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Desert Island Discs

300 EpisodesProduced by BBC Radio 4Website

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

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Helen Oxenbury

November 29th, 2020


Helen Oxenbury is an illustrator of children’s books whose work has featured in many very popular titles for younger readers including the …

Arsène Wenger, former football manager

November 22nd, 2020


Arsène Wenger was the manager of Arsenal FC for 22 years, becoming the longest-serving and most successful manager in the club’s history.

He was born …

Sir Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition

November 15th, 2020


Sir Keir Starmer is the leader of the Labour Party, and the leader of the opposition.

Named after Keir Hardie, a founding father of the Labour party, he was elected leader seven months ago in the wake of Labour’s heavy …

David Mitchell, novelist

November 13th, 2020


David Mitchell has published eight novels, two of which – number9dream and Cloud Atlas – have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

He has also translated two books on autism from Japanese, working with his Japanese …

Hilary McGrady, Director General of the National Trust

November 1st, 2020


Hilary McGrady is Director General of the National Trust.

She was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, in 1966, where her father was a builder while her …

Chris Boardman, cyclist

October 25th, 2020


Chris Boardman is an Olympic cyclist, businessman and the Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester.
Both his parents were keen competitive amateur cyclists and they backed Chris as he gradually became …

Professor Averil Mansfield, retired surgeon

October 18th, 2020


Averil Mansfield is a retired vascular surgeon and was the first female Professor of Surgery in the UK when she was appointed in 1993.

She was born in …

Baroness Floella Benjamin, DBE

October 15th, 2020


Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE is a Trinidadian-British broadcaster, writer and politician. She became a familiar face to millions of viewers through …

Samantha Morton, actor

October 4th, 2020


Samantha Morton is an actor and director. She has appeared in films directed by Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg, and is also known for her work on independent productions, often with serious themes such as prostitution …

Yusuf Cat Stevens, musician

September 27th, 2020


Yusuf Cat Stevens is a singer-songwriter who first enjoyed success more than 50 years ago.

He was born Steven Demetre Georgiou in July 1948. His …

Bernardine Evaristo, writer

September 20th, 2020


Bernardine Evaristo won the Booker Prize in 2019 for her novel, Girl, Woman, Other. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London.

Bernardine was born in May 1959, the fourth of eight children, to an …

Classic Desert Island Discs - Jack Charlton

September 13th, 2020


The ball rolled past the gap between him and Gordon Banks and into the back of the net. The Germans were one goal up.

Jack Charlton, Sue Lawley's …

Classic Desert Island Discs - Liz Smith

September 6th, 2020


Kirsty Young's castaway is the actress Liz Smith. Her story is a triumph of talent and perseverance over circumstance. Her mother died when she was tiny, her father walked out of her life and for many years she was …

Classic Desert Island Discs - Terry Jones

August 30th, 2020


Roy Plomley's castaway is the Monty Python comedian Terry Jones, in a programme first broadcast in 1983. Terry Jones died in January 2020, at the age of 77.

Classic Desert Island Discs - Wendy Cope

August 23rd, 2020


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs - Bryan Stevenson

August 16th, 2020


Kirsty Young's castaway is Bryan Stevenson.

An American lawyer, he is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, not-for-profit organisation working on death penalty cases, cases of …

Your Desert Island Discs

August 11th, 2020


Listeners choose the music that has been special to them during the weeks of lockdown. With Jane Moss, Hugh Mullally, Ailish Douglas, Professor …

Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate

August 10th, 2020


Maria Balshaw is the Director of Tate, overseeing four major art galleries: Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern and Tate St Ives.

Maria was born …

Steve Backshall, Explorer

August 2nd, 2020


Steve Backshall is an explorer, naturalist and broadcaster.

His BAFTA-winning programmes bring viewers of every generation closer to nature – from the children's series Deadly 60, featuring close encounters with the …

Sharon Horgan, writer, actor, producer

July 26th, 2020


Sharon Horgan is a writer, actor and producer best known for co-writing and co-starring in the Channel 4 series Catastrophe with US comedian Rob …

Annie Nightingale, DJ

July 19th, 2020


Annie Nightingale was BBC Radio 1’s first female presenter and is its longest-serving DJ, celebrating her 50th anniversary at the station this year.

Born and brought up in south west London, she fell in love with the …

Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO

July 12th, 2020


Jens Stoltenberg is the Secretary General of NATO and a former Prime Minister of Norway.

Although he was born into a political family in Norway, he …

Helen Fielding, author

July 5th, 2020


Helen Fielding, writer and journalist, is best known for creating Bridget Jones, who first appeared in a newspaper column in the Independent in 1995, …

Helen McCrory, actress

June 28th, 2020


Helen McCrory shares the eight tracks, book and luxury she would want to take with her if cast away to a desert island.

