he's not writing poems, plays and novels, he still looks out of his window and daydreams.

    DISC ONE: Moonage Daydream by David Bowie
    DISC TWO: The Lamb by William Blake, composed by John Tavener, conducted by Andrew Nethsingha and performed by The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge DISC THREE: You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two by Jonathan Pryce and the 1994 London Palladium Cast Of Oliver! DISC FOUR: Icecrust and Snowflake by Ted Hughes DISC FIVE: Atmosphere by Joy Division DISC SIX: Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go? by Soft Cell DISC SEVEN: Holmfirth Anthem by Jon Rennard DISC EIGHT: My Heart’s in the Highlands by Else Torpe and Christopher Bowers-Broadbent

    BOOK CHOICE: The Oxford English Dictionary LUXURY ITEM: A tennis ball CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Moonage Daydream by David Bowie

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley

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  • 03.05.2020
    33 MB
    34:39
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    Classic Desert Island Discs - Lubaina Himid

    Lauren Laverne's castaway is the artist Lubaina Himid. The programme was first broadcast in June 2019.

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  • 26.04.2020
    39 MB
    41:36
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    Classic Desert Island Discs - John Cooper Clarke

    Lauren Laverne's castaway is the poet John Cooper Clarke. The programme was first broadcast in July 2019.

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  • 03.11.2019
    44 MB
    46:07
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    Russell T Davies, screenwriter

    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

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  • 27.10.2019
    59 MB
    01:01:32
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    Wendell Pierce, actor

    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

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  • 20.10.2019
    38 MB
    39:45
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    Dame Glenys Stacey, former Chief Inspector of Probation

    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

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  • 14.10.2019
    36 MB
    37:43
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    Baroness Arminka Helić

    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

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  • 06.10.2019
    42 MB
    43:51
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    Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer & lyricist

    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

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  • 29.09.2019
    50 MB
    52:19
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    Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, firefighter

    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

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  • 22.09.2019
    51 MB
    54:02
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    Thom Yorke, musician

    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

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  • 15.09.2019
    33 MB
    34:42
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Lemn Sissay

    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.

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  • 08.09.2019
    34 MB
    36:09
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Judith Kerr

    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

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  • 01.09.2019
    33 MB
    34:51
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Daniel Kahneman

    Another chance to hear Daniel Kaheneman, interviewed by Kirsty Young in August 2013.

    Widely acknowledged as one of the world's most influential living psychologists, his many years of study have centred on how and why we make the decisions we do.

    As a child, he lived in Nazi occupied France and he says that, from a young age, he already had a pretty good idea that he wanted to be an academic.

    He says "My mother had a big influence ... in fact I credit her with the fact that I became a psychologist ... because she got me interested in people and listening to gossip. I've been fascinated by gossip ever since."

    DISC ONE: Don MacLean - American Pie DISC TWO: Tino Rossi - Bohémienne aux Grands Yeux Noirs DISC THREE: Shirat Hanoded (the wanderer’s song) sung by Betty Klein DISC FOUR: Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, 2nd movement, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Frederick Stock with Arthur Schnabel on piano DISC FIVE: Danny Kaye - Ugly Duckling DISC SIX: The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby DISC SEVEN – Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major DISC EIGHT: Bach Piano Suite – played by Daniel’s grandson

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 25.08.2019
    36 MB
    38:11
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Professor Monica Grady

    Another chance to hear Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University, interviewed by Kirsty Young in July 2015.

    Well-known in scientific circles, at NASA and the European Space Agency, she came to the attention of the general public with her enthusiastic celebration when, as part of the Rosetta project, the probe Philae became the first-ever spacecraft to land on a comet - 67P - in November 2014. The spacecraft had taken ten years to journey through space and a decade was spent on the preparations.

    She was born in 1958 in Leeds as the eldest of eight children. She studied chemistry and geology at Durham University and did her PhD on carbon in meteorites at Cambridge, where she worked closely with Professor Colin Pillinger on the Beagle 2 project to Mars. She first worked at the OU in 1983 before joining the Department of Mineralogy of the Natural History Museum, becoming Head of the Meteorites and Cosmic Mineralogy Division. She is married to Professor Ian Wright who is one of the lead scientists on the Rosetta cometary mission and they have one son. She was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to space sciences and asteroid (4731) was named "Monicagrady" in her honour.

    DISC ONE: Meat Loaf - Bat out of Hell DISC TWO: Gilbert & Sullivan - When the Foeman Bares His Steel from The Pirates of Penzance, conducted by Isidore Godfrey, played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, sung by the D’Oyly Carte Opera Chorus DISC THREE: Brahms’ St Anthony Chorale – played by Murray Perahia & Georg Solti DISC FOUR: Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water DISC FIVE: Ultravox - Vienna DISC SIX: Fanfare for the Open University from Leonard Salzedo’s Divertimento, played by Philip Jones Brass Ensemble DISC SEVEN: The Agnes Dei from Karl Jenkin’s The Armed Man, sung by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra DISC EIGHT: Smetana‘s Ma Vlast (My Homeland) played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vaclav Talich

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 18.08.2019
    34 MB
    35:57
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Freddie Flintoff

    One of the best players of his generation, he was part of the England team that won the Ashes in 2005, a year that marked his sporting coming of age. On the strength of that historic victory he was awarded an MBE for services to the game, and the public voted him BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

    Barely out of his pram when he picked up a cricket ball he turned out to bat for an under-14 match when he was just six years old. His debut was not in crisp cricket whites, but in a second hand Manchester United tracksuit, setting the tone for someone who's made a habit of doing things his way. Not least at a 10 Downing Street reception when, somewhat the worse for wear, he weaved into the cabinet room, plonked himself down in the PM's chair and knocked back yet another bottle of beer.

    Since retiring from the game he's had a go at heavyweight boxing and won the bout. One area where he hasn't come out on top: his sons never listen to his cricket coaching tips.

    DISC ONE: Elvis Presley - I Just Can't Help Believin' DISC TWO: Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow DISC THREE: Elton John - Rocket Man DISC FOUR: Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire DISC FIVE: Jack Johnson - Better Together DISC SIX: Frank Sinatra - Fly Me to the Moon DISC SEVEN: Oasis - Roll With It DISC EIGHT: The Eagles - New Kid in Town

    Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 11.08.2019
    34 MB
    35:52
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    Jo Fairley, businesswoman

    Jo Fairley is a businesswoman and writer. She co-founded the Green & Black’s chocolate company with Craig Sams, her husband, and has launched several other successful ventures since then.

    Jo did not enjoy school, left at 16 with six O-levels and learned shorthand and typing at a secretarial college. She got a job with a magazine publisher and worked her way up through the features department to become the UK’s youngest magazine editor at the age of 23.

    Her move into chocolate came when she happened to try a couple of squares of a sample sitting on the desk of her future husband, Craig Sams, a health foods entrepreneur. Jo decided that it was the best she had ever tasted. She bought two tonnes of chocolate for £20,000, using all of the proceeds from the flat she had just sold. She and Craig launched Green & Black’s in 1991 and sold the company to Cadbury’s in 2005.

    BOOK CHOICE: Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Food Plants by National Geographic LUXURY ITEM: Her own pillow CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: I Wanna Be Like You by Louis Prima

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 04.08.2019
    38 MB
    40:19
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    Sir Tim Waterstone, businessman

    Sir Tim Waterstone is the founder of the bookshop chain that bears his name. Born in May 1939, he was the youngest of three children. His father, who worked for a tea company all his life, served in the Royal Army Service Corps during the war, and so was absent when Tim was very young. Their relationship was difficult throughout his childhood. Tim was educated at boarding schools from the age of six, when his parents went to India for two and a half years. After studying English at Cambridge and a stint working in India, he joined Allied Breweries, moving to WH Smith in 1973. Eight years later he was fired and at this point he decided to open his own bookshop.

    The first Waterstone’s opened its doors in 1982 when Tim was 43. A further 86 bookshops opened within a decade. In 1993, he sold the company to his former employer, WH Smith. Five years later, he bought it back again as part of a newly formed group, HMV Media, but just three years after that, in 2001, he resigned as chairman. Since then he’s made several unsuccessful attempts to buy back the company which changed hands most recently in 2018.

    He recently celebrated his 80th birthday and lives in London with his third wife, the television director Rosie Alison.

    BOOK CHOICE: Oxford Book of English Poetry LUXURY ITEM: A Photo of his wife CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Dream of Gerontius by Edward Elgar

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 28.07.2019
    39 MB
    40:39
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    Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer, England

    Dame Sally Davies is the outgoing Chief Medical Officer for England. She will take up her next post as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, later this year.

    She was born in Birmingham in 1949 to academic parents - her father was an Anglican priest and theologian, her mother a scientist. She studied medicine at Manchester University and after two 'brutalising' years spent learning the job on the wards, she welcomed the opportunity to move to Madrid as a diplomat’s wife. However, she decided that she did not enjoy being - in her words - 'an appendage', and so she returned to medicine in the UK, starting in paediatrics and then moving to haematology, specialising in Sickle Cell Disease. Her first marriage didn’t last and her second ended in tragedy when her husband died of leukaemia within months of the wedding.

    After joining her first research scheme committee in the late 1980s, Sally widened her remit. She became Chief Scientific Adviser to the Health Secretary and, in 2011, Chief Medical Officer for England. Her achievements include creating the National Institute for Health Research, a body to oversee the funding of research in the NHS, and working tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of anti-microbial resistance.

    Sally holds 24 honorary degrees and is about to return to academia, taking up her post as the first woman Master of Trinity College in October 2019. She is married to Willem with whom she has two grown-up daughters.

    BOOK CHOICE: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee LUXURY ITEM: Bubble bath CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Trumpet Shall Sound, from Handel's Messiah

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 21.07.2019
    42 MB
    44:20
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    John Cooper Clarke, poet

    John Cooper Clarke first achieved fame with his poetry during the punk rock era of the late 1970s. Born in Salford in 1949 to Hilda and George, he suffered from tuberculosis as a child and was sent to recuperate with a relative in Wales. He failed his 11 plus exam and was educated at a secondary modern school which he hated. However the one “rose in a garden of weeds” was his English teacher, Mr Malone, who instilled a love of poetry in John and his classmates.

    John had various odd jobs after leaving school at 15 and by his mid-20s, he was reciting his poetry in clubs around Manchester. His entry into the punk scene was helped, he says, by “already looking like a punk”, and despite some initially hostile receptions from audiences waiting for the Sex Pistols or the Buzzcocks, he acquired a cult status, going on to release five albums of his poetry set to music by former Joy Division producer Martin Hannett.

    By early 1980s, he was also in the grip of a heroin addiction which would see him write very little for over a decade. He cleaned up in the early 90s after marrying his second wife, Evie, and having a daughter, Stella. His star began to rise again in 2007 when one of his poems was used in an episode of The Sopranos and others were included on the GCSE syllabus, which led to collaborations with artists like Plan B and Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys.

    BOOK CHOICE: Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans LUXURY ITEM: A boulder of opium twice the size of his head CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: How Great Thou Art by Elvis Presley

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 14.07.2019
    36 MB
    37:33
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    Marcus Wareing, chef

    Marcus Wareing is a prize-winning chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and cookery book writer, who gained his first Michelin star at the age of just 26.

    He grew up in Southport, and by the age of 11 was helping out in his family’s fruit and vegetable business, which dominated his father’s life. Marcus assumed he would join the business, but his father told him to take a catering course instead, as the family firm had no future.

    When Marcus was 18, he moved to London to work at the Savoy. He loved the experience of life in a high-pressure professional kitchen and was quickly promoted. In 1993 he joined Gordon Ramsay at Aubergine, creating one of the most celebrated London restaurants of the time. He went on to launch a number of Michelin star-winning restaurants, often working with Gordon Ramsay and his company, before a much-publicized falling-out.

    Marcus now runs a group of restaurants in London, founded with his wife Jane, and since 2014 he has appeared as a judge and mentor on the TV series MasterChef: The Professionals.

    BOOK CHOICE: A Bear Grylls Survival Guide LUXURY ITEM: A knife CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: How Deep is Your Love by The Bee Gees

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 07.07.2019
    36 MB
    37:49
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    Sue Biggs, DG Royal Horticultural Society

    Sue Biggs is the Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society.

    She’s been at the helm of the RHS since 2010 and during that time, its membership has grown to more than half a million people. The RHS is also renowned for its spectacular flower shows and garden festivals around the country, including Chelsea, Hampton Court, Chatsworth House and Tatton Park. Sue has had a lifelong love of gardening since her mum gave her a packet of seeds on her seventh birthday.

    She has enjoyed two very successful careers. Before her tenure at the RHS, she worked in the travel industry for 25 years, identifying new destinations for holidaymakers. She was the first woman to be appointed to the board of Kuoni Travel.

    In her current role, she strongly believes that horticultural work and expertise do not receive the wider respect they deserve. She was made a CBE in 2017 for her services to the environment and ornamental horticulture industries.

    BOOK CHOICE: The Book of Joy LUXURY ITEM: A bed CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 30.06.2019
    39 MB
    41:26
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    Jared Diamond, academic and author

    Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, although his interests and expertise range far wider, from physiology to ornithology, history to ecology and from anthropology to evolutionary biology. His 1997 book, Guns, Germs and Steel, asked why Eurasian civilizations prospered and conquered others. It won a Pulitzer Prize and has sold more than a million copies around the world.

    He was born in Boston in 1937 to a physician father and a mother who was a teacher and a concert pianist. She taught him to read when he was three and he also learned to play the piano and developed a love of languages. Thinking his professional life would be in science, he decided to focus on the humanities at school, including Latin and Greek. After graduating from Harvard, he moved to England to pursue a PhD in physiology at Cambridge and became an expert on salt absorption in the gall bladder. He returned to the USA, and then his travels took him to New Guinea where he developed a passionate interest in ornithology and a lifelong love of the island which he’s continued to visit for the past 50 years.

    He has learned 12 languages, speaking several of them fluently, and has published six books and hundreds of articles. His most recent book, Upheaval, examines how nations cope with crisis and change.

    Jared lives in Los Angeles with his wife Marie, a clinical psychologist. They have grown-up twin sons.

    BOOK CHOICE: The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle LUXURY ITEM: Six cases of Scharzhofberger Kabinett, a Riesling wine from the Saar Basin CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Bach’s Cantata 50: "Nun ist das Heil"

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 23.06.2019
    44 MB
    46:22
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    Emily Eavis, festival organiser

    Emily Eavis is co-organiser of the Glastonbury Festival. Together with her husband and her father, she masterminds the booking of bands and oversees the setting up of what is the largest greenfield festival in the world. The site itself becomes the size of Oxford town centre once it’s built and rigged, and when tickets for 2019 went on sale, they sold out within 36 minutes.

