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Desert Island Discs: Archive 2011-2015 Podcast Cover
Desert Island Discs: Archive 2011-2015 Podcast Profile

Desert Island Discs: Archive 2011-2015 Podcast

English, Social, 1 season, 209 episodes, 5 days, 5 hours, 31 minutes
Guests are invited to choose the eight records they would take to a desert island.
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Commander Chris Hadfield

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 14 hours doing two space walks. He flew his first eight day mission into space in 1995 during which he visited the Russian space station Mir. In 2001 he paid his first visit to the International Space Station to help install Canadarm2, a robot arm helping to build the station which was launched three years previously. In 2012 he began his final five month stay in space on board the ISS. It was on this mission that his videos of life in space - including a film of him singing David Bowie's Space Oddity and accompanying himself on guitar - led to him enjoying a huge following on social media. Chris was born in 1959 in Ontario, the second of five children: his father was a pilot and the family lived on a farm. He mapped out his future career aged nine when he watched Neil Armstrong become the first person to walk on the moon in 1969. In pursuit of his dream Chris first become an Air Cadet, then attended military college, becoming a fighter pilot and then a test pilot, as well as an aeronautical engineer. He finally achieved his ambition of becoming an astronaut in 1992. He went onto become the Chief of Robotics at the NASA Astronaut Office and Chief of International Space Station Operations at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Following his final space mission, Chris retired from the Canadian Space Agency in July 2013. Amongst the awards he's received are the military Meritorious Service Cross, NASA's Exceptional Service Medal and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/20/201535 minutes, 44 seconds
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Kylie Minogue

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 artist in Britain and has sold around 70 million records worldwide. Born in Melbourne in 1968, Kylie and her sister Dannii began their careers as child actors on Australian television. At 17, Kylie landed the role of Charlene Mitchell in the soap opera Neighbours and her on-screen wedding to Jason Donovan's character Scott Robinson was watched by twenty million people in the UK alone. Her recording career began after she was spotted singing at a charity event in 1987. Within months she had released a cover version of "Locomotion" which became the biggest-selling Australian single of the decade. Following the single's success, her first hit with record producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman was "I Should Be So Lucky": her debut album sold seven million copies. At the age of 21, a romance with INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence led to a change in her image. In 2000, inspired by 1970s disco and assisted by gold hot pants, her single "Spinning Around" became her first British number one for a decade. She also sang to an estimated global audience of 3.7 billion at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. In May 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer: following treatment she resumed the tour 18 months later. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/13/201535 minutes, 27 seconds
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Atul Gawande

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 both the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Department of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Born in Brooklyn, he is the son of two doctors who came to the US to study medicine. After graduating from Stanford and studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, he embarked on a brief political career, working for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign and on his health and social policy in the White House following his election. When Clinton's health policy reform floundered, Atul returned to Harvard to finish the medical degree he'd started after Oxford. During his surgical residency he began writing for the online magazine Slate and he's been writing for the New Yorker since 1998. His 2009 article "The Cost Conundrum" was cited by President Barack Obama during his attempt to get the healthcare reform legislation through Congress. Atul has published four books to date about the achievements, but also the limitations, of medicine. In 2014 he presented the BBC's Reith Lectures, delivering a series of four talks titled The Future of Medicine. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/6/201534 minutes, 56 seconds
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Sandi Toksvig

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 entered the world of politics, helping to found the Women's Equality Party. Her parents were both broadcasters: her mother worked as a studio manager and announcer before she married, her Danish father's job as a foreign correspondent took the family around the world. Sandi and her siblings spent much of their childhood in the United States and when she was "asked to leave" yet another American school, her parents sent her to boarding school in England. She soon decided to lose her strong American accent and went on to Cambridge, where she performed in the Footlights. In addition to writing, her most recent acting role was in Call the Midwife and she continues to appear regularly on TV and radio shows as a panelist: she is to start as the next host of QI, taking over from Stephen Fry. She's also Chancellor of Portsmouth University.
11/29/201535 minutes, 22 seconds
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Gurinder Chadha

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 born in Kenya to Sikh parents and grew up in Southall in West London. Her political awakening came in her teens in the 1970s against the backdrop of the National Front and race riots in the capital. The bands she listened to, including the Clash, the Jam and the Specials, were fixtures at the Rock Against Racism concerts which galvanised her desire to make a difference. Bend it Like Beckham, which launched the career of Keira Knightly, is now a hit musical on the West End stage. Her next film, Viceroy's House, tackles the Partition of India in 1947. She was awarded an OBE in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to the British Film Industry. Producer: Paula McGinley.
11/22/201532 minutes, 42 seconds
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Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon

Kirsty Young's castaway is the Right Honourable Nicola Sturgeon, MSP. Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the fifth First Minister of Scotland in the devolved era, she is the first woman to hold either post. The eldest of two daughters, she was brought up in Irvine and attended the local Dreghorn Primary School. A studious child, she was encouraged in her interest in current affairs by a teacher and joined the SNP aged 16. At 21, she was the youngest candidate in the 1992 General Election, contesting the safe Labour seat of Glasgow Shettleston. She learned a lot about electoral defeat in those first years, but after several unsuccessful attempts, she was elected to the Scottish Parliament as a list MSP for Glasgow in 1999. She served as the party's shadow minister for education, and later for health and for justice and was elected deputy leader of her party in 2004, standing on a joint ticket with Alex Salmond. When the SNP won the highest number of seats in the 2007 election, she was appointed deputy First Minister. She also took on responsibility for the SNP's independence referendum campaign. In November 2014, following the No vote in the Scottish independence referendum and the subsequent resignation of Alex Salmond, Sturgeon was elected leader of the SNP and became First Minister of Scotland. She's been awarded the Scottish Politician of the Year award three times and in 2015 was judged to be the Most Influential Woman in the UK by BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour. She is married to Peter Murrell, Chief Executive of the SNP. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/15/201534 minutes, 47 seconds
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Lord Indarjit Singh

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 member of the House of Lords to wear a turban. He was appointed as a crossbench life peer in 2011. He has contributed to Radio 4's Thought for the Day from a Sikh perspective for more than thirty years and arrived in Britain in 1933. He began his career as a mining engineer and in later life has been involved in inter-faith community work. In the New Year Honours 2009 he was awarded the CBE for services to inter-faith and community relations. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
11/13/201535 minutes, 11 seconds
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Marjorie Wallace

Kirsty Young's castaway is the mental health campaigner and Chief Executive of SANE, Marjorie Wallace. After leaving University College London with a psychology and philosophy degree, her first job in the media was working on The Frost Programme with David Frost. She went on to produce religious programmes and became a current affairs reporter and director for the BBC. She joined the Sunday Times Insight team as an investigative journalist and wrote a series of articles highlighting the financial and emotional plight of young Thalidomide victims. Her articles on mental illness - The Forgotten Illness - elicited a huge public response and in 1986 she founded the mental health charity SANE. She has received numerous awards for her journalism and books and has twice won the Campaigning Journalist of the Year award. In December 2008 she was awarded the CBE for services to mental health. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
11/1/201536 minutes, 5 seconds
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Keith Richards

Keith Richards, member of the Rolling Stones, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Keith was born in Dartford and grew up as an only child. He and Mick Jagger went to the same primary school, but then lost touch until meeting again at Dartford train station in 1961 and discovering they shared a taste in blues music. Keith picked up his love of the guitar from his grandfather and honed his skills whilst at art college. If one single, living person could be said to personify rock n' roll then it is surely him. He's been making music and causing havoc for over half a century and counting. His song writing, singing and guitar playing have helped to make The Rolling Stones a stratospherically successful group and his early and single minded dedication to the triumvirate pursuits of sex and drugs and rock and roll made him a counter-culture icon. No surprise then that as a boy he would go to sleep at night with his arm around his first guitar. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
10/25/201534 minutes, 40 seconds
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Professor Sue Black

Kirsty Young's castaway is Professor Sue Black. She is Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee, founder and past President of the British Association for Human Identification and heads the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification in Dundee. Brought up on the west coast of Scotland and in Inverness, she fell in love with biology at secondary school and read Human Anatomy at the University of Aberdeen. After graduation she worked at London's St Thomas' Hospital as an anatomist and police began to call on her to help identify bones. In 1999 she travelled to Kosovo, tasked with investigating the site of a mass shooting. She has worked in areas of conflict including Iraq and was part of the team helping to identify victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. She was awarded an OBE in 2001 for her services to forensic anthropology. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/18/201536 minutes, 50 seconds
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Lemn Sissay

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 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. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/14/201534 minutes, 52 seconds
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Alison Balsom

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 amount of fans and a string of awards for her ability to exquisitely convey the many voices of her chosen instrument. As a child she had dreams of being a part-time trumpet player, astronaut and jockey - she's only 36 so there's time yet for the other two; but whilst she is solely devoting her energies to her instrument her belief in the power of music seems endless. In between gigs, rehearsals, recordings and motherhood, she's found time to travel to Uganda and Liberia as patron of Brass for Africa, with the heartfelt conviction that she can transform the lives of street children by teaching them to play. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
10/4/201536 minutes, 1 second
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Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran

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 monologues in the '70s for Frankie Howerd, the era-defining character Alan B'Stard MP, star of The New Statesman, and now the successful revival of their long running and much loved sitcom "Birds of a Feather". Grammar school boys from North London they first met as ten year olds at a youth club, growing up to have 'real jobs' in the civil service and journalism, before finally embarking on the precarious business of making a living from putting words into other people' mouths. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
9/27/201535 minutes, 24 seconds
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Dame Judi Dench

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dame Judi Dench. Born into a family with dramatic leanings, she followed one of her older brothers, Jeffery, to drama school. Having abandoned ideas of becoming a set designer, she made her professional debut as Ophelia at the Old Vic in 1957. An illustrious stage career followed in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet in 1960, in Cabaret in 1968 and as Lady Macbeth for Trevor Nunn in 1976. On TV she found huge success in sitcoms - appearing with her husband, the late Michael Williams, in A Fine Romance and with Geoffrey Palmer in As Time Goes By. She received an Oscar nomination for her first big-screen part as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown; Shakespeare in Love won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress; Mrs Henderson Presents, Notes on a Scandal, Iris, and Philomena followed. She played the part of 'M' in the James Bond films seven times and is about to appear as Paulina in Sir Kenneth Branagh's production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. Married to Michael Williams for 30 years, their daughter, Finty, is also an actress. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
9/20/201538 minutes, 48 seconds
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Dr Bill Frankland

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dr Bill Frankland. Frequently referred to as the "grandfather of allergy", his achievements include the introduction of the pollen count to the British public and the prediction of increased levels of allergy to penicillin. Born in Cumbria in 1912, Dr Frankland turned 103 in March. He studied medicine at Oxford and worked at St Mary's hospital in Paddington, London, before war intervened. He signed up to the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), but spent over three of the six years he spent in the army as a prisoner of war in Singapore. After the war, he began work in the dermatology department at St Mary's, but quickly switched to allergy which became his passion. During the fifties he served as a registrar to Alexander Fleming who had discovered penicillin back in 1928. In 1954 he published a seminal research paper about a double-blind randomised trial proving that pre-season pollen injections greatly reduced the symptoms of hay fever sufferers. He has treated high profile patients including Saddam Hussein and given evidence in court - possibly the oldest expert witness to do so. He continues to work in a private practice and has remarked, "I really don't know what people do when they retire at 65.".
8/9/201538 minutes, 28 seconds
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Ruth Rogers

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 partner, the late Rose Gray, in 1987. The focus was on high quality, seasonal produce cooked the Italian way. Many of today's top chefs including Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Theo Randall, Sam Clark and Allegra McEvedy began their careers in their kitchen. The café was awarded a Michelin star in 1997. The youngest of three children, Ruth Rogers' parents were both immigrants and very political. In the late sixties, she left America and moved to London where she joined other Americans protesting against the Vietnam War. In 1969 she met the architect, Richard, now Lord, Rogers and they married in 1973. The couple moved to Paris when Richard Rogers and his partners won the contract to design the Pompidou Centre. There she learned the importance of seasonality: subsequent visits to Italy shifted her passion to Italian cooking. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
8/2/201536 minutes, 18 seconds
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Professor Monica Grady

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 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. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
7/26/201538 minutes, 32 seconds
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Noel Gallagher

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the musician, Noel Gallagher. He was the principal songwriter of the band Oasis - his younger brother, Liam was the lead singer. Born to Irish parents, as a child he spent his summers visiting his mother's family in rural County Mayo, in sharp contrast to the Manchester council estate where they lived. He taught himself to play the guitar and loved music: he was road manager for the Inspiral Carpets before joining Liam in Oasis. Their debut album in 1994 marked the beginning of the band's rise to fame as part of the Britpop movement. In 1996 they played in front of 250,000 fans over two consecutive nights at Knebworth and following the Labour landslide in 1997, Noel attended what became known as the Cool Britannia party held in Downing Street by Tony Blair. Oasis won six BRIT Awards and two Ivor Novello Awards before disbanding in August 2009. He's since formed his own band - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
7/19/201536 minutes, 20 seconds
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Imtiaz Dharker

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 reflection of the inter-relatedness of The Commonwealth. Born in Pakistan she was no more than a few months old when the family packed up their belongings and flew four thousand miles to start a new life - exchanging the blistering, dusty lanes of Lahore for the blustery, rain-slicked roads of Glasgow. Her father worked hard and, from scratch, built a big, successful business and a comfortable life for his children. But the immigrant fairytale came undone when his restless, well-educated, westernised daughter married in secret, running away to Bombay. Her parents disowned her and she would never see her mother again. Her work centres on themes of freedom, cultural intolerance, everyday life and gender politics.
7/12/201536 minutes, 17 seconds
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Freddie Flintoff