Helen McCrory OBE is one of …

Mark Johnston, racehorse trainer

June 21st, 2020


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, …

Joe Wicks, fitness trainer and author

June 14th, 2020


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 …

Martin Lewis, financial campaigner

June 7th, 2020


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 …

Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, former nurse

May 31st, 2020


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 …

Charles Hazlewood, conductor

May 24th, 2020


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 …

Sinead Burke, disability rights activist and teacher

May 17th, 2020


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 …

Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate

May 10th, 2020


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs - Lubaina Himid

May 3rd, 2020


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

Classic Desert Island Discs - John Cooper Clarke

April 26th, 2020


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

Classic Desert Island Discs - Albert & Michel Roux

April 19th, 2020


Michael Parkinson's castaways are the restaurateurs and chefs Albert and Michel Roux (broadcast in 1986). Michel died in March 2020 at the age of 78.

Classic Desert Island Discs - Jilly Cooper

April 12th, 2020


Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Jilly Cooper, best known for her best-selling series of romantic novels The Rutshire Chronicles.

Brian Cox, actor

March 29th, 2020


Brian Cox CBE is a Scottish actor whose career spans almost 60 years, from his early days sweeping the stage at his local theatre in Dundee to his …

Dame Helena Morrissey, financier and campaigner

March 22nd, 2020


Dame Helena Morrissey is a former City fund manager and chief executive of a major investment company, who has also campaigned to boost the number of …

Daniel Radcliffe, actor

March 15th, 2020


Daniel Radcliffe reached a global audience in the title role of the hugely successful Harry Potter films. He has also appeared on Broadway and in the …

Chris Riddell, illustrator, author and political cartoonist

March 8th, 2020


Chris Riddell is an illustrator, author of children’s books and a political cartoonist. From 2015 to 2017, he was the Children’s Laureate, and he has …

Dorothy Byrne, journalist

March 1st, 2020


Dorothy Byrne is the head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, and has worked in journalism for more than four decades.

In 2018 she received the Outstanding Contribution Award at Royal Television Society Journalism …

Melanie C

February 23rd, 2020


Melanie Chisholm - known as Melanie C - is a singer and songwriter who found global fame as one fifth of the Spice Girls, the most commercially …

Ian Wright, former footballer and broadcaster

February 16th, 2020


Ian Wright is a former professional footballer and now a football pundit on TV and radio. He began his career at Crystal Palace before moving to Arsenal where he became their highest goal scorer of all time, a record …

Zoe Ball, broadcaster

February 9th, 2020


Zoe Ball is a radio and television presenter. She became the first woman to present the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 1997, and then the first woman to present the Radio 2 Breakfast Show in 2019.

Zoe grew up in …

Sonita Alleyne, Master of Jesus College, Cambridge

February 2nd, 2020


Sonita Alleyne is the Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, the first woman to hold the post and - more significantly - the first black master of any …

Anne Enright, writer

January 26th, 2020


Anne Enright won the Booker Prize for her fourth novel, The Gathering, in 2007, and was appointed the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction in 2015. …

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

January 19th, 2020


Dame Sue Campbell is the Director of Women’s Football at the Football Association. The women’s game has become increasingly popular recently and …

Michael Lewis, writer

January 12th, 2020


Michael Lewis is a best-selling non-fiction writer and journalist. He initially worked for an investment bank, and his experiences of Wall Street excess in the 1980s informed his acclaimed first book, Liar’s Poker. …

Rupert Everett, actor

January 9th, 2020


Rupert Everett is an actor, writer and director whose breakthrough came in 1981 when he was cast as a gay schoolboy in Another Country, Julian …

Stephen Merchant, writer, comedian and actor

December 22nd, 2019


Stephen Merchant first came to fame with the TV sitcom The Office, which he co-wrote and co-directed with Ricky Gervais. He continued to work with Gervais on the series Extras, Life is Short and An Idiot Abroad. His …

Heidi Thomas, screenwriter

December 15th, 2019


Heidi Thomas is a screenwriter and playwright best known for Call the Midwife. The BBC TV series, which began in 2012, was originally a six part adaptation of a trilogy of memoirs by Jennifer Worth, recalling her …

Professor Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience

December 8th, 2019


Professor Russell Foster is head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford, professor of circadian neuroscience …

Asif Kapadia, film director

December 1st, 2019


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

Born …

Isabella Tree, writer and conservationist

November 24th, 2019


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

Stephen Graham, actor

November 17th, 2019


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

Lauren Laverne picks some of her favourite episodes

November 13th, 2019


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

Kimberley Motley, lawyer

November 10th, 2019


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

Born in 1975 to an African-American father and a North Korean mother, she grew up in a poor neighbourhood in Milwaukee, …