    Born in 1979, she was a small child when her parents, Jean and Michael, were inspired to make the Glastonbury Festival an annual event, although she wasn’t keen on the yearly invasion of the family farm. By her late teens, however, she had changed her views. She left Worthy Farm to study to be a teacher at Goldsmiths College in London but when, at the end of her first year, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Emily left and went home to help look after her and to help her father run that year’s festival.

    Emily never went back to university. Motivated by a visit to Haiti to look at Oxfam projects, she spent a few years in London putting on charity gigs, before returning home to work with her father running the festival. She married her husband, Nick Dewey, manager of The Chemical Brothers in 2009. The couple have three children and live on Worthy Farm.

    BOOK CHOICE: The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski LUXURY: Carpenter’s tool set (so she can build her own veranda) CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go by Bob Dylan

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 16.06.2019
    38 MB
    39:46
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    Nitin Sawhney, musician, producer, composer

    Nitin Sawhney is a composer, musician and producer working in the worlds of music, film, video games, dance and theatre. He has released 10 studio albums, scored over 50 films and television programmes, and is known for his collaborations, with musicians and artists including Paul McCartney, Akram Khan, John Hurt and Andy Serkis.

    He was born in 1964 to parents who had emigrated from North India the previous year to work in the UK. His father was a chemical engineer while his mother taught English and later worked at the post office in their home town of Rochester. Nitin showed early musical promise when he took up the piano aged five, later also learning flamenco guitar, sitar and tabla. He was bullied at school at a time when the National Front was gaining traction and music became his sanctuary.

    After abandoning a law degree at Liverpool and completing an accountancy course in Hertfordshire, he became financial controller of a hotel, before leaving to become a full time musician. While at college, he met Sanjeev Bhaskar and formed a comedy duo with him which would become the radio and TV series, Goodness Gracious Me.

    His breakthrough came with his fourth album, released in 1999, entitled Beyond Skin, which was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Since then, his career has been in the ascendant: he has established himself as one of the most versatile composers for film, scoring pictures like Midnight’s Children and television programmes including the BBC’s Human Planet series. He received the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

    BOOK CHOICE: The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch LUXURY ITEM: Desalinating bottle CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Mustt Mustt (the Massive Attack remix) by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 09.06.2019
    35 MB
    37:03
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    Professor Monica McWilliams, social scientist

    Professor Monica McWilliams is an academic, peace campaigner and former politician.

    In 1996, she was the co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected to a seat at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which led to the Belfast (Good Friday) Peace Agreement in 1998.

    She served as a member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly from 1998-2003 and was the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005-2011.

    She continues her academic research into domestic violence and is Emeritus Professor in the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University. She also specialises in conflict resolution and working with women who are in conflict situations. Alongside her academic work and peace work she currently sits on the Independent Reporting Commission for Northern Ireland.

    BOOK CHOICE: Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing Volumes 4 and 5 (known as the Women’s anthology) LUXURY ITEM: A snorkel CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Il Postino by Luis Bacalov

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 02.06.2019
    37 MB
    38:51
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    Lubaina Himid, artist

    Lubaina Himid is a Turner Prize-winning artist, curator and Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire.

    Lubaina was born in Zanzibar in 1954. Her mother was from Britain and her father was originally from the Comoros Islands. He died from malaria when Lubaina was just a few months old, and so she and her mother returned to England. She studied Theatre Design at the Wimbledon College of Art and began organising exhibitions of works by fellow black women artists in the early 1980s as part of the Black Art Movement.

    Her own work focuses on black identity, often shining a light on the slave trade and the contribution made by the people of the black diaspora. She was the first black woman to win the Turner Prize, and was also its oldest winner, at the age of 63. She was appointed an MBE in 2010 and a CBE in 2018. She lives and works in Preston.

    BOOK CHOICE: Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy LUXURY ITEM: An endless supply of self-ironing Japanese shirts CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Suzanne by Nina Simone

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 26.05.2019
    38 MB
    39:51
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    Derren Brown, illusionist

    Derren Brown, illusionist and mentalist, chooses the eight tracks, book and luxury he want to take with him if cast away to a desert island.

    BOOK CHOICE: Collected works of Carl Jung LUXURY: Leica Camera CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Goldberg Variations

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 19.05.2019
    37 MB
    39:16
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    Pat McGrath, makeup artist

    Pat McGrath is a renowned make-up artist. She works with the world’s top designers, photographers, editors and models, creating images for the pages of the world’s most glamorous magazines. She and her team also work at the most high-profile catwalk shows in Milan, London, New York and Paris.

    She born and brought up in Northampton by her mother, who had a passion for fashion and make-up, which she passed onto Pat. In the mid-1980s, as an art student, Pat was captivated by the London club scene – the Blitz club, Boy George, and Spandau Ballet. By day she took on a number of casual jobs, but her interest in make-up continued and her break came when she was asked to do the make-up for Caron Wheeler, a member of the band, Soul II Soul, on a tour of Japan. Her career took off and within just a few years she was working with John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Dolce and Gabana, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Prada, Lanvin, Calvin Klein and Balenciaga.

    In addition to her work at the fashion shows and photographic shoots, in 2004 she became the global creative-design director for Procter and Gamble, where she was in charge of Max Factor and Cover Girl cosmetics. She was awarded an MBE for her services to the fashion and beauty industry in 2013 and in 2015 she launched her own cosmetics brand – Pat McGrath Labs. In 2017 she became beauty editor at large at British Vogue and won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the Fashion Awards.

    BOOK CHOICE: Andy Warhol: Polaroids - Richard B. Woodward LUXURY: Makeup CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: “La Vie en Rose" - Grace Jones

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 12.05.2019
    49 MB
    51:18
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    Louis Theroux

    Louis Theroux is a television documentary maker. He has received two BAFTAs and a Royal Television Society Award for his work which includes the series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and When Louis Met…

    Born in 1970, and brought up in south London, he is the son of the American writer Paul Theroux and the BBC World Service radio producer Anne Castle. He was privately educated at Westminster School and read History at Oxford, graduating with a first. He moved to the USA where he was introduced to the American documentary maker Michael Moore and started making segments on unusual subcultures for Moore’s show TV Nation. He was given his own series – Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends – by the BBC in the late 1990s and, after three series, he went on to present two series of When Louis Met…, which included Neil and Christine Hamilton, Max Clifford, Chris Eubank and Jimmy Savile.

    Since then, he has made dozens of documentaries, many of them in the USA. In 2016, he revisited his encounters with Jimmy Savile in the wake of Savile’s death and the surfacing of allegations of child sexual abuse. The same year, his only feature-length film, My Scientology Movie, was released. His most recent documentaries dealt with sexual assault on American campuses, mothers with post-natal mental illness, and escorting.

    BOOK CHOICE: Remembrance of things Past – Marcel Proust LUXURY: 40,000 piece Jigsaw puzzle CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: “Heaven on their Minds” from the album Jesus Christ Superstar

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 05.05.2019
    32 MB
    33:25
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Tracey Emin

    Another chance to hear artist Tracey Emin's Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley, first broadcast in November 2004.

    Tracey Emin is one of the most successful and controversial artists to emerge during the 1990s. Her work was championed early on by influential art dealer Jay Jopling and later by the collector Charles Saatchi. Her work is highly autobiographical and confessional. A talented drawer and painter, she has attracted most attention for her art installations - including her tent, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With and the Turner Prize-nominated My Bed. Her art is adored and condemned in equal measure, but wherever she exhibits she attracts queues and has a room at Tate Britain dedicated to her work. She was brought up in Margate.

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  • 28.04.2019
    34 MB
    35:25
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

    Another chance to hear Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell choose her Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley. First broadcast 24th December, 2000. Jocelyn Bell Burnell was only twenty-four when she made the discovery of a lifetime: As she was mapping the universe for her PhD, she chanced upon the radio signal for a totally new kind of star, known as a 'pulsar'. Her find is seen as one of the most important contributions to astrophysics in the twentieth century.

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  • 21.04.2019
    42 MB
    43:51
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Mary Berry

    Another chance to hear Mary Berry's Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young from 2012. Mary Berry is one of the UK's best-known and respected cookery writers. More than six million copies of her books have now been sold - not bad for a girl who failed her school certificate in English. On television, it is her role as a judge on The Great British Bake-off that has brought her to the attention of a new generation. It was in domestic science lessons that she discovered her love of cooking and she is in no doubt of the importance of teaching cookery in school "When everybody leaves school, whether they are a boy or a girl, what do they have to do in the home? They have to produce a meal. They haven't been taught to do it. I think it should be essential."

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  • 14.04.2019
    31 MB
    32:28
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Ade Adepitan

    Another chance to hear Paralympian and broadcaster Ade Adepitan interviewed by Kirsty Young in 2012. When he's not stuck in a studio explaining the intricacies of Goalball he's reporting from the rainforests of Nicaragua or the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Adversity seems to suit him - he even survived turning up for his first day at school aged 7 in a pink checked suit and bow tie. Inspired by his boyhood heroes Seb Coe and Daley Thompson, who he first saw on TV competing in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, sport became his passion.

    He says "I think I've done more things with my disability than most able-bodied people would ever dream of doing".

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  • 07.04.2019
    32 MB
    33:23
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Ricky Gervais

    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.

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  • 31.03.2019
    51 MB
    53:58
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    Martin Freeman, actor

    Martin Freeman is a multi-award winning actor, best known for his roles as the lovable Tim in BBC Two’s The Office and as Dr Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. He also played Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, Lester Nygaard in the US drama series Fargo and Everett K Ross in the film Black Panther.

    Born in Hampshire in 1971, he grew up in Teddington in south-west London. The youngest of five children, he was just 10 when his father died of a heart attack. As a teenager, he played competitive squash, making the national squad, until he realised he lacked the necessary killer instinct required and switched to youth theatre.

    He studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama and left in his third year to work at the National Theatre, playing minor roles. He first reached a wider audience when he was cast as Tim in The Office, which was broadcast from 2001 to 2003 and became the first British sitcom to win a Golden Globe. More screen roles followed, including playing Arthur Dent in the film of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In 2010 he first appeared as Dr Watson opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and went on to win both a BAFTA and an Emmy as Best Supporting Actor. He has continued to work in films, TV and on stage.

    He appeared in Sherlock with his ex-partner Amanda Abbington. They have two children.

    BOOK CHOICE: Animal Farm by George Orwell LUXURY: Tea-making Facilities CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 24.03.2019
    36 MB
    37:59
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    Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK

    Lauren Laverne’s castaway this week is Jacqueline de Rojas, the President of techUK, the body that represents 900 companies in the technology sector. She is Chair of the Board of Digital Leaders, co-Chair of the Institute of Coding and sits on the government’s Digital Economy Council.

    She was born Jacqueline Yu in Kent to a Chinese father and British mother, and moved to Swindon when her mother left the marriage. Jacqueline did well at school, particularly in languages, and went on to take a degree in European Business Studies, spending the first year of her course in Southern Germany. She is fluent in German and French.

    She married after university and, despite dreams of becoming a BBC newsreader, she went to work for a tech recruitment company. After two years she moved to work for her largest client, the software company, Synon, using her German to manage the company’s distribution in Germany. She has stayed in the tech industry ever since, primarily working for blue chip software companies. She became Managing Director of Informix in 1999, and her last managing director role was a seven month stint at Sage in 2016.

    In 2013 Jacqueline joined the board of techUK, , becoming its President in 2015. A key focus of her tenure has been to make the case for greater diversity in an industry struggling fill the roles that it is creating, particularly in appointing women. She also works as a mentor for a number of organisations and has been an advisor to the Girl Guides since 2016, assisting them in helping to attract girls into STEM subjects.

    She was appointed a CBE in 2018 for services to international trade in the technology industry.

    BOOK CHOICE: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier LUXURY: Saxophone CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 17.03.2019
    42 MB
    44:23
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    Marlon James, writer

    Marlon James is a writer who won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 for A Brief History of Seven Killings, a novel which centres on an attempt to assassinate Bob Marley. Marlon was the first Jamaican to win the Prize.

    He was born in Kingston in 1970 and grew up in suburbia. His mother worked as a detective, and his father was lawyer, leading to a family joke that his mum locked criminals up and his dad got them out. As a self-confessed geek, Marlon did not enjoy his time at school, and even pretended that he was not related to his older brother, a fellow pupil, because he thought his lack of cool would embarrass his sibling.

    After studying English at the University of the West Indies, he worked in advertising as a copywriter. His first novel was rejected 78 times, and he thought he had destroyed every copy of it, until he met novelist Kaylie Jones at a writing workshop and she insisted on seeing it. She showed it to her publisher and his career was launched. The book, John Crow's Devil, was published in 2005. His fourth novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the first of a fantasy trilogy, was published earlier this year.

    Marlon lives in the United States, where he teaches Creative Writing at Macalester College in Minnesota.

    BOOK CHOICE: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding LUXURY: A pressure cooker. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: When Doves Cry by Prince

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 10.03.2019
    47 MB
    49:15
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    Dame Esther Rantzen, broadcaster and campaigner

    Dame Esther Rantzen is best known as the presenter of the long-running TV series That’s Life, which began on BBC One in 1973. She was both presenter and producer of the programme, which was hugely successful, regularly reaching 20 million viewers. It featured consumer affairs, vox pops and light-hearted pieces about talking dogs and peculiarly shaped vegetables, along with serious investigations, including reports on the safety of children’s playgrounds and on child abuse. A special edition of That’s Life in 1986 led Esther to set up Childline, the charity which offers support and information for young people.

    That's Life ended after 21 years and Esther went on to present her own daytime talk show. A fan of reality TV, she’s appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, Celebrity First Dates, Celebrity Stars in their Eyes and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

    It was while she was working on That’s Life that she met TV producer Desmond Wilcox. They later married and had three children. A few years after Desmond’s death, Esther wrote a newspaper article about how lonely she felt as a widow. The response inspired her to set up her second charity, Silverline, which offers friendship and advice to older, lonely people.

    She has received many TV awards over the years and was made a Dame in 2015 for her charity work. She stood unsuccessfully as an independent MP for Luton South in the General Election of 2010. Now 78, she is still very involved in her charity work and is a grandmother of five.

