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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.


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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