Russell T Davies, screenwriter

November 3rd, 2019


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 …

Wendell Pierce, actor

October 27th, 2019


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 …

Dame Glenys Stacey, former Chief Inspector of Probation

October 20th, 2019


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 …

Baroness Arminka Helić

October 14th, 2019


Baroness Arminka Helić is credited with persuading William Hague, the former foreign secretary, and the actor and director Angelina Jolie to launch …

Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer & lyricist

October 6th, 2019


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 …

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, firefighter

September 29th, 2019


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 …

Thom Yorke, musician

September 22nd, 2019


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Lemn Sissay

September 15th, 2019


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Judith Kerr

September 8th, 2019


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

A writer and illustrator known to generations of children both for …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Daniel Kahneman

September 1st, 2019


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

Widely acknowledged as one of the world's most influential living …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Professor Monica Grady

August 25th, 2019


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

Classic Desert Island Discs: Freddie Flintoff

August 18th, 2019


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 …

Jo Fairley, businesswoman

August 11th, 2019


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

Sir Tim Waterstone, businessman

August 4th, 2019


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 …

Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer, England

July 28th, 2019


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 …

John Cooper Clarke, poet

July 21st, 2019


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 …

Marcus Wareing, chef

July 14th, 2019


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 …

Sue Biggs, DG Royal Horticultural Society

July 7th, 2019


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 …

Jared Diamond, academic and author

June 30th, 2019


Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, although his interests and expertise range far wider, from …

Emily Eavis, festival organiser

June 23rd, 2019


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 …

Nitin Sawhney, musician, producer, composer

June 16th, 2019


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 …

Professor Monica McWilliams, social scientist

June 9th, 2019


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

In 1996, she was the co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s …

Lubaina Himid, artist

June 2nd, 2019


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 …

Derren Brown, illusionist

May 26th, 2019


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.


Pat McGrath, makeup artist

May 19th, 2019


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 …

Louis Theroux

May 12th, 2019


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…

Classic Desert Island Discs: Tracey Emin

May 5th, 2019


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

April 28th, 2019


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Mary Berry

April 21st, 2019


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Ade Adepitan

April 14th, 2019


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Ricky Gervais

April 7th, 2019


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, …

Martin Freeman, actor

March 31st, 2019


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 …

Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK

March 24th, 2019


Lauren Laverne’s castaway this week is Jacqueline de Rojas, the President of techUK, the body that represents 900 companies in the technology sector. …

Marlon James, writer

March 17th, 2019


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 …

Dame Esther Rantzen, broadcaster and campaigner

March 10th, 2019


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 …

Trevor Sorbie, hairdresser

March 3rd, 2019


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 …

Margaret MacMillan, historian

February 24th, 2019


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 …

Ann Cleeves, writer

February 17th, 2019


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 …

Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police

February 10th, 2019


Cressida Dick is Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

She was born in 1960, the youngest child of two university professors. Her parents divorced …

Bob Mortimer, comedian

February 3rd, 2019


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 …

Wendy Cope, poet

January 27th, 2019


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 …

James Rebanks, Shepherd and Writer

January 20th, 2019


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 …

Ruth Jones, actor and writer

January 13th, 2019


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 …

Jeremy Deller, artist.

January 6th, 2019


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 …

Alan Carr, comedian

December 23rd, 2018


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 - …

Hella Pick, journalist

December 19th, 2018


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 …

Mariana Mazzucato, economist

December 16th, 2018


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 …

Gary Barlow, singer-songwriter

December 9th, 2018


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 …

Tom Kerridge, chef

December 2nd, 2018


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 …

Kate Atkinson, novelist

November 25th, 2018


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 …

Tracey Thorn, musican and writer

November 18th, 2018


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 …

Vanley Burke, photographer

November 4th, 2018


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 …

Jacqueline Gold

October 28th, 2018


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 …

Venki Ramakrishnan

October 21st, 2018


Venki Ramakrishnan is a Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist.

He is most renowned for his research into the atomic structure of the ribosome - a …

Nile Rodgers

October 14th, 2018


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 …

Thea Musgrave

October 7th, 2018


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 …

Tom Daley

September 30th, 2018


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 …

Henry Marsh

September 23rd, 2018


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 …

Danielle de Niese

September 16th, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Malorie Blackman

September 9th, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Dame Cicely Saunders

September 2nd, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Cilla Black

August 26th, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Brian Redhead

August 19th, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Sir Michael Tippett