    BOOK CHOICE: Poem for the Day with a Foreword by Wendy Cope LUXURY: A bath – sometimes filled with hot water, sometimes cold water and sometimes champagne. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: September Song by Frank Sinatra

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 03.03.2019
    35 MB
    36:40
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    Trevor Sorbie, hairdresser

    Trevor Sorbie is known as an innovative hairdresser and is the founder of the charity, MyNewHair.

    Born into a family of hairdressers – both his father and grandfather were barbers – he spent the first decade of his life in Scotland before the family relocated to Essex. His first ambition was to become an artist, but when he left school aged 15 with no qualifications after being bullied, his father suggested that he could help out at his barbershop. Within three months, Trevor was cutting hair and found that he loved it.

    Five years down the line, however, he decided to learn about cutting women’s hair and following his training, his first job was at a Vidal Sassoon salon. He would later go on to work at both John Frieda and Toni & Guy, before launching his own salon with his business partner in 1979. He invented several iconic haircuts of the era, including the Wedge and the Chop, and he came up with the technique of scrunch drying. His innovative styles won him the British Hairdresser of the Year award four times.

    In 2006, he set up his charity MyNewHair to teach hairdressers how to cut and style wigs after his sister-in-law lost her hair in the course of her cancer treatment. Since then, he has trained nearly a thousand hairdressers. He was the first hairdresser to be awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2004.

    BOOK CHOICE: All of Jeremy Clarkson’s books LUXURY: A bottle of wine CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: My Sweet Lord by George Harrison

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 24.02.2019
    37 MB
    39:13
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    Margaret MacMillan, historian

    Professor Margaret MacMillan is a Canadian historian, author and broadcaster. In 2018 she delivered the Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4, in which she examined the tangled history of war and society.

    She was born in Toronto in 1943, and her interest in history was kindled by the stories her parents told about when they were young and by the historical adventure novels she read as a child.

    After a long academic career in Canada, she found herself in the international spotlight in her late 50s. Her book Peacemakers, about the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize and many other awards, and became a best-seller. Margaret is the great-granddaughter of David Lloyd George, who attended the Paris Conference as the British Prime Minister.

    She has also written books about Nixon and Mao, about Europe’s path to World War One, and about personalities who have shaped history. She became the Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, in 2007, and retired from the role in 2017. In the 2018 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, Professor MacMillan was appointed a Companion of Honour. She continues to research and write.

    BOOK CHOICE: À la Recherche du Temps Perdu by Proust LUXURY: A machine to help her learn to sing CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Mood Indigo by Duke Ellington

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 17.02.2019
    36 MB
    37:45
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    Ann Cleeves, writer

    Ann Cleeves is a crime writer best known for two series of novels, both of which have been adapted for television. Vera, for ITV, features her detective Vera Stanhope, and Shetland, for the BBC, focuses on DI Jimmy Perez, who works for the Shetland police.

    Born in 1954, Ann grew up in Herefordshire and Devon. After secondary school she spent a year providing childcare for a family in London before reading English at the University of Sussex. She dropped out of her degree course, and by chance, was offered a job as assistant cook at the bird observatory in Fair Isle, despite not knowing how to cook, nor anything about birds. She met her husband Tim there, who came as a visiting bird watcher.

    They spent four years on the tiny tidal island of Hilbre off the Wirral peninsula, where Ann started to write. Her debut novel was published in 1986 and she has published a book a year since then. Her first Shetland novel, Raven Black, appeared in 2006 and won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger, at the time the richest crime-writing prize in the world. Her second breakthrough came when a TV producer picked up a second-hand copy of one her novels featuring her dishevelled detective Vera Stanhope and decided it would make perfect prime-time viewing. In October 2017, Ann received the Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association, the highest honour in British crime writing, awarded by fellow crime authors. In 2018, she published the final of eight Shetland novels, and this autumn will see the publication of the first of a new Vera series set in Devon.

    Her husband Tim died in December 2017. Ann lives in Whitley Bay, with her two daughters and six grandchildren nearby.

    BOOK CHOICE: The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning LUXURY: Pen and paper CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Suzanne by Leonard Cohen

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Cathy Drysdale

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  • 10.02.2019
    39 MB
    40:38
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    Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police

    Cressida Dick is Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

    She was born in 1960, the youngest child of two university professors. Her parents divorced when she was still at primary school and she and her older siblings grew up in Oxford. Their father died when Cressida was just 11. She read Agriculture and Forest Sciences at Oxford University before spending a year in accountancy.

    She joined the Metropolitan Police in 1983 where her first beat was on the streets of Soho. After a decade in London, she transferred to Thames Valley Police where she worked her way up to become area commander in Oxford.

    In 2001 she completed a master’s degree in Criminology, re-joining the Met to head its diversity directorate and, from 2003, Operation Trident, the Met’s gun crime unit. It was in this capacity that she came to wider public attention when, in the wake of the 2005 London transport bombings, an innocent man was shot dead by police at Stockwell tube station. The Met was severely criticised in the aftermath of Jean Charles de Menezes’s death. Cressida Dick was the commander in charge of the operation, but a 2007 trial found that she bore no personal culpability.

    In 2011, she became Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations responsible for counter-terrorism work, but in 2015 she left the Met to work at the Foreign Office. In February 2017, she made her return to policing when she was the successful candidate in the search for a new Commissioner. She took up the post in April 2017 for a five-year term, the first woman and the first openly gay person to hold the job.

    BOOK CHOICE: The Complete works of Thomas Hardy LUXURY ITEM: Endless supply of floral scented soaps CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 03.02.2019
    45 MB
    46:58
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    Bob Mortimer, comedian

    Bob Mortimer is a comedian best known for his work with his comedy partner Vic Reeves. For 30 years, he and Vic have appeared in numerous TV series together, including Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, Shooting Stars and The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. Bob first saw Vic performing in a south London pub: Vic was wearing a Bryan Ferry mask while trying to tap dance with wooden planks strapped to his feet. Bob found this hugely entertaining, and began to take part in Vic’s shows. Bob was born in 1959 in Middlesbrough, the youngest of four boys. His father died in a car crash when he was seven and Bob says he became his mother’s little helper – although he also set fire to their house after playing with fireworks. As a teenager he dreamed of a career as a footballer, but he ended up studying law at university, and worked as a solicitor in south London. In 2015 Bob underwent triple heart bypass surgery. After this – in a rare diversion from working with Vic – he accepted an invitation from fellow comedian Paul Whitehouse to get out of the house and go fishing, which led to a successful TV series, Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing.

    BOOK CHOICE: My Secret History by Paul Theroux LUXURY ITEM: His own pillow CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Down to You by Joni Mitchell

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 27.01.2019
    38 MB
    40:09
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    Wendy Cope, poet

    Wendy Cope is one of England’s most popular and widely-read contemporary poets.

    Wendy was born in Erith, Kent. Her father was 29 years older than her mother and she was sent to boarding school at the age of seven. Although English was her favourite subject at school, in a bid to defy her English teacher’s expectations, she read history at Oxford. Following graduation she became a primary school teacher.

    After the death of her father in 1971, Wendy entered psychoanalysis in 1973 and turned to writing poetry. Having attended evening classes in creative writing, one of her poems was published in a collection which brought her to the attention of Faber and Faber. Her first volume of poetry, Making Cocoa For Kingsley Amis, was published in 1986, and became an instant success, and she gave up teaching to become a full time writer.

    She has since published four volumes of a poetry: Serious Concerns (1992), If I Don’t Know (2001), Family Values (2011) and Anecdotal Evidence (2018) as well as two volumes for children, Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988) and The River Girl (1991). In 2011, Wendy sold her entire personal archive to the British Library, which consisted of 15 boxes of manuscript, including several unpublished early works.

    Wendy lives in Ely and is married to fellow poet, Lachlan Mackinnon.

    BOOK CHOICE: Compleet Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans LUXURY ITEM: Pen and paper CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in D minor

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 20.01.2019
    47 MB
    49:24
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    James Rebanks, Shepherd and Writer

    James Rebanks is a shepherd and the best-selling author of The Shepherd’s Life.

    Born in Cumbria in 1974, he grew up venerating his grandfather, who taught him what he needed to know in order to take over the family farm from his father one day. He found school an irksome distraction, and left aged 15 with two GCSEs. It wasn’t until his early 20s, after he’d developed an interest in reading and had met his future wife Helen, that he decided to return to study at a local college in the evenings. Encouraged by a tutor, he applied for a place at Oxford University, and graduated with a double first in History. After university, he worked in a number of white-collar jobs, in order to boost his income while ensuring he could continue to work on the farm.

    He breeds two different types of sheep: Herdwicks, which are a native breed to his part of the world, and Swaledales, which he kept out of respect to his father who died in 2015, just before the publication of James’s first book. He began chronicling his life as a shepherd on Twitter in 2012 but is currently taking a break from tweeting. He and Helen have four children.

    BOOK CHOICE: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway LUXURY: Pen and Paper CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: A New England by Kirsty MacColl

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 13.01.2019
    33 MB
    35:20
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    Ruth Jones, actor and writer

    Ruth Jones is an actor and writer. She co-created and starred in the award-winning TV comedy series Gavin and Stacey, and also wrote and took the title role in the comedy drama Stella, which ran for six series.

    She grew up in Porthcawl, in South Wales, where the local secondary school nurtured her love of performance. She took to the stage in numerous school musicals, along with fellow pupil Rob Brydon. After studying drama at Warwick University, she struggled at first to find work as an actor. She briefly considered becoming a solicitor, before she won the role of a ninja turtle in Dick Whittington at the Porthcawl Pavilion and gained an Equity card.

    Her TV work ranges from costume dramas to comedies including Little Britain and Nighty Night. She developed the idea for Gavin and Stacey with James Corden when they were both filming the ITV series Fat Friends. The story of a boy from Billericay who falls for a girl from Barry, Gavin and Stacey began on BBC Three, with Ruth’s role as straight-talking, leather-wearing Nessa winning people’s hearts. She and James wrote every episode, and the finale, on BBC One, reached more than 10 million viewers.

    Last year Ruth published her first novel, Never Greener, which topped the bestseller lists, and she returned to the stage in the musical play The Nightingales.

    BOOK CHOICE: Halliwell's Film Guide LUXURY: The back catalogue of The Archers CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Smooth by Santana feat. Rob Thomas

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 06.01.2019
    35 MB
    36:54
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    Jeremy Deller, artist.

    The Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller is perhaps best known for We’re Here Because We’re Here, a moving and powerful memorial to the Battle of the Somme, and The Battle of Orgreave – a re-enactment of the confrontation between police and pickets at the height of the miners’ strike.

    Deller doesn’t paint, draw or sculpt and his work encompasses film, photography and installations. At school his creative endeavours were not always appreciated, and at 13 he was asked to leave the art class.

    His lifelong love of history was ignited by childhood trips to museums with his father, and is evident in the subjects he addresses, from Stonehenge, which he re-created as a giant bouncy castle, to William Morris. He managed to meet Andy Warhol in London in 1986 and went to spend two formative weeks at Warhol’s New York City studio, the Factory. The experience crystallised in Deller the belief that art can come in many forms and that an artist can create their own world of ideas.

    His memorial to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre will be unveiled in August 2019.

    BOOK CHOICE: An A to Z London Street Atlas
    LUXURY: A stretch of road over Hay Bluff between Hay-on-Wye and Abergavenny. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Out of the Blue by Roxy Music.

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley

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  • 23.12.2018
    50 MB
    52:19
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    Alan Carr, comedian

    Alan Carr, comedian and chat show host, is known for his love of silliness, dressing up and camp daftness. His stand-up shows have filled arenas, and on TV he co-hosted the Friday Night Project and then his own show - Chatty Man.

    Alan was born into a footballing family – his dad, Graham, was a professional player and then a manager. Alan first tried his hand at comedy while reading Theatre Studies at Middlesex University. After he graduated, he took on a range of jobs before his ability to make friends laugh with his stories of working in a call centre in Manchester led him to try stand-up at a local venue. In 2001 he won the City Life Best Newcomer of the Year and the BBC New Comedy Awards.

    His break into TV came after a spell as the warm-up man for the Jonathan Ross chat show. He has won many awards including Best Entertainment Show for Alan Carr: Chatty Man at the 2010 TV Choice Awards, the 2013 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance and 2013 British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Personality. In 2015 he won the National Television Award for Best Chat Show Host.

    He and his long term partner Paul were married in January 2018 by Adele - who also organised the wedding, and paid for it.

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 19.12.2018
    37 MB
    39:32
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    Hella Pick, journalist

    As one of the Guardian’s first female foreign correspondents, Hella Pick reported on events that shaped the world in the second half of the 20th century, from Martin Luther King's civil rights activism to Watergate, the Gdansk shipyard strikes to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Born in Vienna in 1929, she was raised by her mother who, in March 1939, put her on a Kindertransport train to Britain to escape the Nazis. Her mother was able to follow her to England a few months later and Hella spent her formative years in the Lake District. After reading Politics at London School of Economics, she worked as commercial editor of a London-based weekly publication called West Africa. After she left, she offered her services to The Guardian – and spent the next 35 years or so with the paper.

    While UN correspondent, she worked alongside Alistair Cooke in New York and subsequently held posts as European Integration correspondent, Washington correspondent, Eastern Europe correspondent, and diplomatic editor before retiring in the mid-1990s. Since leaving The Guardian, she has nurtured a new career as a writer, publishing a biography of Simon Wiesenthal and a book about Austria’s post-war history.

    BOOK: Scorn by Matthew Parris LUXURY: Recliner armchair FAVOURITE TRACK: Mozart's Marriage of Figaro

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 16.12.2018
    35 MB
    36:40
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    Mariana Mazzucato, economist

    Professor Mariana Mazzucato is an economist, who focuses on value and innovation.

    Born in Italy, Mariana moved to America as a child, when her father accepted a post at Princeton University. She has lived in the UK for the last 20 years and is currently Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and the Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London.

    She examined how government funding has enabled highly profitable inventions in the private sector in her 2013 book The Entrepreneurial State. She advises policymakers around the world on how to deliver sustainable growth, and has also taken a particular interest in pricing and profit in the pharmaceutical industry.

    Earlier this year she published The Value of Everything, in which she argued that we need to re-think our ideas about how wealth is created in the global economy. In 2013 she was named as one of the 'three most important thinkers about innovation' by the New Republic.