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 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. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
7/5/201535 minutes, 11 seconds
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Harry Rabinowitz

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 century music - Gracie Fields, Charles Aznavour, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Matt Monro & Barbra Streisand are only a handful of the stellar names who've benefitted from his talents. He's conducted a lot of movie scores too, including Chariots of Fire and The Talented Mr Ripley; indeed the late director Anthony Minghella described him as "the UK's best kept secret". It wasn't an illustrious start; his first job was playing sheet music for prospective customers in a Johannesburg department store - he was fired after 6 weeks. His first go at conducting was enhanced not by an elegant baton of the finest Maplewood but a rolled up old newspaper. He's almost a hundred years old now, still plays the piano every day and only retired from the concert platform six years ago at the age of 94. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
6/28/201536 minutes, 43 seconds
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Stephen Fry

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Stephen Fry. Comedian, actor, writer, director, presenter & award-ceremony host - his list of accomplishments is long, varied and impressive. His younger years were troubled and with a propensity for stealing and lying, he was expelled from two schools and imprisoned for credit card fraud. The turning point came when he knuckled down and won a scholarship to Queens' College, Cambridge, where he read English and joined the Cambridge Footlights, becoming lifelong friends with Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie. His career highlights include the fruits of his collaborative work with Laurie - from A Bit of Fry and Laurie to Jeeves and Wooster, he played Lord Melchett in Blackadder and Oscar Wilde on the big screen. He is a best-selling author of fiction and three volumes of autobiography, is the voice of the Harry Potter audio books and presents BBC Two's QI. He has also spoken of his experience of mental health issues and in 2006 he made a documentary exploring the effects of living with Bipolar - it won an Emmy Award. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/24/201539 minutes, 2 seconds
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Rebecca Adlington

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Rebecca Adlington - Britain's most successful female swimmer. A multiple medal winner and record breaker she's packed a lot in at a young age, first grabbing the nation's attention by winning two golds at the Beijing Olympics and breaking a world record into the bargain. When she got back home she was granted the Freedom of Mansfield and the Mayor gave her a pair of golden shoes. The Queen opted for the more conventional approach, bestowing an OBE. She went on to win two more medals at the London 2012 Olympics and when all the cheering and flag waving had died down and the games were over she announced her retirement. She's hardly been a slouch since - appearing regularly on TV, getting married and in recent months getting ready for the birth of her first child, a daughter, who was born Monday 8, June, 2015. She's only 26. One of three sisters, family life was dominated by early morning training session at the local pool and it wasn't long before little Becky was out of the shallow end and heading for the fast lane ... The Sherwood Baths are now renamed The Rebecca Adlington Swimming Centre. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
6/14/201535 minutes, 19 seconds
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Lisa Jardine

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 regarded with prize winning books on subjects as diverse as Sir Christopher Wren, Seventeenth century Holland, Erasmus and women in the time of Shakespeare. Her current day job is leading the Department of Renaissance Studies at University College London, she's also a prolific writer and broadcaster. If that all seems a little ivory tower for your tastes think again; as Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for many years she was at the sharp end of the complex conundrums and high emotion that surround the artificial creation of life, leading the world in developing the legal framework that governs IVF treatment. Her rigour and originality, then, are greatly admired and both seem to have been in evidence since the beginning - her schoolgirl contemporaries had pictures of Elvis by their beds. Lisa had other ideas, as a teenager she gazed lovingly at a photo of a brilliant mathematician. She says: "I only do things I love, and I love everything I do ..." Producer: Sarah Taylor.
6/10/201537 minutes, 45 seconds
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Pamela Rose

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 snippets of information that would prove vital to the the war effort. Alan Turing and his fellow cryptanalysts would eventually break the Enigma Code and it's said that this breakthrough shortened the war by two years. Born into a musical family, she first took to the stage at boarding school. Pamela's lifelong ambition to be an actress was interrupted by the war and the invitation to work at Bletchley. Despite finding the work in the indexing section of Hut 4 something of a disappointment at first, she and her fellow workers still managed to have fun and she met her husband Jim at a hop when he asked her to dance. They married after the war and it wasn't until nearly sixty years later and after Jim's death that she would finally achieve her dream of acting on the West End stage. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/31/201538 minutes, 40 seconds
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Jimmy Wales

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 store manager and his wife who ran a primary school where Jimmy and his siblings were educated. After acquiring a degree in finance and working as a trader in Chicago, his first serious foray into the online world was with the web portal Bomis, before branching out with a project called Nupedia, an online encyclopedia with entries written by scholars and published after undergoing peer review. Wikipedia launched in 2001 and now exists in 287 languages and is the 7th most accessed website in the world with over 20 billion page views per month. It can be edited by anyone though relies on a core of around 5,000 volunteers who are responsible for the majority of the content. It is Jimmy's aim to create "a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/24/201534 minutes, 36 seconds
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Helen Browning

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 runs today, she told her father she wanted to be a 'proper farmer' aged just 9. By the time she was 24 her father had passed the reins on to her and not long after, she made it entirely organic. Inspired by five of her great aunts who, after the First World War, began farming themselves, today she continues to run the family farm, her own meat business and the local pub. Awarded the OBE in 1998 for services to farming, she is chair of the Food Ethics Council, has served on the Curry Commission into the Future of Farming and Food and was appointed Chief Executive of the Soil Association in 2010. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/17/201535 minutes, 47 seconds
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Sir Bradley Wiggins

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 Briton to win the Tour de France, cycling is in his blood. His parents met through the sport - his Australian father was himself a professional, his British mother a keen follower. His father left the family when Bradley was still a toddler and it was his mum, Linda, who helped him pursue his dreams of being a champion cyclist. Inspired by Chris Boardman's success at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics by the age of 16 he'd won gold, silver and bronze at the Junior National Track Championships and was called up to the National Squad. He was Junior World Champion at 18. Knighted following his achievements in 2012, he's soon to attempt the world record for the furthest distance cycled in an hour and plans to return to the track in the Team Pursuit at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/10/201535 minutes, 2 seconds
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Paul Hollywood

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 Great British Bake Off. The programme enjoyed viewing figures of 15.6m for the 2014 final and has won two BAFTAS. Born and brought up in Wallasey in the Wirral, Paul studied sculpture at art school before joining his father's bakery business. He went on to work at the Chester Grosvenor, Cliveden and was head baker at The Dorchester. Following his success at some of the UK's top hotels, he travelled extensively through Cyprus, Egypt and Jordan discovering ancient techniques for baking bread. It was in Cyprus that he first appeared on camera. On his return to the UK he began his TV career co-presenting two series with the chef James Martin. Paul has judged five series of The Great British Bake Off and celebrity versions for Sport Relief and Comic Relief - all alongside Mary Berry. He has published several best-selling books on baking and is a regular contributor to food magazines and writes a column for The Daily Telegraph. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/29/201534 minutes, 39 seconds
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Pat Albeck

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 at The Royal College of Art to study textile design and moved to London. As Britain emerged from the austerity of the war years, Pat began her career designing bold and exciting fabrics for the fashionable dress design company of the time, Horrocks. In the 60 years that have followed, her designs have graced pottery, paper, furnishing fabrics as well as over 300 tea towels - a record which has brought her the unofficial title 'Queen of the Tea Towel'. Producer: Isabel Sargent.
3/22/201535 minutes, 44 seconds
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Robin Millar

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 and platinum discs, he has over forty-four number one records to his credit. His 1984 production of Sade's debut album, 'Diamond Life', was named one of the best ten albums of the last thirty years at the 2010 Brit Awards. He experienced problems with his eyesight from birth, especially in the dark, and had tunnel vision. Aged 16, a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa was confirmed and he was told that he would eventually lose his sight completely. On leaving school he studied law at Cambridge before becoming a music producer. The production of Sade's second album coincided with the loss of his remaining sight. In 2012 he underwent a retina implant which gave him some sight but the success was brief and later his body rejected it. He works with a number of charities, mentors young musicians and was given a CBE for services to music in 2010. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/15/201534 minutes, 46 seconds
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Bryan Stevenson

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, cases of children sentenced as adults, prison and sentencing reform, and issues of race and poverty. His great grandparents were slaves and he himself went to a segregated school in southern Delaware. Although from a poor African American background he made it to Harvard Law School. Since then he has secured relief for over a hundred prisoners sentenced to death. He has argued in front of the Supreme Court six times and won landmark rulings about the sentencing of children for both homicide and non-homicide offences. His TED talk from March 2012 has been viewed over two million times. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/8/201536 minutes, 34 seconds
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Julia Samuel

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the psychotherapist, Julia Samuel. Counsellor for Paediatrics at London's St Mary's hospital, Paddington, she works with parents whose children have died and children who've experienced loss themselves. She is a Vice President of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, an Honorary Fellow of Imperial College and Founder Patron of The Child Bereavement Trust - now Child Bereavement UK. One of five children, she was born into the banking line of the Guinness family. She describes her childhood as rather old-fashioned - her governess was an important figure in her life. As a young woman she worked in Paris and then set up her own interior decorating business. But it was her work with the charity, Birthright that lead to her finding her vocation as a counsellor. In the late 1980s she met and became close friends with Princess Diana who was both a supporter of the Child Bereavement Trust and godmother to her son. Today Julia Samuel is one of Prince George's godparents. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/1/201535 minutes, 48 seconds
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Jonas Kaufmann

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 Berlin wall being erected. Jonas was brought up singing in choirs, playing the piano and listening to a range of classical music. When he was seven, he was enthralled by seeing his first opera - Madam Butterfly. He studied Maths at university, but soon changed to music and quickly started getting professional singing work. Since then he has taken on many of the great roles for tenors, at opera houses around the world - Don Carlo, Don José (Carmen), Alfredo (La Traviata), and Cavaradossi (Tosca). He is also known as a singer of 'Lieder' & renowned not only for the beauty of his voice but for his musical range. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
2/22/201536 minutes, 34 seconds
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Mark Rylance

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actor, Mark Rylance. Born in Kent and brought up in America where his father was a teacher, Mark played Hamlet for the first time while he was still at school. Since then he has become particularly well known for his acclaimed and award-winning Shakespearean stage roles. He won an Olivier and a Tony award for his portrayal of Johnny 'Rooster' Byron in Jez Butterworth's 'Jerusalem' onstage in both Britain and the United States. He has also appeared in a number of film roles, was the first artistic director of The Globe Theatre - a post he held for a decade - and his portrayal of Thomas Cromwell in the BBC Television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall has now brought him to a wider audience. Producer: Isabel Sargent.
2/15/201537 minutes, 44 seconds
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Dan Pearson

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, while building roof gardens for his collection of trolls and spent the summer watching the plant and animal life in a pond created by his father. He gave up A' levels in favour of apprenticeships at RHS Wisley and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and then spent several years working abroad, studying plants in their natural environment. His first large-scale project was creating a garden for Frances Mossman, a colleague of his mother's, who asked him to design the garden at her Northamptonshire plot. He won more clients through word of mouth and set up his own garden design company in the late 1980s. His work has since taken him all over the world and he has designed five award-winning gardens for the Chelsea Flower Show. Amongst his current projects he is creating a design for London's proposed Garden Bridge. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
2/8/201535 minutes, 39 seconds
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Professor Angie Hobbs

Kirsty Young's castaway is Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield - a role which has brought her to the attention of a large audience. Brought up in Surrey, she was the youngest of three children. Her older sister died when Angie was just 11 years old. To begin with, she did not flourish at school, but went on to earn a place at Cambridge where she gained a first class degree in Classics and subsequently a doctorate. A career in academia has followed - after many years at the University of Warwick, she moved, in 2012, to the University of Sheffield. Producer: Isabel Sargent.
2/1/201535 minutes, 54 seconds
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Professor Peter Piot

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 his research into viruses and into the public health aspects of sexually transmitted diseases, and, more recently, on the politics of AIDS and global health. Born in Leuven in Belgium, he studied medicine and in 1976, as a young researcher at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, he was sent a blood sample of a Belgian nun living in what was then Zaire who had fallen ill with a mysterious disease. On investigation, Piot and his colleagues realised it was a virus they'd not seen before which they went on to identify as Ebola. He then travelled to Zaire to help quell the outbreak. Later, back in Antwerp, he developed an interest in sexually transmitted diseases and joined the World Health Organisation's Global Programme on HIV/AIDS in 1992. Appointed as Executive Director of the newly created Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in late 1994 his major successes were putting AIDS on the political agenda and achieving a reduction in the price of antiretroviral drugs. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
1/25/201536 minutes
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Julia Cleverdon

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 perfection the art of persuasion. A phone call from her and many of the big beasts of the business world - the "pinstripes" she calls them - stride from their boardrooms intent on giving something back to society. Her energies and endeavours have powered countless corporate social responsibility programmes. In a life dedicated to public service, she has charmed not only chief executives but apparently royalty too - HRH the Prince of Wales is a long time supporter and collaborator. She seems keenly aware that not everyone has her good fortune of a first class education and top drawer connections - when she's not harrying the blue chip brigade, she's inspiring young people from all sorts of backgrounds to follow her example and get involved in social action. She says, "one of the most important leadership roles is to grow people. It is very much like gardening. You tend them and apply fertiliser. But sometimes you have to prune them to make them grow stronger." Producer: Paula McGinley.
1/18/201535 minutes, 54 seconds
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Jo Malone