August 12th, 2018


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 …

Pam Ayres

August 5th, 2018


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 …

Marianne Elliott

July 29th, 2018


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 …

Baroness Newlove

July 22nd, 2018


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 …

Billie Jean King

July 15th, 2018


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 …

Philip Treacy

July 8th, 2018


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 …

Guy Singh-Watson

July 1st, 2018


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 …

Martina Cole

June 24th, 2018


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 …

John Motson

June 17th, 2018


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 …

Professor Carlos Frenk

June 10th, 2018


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 …

Gillian Reynolds

June 3rd, 2018


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 …

David Baddiel

May 27th, 2018


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 …

Dr Sue Black

May 20th, 2018


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, …

Sir Peter Lampl

May 13th, 2018


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 …

Abi Morgan

May 6th, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Sue Townsend

April 29th, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Annie Lennox

April 22nd, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Stephen Hawking

April 15th, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Victoria Wood

April 8th, 2018


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 …

Classic Desert Island Discs: Hugh Masekela

April 1st, 2018


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 …

Anne-Marie Duff

March 25th, 2018


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 …

David Byrne

March 18th, 2018


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 …

John Gray

March 11th, 2018


John Gray is a philosopher. His academic career included professorships at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, and visiting …

Matt Smith

March 4th, 2018


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 …

Dame Minouche Shafik

February 25th, 2018


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 …

Christopher Nolan

February 18th, 2018


Christopher Nolan is best known for reviving the Batman film franchise and for directing the blockbusters Inception and Dunkirk. His films have taken …

Chi-chi Nwanoku

February 11th, 2018


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 …

Jack Whitehall

February 4th, 2018


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 …

Garry Kasparov

January 28th, 2018


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 …

Christina Lamb

January 22nd, 2018


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 …

Angela Hartnett

January 14th, 2018


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 …

Charlie Brooker

January 7th, 2018


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 …

75 Years of Desert Island Discs

December 31st, 2017


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, …

Bruno Tonioli

December 24th, 2017


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, …

Christine McVie

December 17th, 2017


Christine McVie enjoyed huge success with Fleetwood Mac, penning many of their signature songs including You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy, Little Lies, …

Kelsey Grammer

December 10th, 2017


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 …

Tim Martin

December 3rd, 2017


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. …

Naomi Klein

November 26th, 2017


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 …

Micky Flanagan

November 19th, 2017


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 …

Anna Pavord

November 12th, 2017


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

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Professor Phil Scraton

November 5th, 2017


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 …

Kay Mellor

October 29th, 2017


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 …

Edna Adan Ismail

October 22nd, 2017


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 …

Jane Gardam

October 15th, 2017


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 …

Sir James MacMillan

October 8th, 2017


Sir James MacMillan is a Scottish composer and conductor. He's one of Britain's most successful living classical composers, with his percussion …

Siddhartha Mukherjee

October 1st, 2017


Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer specialist. His biography of the disease, The Emperor of All Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. A …

Professor Dame Jane Francis

September 24th, 2017


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

She is no stranger to surviving in extreme conditions, because for much …

Paul Greengrass

September 17th, 2017


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 …

Dr Kevin Fong

August 6th, 2017


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 …

Sheryl Sandberg

July 30th, 2017


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 …

Jayne-Anne Gadhia

July 23rd, 2017


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 …

John McEnroe

July 16th, 2017


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 …

Sue Perkins

July 9th, 2017


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 …

Professor Carlo Rovelli

July 2nd, 2017


Kirsty Young's castaway is the theoretical physicist, Professor Carlo Rovelli. His book 'Seven Brief Lessons on Physics' became one of the …

Stella McCartney

June 25th, 2017


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 …

Jed Mercurio

June 18th, 2017


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 …

Rick Wakeman

June 11th, 2017


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

Producer: Paula McGinley.

Sonia Friedman

June 4th, 2017


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, …

Elif Shafak

May 28th, 2017


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 …

Demis Hassabis

May 21st, 2017


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 …

Liz Lochhead

May 14th, 2017


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 …

Ed Sheeran

May 7th, 2017


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 …

Arundhati Roy

March 26th, 2017


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 …

Amanda Levete

March 19th, 2017


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 …

Marian Keyes

March 12th, 2017


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 …

Jimmy Carr

March 5th, 2017


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 …

Dame Katherine Grainger

February 26th, 2017


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 …

Sir Antony Beevor

February 19th, 2017


Kirsty Young's castaway is military historian, Sir Antony Beevor. His books about some of the key battles of the Second World War are best-sellers …

Clive James

February 16th, 2017


Roy Plomley's castaway is broadcaster and writer Clive James.

Favourite track: Baby Love by Diana Ross and The Supremes
Book: Book about how to build a plane out of palm fronds and coconut fibre by Willy Messerschmitt

June Brown

February 12th, 2017


June Brown is best known today for her role as the long-suffering chain-smoking Dot Cotton (now Dot Branning) in the BBC TV soap EastEnders. She …

Nigel Owens

February 5th, 2017


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the rugby union referee Nigel Owens.