    BOOK CHOICE: Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar LUXURY: One of her mother's handmade quilts CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor

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  • 09.12.2018
    56 MB
    58:56
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    Gary Barlow, singer-songwriter

    Gary Barlow, musician and Take That lead singer, has written more than a dozen chart-topping songs, and has received six Ivor Novello awards including the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

    Born in Cheshire in 1971, his interest in music was sparked at an early age by a child’s keyboard. At the age of 10, he saw Depeche Mode on Top of the Pops, prompting the desire to take to the stage himself. He wrote A Million Love Songs, which later became a Top 10 hit for Take That, in his bedroom when he was 15. By this time he was a regular performer in a Labour club just across the Welsh border, where he cut his teeth playing the organ and singing.

    By the time he was 18, he was so good at writing songs that he successfully auditioned for a place in the group which became Take That. They went on to be one of the most successful bands of all time, winning a devoted audience with tracks such as Back For Good, Everything Changes and Pray. When they broke up in early 1996, helplines were set up to assuage their fans’ feelings of loss and grief. In 2005, Take That reformed, with Robbie Williams rejoining them for a spell in 2010, and – in some form or other – the band has kept going and will tour again in 2019.

    Gary was put in charge of organising the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert and performed at the closing ceremony for the London Olympics in 2012. He was a judge on the X-Factor for three series and his talent show, Let It Shine, was broadcast on BBC One in 2017. Earlier this year he published a second autobiography.

    BOOK CHOICE: Recording the Beatles by by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew. LUXURY ITEM: Piano CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Nimrod by Elgar

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 02.12.2018
    43 MB
    45:18
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    Tom Kerridge, chef

    Tom Kerridge is a chef, restaurateur and TV presenter.

    Tom made his name with his Buckinghamshire pub The Hand and Flowers, which he opened with his wife in 2005. It is the only British pub with two Michelin stars.

    Tom grew up near Gloucester. After his parents divorced when he was 11, his mother took two jobs to support the family, and Tom was often left to cook for himself and his younger brother. As a teenager, he worked as a TV actor, playing small roles in dramas such as Miss Marple.

    He entered his first professional kitchen at 18, and immediately fell in love with the world he found, with its constant pressures and rushes of adrenalin. He studied at catering college at the same time.

    As well as now running his own pubs and a London restaurant, Tom has presented numerous TV series and is the author of five best-selling cookbooks. More recently, he made headlines with his weight loss. He shed twelve stone after deciding that he needed to change his life as he reached the age of 40.

    He is married to the sculptor Beth Cullen-Kerridge.

    BOOK CHOICE: White Heat by Marco Pierre White LUXURY: A Shaving Kit FAVOURITE TRACK: Proof by I Am Kloot

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 25.11.2018
    45 MB
    47:48
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    Kate Atkinson, novelist

    Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for her 1995 debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has won the Costa Novel Award twice, for Life After Life in 2013 and for A God in Ruins two years later.

    Born in York in 1951, she was the only child of a couple who ran a medical and surgical supplies shop. She began to write after she had failed her doctorate at Dundee University and had given birth to two daughters. She took on a wide range of jobs while writing short stories for women's magazines, and did not publish her first book until she was in her early 40s.

    Her mid-career reinvention as a writer of detective fiction has seen her publish four novels starring her sleuth Jackson Brodie, with another one in the pipeline. She lives in Edinburgh, has two grown-up daughters, and two grandchildren.

    BOOK CHOICE: The Collected Poems and Letters of Emily Dickenson LUXURY ITEM: A 500 year old, mature oak tree FAVOURITE TRACK: Beethoven's Symphony no. 5

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 18.11.2018
    51 MB
    53:26
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    Tracey Thorn, musican and writer

    Tracey Thorn, musician and writer, is best known as one half of the duo Everything but the Girl. Brought up in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, she bought her first guitar, a black Les Paul copy, when she was 16 and her first band was called the Stern Bobs. Shortly after, she formed her own all-female band, Marine Girls, before moving to Hull University to study English. On her first night there, she met her future husband, Ben Watt, and they went on to form Everything But the Girl. Between 1982 and 2000, they sold more than nine million records and toured Europe and America. Despite their success, Tracey did not always enjoy performing live.

    At 35 she left the pop world to look after her twin girls, who were followed by her son Blake. She took about seven years out to be a full time parent, but since then she has come back to song-writing, recording music and writing: her first memoir Bedsit Disco Queen was a best seller, and she has a fortnightly column in the New Statesman.

    This year Tracey was presented with the outstanding contribution to music prize, at the AIM independent music awards.

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 04.11.2018
    38 MB
    39:55
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    Vanley Burke, photographer

    Vanley Burke is a Jamaican-born photographer often described as the Godfather of Black British Photography. His body of work is regarded as the greatest photographic record of African Caribbean people in post-war Britain. He is motivated by a desire to document culture and history.

    Vanley was born in 1951 in St Thomas, Jamaica. When he was four, his mother emigrated to Britain to train as a nurse, leaving him in his grandparents’ care. His mother sent him a Box Brownie camera as a present when he was ten, and his interest in photography was born. When he was 14 he left Jamaica to join his mother and her husband and their children, in Handsworth, Birmingham, where they ran a shop. Vanley’s fascination with photography continued and he began taking photographs of every aspect of the life of his local community. He also started collecting relevant objects to provide more context for his photographs, gathering everything from pamphlets, records and clothes to hurricane lamps. His archive became so substantial that it is largely housed in Birmingham’s Central Library.

    In 1977 he photographed African Liberation Day in Handsworth Park, documenting what is thought to be the largest all-black crowd ever to assemble in Britain. In 1983 he held his first exhibition, Handsworth from the Inside, at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, and in 2015 the entire contents of his flat was relocated to the gallery for the exhibition At Home with Vanley Burke. His images have appeared in galleries around the UK and abroad. Earlier this year, he was commissioned to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, creating the installation 5000 Miles and 70 Years at the MAC in Birmingham.

    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Blue in Green by Miles Davis BOOK CHOICE: Encyclopedia of Tropical Plants by Ahmed Fayaz LUXURY ITEM: A Machete and a Crocus bag

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 28.10.2018
    36 MB
    37:50
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    Jacqueline Gold

    Jacqueline Gold is the CEO of the retail brands Ann Summers and Knickerbox. She joined the business at the age of 19 for work experience, and faced resistance because her father, David Gold, was the owner. By the time she was 21, she had persuaded the largely sceptical all-male board to invest in her radical idea: to re-invent the Ann Summers brand by selling lingerie and sex toys at women-only parties held in their homes. Along with the parties, there are now over 100 high street shops, with a multi-million pound turnover.

    Jacqueline’s childhood was difficult after her parents divorced when she was 12. Although she was a shy child, she worked throughout her teens which brought her a degree of financial independence and resilience. Today she’s a strong advocate of female empowerment, supports women in business and has set up the WOW incentive on Twitter.

    Jacqueline was awarded a CBE in 2016 and was ranked as the 16th wealthiest female entrepreneur by The Sunday Times in 2017. Happily married for the second time, she and her husband Dan underwent several courses of IVF treatment, and she eventually conceived twins. One of the children, Alfie, only survived for eight months. Their daughter, Scarlett is now aged nine.

    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Wishin' On A Star - Rose Royce BOOK CHOICE: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne LUXURY ITEM: Her own feather pillow

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 21.10.2018
    38 MB
    40:06
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    Venki Ramakrishnan

    Venki Ramakrishnan is a Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist.

    He is most renowned for his research into the atomic structure of the ribosome - a complex molecule in the cell which translates DNA into chains of amino acids that build proteins, the essence of life. This work eventually secured Venki a Nobel Prize in 2009, which he shared with Ada Yonath and Thomas Steitz.

    Venki was born in Tamil Nadu, in the south of India. Both his parents were scientists, and both pursued postgraduate studies overseas when Venki was very young. He completed his schooling in India, and then moved to the United States. Life on an American campus in the early 1970s was, he recalls, a culture shock for a self-confessed nerdy young Indian. He completed a PhD in Physics in 1976, but then switched to biology which he felt was a more exciting discipline. His research into the ribosome began when he was working at Yale as a post-doctoral fellow in the late 1970s.

    He moved to the UK in 1999, joining the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge as a group leader. He was knighted in 2012, and has served as President of the Royal Society since 2015, where he has argued that science should enjoy a central place in the curriculum and in our wider culture.

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 14.10.2018
    56 MB
    58:40
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    Nile Rodgers

    Nile Rodgers is a Grammy-winning composer, musician, and producer. With his own band, Chic, he's been enticing people on to the dance floor since the mid-1970s with hits like Le Freak and Good Times. With over 200 production credits to his name, he has worked on many highly successful albums from Sister Sledge’s We Are Family to David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Madonna’s Like a Virgin.

    Born in New York City in 1952 to a teenage mother, he spent his early life immersed in his parents’ bohemian, beatnik, and drug-dominated lifestyle. Drugs played a part in Nile's life too from an early age, and he took his first acid trip with Timothy Leary at the age of 15. After learning to play the guitar, he got his musical break touring with the Sesame Street stage show and playing in the house band of Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, where he met bassist Bernard Edwards with whom he developed a productive musical partnership and went on to found Chic.

    Following the Disco Sucks movement of the late 1970s, Nile and Bernard turned to production, and sprinkled their magic dust on Sister Sledge and Diana Ross. When Nile and Bernard went their separate ways in the early 1980s, Nile forged ahead on his own, working with, among others, Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Duran Duran.

    Nile went into rehab in 1994 and has been clean and sober for the past 24 years and has received successful treatment for cancer twice. He won three Grammys for his 2013 collaboration with the French electronic music duo Daft Punk, and has recently released the first Chic album in 26 years.

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 07.10.2018
    38 MB
    39:56
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    Thea Musgrave

    Composer Thea Musgrave celebrated her 90th birthday this year, an event marked by celebrations and concerts around the world, including the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival. She has published more than 150 compositions, including major orchestral works and numerous operas, and continues to write every day.

    Thea was born in Edinburgh in May 1928, and still has sharp memories of hearing news of the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940. She learned the piano as a child, but had ambitions to become a doctor. She began medical studies at the University of Edinburgh, but after struggling with the sciences, she switched to the music department, which happened to be in an adjacent building. In the early 1950s, she spent four years studying composition with Nadia Boulanger in Paris before moving to London and establishing herself as a prominent member of British musical life.

    In 1970 she became Guest Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 1971 she married the American opera conductor Peter Mark, and she has lived in the United States since 1972.

    She was awarded a CBE in 2002, and earlier this year she was presented with The Queen's Medal for Music.

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 30.09.2018
    49 MB
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    Tom Daley

    Tom Daley started diving aged seven and by the age of 14 was representing Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He has won six British Championships, three European Championships and won the World Championships in 2009 and 2017.

    Born in Plymouth in 1994, he’s the oldest son of Rob and Debbie Daley. He has two younger brothers. His success at a very young age led to widespread media attention, but as he became famous, he was bullied and had to change schools at the age of 15. His parents encouraged his sporting ambitions and he was always able to spot his father in the crowd at competitions because he’d be waving a huge union jack. In 2006 Rob was diagnosed with brain cancer and despite initially successful treatment, the cancer returned. He died in 2011, missing the London 2012 Olympics, where Tom won a bronze medal in the individual 10m platform event.

    In 2013 Tom met Dustin Lance Black and they married in 2017. They recently became parents – through surrogacy – of a son called Robert. Tom is currently in training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

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  • 23.09.2018
    35 MB
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    Henry Marsh

    Henry Marsh is a neurosurgeon, who pioneered a technique of operating on the brain while the patient is under local anaesthetic. The procedure is now standard practice. He is also an acclaimed writer.

    He was born in 1950 in Oxford, where his father was an academic. His mother came to England as a political refugee from Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. Henry did not initially pursue a career in medicine: after dropping out of university, he found work as a hospital porter, and only then decided to train as a doctor.

    He was appointed a consultant at St George’s Hospital, London, in 1987. He has spent his career in the NHS, and has also frequently worked abroad, in Ukraine, Nepal, Albania and elsewhere. He retired in 2015, but continues to teach one day a week and to work overseas to help less experienced surgeons.

    In 2014, he published a memoir, Do No Harm, which was widely praised for its honesty about mistakes in the operating theatre.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 16.09.2018
    35 MB
    36:30
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    Danielle de Niese

    Danielle de Niese is a soprano who has taken starring roles with leading opera companies around the world. She was born in Melbourne, Australia, to Sri Lankan parents, and at the age of eight she won a national TV talent show, singing a pop medley. When she was ten, her parents moved the family to Los Angeles, so that she could pursue her dream of becoming an opera singer. She also presented a TV programme, L.A. Kids, for which she won an Emmy award at the age of 16.

    She made her professional operatic debut when she was 15 with the Los Angeles Opera, appeared briefly in Les Miserables on Broadway, and first performed with the Metropolitan Opera in New York at the age of 19, taking the role of Barbarina in a production of The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Jonathan Miller.

    In 2005 she came to more widespread public attention with her performances as Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne, stepping into the role at the last minute when the original Cleopatra was unwell.

    She first appeared at the Royal Opera House in London four years later, and her international stage career now ranges from baroque operas to new works. She has also presented a number of television programmes about music. She married Gus Christie, the grandson of Glyndebourne’s founder, in 2009.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor

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  • 09.09.2018
    33 MB
    35:15
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Malorie Blackman

    Another chance to listen to the writer speaking to Kirsty Young in 2013. A prolific and multi-award winning author, Malorie Blackman has powered her way to success not just through talent but determination and perseverance. From the careers mistress who told her, "black people don't become teachers," to the 82 rejection letters she received before she was published, significant parts of her life seem to have been spent proving people wrong. A technology whiz, her first career was in computing. As a writer her books have tackled challenging themes: bullying, teenage pregnancy, racism and terrorism. A former Children's Laureate, her own formative years were spent in South London where as a little girl she went from thinking everyone was her friend to feeling, as a teenager, that the world was her enemy. She says, "Good stories made me reassess the world and people as I thought I knew them. Great stories made me reassess myself."

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  • 02.09.2018
    35 MB
    37:09
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Dame Cicely Saunders

    Another chance to listen to the founder of the Hospice Movement speaking to Sue Lawley in 1995. Dame Cicely Saunders talks about her schooldays at Roedean, how she trained as a nurse and much later, as a doctor. When she was 29 she fell in love with a young patient dying of cancer, who bequeathed her a legacy of £500. Starting with that bequest, she raised enough money for a new kind of hospice dedicated to care for the dying.