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 customers who flock into the eponymous stores to buy the products that have made her a household name. Aged nine, she would grind sandlewood and strain juniper at the kitchen table. 17 years later fashionable London flocked to her little salon in Chelsea to be massaged with oils and unguents. In the 1990s the brand went international and the fragrance made her fortune when she sold the business. If this all sounds like a fragrant little fairy tale, crisply wrapped in a signature black grosgrain bow, it isn't. Severely dyslexic she left school at 14. Her dad was a talented painter but a chronic gambler too, and home life was sometimes hand-to-mouth. Later, and at a time in her life when she should have been enjoying her success and her toddler son, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Finally fully recovered she decided to start again from scratch. She says, 'I love sharing my story, and I'm not frightened of people seeing the cracks as well as the strengths. I think the things that are sad and difficult are just as important.' Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
1/11/201534 minutes, 19 seconds
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Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

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 University. She claims that her decision to enrol at Queen Elizabeth College in London in the '70s was made not on the basis of their superior teaching on the function of living systems, but rather the institution's proximity to Kensington High Street. Anyway, she gained a first class degree and then bagged a PhD in just two years. Could it be that her interest in how we keep the human body alive and functioning began when, aged eight, she contracted primary tuberculosis and was so ill she spent 18 months at home? She says, "Like most academics my fate was sealed during my PhD, I fell in love with research and vowed I would do it until retirement. I was also sure that I would do my utmost to avoid any of those nasty administrative jobs." Producer: Christine Pawlowsky.
1/4/201537 minutes, 2 seconds
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Ray Winstone

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 nuance, encompassing roles as varied as Henry VIII, Magwich in Great Expectations and the lead in Beowulf. Beyond the screen the man himself almost seems to come from a bygone era, when a fellow worth his salt always wore a dapper three piece suit and was handy with his fists. In his youth as a boxer he won 80 of his 88 fights and it seemed for a while that a whiff of menace had followed him out of the ring and onto the streets. However he says, "I'm not like the geezers I play: loads of things scare me in everyday life but you have to hide a bit and put on a front. I cry at movies, I cry at scripts, I cried when West Ham got back into the Premiership - I'm even frightened of spiders." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/28/201433 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Most Reverend Justin Welby

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 people spread across 167 countries. Hardly a front runner when the job vacancy came up he said that it would be "a joke" and "perfectly absurd" if he were appointed. His faith has brought him high office but when he 'found God' at university, it gave him something a good deal more significant: a sense of much needed comfort after an often turbulent and uncertain childhood. Although his mother's side of the family provided stability, his father was an alcoholic and his childhood was punctuated by his parents' early divorce and significant money worries - one particular Christmas was spent hungrily staring out of the window as his father lay in bed all day. He says, "When the church is working it is the most mind-bogglingly, amazingly, extraordinarily beautiful community on earth. It heals, it transforms, it loves, and it changes society." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/21/201438 minutes, 57 seconds
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Sarah Millican

From Paul McCartney to Wham! Comedian Sarah Millican shares her castaway choices with Kirsty Young. Her every woman yet no-holds-barred style of comedy has brought her sell-out tours and several of her own highly successful TV series. Revelling in normality and drawing on the difficult, intimate and ofter extruciating moments of being human, she dares to say what most of us are thinking, only she's much funnier. A Geordie, born in South Shields, her dad was an engineer down the mines and her mum was a hairdresser. They encouraged their daughter in her storytelling and performing even though her childhood shyness meant she'd recite her poetry from behind the living room curtains. Later it was pain that first propelled her onto the stage when a broken early marriage provided the catalyst she needed to find the courage to confront the glaring judgement of the audience's gaze. Her rise was then rapid. Within four years she was awarded the Best Newcomer prize at the Edinburgh Fringe. She says, "People come along and think, 'oh she's being too rude'. They don't realise I'm just like this at home. People think I'm prim and proper at home but I'm not - I'm just me transplanted onto the stage". First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 December 2014.
12/14/201434 minutes, 58 seconds
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Julie Bentley

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Chief Executive of the Guide Association, Julie Bentley - or, more accurately, Girlguiding. The name change is surely a clue to the evolving nature of an organisation determined to be relevant and useful to girls in the 21st century. Indeed being relevant and useful is how Julie Bentley has spent her entire working life. From her early efforts at an HIV charity to running the Family Planning Association she says her passion lies with helping young people develop confidence and direction. Never a Brownie or Girl Guide herself, she was brought up in what she describes as "a happy working class family in Essex" and it took her a little while to find her own self assurance and sense of purpose. A painfully shy child, who was bullied at primary school, she later went on to become Head Girl, but left school with very few qualifications. In her 30s she used a bequest from her mother to fund her Master's degree. She says of the Girl Guides, "It is not about itchy brown uniforms and sewing and baking. It is a modern, contemporary, vibrant organisation." Producer: Christine Pawlowsky.
12/7/201433 minutes, 49 seconds
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Damian Lewis

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actor, Damian Lewis. As part of the wave of British talent that's crashed onto America's shores in recent years his impact has made a deep impression on the creative landscape. His role as Sergeant Brodie in Homeland saw him win both an Emmy and Golden Globe and along with Band of Brothers, The Forsyte Saga and a long list of other credits, he now ranks as one of our most well recognised and highly regarded performers. Things didn't always look so peachy: aged 11, and in the school production of Princess Ida, he forgot the entire third act and stood mute in front of a packed auditorium. Tellingly, rather than scuttling into the wings with shame he soldiered on and by 16 he knew performing was, more than anything, what he wanted to do. He says, "I am a person who is ambitious. I'm ambitious to get the very best from every moment and even if that's just taking my children to the zoo ... I want it to be the best it can be.".
11/30/201435 minutes, 25 seconds
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Rt Hon Theresa May

Kirsty Young's castaway is the Right Honourable Theresa May MP - the longest serving Home Secretary in fifty years. For those who think her political lineage seems directly descended from the Iron Lady, Theresa May's metal has certainly been stress-tested in the past few weeks. She's apologised twice in parliament for having failed to appoint a suitable head to lead the historical child abuse inquiry; a minister in her department resigned, claiming working with her had been like "walking through mud". Then there has been the controversy over the non-vote on the European Arrest Warrant and finally news this week that 1 in 5 crimes are unrecorded. Just as well that she has a reputation as a woman who knows her own mind and is willing to speak it. She famously said the Conservatives were perceived as the 'nasty party'. Her excoriating speech to the Police Federation dealt head on with long-term corruption and incompetence in their ranks and was received with stunned silence. So unflinching, resilient, driven and, if a recent poll is to be believed, a popular choice among Conservative voters to be the next Prime Minister. She has, so far, remained tight-lipped on any ambition to lead her party. She says, "I think you have to believe in what you're doing - that's key. If you do believe you are doing the right thing - that gives you resilience".
11/23/201438 minutes, 37 seconds
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John Agard

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 along with WH Auden and Philip Larkin, he's a recipient of The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Born in Guyana he arrived here in the mid-1970s already playing with words like some people play with musical notes. If his style is often satirical, his subjects provide wincing realism - examining the scars of slavery or the historical myopia of a shared past judged solely through European eyes. He says he believes that "the poet keeps us in touch with the vulnerable core of language that makes us what we are." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/16/201433 minutes, 57 seconds
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Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown

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 flight deck is acknowledged as one of the most difficult things a pilot can do. Eric Brown has held the world record for the most flight deck landings - 2,407 - for over 65 years. He was one of only two men on his ship, HMS Audacity, to survive a German U-boat bombing. In a long and remarkable life he has witnessed first-hand momentous events in world history, from the Berlin Olympics in 1936 to the liberation of the Belsen concentration camp. Flying, he believes, is in his blood. He originally climbed into the open cockpit of a Gloster Gauntlet as a child to sit on his father's knee. Thirty years later he would pilot Britain's first ever supersonic flight. He says: "It's an exhilarating world to live in. There's always that aura of risk - you come to value life in a slightly different way." Producer: Paula McGinley.
11/14/201436 minutes, 7 seconds
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Wendy Dagworthy

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 and The Royal College of Art she has taught students who've gone on to great success - Stella McCartney, Erdem and Antonio Berardi among them. Her skill lies partly in understanding the significance of a well cut pattern or a nicely turned seam, but also the warp and weft of a notoriously fickle industry. At just 23, she was the toast of the catwalks with her own label selling round the world and worn by the likes of Bryan Ferry, Boy George and Mick Jagger. Dubbed 'the high priestess of fashion', her creative talent, however, wasn't recession-proof and her business went under in the late 80's. Given that reinvention is the lifeblood of fashion it seems she was tailor made for a new direction; collecting her O.B.E. in 2011 for services to the fashion industry, she wore a Perspex hat designed by a former pupil. She says, "we want students to take risks - like we did when we were younger. There were no set rules, there was no one to follow - you just did it yourself." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/2/201433 minutes, 47 seconds
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Roger Graef

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 spotlight on hitherto hidden areas of society and influenced the entire genre of modern day documentary making. His films on key institutions like the Police have not just helped change attitudes but policy too. A New Yorker and Harvard graduate, he first came to Britain to study Shakespeare: his London debut as a theatre director was a Tennessee Williams' play. He soon realised that the drama and storylines of real life were where his heart and talents lay. He says, "What I want on my gravestone is 'Here Lies Roger Graef - he made a difference ...' and people are telling me that I have. But I don't think about it because there's so much left to do." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/26/201437 minutes, 32 seconds
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Debbie Wiseman

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, Haunted and Father Brown. Now a visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, her unlikely introduction to the piano came at the age of 8 when she found a bashed up old instrument sitting in the corner of a hotel dining room. Producer: Isabel Sargent.
10/19/201437 minutes, 31 seconds
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Sir Roy Strong

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 frock coat. An avowedly unhappy and clever child he turned first to history and then art for stimulation and solace, setting down a template for a working life that would lead him to be the youngest ever director of the National Portrait Gallery and, later, to run the The Victoria and Albert Museum. Such early success left him with a fundamental problem - having fulfilled his wildest dreams by the age of 38 - what was he to do with the rest of his life? He would go on to publish his diaries and together with his wife Julia, created a garden at his home in Herefordshire, the Laskett. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/12/201437 minutes, 31 seconds
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Sally Wainwright

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 for story-telling place her among the cream of small screen dramatists: she majors in whip-smart phrasing and plot lines that twist the innards with their tension, but never strain plausibility. Her passion for every day drama was honed at her mother's knee: in the 60's and 70's as Mrs. Wainwright watched Coronation Street, young Sally tuned in too, developing an affinity with the power of the portrayal of language as it is spoken and life as it is lived. She would later go on to write for the show. She says, "When I was seven I started writing down the things people said - it was something I just had to do. I think I was born with it - it's like being able to draw or paint." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/5/201436 minutes, 39 seconds
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Marin Alsop

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the conductor, Marin Alsop. Music Director of both The Baltimore Symphony and The Sao Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, she is a maestro with a mission: music, she believes, is a powerful vehicle for social change. She had the good fortune to be brought up in "a household that exuded possibility" and was filled with music - both her parents played professionally. She took up the piano aged two, swapped to the violin at 6 and then aged 9, saw Leonard Bernstein at work and made the decision that conducting would be her career. Much later she would go on to be mentored by the man who inspired her. It bores her when interviewers ask why there aren't more women conductors - nonetheless her capacity to maximise the few opportunities she was given as a young woman making her way in an exclusively mans' world gives one a flavour of her indomitability. Her day-to-day job after all is working out how to convince 100 experts to do what she wants. She says, "maybe it's being an only child: you want to bring people together and create this big family feeling, I don't know what it is but I always gravitated towards organising." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
9/28/201437 minutes, 42 seconds
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Steve McQueen

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 Bafta and a Golden Globe. He wasn't always as lauded: at school in West London he was "shoved to one side" in the belief that the best he could hope for was to earn a living as a manual labourer. Instead he portrays the extremes of what human beings put themselves and others through. Expression is where his heart lies - he describes it as "dancing with ghosts". Along with reaching the top of two professions he has also managed to please the diverging demands of his parents - his father wanted him to get a trade, his mother urged him to do what he wanted. He says, "I want to make films that are essential. We're all going to die and we haven't got a lot of time on this planet. Life goes very quickly, so we might as well make films people will go to see because they need it or want it." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
9/21/201437 minutes, 45 seconds
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Malcolm Gladwell

The writer Malcolm Gladwell is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Always concise, frequently counterintuitive and unexpectedly beguiling, his work orders the world in a way that gives fresh insights into human behaviour. He believes that a knowledge of people's backgrounds is necessary to understanding their success; his own achievements may presumably then be attributed, not just to his keen mind and polished prose, but also to his parents - an English mathematician and a Jamaican psychotherapist. He says, "I am the bird attached to the top of a very large beast, pecking away and eating the gnats.... I am someone who draws inspiration from the brilliance of others and repackages it ... I am a populariser, a simplifier and a synthesizer." Producer: Sarah Taylor.
8/10/201436 minutes, 52 seconds
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Guy Garvey

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 ... headlining Glastonbury too, and playing at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. Yet his image is that of an everyday, low key, unassuming bloke ... except that he isn't, he's penning and performing songs filled with intimacy, optimism and lyricism, that strike a chord with millions of fans. For a long while his devotees were well versed in the art of delayed gratification - Elbow's debut album was released 11 years after the band members first made music together. He writes his songs in his journal and has been keeping a diary since he was 14. Maybe it was the peace and calm of the blank page that first appealed - one of 7 kids he says he was brought up "in a house full of women that were singing, shouting, arguing, fighting over the bathroom. I'm ruined by these women, spoilt rotten".
8/3/201437 minutes, 1 second
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Dame Wendy Hall