His steely authority and quick wit on the field have won him worldwide praise - he's widely regarded as one of the best referees in the business …

David Beckham

January 29th, 2017


David Beckham is Kirsty Young's guest as Desert Island Discs celebrates its 75th Anniversary.

As a professional footballer he's the only Englishman to win the league titles in England, Spain, the US and France. He spent …

Desert Island Discs at 75

January 28th, 2017


Kirsty Young celebrates 75 years of Desert Island Discs with some of the wonderful voices in the archive and chooses some of her favourite interviews …

Caitlin Moran

January 22nd, 2017


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Caitlin Moran.

A columnist for The Times newspaper for 25 years, she's published five books and …

Wayne McGregor

January 15th, 2017


Kirsty Young's castaway is the choreographer Wayne McGregor.

Despite his background in contemporary dance, he has been resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet - the first from outside the company - for the past ten …

Pinky Lilani

January 8th, 2017


Pinky Lilani, who was awarded a CBE in 2015 for services to women in business, is the founder of the annual Asian Women of Achievement Awards and the Women of the Future Awards. She also runs her own company, which uses …

Sir Kenneth Grange

January 1st, 2017


Sir Kenneth Grange is a designer. He's been designing elements of our everyday lives for the past six decades. Born in London in 1929, he went to …

Gareth Malone

December 25th, 2016


Gareth Malone is a choirmaster who has coaxed and cajoled people from nervous adults to reluctant teenagers to open their mouths and sing for the …

Bruce Springsteen

December 18th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Bruce Springsteen.

His career has brought him 20 Grammys, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award and his albums sell …

Sir Philip Craven

December 14th, 2016


Sir Philip Craven is the President of the International Paralympic Committee and a former wheelchair basketball athlete.

Craven represented Great Britain in wheelchair basketball at five editions of the Paralympic Games, …

Davina McCall

December 11th, 2016


Davina McCall is an English television presenter. She began her career on MTV before moving to Channel 4 with the cult hit Streetmate.

She was the …

Emma Bridgewater

November 27th, 2016


Emma Bridgewater is a British ceramic designer and businesswoman. She set up her pottery business in 1985 in Stoke-on-Trent, when many other manufacturers in the city were either closing down or going overseas. Her …

Nicola Adams

November 20th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is Nicola Adams. She made history when she won the first ever Olympic gold medal in women's boxing at London 2012, retaining …

Yotam Ottolenghi

November 18th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the cookery writer and restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi. His food mixes the flavours of the Middle East and the Mediterranean …

Ali Smith

November 6th, 2016


Ali Smith is a Scottish writer. Born in Inverness in 1962, the youngest of five children by seven years, she says, "I grew up completely alone but with all the comforts of knowing I had a cushioning family structure …

Michael Bublé

November 1st, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the singer, Michael Bublé. Born in Burnaby, British Columbia, as a young boy he spent hours listening to his grandfather's …

Jackie Kay

October 23rd, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the poet and writer Jackie Kay. Born in Edinburgh in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, she was adopted as a baby by a white Scottish couple, Helen and John Kay, and grew up in …

Dr Robert Langer

October 16th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the scientist Dr Robert Langer. Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is the most cited …

Stephen Hough

October 9th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the concert pianist and composer Stephen Hough.

He discovered he liked playing the piano when he went to visit his aunt's …

Christiane Amanpour

October 2nd, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the journalist and broadcaster Christiane Amanpour. Her career as a reporter was forged in some of the world's most hostile environments from Bosnia to Rwanda and Iraq to Israel. From the …

Joyce DiDonato

September 25th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Winner of two Grammy Awards, she is best known for her interpretations of Handel, Mozart …

Nadiya Hussain

August 14th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the baker and winner of The Great British Bake Off in 2015, Nadiya Hussain.

One of six children born to Bangladeshi parents in Luton, it was her father - a restaurateur - who encouraged her to …

Michael Heath

August 7th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the cartoonist Michael Heath.

He's been working for newspapers and magazines for sixty years and sold his first drawing to …

Jilly Cooper

July 31st, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Jilly Cooper.

Her long writing career spans newspaper columns for the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday, …

Professor Dame Ann Dowling

July 24th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the engineer and international expert on aircraft noise reduction, Professor Dame Ann Dowling.

The first female president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, one of her passions is …

Levi Roots

July 17th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the entrepreneur, Levi Roots.

His business success began following an appearance on BBC Two's Dragon's Den in 2007. With …

Nicole Farhi

July 10th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the designer and sculptor Nicole Farhi.