    Favourite track: Symphony No 7 in A Major by Ludwig van Beethoven

    Book: The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

    Luxury: Pen and paper

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  • 26.08.2018
    31 MB
    33:09
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Cilla Black

    Another chance to listen to the singer and television presenter speaking to Sue Lawley in 1988. Cilla Black reveals her three remaining burning ambitions in life: to make a number-one record, to become a grandmother and to be treated as a real sex symbol - all this with 25 years of singing and compering success behind her. The matchmaker supreme also talks about her legendary early days in Liverpool, her subsequent career and her family.

    Favourite track: The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles

    Book: Fables by Aesop

    Luxury: Manicure set and nail varnish

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  • 19.08.2018
    32 MB
    34:01
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Brian Redhead

    Another chance to listen to the journalist and broadcaster speaking to Michael Parkinson in 1986. Brian Redhead presented the Today programme for almost 20 years. He talks about his appearance on Children's Hour as a clarinetist, his early days as a journalist on the Manchester Guardian and his editorship of the Manchester Evening News.

    Favourite track: Clarinet Quintet in B Minor - 2nd Movement by Johannes Brahms

    Book: Commentary on the Bible by Arthur Pink

    Luxury: Taj Mahal

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  • 12.08.2018
    33 MB
    35:06
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Sir Michael Tippett

    Another chance to listen to the composer speaking to Roy Plomley in 1985. Sir Michael Tippett is regarded as one of the foremost composers of the twentieth century. Other than a period as Director of Music at Morley College, he allowed very little to distract him from composition. His output includes four symphonies, four operas, four string quartets and several concertos.

    Favourite track: Vespro Della Beata Vergine by Claudio Monteverdi

    Book: Blank pages

    Luxury: Egg timer

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  • 05.08.2018
    36 MB
    38:00
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    Pam Ayres

    Pam Ayres is a poet and broadcaster.

    Pam was born in the Vale of the White Horse and retains her characteristic Berkshire burr. She is the youngest of six children, and grew up in the company of her four brothers and a sister in a small council house.

    Although she was interested in writing from an early age, she failed her 11-plus exam and left school at 15 to join the Civil Service and later the Women's Royal Air Force, where she found opportunities to appear in amateur dramatics.

    She began to perform her comic verse in local folk clubs in the early 1970s and her first break came when she secured a spot on BBC Radio Oxford. In 1975, she won the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks and by the following year she had given up her day job.

    Pam has sold more than three million copies of her books, and has been called "the people's poet", thanks to her ability to write verse which resonates with a wide audience. Her best-loved poems include Oh, I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth, which was voted one of the UK's top ten comic verses in a BBC poll. Striking a very different note, her poem Woodland Burial has become a popular reading at funerals.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 29.07.2018
    33 MB
    34:40
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    Marianne Elliott

    Marianne Elliott is the first woman to win two Tony awards for theatre direction: the first for War Horse and the second for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Both transferred to Broadway from the National Theatre, London, and have gone on to travel the world.

    Marianne's parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all worked in the theatre. Her father, Michael Elliott, was a founding director of the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester and her mother, Rosalind Knight, now in her 80s, has enjoyed a lifetime on the stage and is still working. Although Marianne read Drama at Hull University, it wasn't until she was in her late 20s that her career began, when she became assistant director at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre. She went on to follow in her father's footsteps, working at the Royal Exchange, before becoming Associate Director at the National Theatre in London. In 2017 she left to set up her own theatre company with producer Chris Harper. Their next show will be Stephen Sondheim's Company.

    In addition to all her theatrical prizes, she has just been awarded the OBE for services to theatre in the 2018 Birthday Honours list. She is married to actor Nick Sidi and they have one daughter.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 22.07.2018
    33 MB
    35:06
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    Baroness Newlove

    Baroness Newlove is the Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales. She became a campaigner after her husband, Garry Newlove, was murdered by several youths in 2007. Born in Salford in 1961 she grew up in a working class family. Having left school at sixteen she became a copy typist at a magistrate's court and later a committal court assistant. She met Garry when she was 20 and they married and had two daughters. In 1992, when he was just 32, Garry was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He survived and the couple went on to have a third daughter.

    The family lived in an area of Warrington which was experiencing an increase in anti-social behaviour. In August 2007, Garry went outside to investigate a disturbance and was viciously attacked by some youths in front of his three daughters. Three days later, the decision was taken to switch off his life support. Three youths were subsequently found guilty of Garry's murder and in the wake of the family's experience, Helen set up an initiative called Newlove Warrington to provide support to the young people in the area.

    She was given a peerage in 2010 and sits on the Conservative benches. She took up various roles in support of victims in the House of Lords, culminating in her appointment as Victims' Commissioner, a post she took up in 2013. She is currently in her second term and will be serving in the post until 2019.

    Helen remarried in 2012.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 15.07.2018
    55 MB
    57:52
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    Billie Jean King

    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.

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  • 08.07.2018
    40 MB
    42:00
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    Philip Treacy

    Philip Treacy is one of the most prolific and acclaimed hat designers working in the UK.

    His work was very much in evidence at this year's Royal Wedding and at Royal Ascot. Meghan Markle wore one of his designs for her first official public engagement as the Duchess of Sussex. Other notable clients include Madonna, Tina Turner, Grace Jones, who has showcased his creations on and off stage, and Lady Gaga, for whom he made a black telephone hat.

    Originally from Ahascragh, a small village in County Galway, Ireland, Philip learned to sew when he was six years old. He grew up opposite a church and he recalls how, as a young boy, he would go to all the weddings, uninvited, to look at the clothes and in particular the wedding dresses.

    He went on to study fashion at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, and then won a place on the MA fashion design course at the Royal College of Art in London, graduating in 1990 with first class honours. He enjoyed a meteoric rise to success when fashion stylist Isabella Blow saw his student hat collection. She introduced him to Karl Lagerfeld, who quickly invited him to design hats for Chanel Couture when he was still in his early twenties.

    He has won the title of British Accessory Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards on five occasions, and was awarded an honorary OBE for services to the British fashion industry in 2007.

    Presenter Kirsty Young Producer Sarah Taylor.

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  • 01.07.2018
    37 MB
    38:42
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    Guy Singh-Watson

    Guy Singh-Watson is an organic farmer and founder of Riverford, a major British supplier of organic vegetables through a box delivery scheme. Born in 1960 and the youngest of five children, his parents became tenant farmers in Devon in 1951. He describes himself as "a proper little farm boy", and spent his free time outside, clambering up trees, catching rabbits, rearing his own pig and helping on the farm.

    Severely dyslexic, he disliked school, but thanks to an aptitude for performing well in exams, he won a place at Oxford University to read Agricultural and Forestry Science, graduating with a First. He briefly joined the family farm, but left to become a management consultant in London and then New York, returning to the farm in 1986. He started cultivating vegetables on three acres of land with a wheelbarrow and a borrowed tractor, and found his niche, moving from three to 18 to 50 acres quite rapidly.

    Initially, Guy sold to supermarkets, but became convinced that there must be a better way of getting his produce to customers, and set up a veg box scheme in 1993. His company now delivers to around 50,000 homes a week and had a turnover of £56.7 million in 2017. Guy has four grown-up children from his first marriage and an eight-year-old step-daughter from his second marriage to Geetie Singh.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 24.06.2018
    35 MB
    37:29
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    Martina Cole

    Martina Cole is a British crime writer, known to her fans as the Queen of Crime.

    Martina has written 24 novels, 15 of which have topped the original fiction sales charts - more than any other author. She has sold more than 16 million books around the world, and her work has been translated into 29 languages. She also works in prisons, leading reading schemes and writing workshops for prisoners.

    Martina grew up in Essex, the youngest of five children born to Irish parents. She was expelled from her convent school at 15 for reading a book by Harold Robbins. She married at 16, divorced at 17 and then had a baby at the age of 18. She wrote stories and scripts in her spare time to amuse herself, whilst taking on a series of low-paid jobs, including cleaning, waitressing, stacking shelves and leafletting.

    At the age of 31, she re-discovered one of her early attempts at a novel, and decided to send it to an agent. She chose Darley Anderson from the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook because she liked the sound of the name. He quickly contacted her and told her she would be a star. He was right: she received an advance of £150,000, then a record for a first time novelist. She has written a best-selling crime novel almost every year ever since.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 17.06.2018
    49 MB
    51:45
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    John Motson

    John Walker Motson, OBE, also known as Motty, has been commentating on football since 1971. He covered more than 2000 games on television and radio, including all the major football championships, 29 FA Cup finals (with an additional five replays), 10 World Cups, 10 European Championships and 200 England games. At the age of 72 he's just retired.

    Known not only for his footballing knowledge and his voice, he is often recognised by his knee-length sheepskin coat. His passion for football was ignited by his father, a Methodist minister for 40 years, who on his one day off each week would take his only son to watch football. The first game John attended was at Charlton Athletic when he was seven, and the excitement of it inspired him to create scrapbooks of footballing facts and collect match programmes.

    After five years at boarding school, where he wasn't allowed to play football, he left at 16 after one term doing A levels. He joined the Barnet Press as a trainee reporter and then moved onto the Sheffield Telegraph. When BBC Radio Sheffield, one of the first six local radio stations, came on air, he was one of the reporters pulled in to give match summaries. He then moved to the BBC as a sports assistant in radio, before joining the Match of the Day team on television.

    He has been supported in his career by his solicitor wife, Annie, who meticulously kept details of every match in thick A4 books which John used for his preparation. He was awarded an OBE for services to football and in May 2018 he was honoured by BAFTA with a Special Award for his lifetime's work.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 10.06.2018
    38 MB
    40:19
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    Professor Carlos Frenk

    Professor Carlos Frenk is a cosmologist and one of the originators of the Cold Dark Matter theory for the formation of galaxies and the structure of the universe. He has worked at Durham University since 1985, where he was appointed the inaugural Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics in 2001 and has been Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology since 2002.

    Born in Mexico in 1951, he is the son of a German Jewish immigrant father and a Mexican mother with Spanish roots. After completing his physics degree in Mexico, he came to Cambridge University in the mid-1970s to do a PhD in Astronomy. His first postgraduate job took him to the University of California where he worked on a computer simulation of the universe with three fellow cosmologists, disproving the idea that the universe contains hot dark matter and establishing the theory of cold dark matter instead.

    Professor Frenk's papers have received more than 100,000 citations, making him one of the most frequently cited authors in the field of space science and astronomy. He has won a number of prizes for his work, including the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. He was awarded a CBE in 2017.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 03.06.2018
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    40:30
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    Gillian Reynolds

    Gillian Reynolds spent 42 years as the radio critic of the Daily Telegraph before she was headhunted by the Sunday Times at the age of 82. Born into a working class family in Liverpool, her mother ran a market stall and her father was a seaman, but also a gambler. Her mother was determined to ensure that Gillian had a good education, and she was the first in her family to go to a grammar school. She went on to study English at Oxford.

    She took up an internship in America, where she met her husband, and they returned to Liverpool when she became pregnant with the first of her three sons. She first worked as a radio critic for the Guardian in 1967. She became the first female controller of a commercial radio station when she joined Radio City, Liverpool, in 1974. She moved to London in 1975 when she left her troubled marriage, and secured the job of radio critic for the Telegraph, as well as working as a journalist in television and radio, at one point even co-presenting the Today programme.

    She chaired the Sony Radio Awards for four years, the only woman to have done so, and the Radio Academy Festival for a decade. She lives alone, but with around two dozen radios, in Notting Hill.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 27.05.2018
    46 MB
    48:16
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    David Baddiel

    David Baddiel is a comedian and writer. Known both for his solo work and for his comedic collaborations with, among others, Rob Newman and Frank Skinner, he has also written a screenplay, a musical and several books. Born in 1964 to Jewish parents, the second of three boys, he was brought up in Dollis Hill, London. His father was a scientist from Swansea and his mother was a refugee, whose family had to flee from Nazi Germany. When David was 13, his older brother Ivor played him sketches by Derek and Clive which kindled his appetite to become a comedian.

    He read English at Cambridge and became vice-president of the Footlights before starting out on the London comedy circuit. Together with Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis and Rob Newman, he was part of The Mary Whitehouse Experience for Radio 1 and later BBC 2. Rob and David went on to create Newman and Baddiel in Pieces, and were the first comedians to sell out Wembley Arena with a gig in 1993, prompting newspapers to declare comedy "the new rock 'n' roll". David then formed a comedy partnership with Frank Skinner and they hosted Fantasy Football League and later Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned. They co-wrote the lyrics to one of the best-known football songs, Three Lions.

    In 2005, David took a break from performance and concentrated on writing novels for adults and children's books as well as the script for a film, which became a musical, The Infidel. He returned to stand-up in 2013 with a show about fame. He recently mined his parents' idiosyncrasies and the rare form of dementia from which his father suffers for a stand-up show entitled My Family: Not the Sitcom. His partner is fellow comedian and writer Morwenna Banks. They have two teenage children.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 20.05.2018
    36 MB
    38:25
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    Dr Sue Black

    Dr. Sue Black is a computer scientist, academic and social entrepreneur. She was instrumental in saving Bletchley Park, the home of vital codebreaking during the second world war. Currently an honorary professor at UCL, she founded BCS Women for women in science and the social enterprise Tech Mums, which teaches parents about computing. She is also on an advisory board for the government's digital services.

    Born in Fareham, Hampshire, she was 12 when her mother died of a brain haemorrhage. She left school and home at the earliest legal age, 16, and by the age of 20 she was the mother of three children. She returned to education by taking a maths access course at night school which led to a degree in computing from London South Bank University in 1993. She gained a PhD in software engineering in 2001 and became a lecturer. She was Head of Department of Computing Science at the University of Westminster before leaving in 2012 to become a technology evangelist.

    In 2016 She was awarded the Order of the British Empire for services to for services to technology.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 13.05.2018
    37 MB
    38:38
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    Sir Peter Lampl

    Sir Peter Lampl is a philanthropist who has given over £50 million and worked for 20 years to combat educational inequality. In 1997 he founded the Sutton Trust with the aim of improving social mobility. The Trust has funded over 200 research studies, and it initiates and supports a wide range of programmes, covering everything from early years education to access to the professions.

    The son of a Viennese émigré, Peter Lampl grew up in modest circumstances in Yorkshire until the age of 11, when his family relocated to Surrey. He attended grammar schools, Oxford University and the London Business School. He worked as a management consultant and businessman in the USA and Europe, and in 1983 he set up the Sutton Company, an international private equity firm.

    His first move into philanthropy came in the wake of the Dunblane school shootings in 1996, when he funded the campaign which led to a complete ban on the private ownership of handguns in the UK.