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 highly significant and here to stay. If algebraic topology and open hypermedia systems really aren't your thing, Dame Wendy is also in demand as a brilliant communicator on, what can seem to outsiders to be, impenetrable topics. Her parents were from humble beginnings and it was clear from the get-go that their first born had a budding flair for numbers: aged six she was charged with teaching a group of schoolmates maths. The first in her family to go to University she rejected Cambridge, judging it "too stuffy". She says, "I get too excited about stuff. I love my life and am passionate about web science, women in science and shopping". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
7/27/201434 minutes, 31 seconds
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Doug Allan

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 hospitable places on earth. If you've watched fuzzy little polar bear cubs frolic in the frozen wilderness or slick killer whales eerily circling their prey, the spellbinding footage is his. David Attenborough, a long- time collaborator describes his work, simply, as "extraordinary". A trained biologist he first made a living diving into the icy rivers of Scotland searching among the mussel-beds for pearls; a useful early lesson in patience and coping with the cold. His subsequent dedication to a working life in the wilderness has bagged him a slew of Baftas and Emmys but there's also been an emotional toll - he's coped with periods of depression and is twice divorced. He says, "Big animals are my passion. I particularly love working with large mammals because they're intelligent and you can develop a relationship with them" And he's at his happiest at -18 degrees centigrade!
7/20/201436 minutes, 38 seconds
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Anne Reid

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 her perfectly nuanced portrayal of a variety of northern mums - what she calls "skirt and jumper roles". Her first major role was playing Valerie Tatlock in Coronation Street - her character's funeral was watched by millions. In 2003 the skirt and the jumper came off when she and Daniel Craig starred in the highly acclaimed movie The Mother, about a frumpy looking woman in her late 60s who passionately seduces her daughter's boyfriend. Anne Reid has appeared in Victoria Wood's comedy series Dinnerladies and is currently playing Celia in BBC drama Last Tango in Halifax about two widowed septuagenarians finding love again. She says, "...inner talent gives you that ease. It's not a remarkable thing - just a knack that gives you a very nice life." Producer: Paula McGinley.
7/13/201433 minutes, 51 seconds
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Sir Michael Marmot

Professor Sir Michael Marmot is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. He's an epidemiologist who has spent his career studying what the key factors are in leading a long and healthy life and how your income and post code can affect your longevity. Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Director of the Institute of Health Equity at University College London, Sir Michael specialises in what are known as the social determinants of health: how where we are in the wealth and status pecking order directly influences our chances of illness, disease and lifespan. Why is it, for example, that in 2014 in the same British city the average life expectancy for a man in one post code will be 82 but just a few miles away it's 54? His work has influenced politicians around the globe. His pioneering research is often at odds with wider societal concerns over what are known these days as lifestyle choices - like smoking, not taking any exercise or eating junk ... he says simply "what I contribute to the policy debate is that I bring evidence - I don't do the skulduggery of politics.".
7/6/201439 minutes, 54 seconds
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Lily Allen

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the singer-songwriter Lily Allen. Less than a decade ago she dipped her toe in musical waters by releasing her demos on social media, this summer she's one of the headline acts at Glastonbury. It's 29 years since she first appeared at the festival; back then she was a new-born being carried through the crowd in swaddling. Indeed, she was as good as baptised at the font of celebrity culture - her dad, Keith, is an actor and writer, her mum, Alison, is an award-winning film producer - for a time her step-dad was Harry Enfield. So, it seems almost inevitable that she's ended up at the centre of a media-saturated life. Except that in all likelihood she would have been propelled there entirely by her own endeavours: her lyrics are witty and wise-ass and capture concisely what it is to be a savvy, young woman today. She says, "the only thing I can do really is write lyrics and the only way I know how to do that is by being honest and doing it with integrity because otherwise there's no point". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/29/201435 minutes, 20 seconds
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Judy Murray

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Judy Murray. A tennis coach since she was 17, she's the current British captain of the Fed Cup, the premier team competition in women's tennis, and was herself at one time ranked 8th in Britain - achievements worth celebrating. But what she's best known for is being the ultimate tennis mum. Both her sons have reached the top flight of the game - one as Wimbledon mixed doubles champion, the other becoming the first Brit to win the men's singles in 77 years. In the moments after Andy Murray's heroic win on Centre Court last year it was to her he turned pumping his fists and roaring - as if to say 'we have done it'. Judy's many followers on social media know how she spends her time - countless hours travelling up and down the country coaching and working to inspire children to take up the game. She says, 'I've always been competitive. I'm like Andy, or maybe he's like me - I wear my heart on my sleeve. And when something is great, then yep, I am right into it'. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/22/201436 minutes, 2 seconds
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Raja Shehadeh

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Palestinian author and human rights activist, Raja Shehadeh. Born in Ramallah in the West Bank, his life and writing has been dominated by displacement, struggle and a search for justice. His father was murdered in 1985 and aside from chronicling the unhappy history of his family and his homeland, he's also co-founded the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq - which monitors and documents violations by all sides in the Middle East conflict, publishing reports and detailed legal analysis on its findings. Amid the heavy weight of his work he somehow finds time to nurture a glorious garden growing grapevines and pomegranates. He says of his work, "When you write your thoughts and feelings and emotions ... then you can move on to new ones. Otherwise, they will keep rotating in your mind and you will go in circles".
6/15/201438 minutes, 50 seconds
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Tamara Rojo

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the ballerina Tamara Rojo. On stage she is a principal dancer for the English National Ballet and when the curtain comes down she performs the role of the company's artistic director. World-renowned as a stunning, emotional and dramatic performer, it must surely be a very different set of characteristics she employs off stage, marshalling her company of dancers and propelling the organisation's creative journey. She was just five years old when, sheltering from the rain she found herself in the school gym, instantly beguiled by the peace and order of a dance class. Despite her father's attempts to widen her horizons with music, sport and art lessons - her path in life was set. She says, "Life on stage is like nothing else. I've never done heroin but I'm sure that's what it's like. Every feeling and sense exploding. Every nerve in your body complete awake". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/8/201435 minutes, 30 seconds
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Biddy Baxter

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the TV producer and former Blue Peter editor Biddy Baxter. In charge of Blue Peter for 23 highly successful years, she was responsible for the coveted Blue Peter badges, the multi-million pound charity fundraising appeals and a nationwide lust for something called sticky-backed plastic. Her masterstroke was getting the young audience involved; although the programme's weekly postbag of around seven thousand letters must have given her a few headaches. In spite of some early careers advice that, "no one from Durham has ever got into the BBC", her determination to make a career in broadcasting won out and across the decades her steely reputation kept the show at the top of the ratings and steered it through quite a few mishaps and the odd spot of 'scandal'. She says simply, "It was an exercise in trying to make children feel as if they belonged.".
6/1/201438 minutes, 28 seconds
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Rene Redzepi

Rene Redzepi, Danish chef, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. His restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen has been named 'best in the world' for a fourth time, and holds two Michelin stars. His cooking captures not just the essence of his homeland - using ingredients like reindeer tongue, sea buckthorn or fish scales - but also a strong flavour of 'now'. He believes traditional notions of luxury are outdated. A sense of 'time and place' are his kitchen's guiding principles. His childhood was split between Denmark and Macedonia, where he spent his summers foraging in the woods. He as good as stumbled into catering, because he couldn't think of anything better to do, but pretty quickly realised that cooking allowed him to dream. He says, "The day when there is no more to do is the day when you're burned out. There are endless possibilities - it's just whether you can see them or not ... and right now I see plenty.".
5/25/201434 minutes, 37 seconds
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Alison Moyet

Kirsty Young's castaway is the singer, Alison Moyet. She's won three Brit awards, sold tens of millions in record sales and her career has spanned over 30 years. It all kicked off in 1981; just three months after forming her first band "Yazoo" she was on Top of The Pops performing her first hit. Given that remarkably smooth start it might be tempting to think her achievements have come easy - they haven't. She found growing up tough, had prolonged agoraphobia and depression and weight problems cast their shadow. Now in her early fifties she says, "I was always an odd girl, I managed to alienate a lot of people. I felt like a square peg in a round hole in the music industry and created a lot of neurosis for myself." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/18/201434 minutes, 1 second
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Jack Dee

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the comedian, Jack Dee. Comedian, actor and writer, his persona is that of the laconic miserabilist - his hit sit-com was called "Lead Balloon" and his autobiography entitled "Thanks For Nothing". That is only part of the picture: even though show business was in the family - his great grandparents were in music hall - his early working life ranged all over the place. From grafting in the kitchens of The Ritz to working in an artificial leg factory - at one point he even seriously considered the priesthood. He says his caustic, ironic, sarcastic comedy comes from "a sort of realism. You can't escape the dark stuff in life ... and my way of dealing with that is to absorb it into my life so that it's no longer worrying for me." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/11/201434 minutes, 43 seconds
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Sir Andre Geim

Kirsty Young's castaway is the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Professor Sir Andre Geim. Born in the Soviet Union, his early years were spent in Sochi with his grandmother, a meteorologist. And it was perhaps her small weather station on the beach that sparked an early interest in science. As a student his intellect was rigorous but his timing was also spot on:"glasnost", the political movement that swept open the Iron Curtain, enabled him to travel and study throughout Europe, finally settling at Manchester University. It was his work developing the substance graphene that won him science's highest prize. Graphene has many exciting properties: it is the thinnest and strongest material ever discovered; using it, electricity can travel a million meters a second; it has unique levels of light absorption and is flexible and stretchable. Of his research he says, "It's like being Sherlock Holmes but being a detective of science. It's trying to find things out using very limited information ... like a hair on your coat, or dirt on your shoes, or some lipstick - the winner is the one who needs the fewest hints to get the answer". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/30/201437 minutes, 3 seconds
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Dame Claire Bertschinger

Kirsty Young's castaway is the nurse & humanitarian Dame Claire Bertschinger. She's worked for The Red Cross in over a dozen countries including Sudan, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Liberia amid the sort of raw human suffering that most of us find - even on the TV - almost unbearable to witness. It was through Michael Buerk's landmark news reports of the Ethiopian famine 30 years ago that she first grabbed our attention. We saw her as a young nurse surrounded by thousands of starving people and forced, daily, to make the truly terrible decision of choosing who to feed. Throughout the years she's won numerous plaudits and awards: her Florence Nightingale Medal is given "to honour those "who've distinguished themselves in times of war by exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled." She says, "I don't live just to eat and sleep and get money to have a nice house ... I have to create value - I have to do something in life." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/23/201436 minutes, 36 seconds
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Murray Walker

Kirsty Young's castaway is the broadcaster Murray Walker His commentating career began in 1948 and he finally hung the lip mic at the end of 2001. His trousers-on-fire style of delivery brought excitement, emotion and fanatical obsession to Formula 1 - for many motor racing fans he was motorsport. He was a petrol-head before the term had even been coined; his father, one of the top motorbike racing champions of his day, ignited his son's life-long love of big noisy engines. He's talked British fans through so many of the sport's greatest victories - Damon Hill crossing the finish line to win the World Title brought an audible lump to his throat. But also, inevitably, there have been great tragedies too - his live commentary on Ayrton Senna's fatal crash in 1994 was possibly his most professionally demanding. He says, "I have always believed that Formula One, with its highs and lows, is the ultimate distillation of life." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/16/201438 minutes, 21 seconds
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Lord Richards of Herstmonceux

Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, former Chief of the Defence Staff, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. He was a soldier for 42 years, rising through the ranks to the very top becoming the principal military advisor to government. Shrewd, swashbuckling and outspoken, he is now retired from one of the most successful military careers of modern times: so illustrious he's been knighted twice. The campaigns he led in East Timor, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan are well documented and most recently his counsel against military intervention in both Libya and Syria helped guide the Government through the most complex of international strategic defence decision-making. He is possibly less well known for his private passions - tennis, skiing, sailing and the action man credentials must surely be further boosted by the fact that he once spent an evening as Joan Collin's bodyguard. He's also partial to a spot of karaoke. Born in Egypt into a military family he grew up with some understanding of the very particular strain that comes with a life in the forces. Just as well because in 35 years of marriage he and his wife have moved home 29 times. He says: "I see myself as a moral soldier. I do not associate the military with wars and bloodshed in the narrow sense. I associate the military with doing good, bringing down tyrants, with releasing people's ambitions for their children." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/9/201436 minutes, 59 seconds
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Mairi Hedderwick

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the author and illustrator Mairi Hedderwick. Her most famous creation is a little red-haired character called Katie Morag who - in wellies and a kilt - has skipped her way through fourteen books and a 26-part TV series. Katie lives on the imaginary Isle of Struay with her parents, siblings, cousins, granny and prize-winning sheep Alecina. Like her creator she relishes the rhythms and freedoms particular to life on a wee Scottish island. But that's where the similarities end - the author was born and brought up an only child on the mainland of the lowlands. She lost her father when she was just twelve and says she was never part of a close-knit family. As a grown-up, all she wanted was to quit the rat race and be an island crofter, but after a decade she left her dream behind in favour of a more stable income and a secondary school for her children. She says, "I have a notion that children's writers explore unresolved questions in their own childhoods. I certainly do." Producer: Christine Pawlowsky.
3/2/201437 minutes, 17 seconds
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Professor Hugh Montgomery