Born into a Turkish family in France, Nicole's interest in fashion was present from …

Matthew Barzun

July 3rd, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Matthew Barzun.

Born in New York City as the second of four children to Roger Barzun, a lawyer, and his wife Serita Winthrop, he was brought up in the …

Sara Khan

June 26th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is Sara Khan.

A British Muslim human rights activist, she's the director of Inspire, a counter-extremism and women's rights organisation which she co-founded in 2009.

Born in Bradford in 1980 to …

Barrie Rutter

June 19th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor and theatre director Barrie Rutter.

He is the founder and artistic director of the touring theatre company Northern Broadsides.

There was nothing in his background to suggest he'd …

Warwick Davis

June 12th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor Warwick Davis.

His career began thanks to his grandmother who heard a radio advert calling for short people to be in the latest of George Lucas's Star Wars films.
He played his first …

David Nott

June 5th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the surgeon, David Nott.

He works across three London hospitals performing general, vascular, trauma & reconstructive …

Professor Louise Richardson

May 31st, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the political scientist and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University Professor Louise Richardson.

She was born in Ireland, is …

Berry Gordy

May 22nd, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the producer Berry Gordy.

He founded the Motown record label and his musical empire made worldwide stars of Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson 5 and …

Inga Beale

May 15th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the business woman, Inga Beale.

She has been the CEO of Lloyd's of London since January 2014 and was the first …

Tom Hanks

May 8th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is Tom Hanks.

From 'Big' to 'Sleepless in Seattle', 'Captain Phillips' to 'Apollo 13', his long and distinguished film-making …

John Timpson

March 27th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the businessman, John Timpson.

He is chairman of his eponymous high street retailers and the business is in his blood: started by his great-grandfather in 1865 it is now run by one of his sons.

Gloria Steinem

March 20th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer, feminist & activist, Gloria Steinem.

At the forefront of the second wave of feminism, she came to prominence after publishing an article entitled "After Black Power, Women's …

Yinka Shonibare

March 13th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the artist Yinka Shonibare MBE.

His work has populated museums around the globe, with a vivid, subversive and often …

Dr Dame Sue Ion

March 6th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the engineer and nuclear scientist Dr Dame Sue Ion.

The first woman to be awarded the highly prestigious President's Medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering, she has worked her way to the …

Hugh Bonneville

February 28th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is Hugh Bonneville.

Known around the world for his portrayal of Lord Grantham in ITV's hugely popular Downton Abbey, he made …

Dame Zaha Hadid

February 21st, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the architect, Dame Zaha Hadid.

The first woman to be awarded architecture's highest honour, the Pritzker Prize, she designed the Aquatic Centre for London 2012, Glasgow's Riverside Museum and …

Ben Saunders

February 14th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the polar adventurer Ben Saunders. In his own words he "specialises in dragging heavy things around cold places".

He's one …

Professor Dame Carol Black

February 7th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is Professor Dame Carol Black.

She is Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, and is a special adviser to the Department of …

Bill Gates

February 4th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is Bill Gates.

He sat at his first computer while still at school in Seattle, wrote his first computer programme aged just 13 …

Sigrid Rausing

January 24th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the philanthropist and publisher Sigrid Rausing.

Founder of one of the UK's largest philanthropic foundations, her trust has given away around £230m to human rights causes since it began.

Sir Anthony Seldon

January 17th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the educationalist and writer, Sir Anthony Seldon.

Now Vice-Chancellor of Buckingham University, he was the Master of …

Alex Crawford

January 10th, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the Sky TV news correspondent Alex Crawford.

She's won the Royal Television Society's Journalist of the Year award an unprecedented four times - reporting from the world's worst war zones and …

Colm Toibin

January 3rd, 2016


Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Colm Toibin.

Best-known for his novels "Brooklyn" - now made into a film - "Nora Webster" and "The Master," he …

Patricia Greene

December 27th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Patricia Greene.

For nearly sixty years she has played the role of Jill in Radio 4's The Archers which celebrates …

Commander Chris Hadfield

December 20th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is Chris Hadfield.

He was the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station and took part in three space missions spending a total of 166 days orbiting the Earth. He has spent over …

Kylie Minogue

December 13th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is Kylie Minogue.

With seven number ones and ten million singles sold in the UK, she is the third-biggest selling female …

Atul Gawande

December 6th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the surgeon, author and former Reith lecturer, Atul Gawande.

A general and endocrine surgeon in Boston, he is professor in …

Sandi Toksvig

November 29th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Sandi Toksvig.

Host of BBC Radio 4's News Quiz until June 2015, she is also a writer and comedian and recently …

Gurinder Chadha

November 22nd, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is filmmaker Gurinder Chadha.