    His interest in social mobility was sparked by his realisation that in recent years "a kid like me had little chance of making it to Oxbridge", noting that his school was now "all fee-paying" and his Oxford college "used to have lots of ordinary Welsh kids, but they're not coming through any more."

    He received an OBE in 2000 for services to Access to Higher Education, and was knighted in June 2003.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 06.05.2018
    36 MB
    37:50
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    Abi Morgan

    Abi Morgan is a screenwriter and playwright best known for TV dramas The Hour, River and The Split and the films Shame, Suffragette and The Iron Lady. She won two Emmy Awards for The Hour, as well as two BAFTAs for Best Single Drama for White Girl and Sex Traffic, and Meryl Streep won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

    Born into a theatrical family - her father was a theatre director, her mother is an actress - she only began to write during her university days at Exeter. After graduating, she kept herself afloat by waitressing while continuing to write and had her first play performed professionally in 1998 when she was 30.

    She's become known for her gritty storylines in the dramas Murder, Sex Traffic, and Tsunami, but has also adapted several books for both the small and the big screen including Brick Lane, The Invisible Woman, and Birdsong.

    Abi lives in London with her long-term partner, the actor Jacob Krichefski, and their two teenage children.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 29.04.2018
    35 MB
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Sue Townsend

    Another chance to listen to the writer speaking to Sue Lawley in 1991. Her most famous creation was Adrian Mole, and, in many respects, his life mirrored her own: like her hero, she came from a poor but not deprived background and always nursed a secret ambition to be a writer. She talks to Sue Lawley about her life and work and carefully selects eight records which remind her of some of the most significant events in her life.

    Favourite track: Violin Concerto in D by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Book: Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

    Luxury: Swimming pool of champagne

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  • 22.04.2018
    34 MB
    36:12
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Annie Lennox

    Another chance to listen to the singer-songwriter speaking to Kirsty Young in 2008. Her extraordinary voice has captivated us for decades and, as one half of the group Eurythmics and as a solo artist, she's sold tens of millions of records and won fistfuls of awards. As a teenager, her musical ability was her passport out of her home town of Aberdeen. At that point, a career as a flautist beckoned: but, after studying in London, she felt she could never make her mark as a classical musician. It was a chance encounter with aspiring pop-star Dave Stewart that set her on an entirely different path.

    For much of the 1980s, all her creative energy went into making music. But when her children were born, she says, her priorities shifted. Now she devotes much of her time and energy to supporting different humanitarian causes. She says: "I need to find meaning in my life to make me happy; and that's been an ongoing struggle."

    Favourite track: I Say A Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin

    Book: Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

    Luxury: Suncream

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  • 15.04.2018
    40 MB
    41:56
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Stephen Hawking

    Another chance to listen to the theoretical physicist speaking to Sue Lawley in 1992. Stephen Hawking wrote the best-selling A Brief History of Time and was the founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, where he was also the Emeritus Lucasian Professor. He talked to Sue Lawley about his life and work, and the illness which left him severely disabled, as well as selecting the eight discs he would choose to take to the mythical island.

    Favourite track: Requiem by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Book: Middlemarch by George Eliot

    Luxury: Crème brûlée

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  • 08.04.2018
    34 MB
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Victoria Wood

    Another chance to listen to the comedian speaking to Kirsty Young in 2007. For decades she was one of our best-loved writers and performers. The television series she made - including Acorn Antiques, Dinnerladies and Housewife 49 - won her a devoted following as well as stacks of awards.

    But, in a moving and open interview, she describes how, as a teenager, she felt she was a misfit - she had few friends, she struggled with her weight and at school she used to steal other people's homework. She joined a youth theatre and it was, she says, the saving of her. She found like-minded people and a sense that she had something to offer.

    She was very careful about how much of her own life she put into her work. She doesn't mind saying she cuts her pubic hair with nail-scissors, but rarely discusses her children on the stage.

    Favourite track: What a Fool Believes by The Doobie Brothers

    Book: A big book by Charles Dickens

    Luxury: A bumper book of Sudoku with blank pages & pens

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  • 01.04.2018
    33 MB
    34:25
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    Classic Desert Island Discs: Hugh Masekela

    Another chance to listen to the world famous musician speaking to Sue Lawley in 2004. As a boy growing up in the impoverished townships of South Africa, he was inspired to learn the trumpet after seeing Kirk Douglas play Bix Beiderbecke in Young Man With A Horn. He begged one of his teachers - the anti-apartheid crusader Father Trevor Huddleston - to buy him a horn and in return he promised to stay out of trouble.

    Hugh soon made a name for himself in South Africa but as the racial tensions intensified during the 50s he decided he had to leave his homeland to get a better music education in America. There he quickly made a name for himself with his fusion of African jazz music and became a 'flower child' playing with some of the great bands of the decade: Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and the Byrds. He's still probably best known for his number-one track, Grazing in the Grass, which sold four million copies worldwide in 1968. He returned to Africa in 1973, spending the next 17 years working on a range of musical collaborations in Botswana, Liberia, Nigeria, Congo and Guinea. Then, after thirty years in self-imposed exile, he returned to his homeland in 1990.

    Favourite track: Lilizela Mlilezeli by Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens

    Book: Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

    Luxury: A keyboard

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  • 25.03.2018
    33 MB
    34:38
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    Anne-Marie Duff

    Anne-Marie Duff is a stage and screen actor.

    Born in 1970 to Irish parents, she grew up in a working class household in west London. A shy child and a voracious reader, she took acting classes from the age of 11, but failed to get into drama school on her first attempt. Her second application to the Drama Centre in London was successful and she's barely been out of work since.

    She started off on stage, but gained more widespread recognition when she took the role of Fiona Gallagher in Shameless, the acclaimed Channel 4 comedy drama.

    She has since played dozens of roles, both in the theatre and on screen, which range from Queen Elizabeth I to John Lennon's mother, from a penniless suffragette to a retired police officer with skeletons in the cupboard, and from Joan of Arc to Lady Macbeth on Broadway and at the National Theatre. Her performances have been described as having a "multi-faceted, diamond-hard intensity".

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 18.03.2018
    33 MB
    34:54
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    David Byrne

    David Byrne was a founding member of the band Talking Heads. Born in Dumbarton, Scotland, he emigrated first to Canada and then to the USA before the age of ten.

    He started playing in bands at school and, when art school didn't work out for him, he founded Talking Heads with a couple of friends. They played their first gig, opening for the Ramones, at the legendary New York club CBGB's, in June 1975. Eight studio albums later, cracks were beginning to show in the relations between band members, and by 1991 Talking Heads had officially split up.

    Since then, he has enjoyed a solo career, and also made films, published photographic books, composed scores for musicals, created art installations and written books. He has received an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score, as well as a Golden Globe and a Grammy, for his soundtrack to the 1987 film The Last Emperor.

    He and his fellow Talking Heads members were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. He lives in New York and has a daughter in her late twenties from his 17 year marriage to Adelle Lutz.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 11.03.2018
    35 MB
    36:42
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    John Gray

    John Gray is a philosopher. His academic career included professorships at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, and visiting professorships at Harvard and Yale in the USA. He retired from academia in 2008, and has dedicated himself to writing full time since then. He is the lead book reviewer of the New Statesman and a regular contributor to the Guardian.

    Born in 1948 in South Shields, his father was a Tyneside dock worker, his mother a homemaker. A voracious reader as a child, and encouraged by his history teacher at his grammar school, he won a scholarship to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford. Initially of the political Left, he became an advocate of the policies of the Right before the advent of Thatcherism. He then moved again to the Left. He supported the Leave cause in the Brexit referendum.

    John contends that history is not progressive, but cyclical, and that any improvements other than certain scientific discoveries can be easily lost or reversed. He cites the use of torture against terror suspects as an example.

    John has written several influential books, including False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (1998), which predicted the global financial crisis; Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (2002), which attacked philosophical humanism; and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia (2007), a critique of Utopian thinking in the modern world.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 04.03.2018
    45 MB
    46:53
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    Matt Smith

    Matt Smith is best known as the eleventh Timelord in the BBC One series, Doctor Who. At 26, he became the youngest actor to take the part.

    His future looked set to be in football: he played at youth level for Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City until a serious back condition ended his highly promising career prematurely. His drama teacher encouraged him to take up acting and he joined the National Youth Theatre and studied drama at the University of East Anglia. He played Lockwood in the National Theatre's touring production of The History Boys and was nominated for an Evening Standard Best Newcomer Award for his performance in Polly Stenham's That Face. He also appeared as a political researcher in the BBC Two parliamentary drama, Party Animals.

    Despite being a surprise choice to play The Doctor in 2009, he became the first actor to be nominated for a BAFTA television award for his performance in this role, and has won two National Television Awards. When he left Doctor Who at the end of 2013, he appeared on stage as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho: The Musical.

    In 2016 he took the part of HRH Prince Philip Mountbatten, The Duke of Edinburgh, in the Netflix series The Crown, and received great acclaim, leaving the role at the end of the second series in late 2017.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 25.02.2018
    34 MB
    35:42
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    Dame Minouche Shafik

    Dame Minouche Shafik is the director of the London School of Economics and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. She was born in Egypt but her family had to flee the country when she was four years old, because her parents lost everything during President Nasser's nationalisation programme. Her father, a scientist, found work in America, and Minouche and her sister attended numerous schools there, before she went back to Egypt at the age of 16. She trained as an economist, studying at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the London School of Economics before receiving her doctorate at Oxford. Minouche Shafik was the youngest ever Vice President of the World Bank, at the age of 36. She later served as the Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development from 2008 to 2011. She joined the Bank of England as its first Deputy Governor on Markets in 2014, and was a member of the bank's monetary policy committee. She became a Dame in the 2015 June Birthday Honours list.

    Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 18.02.2018
    34 MB
    36:07
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    Christopher Nolan

    Christopher Nolan is best known for reviving the Batman film franchise and for directing the blockbusters Inception and Dunkirk. His films have taken nearly $5 billion at the box office. Born in London in 1970 to an English father and an American mother, he discovered film-making at the age of seven. In what he describes as "a leap of faith", his father lent him his Super 8 camera - and he's not stopped making films since. From youthful experiments, manipulating his action figures and shooting stop motion animations, he progressed to making short films at university where he read English - although he spent more time at University College London's Bloomsbury Theatre, home to the film society, than the lecture theatre.

    His first feature film, Following, had enough festival exposure and critical success to secure him his first official budget of $4.5 million to make his next film, Memento. In 2005 he was hailed for reinventing the Caped Crusader in the dark and gritty Batman Begins. He regularly works with the same actors and production team including his long-time producer, his wife, Emma Thomas. The couple's latest film, Dunkirk, is nominated in the best picture category of the Oscars this year and Christopher has a nomination for Best Director.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 11.02.2018
    36 MB
    37:30
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    Chi-chi Nwanoku

    Chi-chi Nwanoku is a double bass player and founder of Europe's first professional majority black and minority ethnic orchestra, Chineke!.

    Chi-chi is the eldest of five children, born to a Nigerian father and an Irish mother. Early on, she discovered two competing passions: playing the piano and 100 metre sprinting. She was aiming to qualify for the 1976 Olympics when she suffered a knee injury which cut short her life as an athlete. Her music teacher then suggested that she could have a career as a musician if she took up 'an unpopular orchestral instrument'. She began learning the double bass a week later.

    She was a student at the Royal Academy of Music and for over 30 years has played with renowned orchestras, including the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, English Baroque Soloists, London Classical Players and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment , which she co-founded and where she was principal double bass for three decades.

    In 2015, she set up Chineke! to support, inspire and encourage black and minority ethnic musicians. Last year the Chineke! orchestra made its debut at the BBC Proms, and Chi-chi was awarded an OBE for her services to music.

    Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 04.02.2018
    32 MB
    34:21
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    Jack Whitehall

    Jack Whitehall, stand-up comedian, actor, sit-com writer and producer is Kirsty Young's castaway.

    He co-wrote and starred in the sitcoms Fresh Meat and Bad Education. He and his father launched their chat-show Backchat in 2013 and recently made a TV series together travelling around Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Jack played Paul Pennyfeather in a TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall in 2016 and has forthcoming roles in Good Omens and a film about Marc Bolan and David Bowie.

    The son of the talent agent and television producer Michael Whitehall and the actress Hilary Gish, he grew up in Putney. Sent away to boarding school at 11, he performed his first comedy gig aged 16 while still a pupil. He briefly attended Manchester University before he decided to exchange lectures for laughs and make his way in stand-up: he won the King of Comedy award at the British Comedy Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 28.01.2018
    33 MB
    35:12
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    Garry Kasparov

    Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, who became the youngest ever world champion at the age of 22. He is also a writer and a political activist.

    He grew up in the Soviet Union, the only child of engineer parents. He learned chess by watching his parents play as they worked out chess problems in the newspaper. As a five year old he was fascinated by the mysterious little pieces and the board with its 64 squares.

    Garry Kasparov's father died when he was seven and it was his mother who guided him on his chess career. As a player, he was nicknamed the Beast of Baku, because of his dynamic style at the chessboard. He became a grandmaster on his 17th birthday and went on to become the World Champion after beating Anatoly Karpov in a now-legendary series of games in the mid-1980s.

    He played high-profile matches against the IBM computer Deep Blue in 1996 and 1997. Since his retirement from competitive chess, he has written numerous books and become a high-profile political activist.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 22.01.2018
    33 MB
    35:09
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    Christina Lamb

    Christina Lamb is chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times and travels the world reporting from war zones and hot spots, speaking not just to key protagonists but also seeking out and detailing the daily impact of conflict on civilians.

    An only child, and brought up in Carshalton Beeches, she was a voracious reader and dreamed of being an explorer. Although she was rebellious at school, and at one point was asked to leave, she won a place at Oxford and went on to edit the university newspaper. While working as an intern for the Financial Times, she interviewed Benazir Bhutto and was invited to her wedding in Pakistan. That experience led to her determination to be a reporter from the front line.

    Her work has taken her to South Africa, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, and among her best-selling books are two which tell the stories of remarkable young women - Nujeen Mustafa who escaped from Aleppo in her wheelchair, and the Nobel prize-winner Malala Yousafzai.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 14.01.2018
    33 MB
    35:13
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    Angela Hartnett

    Angela Hartnett is a chef, TV presenter and cookery writer. She holds a Michelin star and runs her own restaurants.