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Professor Hugh Montgomery. His area of academic specialism is intensive care medicine and he's also known for his pioneering genetic research into the ACE fitness gene - which determines our capacity for either strength or endurance. In themselves significant achievements. But he is also, a children's author, an ultra-marathon runner and the current holder of the world record for playing piano underwater. At the age of only 15 he was also part of the dive team that investigated the treasures of The Mary Rose. He says, "I've learnt that life can end randomly and pointlessly at any time. I don't want to be on my death bed and think 'damn! I wish I'd learnt to paint and write songs'". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
2/23/201433 minutes, 18 seconds
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Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean

Kirsty Young's castaways this week are the ice skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. It's 30 years since they enthralled the world winning gold at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. So memorable, it was truly a "where were you when" moment: the answer for most of us seems to have been in front of the television as 24 million people tuned in to watch their purple chiffoned, passionate, pitch-perfect display. Their enduring partnership is the stuff of sporting legend - British, European, World and Olympic champions - their synchronicity on and off the rink is fascinating. Both brought up in Nottingham, both only children, they took to the ice within a couple of years of each other. Jayne grew up to work as an insurance clerk, Chris was a policeman. They always seemed so normal, so nice, so much like the boy and girl next door. What a neat trick - in reality their originality, training regime and relentless pursuit of perfection has seen them push the boundaries of their chosen sport to rank among the world's elite. Part of our fascination with them also stems from the long scrutiny over their personal relationship. Never mind that over the decades they've both married other people and had children, as recently as last year they finally admitted to a brief teenage 'dabble'. They say, "It's an unusual relationship that we have. ... Of course we love each other. You wouldn't be able to do all that we do without love." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
2/16/201435 minutes, 53 seconds
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Dame Elish Angiolini

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the lawyer Dame Elish Angiolini. The first woman to become both Scotland's Solicitor General and Lord Advocate she's currently principal of St Hugh's College Oxford. It's a long way from Govan where her father heaved bags of coal round the streets and there wasn't always money for the meter. She was the youngest of four and by her own admission being "gabby" was the only way she got heard. It's an early skill that seems to have served her pretty well - in the legal establishment she gained a reputation as a gutsy moderniser, unafraid to challenge the system. Among her innovations a pioneering support scheme for vulnerable victims and establishing the National Crimes Sex Unit for Scotland - the first of its kind in Europe. Her predisposition to seeing things from the victim's point of view might have something to do with her own experience - in 1984 she was badly injured in a rail disaster that killed 13 others - including the two men sitting opposite her. She says "... Advocacy is a great life skill. If you go to your bank manager asking for an overdraft, or if you barter at a market, you are employing advocacy skills. It is all about empathy and charisma." Producer: Paula McGinley.
2/9/201432 minutes, 44 seconds
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Bob Harris

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the broadcaster, Bob Harris. Known affectionately as Whispering Bob, he's rarely been off our air waves in the past 44 years. His big break came standing in for John Peel and he was so good that not long after he was given his own show on Radio 1. Throughout the seventies he also hosted the true music-fans' must see show, The Old Grey Whistle Test. His beard and tank top were almost as legendary as some of the guests - The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and John Lennon were among the line up. However with the arrival of punk things got personal. The closest his family ever got to showbiz was when his dad, a policeman, clambered on stage to arrest the singer PJ Proby when his trousers split. Young Bob did follow his dad into the force but music and above all else radio were his obsession. Much like his recording heroes, his own life has something of the rock n' roll vibe - three wives, eight children, a spell of bankruptcy and coping with prostate cancer. Yet through it all his skill, knowledge and love of broadcasting has always endured. He says, "I'm a music anorak, a fan who got lucky ... from the moment I bought my first record aged 11, I couldn't wait to share music with others." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
2/2/201433 minutes, 5 seconds
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Sir Ben Ainslie

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the sailor Sir Ben Ainslie. Eleven times World and 9 times European Champion he's also the most successful sailor in Olympic history. As he crossed the finishing line at the London 2012 Games, winning his fourth gold, the crowd gave a rousing rendition of Rule Britannia: indeed he rules the waves with such a ruthless will to win it seems somewhat contradictory that on dry land he comes across as an unassuming bloke from Cornwall. He was eight when, in a duffle coat and wellies, he made his first solo journey in a little wooden boat. Ever since sailing has been his obsession. He's brave, strong and skilled, but it's his tactical nouse and maverick streak that sets him apart. In last year's America's Cup he turned a 1-8 defeat into a 9-8 win for the US. Whether he can do the same for his home team may be his next big challenge. He says, "The desire to win is still the same as ever ... if it wasn't there, that would be a worry. Motivation has never really been a problem for me." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
1/26/201434 minutes, 26 seconds
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Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin. The first black woman to be chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen and also to the Speaker of the House of Commons, she's also kept busy with her work in less rarefied surroundings - ministering to two churches in the east London borough of Hackney. It's all a long way from the crystal waters and swaying palms of her birthplace, Montego Bay, where brought up by her Auntie Pet she coped with poverty and separation from her mother. She did however have a sense, from the age of just 14, that her future lay in faith. She wasn't wrong and the combination of her belief and dynamism has taken her to as close to the top as The Church of England will currently allow. If they do eventually permit women bishops it's easy to imagine she'd be a shoe in. She says "Oh I have lots of ambition. You can't be Jamaican and not be ambitious. My ambition is to enjoy life. My ambition is to do everything I do to the best of my ability." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
1/19/201434 minutes, 38 seconds
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Nicola Benedetti

Kirsty Young's castaway is the violinist, Nicola Benedetti. She had her first violin lesson at the age of four, and by the age of eight, she was leading the National Children's Orchestra of Scotland. By the grand old age of ten she was boarding at the Yehudi Menuhin School and receiving lessons from the great man himself. Her big break came when she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition - the first Scot to win it. Lucrative recording contracts followed together with a hectic programme of concerts. Still only 26, she is now world-renowned as a soloist and chamber musician. Of Italian descent, her family wasn't particularly musical though the qualities of discipline, hard work and perseverance meant that fun & freedom came after music practice. Passionate about the importance of classical music in education, she walks the talk, committed to developing young musical talent through charity work and masterclasses & she received an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen for these services in 2013. She says, "when I teach seven year olds and they can play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, I say 'that's amazing! Well Done!' And then occasionally Mum would remind me "do you remember what you were playing at that age?" Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
1/12/201437 minutes, 8 seconds
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Ray Mears

Kirsty Young's castaway is woodsman Ray Mears. A traveller to the world's remotest corners and a renowned expert in bushcraft, wild cooking and survival techniques, he's one of very few castaways who would genuinely relish the challenges of a desert island. Those of us not possessed of his spirit and skill can live vicariously through his exploits on TV and through his survival handbooks. Enlightening and entertaining the sofa-bound masses is only one strand on his hand whittled bow: he's also trained elite troops for The British Army and in 2010 he was called on by police to help them track the fugitive killer, Raoul Moat. It was survival skills of a different type he needed when he lost his first wife Rachel to cancer: he met his second wife Ruth at a book signing and they share not just a love of each other, but also of the great outdoors. He says of the wild: "I can see nature; I feel it intuitively and I can understand what can't be written." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
1/5/201434 minutes, 16 seconds
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Miranda Hart

Kirsty Young's castaway is Miranda Hart. She writes and stars in the hit sitcom "Miranda" and has congaed her way to the top of TV comedy by exploiting the universal truth that awkwardness lies at the heart of the human condition. Slapstick and misunderstanding underpin her work along with the impression that she's just a really, jolly, lovely 'girl': her father was a naval commander and her mother has devoted much of her life to tending a glorious garden. Making her mark has been something of a slog. After her first appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe it was another 11 years before she could give up her job as a P.A. - for a good while she was photocopying scripts rather than performing them. She says: "I started writing comedy because it was more fun inside my head than the real world, but that's no longer true." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/22/201336 minutes, 34 seconds
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Gillian Clarke

Kirsty Young's castaway is Gillian Clarke. Wales's National Poet, she has received the Queen's Gold Medal for her work. She writes about everything from dinosaurs to suicide, but the potency and power of nature is a recurring motif. Although she's recognised for her significant and distinguished contribution to her homeland's literature and culture, her verse has been translated into ten languages and she regularly receives fan mail from South America, Pakistan and most countries in between. Aside from writing, her main project in life is the conservation of her own small patch of West Wales - restoring hedges, conserving bluebells and tending sheep take up her spare time. She says, "A poem is the only work of art you can have for nothing. Read it, memorise it, copy it into your notebook and it's yours." Producer: Paula McGinley.
12/15/201335 minutes, 54 seconds
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Barbara Hulanicki

Kirsty Young's castaway is Barbara Hulanicki, designer and creator of Biba. Today her creativity spans fashion, illustration, interior design and architecture but it was the success of the label Biba that first made her name; launching a high street revolution with its opulent-looking but entirely affordable high fashion. According to Twiggy, "she changed fashion in England singlehandedly". A newspaper advert for a £3 pink gingham dress in 1963 kicked things off and by the seventies her London department store was a throbbing temple to all things skinny-fitted in plum, mulberry, green, brown and black. Romantic, mysterious, nostalgic and very profitable. But when it all turned sour with her business partners, she and her husband Fitz walked away, leaving behind the hugely popular creation that had made her name. The fantasy and perfection of her creations were a far cry from the harsh reality of her childhood; born in Poland just before the Second World War, the air of privilege that surrounded her family was traumatically punctured when her father, a diplomat, was assassinated. She says "Now whenever I finish something I take some photographs and say 'goodbye'. When you lose everything, you realise that the only thing you have is what's in your head." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/8/201334 minutes, 20 seconds
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Clare Balding

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the broadcaster Clare Balding. The BBC TV coverage of London's 2012 Olympics was her triumph and much like Team GB she'd been in training for her big moment for quite a while. She's worked on five Olympic Games, four Paralympics, three Winter Olympics and a great deal of horse racing. It's on the turf that's she's most at home - her father was a champion racehorse trainer and for a number of years she herself was a leading amateur flat jockey. The first pony she ever rode, as a toddler, was a gift from the Queen; she went to public school and Cambridge but her life hasn't been an entirely easy ride. She has coped with thyroid cancer, being forcibly "outed" by the tabloid press and in her own words being "a disappointment from the moment" she was born. She says, "This may sound nauseating but I'm a very happy person. I love my work, I love my life and I'm told by those who know and love me that it's a bit like living with Tigger". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/1/201333 minutes, 57 seconds
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Rt Hon Ed Miliband

Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, joins Kirsty Young to choose his Desert Island Discs. He's been in charge of his party for three years and was the youngest leader they'd ever elected. But that fact got somewhat lost in the drama that surrounded his coronation: famously, he stood against his brother, David. To say the younger brother's victory upset the political apple cart would be something of an understatement. Politics is in his pores. His mother was a human rights campaigner, his father a renowned Marxist academic. Both parents came from Jewish families who settled in Britain having only just survived the Nazis. Looking though his CV - clever comprehensive schoolboy, degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford, an intern for Tony Benn, Economics lecturer at Harvard, Special Advisor to Gordon Brown - it's clear, for him, there's only ever been one abiding passion. He says, politics "is not something I chose. It's not something I learned from books, even from my Dad's books. It was something I was born into." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/24/201335 minutes, 46 seconds
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Malorie Blackman

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Malorie Blackman. A prolific and multi-award winning author she 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 wiz, her first career was in computing. As a writer her books have tackled challenging themes: bullying, teenage pregnancy, racism and terrorism. Currently 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." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/17/201334 minutes, 24 seconds
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Alfred Brendel

Kirsty Young's castaway is the classical pianist, Alfred Brendel. A performer of world renown, his career spans seven decades, and he is particularly famous for his interpretations of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt. An Austrian who's lived in the UK for many years, he was born in 1931 in what is now the Czech Republic. Although not from a musical family, he began playing the piano aged six and gave his first recital aged 17. Largely self-taught, in addition to his live performances, he's enjoyed a long and successful recording career. Revered for his intellect and individual and original take on the world, he is also a published poet and essayist. He says, "I regard pessimism as a sign of intelligence. Optimism is a very welcome and life-enhancing feature, a gift, but not necessarily a realistic outlook. I am a pessimist who enjoys being pleasantly surprised." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/15/201335 minutes, 39 seconds
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Sir Ken Robinson

Kirsty Young's castaway is the educationalist Sir Ken Robinson. Creativity - how to nurture it, develop it and marshal its power - is his preoccupation. He believes that too many people have no sense of their true talents and passions, and his internationally renowned talks to teachers, business and government leaders argue that - contrary to popular myth - creativity and innovation can be developed in a deliberate and systematic way. What we need, he thinks, is a learning revolution. His own erudition began in a crowded house on Merseyside in the fifties, full of visitors, noise and laughter. His front door was just a hundred yards from Everton football club, but his boyhood dreams of playing for The Blues ended when he contracted polio. The first of his six siblings to pass the 11-plus and win a scholarship to one of Liverpool's best schools, his education would fundamentally shape the rest of his life. He says "If a teacher hadn't seen something in me that I hadn't seen in myself, my life might have gone in a very different direction." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/3/201334 minutes, 49 seconds
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Professor Tanya Byron

Professor Tanya Byron, clinical psychologist and TV presenter, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Tanya has spent the last twenty years in clinical practice, helping children, young people and families deal with some of the most difficult parts of life - depression, anxiety, aggression, self harming and drug addiction. She came to public prominence through her television work, books and advice columns and it would seem that she had the perfect background to cope with life in the spotlight - her father was a successful tv and theatre director and her mother worked variously as a nursing sister and a model. A highly dramatic family tragedy ignited her interest in what spurs people to behave the way that they do. She says of her work "I do have a particular desire to enable young people, on the cusp of what could be the most extraordinary life, to live ... and live well." Producer: Isabel Sargent.
10/27/201335 minutes, 5 seconds
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Jeremy Hutchinson