Writer, director and producer behind the films Bend it like Beckham, Bhaji on the Beach and Bride and Prejudice, she began her career as a BBC news reporter.

She was …

Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon

November 15th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, MSP.

Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the fifth First Minister of …

Lord Indarjit Singh

November 13th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the broadcaster and religious leader, Lord Indarjit Singh.
Creator of The Sikh Messenger newspaper and co-founder of the Inter Faith Network he also has the distinction of being the first …

Marjorie Wallace

November 1st, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the mental health campaigner and Chief Executive of SANE, Marjorie Wallace.

After leaving University College London with a …

Keith Richards

October 25th, 2015


Keith Richards, member of the Rolling Stones, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Keith was born in Dartford and grew up as an …

Professor Sue Black

October 18th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is Professor Sue Black.

She is Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee, founder and past …

Lemn Sissay

October 14th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Lemn Sissay.

As a poet, writer and playwright, much of his work tells the story of his search for his birth parents. Born to a young Ethiopian woman who wanted him temporarily …

Alison Balsom

October 4th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the musician, Alison Balsom.

Widely considered the finest classical trumpet player of her generation, she's performed in all the great concert halls of the world, winning a huge …

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran

September 27th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaways this week are the comedy writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran.
They've been at the rock-face, mining for laughs, for over 40 years and they've given us plenty of gems ... amongst them …

Dame Judi Dench

September 20th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dame Judi Dench.

Born into a family with dramatic leanings, she followed one of her older brothers, Jeffery, to …

Dr Bill Frankland

August 9th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dr Bill Frankland.

Frequently referred to as the "grandfather of allergy", his achievements include the …

Ruth Rogers

August 2nd, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the chef and restaurateur, Ruth Rogers.

Born in America, she has become one of the UK's most celebrated cooks. Despite not being a trained chef, she set up The River Café with her business …

Professor Monica Grady

July 26th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University.

Well-known in scientific circles, at NASA and the European Space Agency, she came to the attention of the general …

Noel Gallagher

July 19th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the musician, Noel Gallagher.

He was the principal songwriter of the band Oasis - his younger brother, Liam was the lead singer. Born to Irish parents, as a child he spent his summers …

Imtiaz Dharker

July 12th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the poet and artist, Imtiaz Dharker.

Winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for her work, her life seems a perfect …

Freddie Flintoff

July 5th, 2015


Kirsty's castaway this week is the former England cricketer Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff.

One of the best players of his generation, he was part of the England team that won the Ashes in 2005, a year that marked his …

Harry Rabinowitz

June 28th, 2015


Kirsty's castaway this week is the conductor and composer Harry Rabinowitz.

His list of credits and collaborations read like a Who's Who of 20th …

Stephen Fry

June 24th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Stephen Fry.

Comedian, actor, writer, director, presenter & award-ceremony host - his list of accomplishments is long, varied and impressive. His younger years were troubled and …

Rebecca Adlington

June 14th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Rebecca Adlington - Britain's most successful female swimmer.

A multiple medal winner and record breaker she's …

Lisa Jardine

June 10th, 2015


Professor Lisa Jardine, academic, biographer and public thinker, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Historian, biographer, public thinker, mathematician - her proclivities are wide ranging and well …

Pamela Rose

May 31st, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is Pamela Rose.

Now aged 97, she was a Bletchley Girl who spent her war years working in total secrecy, painstakingly indexing …

Jimmy Wales

May 24th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the internet entrepreneur Jimmy Wales.

He is best known as the co-founder of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. He grew up in Huntsville, Alabama and was the eldest child of a grocery …

Helen Browning

May 17th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the farmer, and Chief Executive of the Soil Association, Helen Browning.

Born and brought up on the farm in Wiltshire she …

Sir Bradley Wiggins

May 10th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Winner of four Olympic gold medals, six track World Championship gold medals and the first …

Paul Hollywood

March 29th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Paul Hollywood.

One of the UK's leading artisan bakers, he's a judge, together with Mary Berry, on BBC One's the …

Pat Albeck

March 22nd, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the designer Pat Albeck.

Born in Hull, Pat went to art school there when she was 16. In 1950, she earned a place …

Robin Millar

March 15th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the record producer, Robin Millar.

One of the UK's most successful record producers with over 160 gold, silver …

Bryan Stevenson

March 8th, 2015


Kirsty Young's guest this week is Bryan Stevenson.

An American lawyer, he is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, not-for-profit organisation working on death penalty cases, …

Julia Samuel

March 1st, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the psychotherapist, Julia Samuel.

Counsellor for Paediatrics at London's St Mary's hospital, Paddington, she …

Jonas Kaufmann

February 22nd, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the tenor, Jonas Kaufmann.