    Angela was born in 1968 to an Italian mother and Irish father, and her culinary career has been influenced by her Italian background and her grandmother's cooking. After studying for a history degree, Angela began work in the catering industry before joining Gordon Ramsay at his restaurant Aubergine. In 2002 she took over at the Connaught, London, as the first woman chef to run its restaurant. When it closed five years later, she moved on to open her own restaurant, Murano, in 2008. She achieved a Michelin star in both establishments and has expanded her restaurant business.

    She has been a regular contributor on some of TV and radio's most popular cookery programmes. In 2007, she was awarded an MBE for Services to the Hospitality Industry.

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  • 07.01.2018
    34 MB
    36:15
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    Charlie Brooker

    Charlie Brooker is a satirist, broadcaster and writer. He created the Emmy-award winning series, Black Mirror, and presents Screenwipe and Newswipe which won Best Comedy Entertainment Show award at the British Comedy Awards in 2011.

    Born in 1971, his career has been influenced both by his early love of technology - he was a keen computer gamer - and by his passion for the anarchic, surreal and experimental comedy of Monty Python and The Young Ones. After creating his own comic while at school, he went on to provide cartoons for the magazine Oink! at the age of 15. He cultivated his acerbic style and satirical pessimism as a writer of games reviews and features for PC Zone magazine.

    His online creation TVGoHome, an often caustic parody of television listings in the style of Radio Times, brought him to the attention of the Guardian newspaper where he began writing a TV review column entitled Screen Burn in 2000. This was adapted into a BBC Four television series, and various spin-offs, including Gameswipe and Newswipe, followed.

    The first two series of Black Mirror, an anthology of unrelated dramas focused around the unexpected consequences of new technologies, aired on Channel 4. The third series was released on Netflix in 2016, followed by a fourth at the end of 2017.

    Charlie is married to former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq and they have two young sons.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 31.12.2017
    41 MB
    42:55
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    75 Years of Desert Island Discs

    75 Years of Desert Island Discs - Kirsty Young ends the programme's anniversary year with some gems from the archive, including the creator of the format, Roy Plomley, actress Bebe Daniels, broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, trumpeter Louis Armstrong, politician Dame Barbara Castle and cellist Jacqueline du Pre.

    Kirsty also chooses some of her favourite moments with Dame Judi Dench, Sir David Attenborough, comedian Sarah Millican, the surgeon David Nott and rugby referee Nigel Owens.

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  • 24.12.2017
    33 MB
    34:31
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    Bruno Tonioli

    Bruno Tonioli, dancer, choreographer and a judge on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, is Kirsty's guest. He was brought up in Ferrara, Northern Italy, and was the only child of hard-working parents who hoped he would be an accountant. Bruno wanted to pursue a creative career and joined a raunchy cabaret dance troupe when he was a teenager, and performed across Europe. He went on to train in other areas of dance and choreography and spent the 1980s working on pop videos with The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Bananarama, Boy George, George Michael, Duran Duran and many more. Since 2004, Bruno has been a judge on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing and is a judge on the American version of the programme, Dancing with the Stars.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 17.12.2017
    46 MB
    48:33
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    Christine McVie

    Christine McVie enjoyed huge success with Fleetwood Mac, penning many of their signature songs including You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy, Little Lies, Everywhere and Songbird. The band has sold more than 100 million records and the album Rumours remains one of the most popular discs of all time, with sales of more than 40 million copies. The album was recorded during 1976 whilst the band members were going through relationship break-ups and the stories of excess and drug taking during the 1970s and 1980s are well documented.

    In 1998 McVie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac and received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The same year, after almost 30 years with the band, and having a developed a fear of flying, she opted to leave and lived in semi-retirement for the next 15 years, releasing only one solo album in 2004. She bought a Jacobean house in Kent and spent the next four years restoring it.

    Christine rejoined the band officially in January 2014, and that year she received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 10.12.2017
    34 MB
    35:31
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    Kelsey Grammer

    Kelsey Grammer is best known for his two-decade-long portrayal of psychiatrist Dr Frasier Crane which began on the NBC sitcom Cheers. He continued the role in the hugely successful spin-off series Frasier which ran for 11 years. When the series ended in 2004, it had won a total of 35 Emmys.

    Born in the Virgin Islands, he was brought up by his mother and maternal grandparents in Florida, after his parents divorced. He studied drama at the Julliard School in New York but left before the end of the second year. He got his big break when he joined the cast of Cheers in 1984.

    In his personal life Grammer has experienced a great deal of loss - his much-loved grandfather died when he was 12 and his 18 year old sister was murdered when he was 20. His struggles with drink and drugs, now behind him, are well documented. Married four times, he is the father of seven.

    The winner of multiple awards, he is also a TV producer, director, writer, and known for his voice work: among others he was Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons and Stinky Pete in Toy Story 2. He is currently on stage in London.

    Presenter Kirsty Young Producer Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 03.12.2017
    32 MB
    34:21
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    Tim Martin

    Tim Martin is the chairman and founder of the pub company JD Wetherspoon. He opened his first pub, Martin's Free House, in 1979 in North London. Now the chain employs 37,000 people, in 891 pubs of which 54 are hotels. Travelling from his home in Devon, Tim visits at least ten of them a week taking detailed 'call notes' on the staff, the beer, the quality of the food and even the cutlery.

    In 2016 he became one of the most high-profile UK business people arguing in favour in leaving the EU. He printed half a million beer mats for his pubs, making the case for Brexit.

    His success in the pub industry might be in the genes. His father, initially an aerobatic pilot, later worked for Guinness, which took the family around the globe and Tim spent his childhood in both New Zealand and Northern Ireland. He trained for the law but instead chose the career of a publican.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 26.11.2017
    33 MB
    34:34
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    Naomi Klein

    The writer and activist Naomi Klein reached an international audience with her first book, the best-selling No Logo, a rallying cry against the power of corporate brands and the replacement of traditional manufacturing jobs with sweatshop labour.

    Since then, she's turned her intellectual ire on to even bigger terrain - the political and economic systems underpinning capitalism and climate change. The way to save the planet, she says, requires a radical rethink which will address what she calls the "unresolved tensions" between big business and over-consumption.

    It's no surprise then that her fierce broadsides against the free market ideology have attracted plaudits and opprobrium in equal measure. But, coming from a family steeped in political activism, such polarized reactions come with the territory. Her grandparents were fervent Marxists and she was born in Canada to American activist parents who fled the US in protest against the Vietnam War. Her mother is a feminist filmmaker while her doctor father was heavily involved with the natural birth movement.

    Growing up in the 1980s, she was a committed shopper and self-confessed "teeny bopper." But at 19 she experienced a dramatic political awakening - after that, she says, "you had to call yourself a feminist."

    Presenter Kirsty Young Producer Paula McGinley.

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  • 19.11.2017
    33 MB
    34:41
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    Micky Flanagan

    Micky Flanagan found mainstream success as a comedian in 2007 with his autobiographical 'What Chance Change?' show at the Edinburgh fringe, where he was nominated as best newcomer.

    Raised in the East End of London, he left school at 15 with no qualifications and followed his dad into work as a fish porter at Billingsgate fish market. When he quit that job, he spent a summer working in a kitchen in New York, and then returned to London to spend much of the 1980s working in the furniture trade. When his business collapsed he worked as a window cleaner and decorator.

    He played truant through much of his secondary school career, but in his mid-twenties he studied for a GCSE in English, and later gained a place at City University, London, graduating with Social Sciences degree. He trained to become a teacher, and then discovered comedy through night classes. Sell-out UK tours and appearances on 'Mock the Week' and 'Would I Lie to You' followed, and he's made two TV series for Sky - 'Detour De France' and 'Micky Flanagan: Thinking Aloud'. He's just finished his third tour of the UK and Ireland with his show 'An' Another Fing...'

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 12.11.2017
    34 MB
    36:13
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    Anna Pavord

    Anna Pavord, writer & gardener, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 05.11.2017
    33 MB
    34:40
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    Professor Phil Scraton

    Professor Phil Scraton is Professor Emeritus at the School of Law at Queen's University Belfast. A criminologist and author, he's director of the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative and was lead researcher of the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

    Born into a working class family in Wallasey in the Wirral in 1949, he attended a seminary at the age of 12. Deciding the religious life was not for him he worked as a bus conductor before attending Liverpool University where he read Sociology.

    His early work with Travellers and Liverpool's black community led to an interest in deaths in custody and prison conditions. Then, following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 he would spend the next 28 years researching and writing about the disaster - his book Hillsborough: The Truth was first published in 1999. The Hillsborough Independent Panel's 2012 report led to a second inquest which concluded in April 2016 that the 96 people who died had been unlawfully killed and that fans behaviour had not contributed to the disaster in any way.

    Phil and his partner, Deena, have lived in Belfast since 2003. He has two grown-up sons from his first marriage.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 29.10.2017
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    Kay Mellor

    Kay Mellor, OBE, is an English screenwriter and director best known for TV drama series including Band of Gold, Playing the Field, Fat Friends and The Syndicate. She has won a Bafta award, along with numerous nominations, and she received a Royal Television Society Fellowship in 2016. She has also worked as an actress, and has written for the stage.

    Kay was born in Leeds and has lived there all her life. It's also the home of her production company. Her highly successful career now seems worlds away from her early life, when she became pregnant and got married at the age of 16, curtailing her dreams of going to drama school. Later, whilst enjoying motherhood, she decided to return to education, studying for a degree in drama at Bretton Hall College.

    Upon graduation, she worked in theatre, then at Granada TV as a scriptwriter on Coronation Street before embarking on her own prolific writing career for TV and theatre.

    She celebrates her Golden Wedding anniversary later this year.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 22.10.2017
    34 MB
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    Edna Adan Ismail

    Edna Adan Ismail is a midwife and campaigner. As a 12 year old growing up in British Somaliland, her dream was to build her own hospital. It took her some 50 years and all her savings to realise her ambition, and the state of the art hospital she built is a testament to her passion and dogged determination.

    Nursing and midwifery have been her life since she won a scholarship to study in the UK in the mid-1950s, when she cycled to appointments in her black raincoat to deliver babies all around London. Married at one time to the prime minister of Somalia, she juggled the high profile role of First Lady with shifts at her local hospital. "I was born with this desire to fix things," she says.

    As her country's first female foreign minister, she broke deep-rooted taboos by publicly condemning the widespread practice of female genital mutilation - FGM. Her opposition stems from personal experience - she was only eight years old when she endured the invasive procedure herself.

    Now 80, she lives on site at her beloved hospital, where more than 22,000 babies have been born since it opened in 2002.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Paula McGinley.

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  • 15.10.2017
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    Jane Gardam

    Jane Gardam is best known for her trilogy of novels about an ex-colonial QC nicknamed Old Filth. A writer for both adults and children, she has won two Whitbread awards, the Katherine Mansfield Award and has been shortlisted for the Booker and the Orange Prize for Fiction.

    Born in 1928, she grew up in North Yorkshire where her father was a schoolmaster at a small independent boys' school. Her mother wrote sermons and was an inveterate letter-writer. After graduating, Jane had a number of literary jobs, but gave up working to raise her three young children. Although she wrote poems as a young girl, her writing career didn't begin in earnest until the day her youngest child started school when she began to write her first book.

    Since then, she has published more than 30 books, including novels for children and adults as well as short stories and a non-fiction volume about the Yorkshire of her youth.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 08.10.2017
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    Sir James MacMillan

    Sir James MacMillan is a Scottish composer and conductor. He's one of Britain's most successful living classical composers, with his percussion concerto, Veni Veni Emmanuel, receiving more than 600 performances since its premiere in 1992. He draws inspiration from both the spiritual and the secular: many of his works draw on his Roman Catholic faith, while his passion for Celtic football club provided the initial spark for a piano concerto. James MacMillan grew up in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, traditionally a mining centre. His father was a carpenter, and his grandfather a coal miner. He learned the trumpet and played in brass bands, whilst realising at a very young age that he wanted to make music his life. When he first picked up a recorder at school, and realised that he could change the pitch by putting different fingers over the holes, he says a light went on and he knew that he wanted to write music as well as play it.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 01.10.2017
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    Siddhartha Mukherjee

    Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer specialist. His biography of the disease, The Emperor of All Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. A haematologist and oncologist by training, his research focuses on cancer therapy and gene functions related to blood cells. His latest book, The Gene, goes in search of normality, identity, variation and heredity.

    Born in India in 1970 he grew up with his extended family in Delhi. In his youth he trained as an Indian classical singer before travelling to the US to study biology at Stanford. At Oxford he was a Rhodes scholar before enrolling at Harvard to study medicine. He is currently Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Centre.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 24.09.2017
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    Professor Dame Jane Francis

    Professor Dame Jane Francis is the Director of the British Antarctic Survey.

    She is no stranger to surviving in extreme conditions, because for much of her career her research has taken her to the Polar Regions. Travelling with her fossil hammer, her principal interests are in palaeoclimatology and palaeobotany. She specialises in the study of fossil plants, and how they shape our understanding of climates in the distant past, when Antarctica was much warmer.

    In 2002 she received the Polar Medal, for her outstanding contribution to British polar research, and in 2013 she became the first woman to head the British Antarctic Survey.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 17.09.2017
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    Paul Greengrass

    Paul Greengrass has directed three Jason Bourne films, starring Matt Damon, Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks in the title role, and the 9/11 film United 93, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. He won a Bafta for the film The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, and he wrote and directed the acclaimed Bloody Sunday.

    His father was a merchant seaman and his mother a teacher and he grew up in Gravesend in Kent. Expelled from his first secondary school, at his next he made his first film at the age of 16. After learning the craft of documentary-making on World In Action at Granada TV, he turned to making feature films.

    In October 2017, Paul will receive the BFI fellowship, the British Film Institute's highest accolade.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 06.08.2017
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    Dr Kevin Fong

    Kirsty Young's castaway is Dr. Kevin Fong. He is a consultant anaesthetist at University College Hospital London, and an expert on space medicine. He is a senior lecturer in Physiology at UCL and the co-director of the Centre for Aviation, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine. Born to parents who had come to the UK from Mauritius, he grew up in London. His parents put great emphasis on education - which they had both missed out on in their youth. Kevin's first degree was in astrophysics and he went on to study medicine. He has combined his love of space with medicine and has spent time working at the Johnson Space Centre in the US. He has been a consultant anaesthetist since 2010, but has kept pursuing his interests in extreme environments from space to altitude and depth. He has made many television documentaries about his field of interest and gave the 2015 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.

    Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 30.07.2017
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    Sheryl Sandberg

    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.