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the former barrister and member of The House of Lords, Jeremy Hutchinson.His life spans eleven decades of British history and he has spent much of it at the very centre of the action. Born during the First World War, he was brought up in the company of some of the greatest artists and writers of the day.In World War II, he escaped his bombed-out ship clinging to a life raft with Lord Mountbatten.At the Bar he played a central role in many of the seismic trials of the day - among them defending the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover against obscenity charges and Christine Keeler in the Profumo Affair trial. His brilliance in cross-examination inspired John Mortimer's creation of the character Rumpole of The Bailey.He enjoyed two long marriages - his first to the actress Peggy Ashcroft, his second, for 40 years, to June Osborn, and he spent 23 years as an active member of The House of Lords.He says, "I had the luck to live when the world of the Establishment was being dismantled. The whole of one's career was to do with what was going on in society."Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/20/201336 minutes, 52 seconds
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Chris Packham

Kirsty Young's castaway is the naturalist, Chris Packham.TV presenter, filmmaker, writer, photographer, every bit of his work revolves around wildlife. If he's not busy telling us why we should love midges he's enthusing about the hearing capacity of a barn owl. His passion for animals is clear, what they think of him remains a little more uncertain; he's been attacked by a baboon, charged by lions and bitten by a puff adder.His obsession with the natural world began early when a predictable boyhood fascination for tadpoles and ladybirds grew to encompass mosquito larvae, lizards, snakes and bats. As a teenager he collected badger droppings by day and pogoed with electric blue hair at Clash gigs by night.These days he distinguishes himself by his impressive knowledge of his subject and his outspoken views on everything from countryside culls to the problems with cat owners.He says, "I'll never rest until I've tried to do my own small bit in terms of changing the environment so it's a better place. I won't do it for my grandchildren because I won't have any and I won't do it for yours. I'll do it because it's the right thing to do."Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/13/201334 minutes, 8 seconds
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Carolyn McCall

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is businesswoman Carolyn McCall.Currently Chief Executive of easyJet, she's one of only three women in Britain in charge of a FTSE 100 company. Prior to that she ran the Guardian Media Group.An only child, she was brought up in Bangalore and Singapore. She spent a short time as a teacher in a comprehensive school and has also brought her wisdom to the boardroom table at Lloyds Bank, Tesco and New Look.In amongst the corporate strategizing she also managed to have three children in three years.She says, "I think it's mad not to have self-doubt ... but I think it's really dangerous when that self-doubt becomes total insecurity or lack of confidence or lack of momentum, or lack of belief in yourself."Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/6/201335 minutes, 24 seconds
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Lee Mack

Kirsty Young interviews the comedian Lee Mack. He writes and stars in the BBC One hit show "Not Going Out". His stand-up tours do great business and his lightening sharp comedy reflexes are also put to good use on a number of prime-time panel shows. His first ever performance was doing impressions for his school mates, but it took him more than ten years to pluck up the courage to step on stage. Leaving school with two O'levels and a cheeky grin, he had a stint as Red Rum's stable boy and a bash at being a professional darts player. He says of his comedy career "I'm the kind of person that, if I don't think it's hard work, I worry that it's not worthwhile. I have to feel as if I've struggled a bit." Producer: Isabel Sargent.
9/29/201334 minutes, 31 seconds
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Zadie Smith

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the novelist and critic, Zadie Smith. First published at just twenty four her debut novel "White Teeth" garnered huge attention and praise. As a result she suffered the unnerving experience of doing her literary growing up in public. Yet in spite of the scrutiny she blossomed. In the 13 years since, her novels, essays and short stories have brought numerous literary prizes and critical praise. Born to a Jamaican mother and a British father she was brought up in Willesden, North London where many of her characters live. She began writing at the age of 5 and was a voracious reader - devouring the greats of literature. Now she divides her time between Willesden and New York where she teaches creative writing. She describes herself as "an English novelist enslaved to an ancient tradition" and yet her chosen areas of exploration could not be more of the moment. She says, "I'm really interested in what memory feels like ... we only have snapshots of the past ..." she continues to declare that writing isn't about "being experimental, it's about finding something true." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
9/22/201334 minutes, 26 seconds
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Daniel Kahneman

The psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economics, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. 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." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
8/11/201334 minutes, 40 seconds
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Eve Stewart

Kirsty Young's castaway is BAFTA award-winning production designer, Eve Stewart. Her big screen credits include Les Miserables, The King's Speech and Vera Drake and for TV The Hour, Upstairs Downstairs and Call The Midwife. Responsible for locations, scenery and all the props she is renowned for creating entirely convincing, cohesive worlds that capture a beguiling sense of time, place and spirit. Not even the requirement for nine tons of Scottish seaweed or noiseless rubber rosary beads will defeat her. Her trademark is her relentless attention to detail and she slavishly trawls the archives for visual clues and references. It would seem that the bug bit her early - she says: 'When I was a little girl I used to have lots of doll's houses. Now I have lots of big ones and get to do it on a bigger scale.' Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
8/4/201334 minutes, 52 seconds
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Mary Robinson

Kirsty Young's castaway is Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and ex-UN Commissioner for Human Rights. Her professional life has been defined by public service at the very highest level and she appears the epitome of the cool-headed pragmatist. And yet she is also something of an enigma: a committed Catholic who fought hard to legalise contraception and divorce; an elected head of state with both a noble bearing and a common touch. As a lawyer she lead from the front championing controversial causes at home in Ireland and fiercely defending human rights at the UN. She also has a habit of making history - she was Ireland's first female president and the first Irish Head of state to meet Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace. She says of her life and work "over the years I have given many talks and taken part in many discussions on leadership: women's leadership, political leadership, business leadership, grass roots leadership. But the element of leadership that really fascinates me is moral leadership." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
7/28/201335 minutes
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Russell Brand

Russell Brand, comedian & actor, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Actor, comic, writer, Russell Brand is a compelling cultural phenomenon who in 2006 was, in his own words, "plucked from a life of hard drugs and petty crime and rocketed into the snugly carcinogenic glare of celebrity." Along with an athletic wit and a florid turn of phrase he specialises in going too far - reckless acts of self-destruction and a degree of chaos seem to be his companions along life's winding path. It's been five years since he rocked the foundations of the BBC with what became known as the Ross Brand scandal. He's since gone on to international success with a movie career, best-selling books and all the trappings of life on the "A" list. His most recent notable appearances have included testifying to a Parliamentary Select Committee on the importance of funding for drugs rehabilitation programmes and an appearance as a panellist on Question Time. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
7/21/201334 minutes, 1 second
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Val McDermid

The writer, Val McDermid, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Crime fiction is Val's chosen genre and the millions of novels she sells examine and dissect the darkest recesses of human behaviour. Domestic violence, murder, abduction - it's difficult to imagine a subject she'd shy away from. She once described herself as "A mixture of hard bitten cynical hack and Pollyanna". Brought up in a secure home by parents who were very happily married, she was the first Scot from a state school to win a place at St Hilda's college, Oxford. She was just 16. After graduation she chose tabloid journalism as her trade and by all accounts fitted right in with the hard working, bolshy, boozing culture at the time. She says "I think there are three elements to any literary career. You have to have a modicum of talent, you've got to work hard . and you've got to be lucky." Producer: Isabel Sargent.
7/14/201335 minutes, 4 seconds
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Jane Somerville

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the cardiologist Jane Somerville. Now an Emeritus Professor in her discipline at Imperial College London she's gained a worldwide reputation for her pioneering work on congenital heart disease. She began studying medicine in the early 1950s when only a very few women were admitted through the doors of medical school. Since then she's been responsible for ground-breaking advances in cardiovascular treatment and founded the World Congress of Paediatric Cardiology. She had something of a role model in her mother, a hard-working, clever, successful woman too. Her early years as a pupil at a boys' school in Wales must also have prepared her for making her way in such a heavily male-dominated profession. She has a reputation for being straight-talking, and her late husband used to urge her to be more "prudent", but, she says, "it wasn't fun to be prudent: it was much more fun to be mafioso and naughty." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
7/7/201336 minutes, 17 seconds
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Steven Pinker

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker. An author and Harvard professor he's been named by Time Magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential scientists and thinkers. The psychology of violence and where language comes from are just two of his specialist subjects. Bill Gates is officially a fan, the man who sends him hate mail related to his work on irregular verbs is not. It would seem that whenever he publishes yet another best-selling book controversy is never far behind - his recent contention that we live in an "unusually peaceful time" drew opprobrium from many quarters. Born and brought up in Montreal his parents encouraged vigorous debate around the dinner table - indeed it was his mother's interest in the psychology of language and linguistics that sparked his own. He says "I appreciate what my parents did for me beyond words. Not in making me what I am, but in my view of what's important in life, what I think about and cherish." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/30/201334 minutes, 49 seconds
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Hugh Laurie

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor, Hugh Laurie. If life were straightforward he'd be marooned on the island because of his achievements as an Olympic rower. But his early promise on the water was scuppered by a bout of glandular fever - so he's had to make do instead with life as a worldwide entertainment superstar. Very British comedy, very big budget movies, very successful syndicated TV drama - his 30 year career has taken him from A Little Bit of Fry & Laurie to a big bit of broadcasting history: his role in the U.S. show House ran for 8 series and had a global audience of 81 million. So why now does he feel the need to risk his stellar reputation by making music too? He says, "as soon as I acknowledge to myself that something is frightening and carries the risk of public humiliation I feel like I have to do it." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/23/201333 minutes, 3 seconds
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Alexandra Shulman

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman. In spite of being in charge of one of our leading 'style bibles' for more than 20 years, her reputation is that of someone rather down to earth. She thinks designers cut clothes too small, refuses to let superstars have photo and copy approval and when she was first appointed editor, she'd never even been on a fashion shoot. During her tenure Vogue's circulation has increased. Her first job as editor was with the men's magazine GQ and she's had spells at Tatler, the Sunday Telegraph and writing a weekly column for the Daily Mail. She says, "Vogue is not my personal taste, really. I think of it more as a kind of newspaper, reporting on what's out there." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/16/201334 minutes, 29 seconds
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Conrad Anker

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the mountaineer Conrad Anker. Some of us choose a life in I.T. or event planning - Conrad Anker has opted to swing from a nylon stepladder 19,000 feet up a cliff with a dose of trench foot and a wedge of stale cheese for supper. It may seem an odd way to spend one's life but it's his way. One of the world's elite climbers he's credited with a long list of first time ascents. He's also summited Everest three times. During one renowned climb he discovered the icy corpse of the legendary George Mallory who had perished along with Sandy Irvine as they tried to scale the peak - in nothing more than hobnail boots and tweeds - in 1924. When he isn't exploring the far corners of the world's wilderness he's at home in Montana with his wife Jennifer, the widow of his best friend Alex Lowe, who was killed by an avalanche that narrowly missed Conrad himself. He says of his life, "Most people are so risk averse. The world is full of couch potatoes ... we climbers should get government stipends for keeping the risk-taking gene pool alive." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/9/201334 minutes, 7 seconds
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Sir Mervyn King

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the out-going Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King. He has been in charge during a period of unprecedented global financial turmoil yet under his leadership the Bank of England has emerged as one of the world's most powerful central banks. He may have grown used to the pink tails coats and top hats of his attendants in Threadneedle Street but his background was far from privileged. His father worked on the railways and then became a teacher; his mother was a housewife and sang in the church choir. Their son studied hard and gained a top first at Cambridge before going on to teach at MIT and the London School of Economics. Throughout his demanding public life he has been sustained by his twin passions for cricket and Aston Villa football club. His other great love appears to have been an intriguingly slow burn: he first met Barbara, the woman who would become his wife, in 1970 - they married in 2007. He says, "Being the Governor of the Bank of England is actually the easiest job I've ever done; you're in charge & you've got tremendous support." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
6/2/201334 minutes, 43 seconds
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Deborah Bull

Kirsty Young's guest this week is the ballerina, writer and broadcaster Deborah Bull. The Royal Ballet, where she was a principal dancer for almost two decades owes a debt of gratitude to the Janice Sutton School of Dance in Skegness. It was there, aged 7, two floors above a fish and chip shop and a row of amusements arcades - and having practiced "good toes, bad toes" - that she knew precisely what she wanted to do with her life. After many years of success at the top of her profession, she said goodbye to her childhood dream and jetéd into her life's next act - for a time serving as Creative Director of The Royal Opera House and more recently working far beyond Covent Garden promoting creativity and cultural partnerships across Britain. She says "I always thought I'd feel a passionate sense of loss when I stopped dancing. What was absolutely wonderful was, as the volume turned up on the new career, the volume turned down on the old one." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/26/201336 minutes, 15 seconds
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Alice Walker

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Pulitzer Prize winning writer Alice Walker. Author, poet, feminist and activist, it was her novel The Color Purple that brought her worldwide attention and acclaim. The story of a poor black girl surviving in the deep American south, between the wars, it is a landmark work, disturbing and exhilarating in equal measure. If one subscribes to the idea that "art is a wound turned to light", then Alice Walker's early life proved crucial to her future creations. Shot and blinded in one eye by her brother's BB gun it was through the isolation of her injury that she began to write. She once described poetry as "medicine". She has also said, "I know the world's a mess, but there's so much that's gorgeous in it. I wish everybody could have what I have." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/19/201334 minutes, 30 seconds
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Damien Hirst