Frequently referred to as one of the greatest singers of his generation, both his parents fled East Germany for Munich between the end of the war and the …

Mark Rylance

February 15th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actor, Mark Rylance.

Born in Kent and brought up in America where his father was a teacher, Mark played …

Dan Pearson

February 8th, 2015


Kirsty Young's guest this week is the garden designer, Dan Pearson.

His style is governed by a desire to create a sense of place and he is drawn to wild plants and gardens. Aged just five he discovered this passion, …

Professor Angie Hobbs

February 1st, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield - a role which has brought …

Professor Peter Piot

January 25th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway is the Director of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor Peter Piot.

As a microbiologist he is known for …

Julia Cleverdon

January 18th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the campaigner, Dame Julia Cleverdon.

As head of the charity, Business in the Community, she fine-tuned to …

Jo Malone

January 11th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the business woman, Jo Malone.

If her name automatically conjures the citrusy scents of lime, basil and mandarin or spicy notes of amber and lavender then you're doubtless one of the …

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

January 4th, 2015


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the scientist, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, who is best known for her work in the field of neuroscience and stroke research. She is now President and Vice-Chancellor of Manchester …

Ray Winstone

December 28th, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actor Ray Winstone.

Nil By Mouth, Sexy Beast, Vincent, The Sweeney - he's probably best known for totally authentic tough-guy, geezer-parts. But his work has more range and …

The Most Reverend Justin Welby

December 21st, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway for Christmas week is The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.

Ordained as a priest in 1993, 19 years later he was appointed to lead the Anglican communion of over 77 million …

Sarah Millican

December 14th, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the comedian, Sarah Millican.

Her every woman yet no-holds-barred style of comedy has brought her sell-out tours …

Julie Bentley

December 7th, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Chief Executive of the Guide Association, Julie Bentley - or, more accurately, Girlguiding.

The name change …

Damian Lewis

November 30th, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actor, Damian Lewis.

As part of the wave of British talent that's crashed onto America's shores in recent years his impact has made a deep impression on the creative landscape. …

Rt Hon Theresa May

November 23rd, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway is the Right Honourable Theresa May MP - the longest serving Home Secretary in fifty years.

For those who think her political …

John Agard

November 16th, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the poet John Agard.

His work is studied widely in British schools. He was the BBC's first poet in residence and …

Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown

November 14th, 2014


Kirsty Young's guest is former Royal Navy test pilot Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown - the programme's 3000th edition.

The Fleet Air Arm's most decorated pilot, his life reads like a handbook in beating the odds.

Landing on a …

Wendy Dagworthy

November 2nd, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the fashion designer, Professor Wendy Dagworthy.

During her time as Head of Fashion at both Central St Martins …

Roger Graef

October 26th, 2014


Kirsty Young's guest is filmmaker and criminologist, Roger Graef.

Pioneering in his chosen subjects and style, for the past fifty years he has shone a …

Debbie Wiseman

October 19th, 2014


Kirsty Young interviews the composer Debbie Wiseman.

Her work is wide ranging, but her talents are most often employed in crafting lyrical, melodic scores for film and TV. Her credits include Land Girls, Judge John Deed, …

Sir Roy Strong

October 12th, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the historian, gardener and diarist Sir Roy Strong.

He stormed the establishment in the 1960s - a proto-meritocrat, in possession of a sharp mind, fizzing ambition and a brown velvet …

Sally Wainwright

October 5th, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Sally Wainwright.

TV is her chosen medium and Last Tango In Halifax, Happy Valley or Scott & Bailey are watched by millions of viewers. Her ear for dialogue and talent …

Marin Alsop

September 28th, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the conductor, Marin Alsop.

Music Director of both The Baltimore Symphony and The Sao Paulo State Symphony …

Steve McQueen

September 21st, 2014


Kirsty Young's castaway is the artist and director Steve McQueen.

These days his talents are well recognized - his art has won The Turner Prize and his most recent movie, "12 Years A Slave" scooped an Academy Award, a …

Malcolm Gladwell

August 10th, 2014


The writer Malcolm Gladwell is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Always concise, frequently counterintuitive and unexpectedly …

Guy Garvey

August 3rd, 2014


Guy Garvey, musician and frontman of Elbow, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert island Discs.

Front man of the group "Elbow" his voice and lyrics have helped the band win pretty much every music prize going ... …

Dame Wendy Hall

July 27th, 2014


Fellow of both the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, Dame Wendy fought long and hard to prove that her type of web science was …

Doug Allan

July 20th, 2014


Doug Allan is Kirsty's castaway this week.
He's spent thirty-five years capturing unique footage of animals in some of the most remote and least …

Anne Reid

July 13th, 2014


Actress Anne Reid is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

For a long time the bedrock of Anne Reid's successful career seemed to be …

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