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  • 23.07.2017
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    Jayne-Anne Gadhia

    Kirsty Young's castaway is Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive of Virgin Money. She is currently the government's Women in Finance Champion. She worked for Fred Goodwin at RBS just prior to the financial crisis before returning to Virgin Money in 2007. A mother of one, she endured many miscarriages and has written about her experience of post-natal depression following her daughter's birth.

    An only child, she was brought up first in the Midlands, then in East Anglia. She was one of very few girls to attend a newly co-educational boys' school where she was bullied. Following a year spent working in an unemployment office she went to Royal Holloway College in London where she met her future husband, Ash, to whom she's been married for 33 years. Earlier this year she published her autobiography.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 16.07.2017
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    John McEnroe

    Kirsty Young's castaway is the tennis player and commentator, John McEnroe. He won three singles and five doubles Wimbledon titles, four singles and four doubles at the US Open and was ranked number one in the world for four consecutive years in the 1980s.

    John McEnroe grew up in New York and didn't pick up a tennis racquet until the age of eight, but his talent was quickly spotted and he began to compete in junior tournaments. In 1977, aged 18 and between high school and university, he qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals where he lost to Jimmy Connors. By the end of the tournament his on-court behaviour - shouting, haranguing umpires and abusing his racquet - earned him the nickname 'Superbrat'.

    He made his first Wimbledon final against Bjorn Borg in 1980. In one of the finest matches in history, despite winning a tiebreak 18-16 to win the fourth set, he lost the match. He beat Borg the following year to win his first Wimbledon singles title. 1984 was the best year in John's career: he won 82 out of 85 matches he played, but it was also the year when he was beaten at the French Open by Ivan Lendl, who replaced him as number one.

    John married the actress Tatum O'Neal in 1986. They divorced in the mid-1990s and he has been married to the singer Patty Smyth since 1997. Since retiring in 1992, in addition to his role as tennis commentator, he has been a coach and runs his own tennis academy. He still plays in tennis tournaments.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 09.07.2017
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    Sue Perkins

    Kirsty Young's castaway is the comedian and TV presenter Sue Perkins.

    She and her friend Mel Giedroyc first appeared as a comedy duo at the Edinburgh Fringe over 20 years ago and together they presented the first seven series of The Great British Bake Off.

    Born at the end of the 1960s, Sue grew up in Croydon, the eldest of three siblings. By her own description a "shy and awkward" child, she nonetheless made it to Cambridge University to study English. She and Mel met at a Footlights open mic gig soon after she'd arrived. Their first joint high-profile success was landing a new live daytime programme on Channel 4 called Light Lunch, which turned them into household names.

    Sue also formed a second presenting partnership, making historical food programmes with Giles Coren. When she was 38 she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour which left her unable to have children. Sue has been in a relationship with the TV presenter Anna Richardson since 2013.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 02.07.2017
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    Professor Carlo Rovelli

    Kirsty Young's castaway is the theoretical physicist, Professor Carlo Rovelli. His book 'Seven Brief Lessons on Physics' became one of the fastest-selling science titles of all time, catapulting him from the world of academia into the global spotlight. Committed to bridging the gap between science and art and making complex scientific issues comprehensible for the lay person, he is currently Professor of Physics at Aix-Marseille University.

    Born in Verona, and an only child, he was encouraged to learn, to be independent and dreamed of travelling through space. By the age of 12 his long-standing rebellious streak was visible and he would later interrupt his university career to travel. Now in his early sixties, his academic career has seen him work in Europe and America and among the scientific community he is best known as one of the founders of Loop Quantum Gravity theory.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 25.06.2017
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    Stella McCartney

    Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the fashion designer Stella McCartney.

    Born the middle child of Paul and Linda McCartney, Stella's early years were a paradox: she would either spend her days riding ponies, sharing one of two bedrooms with her sisters in a farmhouse, and generally mucking around in the countryside - or touring the world with her parents' band Wings and spending time in the company of stars such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop.

    Amid the tours and travelling, she believes her parents offered her a vital childhood gift: normality. Stella attended the local school and went on to win a place at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to study fashion design. Two years after a graduation show that made the headlines because the clothes were modelled by Stella's friends Kate Moss, Yasmin Le Bon and Naomi Campbell, she landed the job of Creative Director at the French fashion house Chloé. During her four years there, she transformed its fortunes.

    In 2001, she set up her own label in a joint venture with Gucci. Throughout her career, she has never used leather, fur, feathers or animal skins. She now operates 51 freestanding stores in locations including Manhattan, Mayfair, and Milan, and her collections are distributed through shops in over 70 countries.

    Her signature style is described as combining sharp tailoring - learned in Savile Row where she would spend her evenings whilst at Saint Martins - with a sexy femininity. She has also designed all the outfits for Team GB for the past two Olympics. She has four children with her husband, Alasdhair Willis.

    Stella has won numerous awards including the British Fashion Council's Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year as well as Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year at the British Fashion Awards. She received an OBE in 2013.

    Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 18.06.2017
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    Jed Mercurio

    Kirsty Young's castaway is Jed Mercurio. Creator of Line of Duty, and an award-winning TV writer, producer, director and novelist, he is one of the few British script-writers to work as an American-style show-runner. A former hospital doctor and RAF officer, he has been ranked among UK television's leading writers by TV industry magazine Broadcast.

    His Italian parents moved to the UK after the Second World War and he was brought up in Cannock in the Midlands. Keen on science as a child, with dreams of becoming an astronaut, he studied medicine at Birmingham University. While there, he applied for the RAF medical doctor programme and learned to fly.

    While he was working as a hospital doctor, he answered an advertisement in the British Medical Journal seeking advisors for a medical TV drama. Despite negligible writing experience, he went on to script the BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest. Its continuing success led him to leave medicine and embark on a successful career as a scriptwriter. His chief works for TV are the series Line of Duty, Bodies, The Grimleys and Cardiac Arrest. He's also written books: Bodies; Ascent; American Adulterer, and for children, The Penguin Expedition.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 11.06.2017
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    Rick Wakeman

    Rick Wakeman, musician and composer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs

    Producer: Paula McGinley.

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  • 04.06.2017
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    Sonia Friedman

    Kirsty Young's castaway is the theatre producer, Sonia Friedman.

    Acclaimed as the most influential producer in British theatre today, she has produced over 160 new shows. They include Funny Girl with Sheridan Smith, Jerusalem starring Mark Rylance, Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet, the record-breaking Book of Mormon and the musicals Legally Blonde, and Dreamgirls. Her productions both here and on Broadway have won numerous awards, including a record-breaking 14 Olivier Awards in 2014, and nine this year for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

    Brought up in a creative, if unconventional, household, she left school at 16. After a stage management course at Central School of Speech and Drama, she cut her teeth at the National Theatre, worked with Harold Pinter, Richard Eyre and Tom Stoppard and then co-founded Out of Joint, a leading touring theatre company, with Max Stafford-Clark. She was named Producer of the Year for the third year in a row at The Stage Awards, and this year she also claimed number one spot in The Stage 100, a chart of the most influential people in British theatre, overtaking Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 28.05.2017
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    Elif Shafak

    Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Turkish writer Elif Shafak.

    Elif Shafak has published ten novels and several volumes of non-fiction and her work is translated into 47 languages. She is the most widely read female novelist in Turkey today.

    Born in 1971, she was raised by a single working mother and also, for the first ten years of her life, by her grandmother in Ankara. Her mother's job as a diplomat led to a move to Madrid when Elif was ten years old - and so began a peripatetic life which has taken her to places as diverse as Jordan and Germany, the United States and finally to London where she has lived for the past seven years.

    Elif wrote her first novels in Turkish, but began writing in English shortly after the start of the new millennium. English, she says, has given her a new freedom to write about sensitive issues in Turkey. Her books draw on diverse cultures and reflect her interest in history, philosophy, spiritualism and Sufism. One commentator has said of her work: "Stepping into the writing of this Turkish-born author for the first time is like breaking through the back of a children's wardrobe and walking into a whole new multicultural world of lives and histories - and, above all, fabulous stories."

    She is a regular columnist both for English as well as Turkish papers and also writes lyrics for rock musicians.

    Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 21.05.2017
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    Demis Hassabis

    Kirsty Young's castaway is Dr Demis Hassabis. An artificial intelligence researcher and co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, he is also a neuroscientist, a computer games designer, an entrepreneur, and in his youth, a world-class chess player.

    Born in 1976, he was introduced to chess aged four and, by the age of twelve, was the world's second-highest ranked player for his age. With his winnings, he bought himself a PC and taught himself to code. After taking his A Levels two years early, before going to university he worked on one of the most successful computer games of the 1990s, Theme Park. He graduated from Cambridge with a double first, and returned to the computer games industry, founding his own company in his early twenties.

    His passion had long been artificial intelligence and he says everything he's done has been part of a long-term plan to "solve intelligence" and then use intelligence "to solve everything else". He gained a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience where he deliberately chose to study topics where AI had failed so far: memory and imagination. After stints at MIT and Harvard, he co-founded his company in 2010, which was then acquired by Google in January 2014. In March 2016 their computer programme, AlphaGo, beat a world champion Go player at the game having taught itself how to play through a combination of two techniques - deep learning and reinforcement learning.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 14.05.2017
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    Liz Lochhead

    Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer and poet Liz Lochhead.

    She was the Makar, the Scottish national poet, between 2011 and 2016.

    Liz was born in Motherwell, not far from Glasgow, in 1947. She was always drawing at school and so decided to study at the Glasgow School of Art, where she didn't enjoy the drawing, but did start writing.

    After winning a poetry competition, she started performing her poems at readings in Scotland. She published her first pamphlet of poetry, Memo for Spring, in 1972, after a publisher heard her at a reading.

    After her second volume of poetry was published in 1978 and she won the first Scottish/Canadian Writers' Exchange Fellowship which took her to Toronto for a year, she was able to give up her job as an art teacher and start writing full time.

    From the early 1980s, she started writing plays as well as poetry, and has also adapted classic Greek and French plays for the stage.

    She was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2015.

    Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 07.05.2017
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    Ed Sheeran

    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.

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  • 26.03.2017
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    Arundhati Roy

    Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer, Arundhati Roy. She won the Booker Prize for her first novel, The God Of Small Things, which has been translated into 40 languages and became the best-selling book ever by a non-expatriate Indian. After a gap of 20 years, her second novel will be published in June.

    Brought up in Kerala, her Syrian Christian mother left her marriage when her children were young and set up a small school where Arundhati and her brother were educated. Raised to be independent, aged 16, Arundhati left home to study architecture in Delhi before being introduced to the film world by her second husband. Since the publication of The God of Small Things in 1997, she has continued to write non-fiction, using her influence her to focus on tackling injustice. She has campaigned against India's nuclear programme, dam-building, globalisation, religious intolerance and the inequality of Indian society.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 19.03.2017
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    Amanda Levete

    Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the architect Amanda Levete. She won the Stirling prize in 1998 for the Media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground which she designed with then husband, the late Jan Kaplicky. Later this year the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will open her extension, featuring a new entrance, courtyard and gallery.

    Brought up in Richmond, the oldest of three children, she showed her independent spirit early on, and left school at 16. She discovered architecture while on a Foundation year at art school and was offered a place at the Architectural Association, even though her portfolio didn't feature a single drawing of a building.

    Since setting up her own practice in 2009, her creative endeavours have included the Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon, a retail and hotel complex in Bangkok, and the MPavilion Queen Victoria Gardens in Melbourne. In 2016 her practice won competitions to transform the Galleries Lafayette building in Paris and create a new mosque in Abu Dhabi. She has also designed furniture, stackable football pitches and set up a pop-up restaurant serving nothing but tinned fish.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 12.03.2017
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    Marian Keyes

    Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Marian Keyes.

    Her twelve novels to date have sold 35 million copies and are published in 33 languages. Some of her novels have been adapted for the screen. She has also published three volumes of journalism.

    Marian was born the eldest of five children in Ireland in 1963. While she was academically successful at school, she says she wasn't taught to think for herself, which left her ill prepared for university where she studied law.

    After completing her degree, but failing to get apprenticed to a law firm in Dublin, she moved to London. She spent her twenties working as a waitress, and began drinking heavily. She went into rehab for her alcoholism when she was 30.

    Her fortunes changed once she was sober: she sent some short stories she had written the previous year off to a publisher and had her debut novel published in 1995.

    Marian has described each of her books as "a comedy about something serious" and says they are a reflection of who she is: "I'm very bleak, really melancholic. But I've always used humour as a survival mechanism. I write for me and I need to feel hopeful about the human condition. So no way I'm going to write a downbeat ending. And it isn't entirely ludicrous to suggest that sometimes things might work out for the best."

    Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 05.03.2017
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    Jimmy Carr

    Kirsty Young's castaway is the comedian and television presenter Jimmy Carr.

    He is the son of Irish immigrant parents and grew up in Berkshire.

    Despite being dyslexic, he got good enough A levels to study at Cambridge University. After graduating with a degree in Political Science, and working for a major multinational company in London, Jimmy had what he calls an 'early midlife crisis', during which he lost his Catholic faith and was generally unhappy.

    He attended lots of therapy courses in an attempt to find out what would make him happier and eventually set out on the road to becoming a comedian.

    He quickly got a reputation for his fierce work ethic, heading up annually to the Edinburgh Fringe, touring with a new show virtually every year, and hosting many a Channel 4 panel show including 8 Out of 10 Cats and the Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

    He has also made a name for himself by becoming what he has called "the king of the inappropriate", drawing criticism for making jokes about sensitive subjects.

    Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • 26.02.2017
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    35:12
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    Dame Katherine Grainger

    Kirsty Young's castaway is the Olympian and rower, Dame Katherine Grainger. A six-time rowing World Champion across a variety of classes, her silver medal at Rio in 2016 made her the most successful female British Olympic athlete ever, having won medals in five consecutive games.

    Born in Glasgow in 1975, her parents were teachers. At school she earned a black belt in karate, and it wasn't until she went to Edinburgh University that her passion for rowing was truly ignited. Winning silver medals at the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympics, Katherine finally ceased to be the sport's eternal bridesmaid when, with her partner Anna Watkins, she won gold in the Double Sculls at the 2012 London Olympics. After two years away from the sport, Katherine returned in 2014, to win her fourth silver and fifth overall Olympic medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics with her new partner, Vicky Thornley.

    Alongside her sporting achievements, she gained an Honours degree in Law from Edinburgh, a Masters in Medical Law from Glasgow University and was awarded a PhD in Homicide Sentencing from King's College London in 2013. She was made the fourth Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University in 2015 and became a Dame in the 2017 New Year Honours.

    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • 19.02.2017
    36 MB
    38:11