Kirsty Young's guest this week is the artist Damien Hirst. Life, death, desire, fear, beauty, horror - his creative preoccupations are standard fair; his art - using sharks, maggots, butterflies, glass, formaldehyde and even sometimes paint - is not. His best known works have become iconic symbols of contemporary culture and his exhibitions and auctions attract attention the way a carcass attracts flies. Growing up in Leeds his mother was something of an early artistic influence - she had dots painted on the front door and whenever Damien said he'd finished a drawing, she'd lay another sheet of paper down and tell her son "carry on." He once said, "People don't like contemporary art but all art starts life as contemporary. I'm sure there were people in caves going 'I like your cave but I hate that crap you've got on the wall'." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
5/12/201334 minutes, 41 seconds
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Sir Sydney Kentridge

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Sir Sydney Kentridge QC. Widely regarded as a leading advocate of the 20th century, he continues to make his mark in the 21st; he recently appeared for the first time in the European Court of Justice and at the end of last year he spent the actual day of his 90th birthday working in the English Supreme Court. Born in South Africa, he was first called to the bar there at the end of the 1940s and played a leading role in some of the most significant political trials of the apartheid era. 'Understated, controlled, relentlessly rational' - and with devastating cross-examination skills - the verdict of one of his clients - Nelson Mandela. He himself says "I hope there's only one thing about my professional life of which I've boasted and which I think, as a lawyer, is unique on my part - I have acted as an advocate for three winners of The Nobel Peace Prize. I don't think anyone else has done that." Producer: Isabel Sargent.
3/31/201336 minutes, 30 seconds
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Jasvinder Sanghera

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer and campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera. She has counselled government and travelled widely advising on how to put a stop to forced marriage and so called honour violence. At 14, Jasvinder was shown a picture of the stranger thousands of miles away she was to marry and in the face of intimidation she fled her family, chose her own husbands and gained a first class degree. Her books have shone a piercing light on the veiled world of shame, brutality and coercion that some young women endure whilst Karma Nirvana, the pioneering charity she set up and runs, offers refuge and practical help. She says, "my life has had to take paths where responsibility was the key thing. Now I'm at a point in my life where I'm more content than I've ever been. I've reconciled the disownment." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/24/201334 minutes, 26 seconds
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Julie Goodyear

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Julie Goodyear. For a quarter of a century her Coronation Street character Bet Lynch set the gold plated standard for big, brassy, back chatting blondes. Behind the bar of the Rovers Return her bosom swathed in leopard-print and her head piled high with platinum curls she was Manchester's answer to Mae West. Her MBE was awarded for her services to drama - and when she left the series in 1995, her departure pulled in 19 million viewers. Yet whatever the scriptwriters came up with it was never as dramatic as the life she's lived beyond The Street. She got pregnant at 17, her second husband abandoned her for their best man, and in 1979 she was diagnosed with cancer and told she'd a year to live. She's now married to her fourth husband. She says, "If anyone should be interested in an epitaph for my life, I would like them to consider, 'At least she tried." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/17/201333 minutes, 51 seconds
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David Almond

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer David Almond. Most of his work is for children but the adults who populate the juries of heavyweight literary prizes really like it too. The accolades began with his first novel Skellig published in 1998 when he was 47; it won the mighty "Whitbread Children's" award and then many others besides. Ever since, he's been acclaimed for his ability to craft complex, philosophical narratives with strikingly down to earth characterisations. He grew up just outside Newcastle in a big, Catholic family and his childhood features heavily in his stories. He says "Each of my books has had to be written - there was something that had to come out." Producer: Alison Hughes.
3/10/201335 minutes, 34 seconds
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Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the photographer Rankin. He started out doing fashion shoots and is very good at making pretty young things look even prettier. But his work and influence have spread well beyond the glossy pages of style bibles. From Congolese war widows to canoodling pensioners his skill is capturing a moment of spontaneous and often surprising truth. He should really been doing peoples' tax returns - he went to college to study accountancy - but his head was turned in his halls of residence where the arts students seemed to be having all the fun. Within a few years Kate Moss was posing for him in nothing but a fedora and leather boots. However his reputation for raunch was put on the back burner the day he photographed Her Majesty The Queen - his picture of a serene and smiling monarch now hangs in The National Portrait Gallery. Photography is he says "like a seduction. It's a relationship compressed into a moment." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
3/3/201334 minutes, 18 seconds
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Uta Frith

Professor Uta Frith, developmental psychologist, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. Uta Frith's groundbreaking work on autism has revolutionized our understanding of the condition; overturning the traditional, long-held belief that the root of the problems are social & emotional; discovering instead that autism is the result of physical differences in the brain. She arrived in Britain from Germany in the early 60s for a two-week course in English. Half a century later, and groaning under the weight of myriad fellowships and awards, with an honorary DBE to her name, she is one of the grand dames of British science. In retirement she continues to mentor and encourage fellow women scientists, not least in her networking group "science&shopping" - an aim being to have some fun. She says her metaphor for the brain "is that of a garden that is full of the most interesting, different things ... that have to be cultivated and constantly checked." Producer: Alison Hughes.
2/24/201335 minutes, 57 seconds
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Jonathan Agnew

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew. Known simply as "Aggers" to the army of fans devoted to Test Match Special, his charm, knowledge and ready wit have gained him a place in the heart of anyone who loves the game. His own infatuation began as a young boy at boarding school and along with his talent and determination it took him all the way to the top of the sport. He played for Leicestershire and England. His transition from the crease to the commentary box was cemented by one of the most memorable moments in broadcasting history - the notorious "legover" comment that prompted the legendary Brian Johnston to dissolve into helpless, prolonged giggles live on air. He says "The great thing about our job is that you have no pre-conceived idea about what is going to happen - you have no script - the cricket is the script". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
2/17/201336 minutes, 50 seconds
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Julie Burchill

Kirsty Young's guest is the writer Julie Burchill. As a columnist and author she is a committed non-conformist - daring the world to take issue with her vociferous life and work and depending on whom you ask is either a 'Marxist critic' or 'a right wing columnist'. As a child she used to hide away when potential playmates came to call, at 17 she was writing for the NME and in the decades since she's plied her trade at The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Mail amongst others. She's also written twenty odd books and her autobiography is entitled "I Knew I Was Right". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
2/10/201334 minutes, 36 seconds
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Sir Terry Leahy

Kirsty Young's castaway is Sir Terry Leahy, the businessman and former CEO of Tesco. His first job with the company was as a teenager when he worked as a shelf-stacker, but he made his name transforming the supermarket from a lack-lustre brand into Britain's biggest retailer. His ascent to the very top was marked by a fundamental understanding of his customers' needs and a single minded determination, powered, he says, by a fear of failure. He says of himself, "I was a relatively shy guy from a council estate and an unlikely chief executive, I'm quite happy not to be in the limelight".
2/3/201334 minutes, 10 seconds
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Aung San Suu Kyi

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Aung San Suu Kyi. The programme was recorded on location in Naypyitaw, Burma in December 2012. Now Leader of Burma's opposition party, she has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights and democracy in her homeland. A figure of world renown, she is known in Burma as simply "The Lady" and her integrity, determination and grace have provided a beacon of hope to a nation oppressed and exploited by decades of brutal military dictatorship. President Obama says she is an "icon of democracy" and Desmond Tutu calls her "a remarkable woman ... ready to work for the healing of her motherland". Her renown has come at significant personal sacrifice: she endured nearly 20 years of house arrest and persecution, exiled from her children and apart from her British husband who died from cancer in 1999. She says "It takes courage to feel the truth, to feel one's conscience because once you do, you must engage your fundamental purpose for being alive. You can't just expect to sit idly by and have freedom handed to you." Producer: Cathy Drysdale Both the on-demand and the download audio of this programme are an extended edition of the original broadcast.
1/27/201344 minutes, 44 seconds
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Beryl Vertue

TV producer Beryl Vertue is Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs. In the famously fickle world of telly where last year's hero is this year's zero she has stood the test of time. Indeed in TV circles the noun "vertuosity" is defined as "the ability to make enormously successful sitcoms for British television and then sell the formats to the American market". The cast list of her working life is a who's who of quality broadcasting and includes Jack Lemmon, Galton & Simpson, Frankie Howerd, Jack Nicholson and most recently Benedict Cumberbatch. She started out typing Goon Show scripts in the mid 50s, accidentally became an agent, and as a producer she has risen to the very top of her industry, with hits including the rock musical Tommy, the sit-com Men Behaving Badly and the drama series Sherlock. She says "it's terribly important not to know too many rules. If you know rules and obstacles you spend a lot of time dealing with them. If you don't know there's a rule you just do it." Producer: Alison Hughes.
1/20/201333 minutes, 25 seconds
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Martin Carthy

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Martin Carthy. A highly influential figure in the world of traditional music, about fifty years ago he was at the forefront of the English folk revival - inspiring not just his fellow countrymen, but Bob Dylan and Paul Simon too. Now he's part of a folk dynasty. His wife is the celebrated singer Norma Waterson and their daughter Eliza is as renowned for her fiddle playing, as she is her voice. Martin, on the other hand, was brought up in an atmosphere that encouraged him to rise above his station - there was music in his Anglo-Irish background, but it wasn't encouraged and rarely if ever talked about. He says, "In my opinion there is no such thing as bad music. There may be bad players or bad singers but I don't like the idea of inferior music". The producer was Isabel Sargent.
1/13/201334 minutes, 14 seconds
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Sir Howard Stringer

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Sir Howard Stringer. Now Chairman of the Board and formerly CEO of Sony, he was surely the only Chief Executive who was a decorated Vietnam vet as he knelt before the Queen to be knighted. It gives you something of an idea of the breadth and height of his achievements. Born in Cardiff he went to 11 different schools before his 16th birthday and it clearly gave him restless feet. In the mid-sixties he headed to America where his first job was answering phones for the Ed Sullivan Show. He loved TV and it felt the same about him. He's won a raft of Emmys for his productions and worked with all the big beasts of the broadcasting jungle including Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and David Letterman. He has spent the last few years commuting between New York, Tokyo, London and Hollywood - the first and so far only westerner to run the Japanese giant Sony. He says - "I think I'm a bit prone to new adventures. The same damned impulse that got me in trouble by sending me to America in the first place compels me to take challenges when offered them." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
1/6/201336 minutes, 31 seconds
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Anya Hindmarch

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the designer and businesswoman, Anya Hindmarch. Given her first handbag by her mother at 16, she knew that her future lay in fashion. At 18 she went to Florence to immerse herself in Italian style, and ended up deep in the world of Florentine leather, getting samples made up of a duffel bag she'd spotted. An initial run of 500 bags sold out. Fast forward 25 years and her eponymous fashion business is globally successful with her designs much sought after. She's also known for her conscience and designed a canvas tote called "I'm not a plastic bag" as part of an environmental campaign to highlight our over use of plastic bags. She combines all this with a hectic family life. She met and subsequently married a widower 12 years her senior when she was 25. He had 3 children aged under 5 and they've added a further two to the clan. She says her life is like "juggling and dancing while having one arm and one eye at the same time". Producer: Alison Hughes.
12/30/201233 minutes, 42 seconds
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Dawn French

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dawn French. Her career started back when dungarees were considered a legitimate fashion choice and she's built her reputation on borderline surreal skits and glowingly warm characterisations. Brought up in a forces family she had to move schools a lot and found making people laugh helped to make them her friends. Since then it's made her a household name and she may be moments away from becoming a 'national treasure'. Double act partner, sit-com star, sketch show performer, writer, actor, Dawn has made us laugh for years. So does she ever feel overwhelmed by people's expectations? She says "I tell myself that I'm the sort of person who can open a one-woman play in the West End, so I do .... I am the sort of person who writes a book - so I do". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/23/201235 minutes, 12 seconds
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Sister Wendy Beckett

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the nun, writer and broadcaster Sister Wendy Beckett. For over 40 years she's lived the life of a hermit, rising every day at midnight to spend seven hours praying. Her home is a caravan in the grounds of a Carmelite Monastery where she spends her days in silence - speaking only once a day to the nun charged with delivering her daily food rations of skimmed milk, cold cooked vegetables and two rice crackers. Her self-imposed isolation has only been broken by the - frankly rather unlikely - occurrence of a television career. She is the nun who knows about art and her passionate and pithy critiques of the world's great works and hidden treasures have won her many devoted fans. With decades of solitude and prayer under her belt she seems, unlike nearly every other guest, to be perfectly cut out for a stretch alone on a desert island. She says "It's my apostolic duty to talk about art. If you don't know about God, art is the only thing that can set you free". Producer: Christine Pawlowsky.
12/16/201238 minutes, 45 seconds
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Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles. After flirting with Communism in his teens he joined the Conservative party and enjoyed a heady rise through local politics, heading up Bradford City Council in the 1990s. He tells Kirsty about his early life above a shop in Keighley, how Mrs Thatcher got him an interview to be a candidate for MP, and how a prolonged hug from David Cameron softened the blow of a disastrous appearance on Question Time. Producer: Alison Hughes.
12/9/201235 minutes
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Dustin Hoffman

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dustin Hoffman. In spite of his Aunt Pearl telling him he wasn't good looking enough to be an actor for the past forty-five years he's been crafting landmark movie performances. He is that rare and apparently contradictory thing - a character actor and a superstar. The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Lenny, All The President's Men, Marathon Man, Kramer v Kramer, Tootsie, Rain Man, Wag The Dog, and Last Chance Harvey are just a handful of the movies that contribute to an unparalleled body of work: he is the only actor in history to have top billing in three films that won Best Picture Oscars. Now in his mid-70s he is making his directorial debut. He says "I'm always fighting to break through... I'm trying to show you the part of me that wants to love, wants to kill, that wants to find my way out, that feels there is no way out." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
12/2/201236 minutes, 16 seconds
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Edmund de Waal

Kirsty Young's castaway is the artist and author, Edmund de Waal. His ceramics are on display in many of the world's major museums. They're delicate pots in shades of white and cream, informed he says by a great deal of thinking about literature. His written work has also won him several awards; his book "The Hare With Amber Eyes" traces the rich and dramatic story of his family's Russian Jewish heritage and the diaspora in Odessa, Paris, Vienna, and Tokyo. He says, "I make pots and I write. I'm not one of those people who by mistake became a potter or by mistake is a writer - they are both completely entwined." Producer: Isabel Sargent.
11/25/201236 minutes, 35 seconds
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John Lloyd

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the director, producer and writer, John Lloyd. His work has been making us laugh for over thirty years: Spitting Image, Not The Nine o'Clock News, Blackadder and QI are just a handful of the programmes he's helped to create. If the comedy work ever dries up he could open a shop selling second hand Baftas - he's won a stack of them and a Grammy and an Emmy. Which isn't to say it's been an easy ride - fall outs, multiple sackings and missed opportunities have peppered his stellar career in comedy. He says, "I like starting things ... there are starters and finishers in life, that's the great divide ... I like the fight and the passion and the difficulty - well I don't like it, but it's what I do". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/18/201235 minutes, 18 seconds
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Blanche Marvin

Kirsty Young's castaway is the critic, actress, and producer Blanche Marvin. Blanche has been immersed in the theatre for seven decades. She worked with James Mason, Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov and calmed the nerves of Tennessee Williams. She brought Samuel Beckett to an American audience and persuaded Peter Brook to launch a series of awards to encourage artistic risk-takers. A doyenne of the West End, she's at nearly every opening night and her reviews are read by producers on Broadway - looking for the next hit that could cross the Atlantic. She says: "people say, how can you go to the theatre for 50 years and still be enthusiastic? Every time I go, I think, Oh, I'm going to see something, I'm going to be surprised!" Producer: Isabel Sargent.
11/16/201237 minutes, 13 seconds
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Tidjane Thiam

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is businessman Tidjane Thiam. He's chief executive of the Prudential, but he's about as far from the archetypal "man from the Pru" as you can get. The seeds of his success were sown amid the complex political terrain of the Ivory Coast with an extended family heavily involved in politics and a father imprisoned for his beliefs. His life quickly took on an international flavour from West Africa to Morocco, Paris to Washington, but in his early 30s a coup in his homeland left him high and dry. He says "I had no job, no career, nothing at all. It taught me a lot about myself. If you've been in a situation where you have nothing there's nothing much you're afraid of." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
11/4/201233 minutes, 37 seconds
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Hilary Devey

Hilary Devey, businesswoman and TV star is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. The very incarnation of entrepreneurial spirit, Hilary Devey built a haulage network business from scratch, which now employs nearly eight thousand people and has an annual turnover of £100 million. She has a successful media career and is one of the current incumbents of the TV programme Dragons Den. The real drama in her life has happened off screen. The skeleton in her parents' closet reappeared in her own life. She's been married and divorced three times, her only child has battled drug addiction and a severe stroke nearly killed her in 2009. Despite this, she remains ambitious and energetic in the business world and says that there's no such thing as a glass ceiling. Producer: Alison Hughes.
10/28/201233 minutes, 30 seconds
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Mona Siddiqui

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the academic & commentator, Mona Siddiqui. Born in Karachi and brought up in Huddersfield, she's a rarity - a female Muslim theologian. As Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at Edinburgh University her analysis regularly sheds light on controversial issues affecting the Muslim faith. Her calm & reasoned standpoint can be heard regularly on the Today programme's Thought for the Day. Brought up in a house stuffed full of books, her academic promise revealed itself early on and despite dallying with the idea of journalism as a career, she finally followed the path her mother wanted for her - academia. She says, "I like to be in places where I feel my voice can be heard and I can say things of some value." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/21/201235 minutes, 28 seconds
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Noah Stewart

Kirsty Young's castaway is the American opera singer, Noah Stewart. He's a hit in opera houses around the world and his solo CD has topped the classical charts. Yet for a long time the closest he managed to get to the stage was as a receptionist at Carnegie Hall. He won a scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York though while waiting for his big break, he waited tables and did voice overs for Sesame Street. Blessed not only with rich, clear tenor tones he also possesses the good looks of a Hollywood film star. Brought up by his single mother in Harlem, he still lives with her when he's not travelling the world and says of the neighbourhood he grew up in, ... "for me it was hard to be there ... because I just didn't see many successful black men around... there were just not many of us who made it out". Producer: Christine Pawlowsky.
10/14/201235 minutes, 43 seconds
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Celia Birtwell

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the designer Celia Birtwell. In the ephemeral world of fashion she has endured; Marian Faithfull wore her creations in the 60s, Kate Moss is a fan today. Whimsical prints and flattering forms are her signature style and the vintage creations that she designed with her then husband Ossie Clarke now change hands for a small fortune. Her new ranges are highly collectable and fly off the high street rails too. Never one of the fashion world's flamboyant self promoters she has, none the less, a face known to millions - as a long time friend and muse to David Hockney she is the woman at the centre of his famous painting "Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy". She wants her work to be relevant because and says "there's nothing worse than being out-dated. If that happens and I feel I'm past it, I'll stop". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
10/7/201232 minutes, 48 seconds
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Ade Adepitan

Kirsty Young's castaway is the Paralympian & broadcaster Ade Adepitan. Wheelchair basketball's his sport and this year he partnered Claire Balding anchoring the television coverage of the 2012 London Paralympics. 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". Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
9/30/201232 minutes, 31 seconds
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Goldie Hawn

Kirsty Young's castaway is Hollywood's prototype dizzy blond, Goldie Hawn. Like most things in Tinseltown the image is somewhat at odds with the reality. Goldie is an Academy Award winner and producer who's been on the A list for 40-odd years, starring alongside Peter Sellers, Walter Matthau and Woody Allen. She's now transmuted from fantasy pin-up to best selling author - she writes parenting manuals and spearheads a childhood learning initiative. She tells Kirsty about her journey from dancing in sleazy go-go bars to bagging an Oscar, how she coped with the difficulties her early success brought her and how she met her husband of 29 years, Kurt Russell.
9/23/201232 minutes, 17 seconds
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Craig Brown

Kirsty Young's castaway is the critic and satirist Craig Brown. A prolific writer, he's lampooned everyone from DH Lawrence to Victoria Beckham and, earlier this year, he became the first journalist to win three separate prizes at the British Press Awards. He showed early promise - when he was 14 he started writing spoofs of Harold Pinter plays, and his characters have their own entries in Who's Who. Producer: Leanne Buckle.
8/12/201235 minutes, 19 seconds
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Baroness Campbell

Kirsty Young's castaway is the campaigner Baroness Jane Campbell. She was born with a degenerative condition and her parents were told she would not survive infancy. Now in her mid-fifties and a cross-bench peer, she's spent her adult life campaigning for equality for disabled people and was one of the leading voices behind the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. She recalls: "I found myself sitting in the middle of Westminster Bridge bringing the traffic to a standstill. The police didn't know what to do with us - whether to pat us on the head or, you know, put handcuffs on us. They were quite confused." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
8/5/201237 minutes, 9 seconds
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Mary Berry

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." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/29/201236 minutes, 55 seconds
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Akram Khan

Kirsty Young's castaway is the dancer and choreographer Akram Khan. A child of Bengali immigrants, he started learning Indian dance almost as soon as he could walk. Talent-spotted in his teens, he went on to spend two years touring the world with Peter Brook's Mahabharata. A keen collaborator, he's worked with everyone from prima ballerina Sylvie Guillem to disco queen Kylie Minogue. He says he was a shy boy and dance allowed him to communicate properly for the first time: "It was like being allowed to speak - and people taking notice of that and that's another problem because then you want people's attention all the time, so, every dinner party we went to, I said, Mum, are they going to ask me to dance? It became an addiction." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/22/201236 minutes, 54 seconds
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Simon McBurney

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor, writer and director Simon McBurney. It's 30 years since he set up the ground-breaking theatre company Complicite. It brought extraordinary physical deftness to the stage and its productions won every plaudit going - from an armful of Olivier awards to the Perrier prize for comedy. His mainstream credits range from TV roles in the Vicar of Dibley and Rev, to screen credits for The Last King of Scotland and Harry Potter. On stage, he's directed Katie Holmes and Al Pacino to critical acclaim in New York. Of his unconventional directing style, he admits: "Some people have said, it's a bit like going into the jungle with some mad explorer - who everybody knows doesn't have any idea where he's going - but somehow he gives people some sort of confidence to keep on going." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/15/201236 minutes, 59 seconds
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Martina Navratilova

Kirsty Young's castaway is the legendary tennis player, Martina Navratilova. In an extraordinary career she's won 59 Grand Slam titles - her last just a few weeks short of her fiftieth birthday. Her life off the court has been equally eventful - she grew up in communist Czechoslovakia and, as a teenager, threw rocks as Soviet tanks rolled in; tennis offered a way to see the world and she defected to the US when she was 18 years old. After thirty years at the top of her profession she retired - and says she finally found time for the rest of her life: "Tennis really was a total commitment, you didn't have much time for anything else. So, when I quit, I was going through something emotionally that most people go through when they're 18, 20 years old. Really having the time for personal relationships, developing friendships and taking the time with everybody. I think I've caught up by now." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/8/201237 minutes, 32 seconds
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Charles Jencks

Kirsty Young's castaway is the architectural critic and writer Charles Jencks. Born in America, for the past four decades he has lived and worked in Britain - where his designs are as likely to be found in sculptural landscapes as buildings. Perhaps his most significant legacy, though, is the work he did with his late wife, Maggie Keswick. They worked together to design Maggie's Centres - a series of practical and beautifully-designed buildings to give information and support to people with cancer. He says: "When you have cancer, there's many things which you have to do aside from the struggle - it's not just a medical problem, it's a social problem - of how you tell the children, how you tell your boss - and above all, as Maggie said, it's not to lose the joy of living." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/1/201238 minutes, 35 seconds
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John Bishop

Kirsty Young's castaway is the comedian John Bishop. Growing up on a Merseyside council estate, his early ambition was to play football for Liverpool - otherwise, he thought he might find a way out by winning the Pools or joining a band. The youngest of four children, his family were, he says, the kind that filled factory floors rather than lecture halls. Now a hugely popular stand-up comedian, it was a failing marriage and a sense of desperation that led him, one night, to a comedy bar. He decided to give it a try - it turned his life, and marriage, around. "There was a time where the stand-up was the thing that I think kept me sane - it was like therapy and if I stopped doing it, I would go backwards." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
6/24/201236 minutes, 4 seconds
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Ahdaf Soueif

Kirsty Young's castaway is the Egyptian writer and commentator Ahdaf Soueif. She was the first Muslim woman to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize and, from an early age, her life has been divided between Egypt and Britain. She was among the crowds in Tahrir Square last year, witnessing the uprising at first hand, and describing events for the world's media. She says: "Every once in a while there would be a surge of a few meters forward, as your friends, who were being killed at the front, gained you those three metres and your job, as the masses, was to move forward and hold the three metres." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
6/17/201236 minutes, 44 seconds
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Doreen Lawrence

Kirsty Young's castaway is the campaigner Doreen Lawrence. The life she thought was hers ended when her son Stephen was murdered by a group of young white men on a street in London in 1993. In the years since, her campaigning has resulted in a shift in public attitudes, laws being changed and policing methods overhauled. She set up a charity in her son's memory and has been awarded an OBE for services to community relations. She says: "My son was special and I think, what happened to him, I just wanted everyone to know and learn about him - but all the other things, the OBE, I'd swap all of that just to have my son back. When your children are young you take them for granted, because you think they're going to be there forever." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
6/10/201236 minutes, 27 seconds
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Margaret Rhodes

Kirsty Young's castaway is Margaret Rhodes. As the first cousin to the Queen, she has a unique insight into the life of the royal family. She used to spend her summer holidays at Balmoral with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret while, during the war, she worked for MI6 and lodged at Buckingham Palace. She attended the Queen's wedding and coronation and, in later life, worked as an assistant to the Queen Mother. Remembering the Queen's coronation, she says: "We had only just recovered from six or seven years of deprivation and blackouts and rationing - it was like the sun suddenly coming out behind a lot of very dark clouds and I think everybody felt that with a new young Queen, a whole new era was opening up. It was somehow exciting." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
6/3/201236 minutes, 21 seconds
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Denise Robertson

Kirsty Young's castaway is the agony aunt and writer Denise Robertson. She is, she says, one of life's survivors -- yet she seems to have had more than her fair share of tragedy; she's been widowed twice, dealt with financial hardship and lost a child to cancer. She's written dozens of novels and for more than forty years been an agony aunt on local radio, papers and television. She says: "There have been times when I've thought, just as I get things right, fate steps in and kicks the steps from under me. But then you pick yourself up again. When I started out, there used to be a joke, that one day I'd open a letter without saying, 'Oh I remember when that happened to me'." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
5/27/201235 minutes, 15 seconds
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Peter Ackroyd

Kirsty Young's castaway is the novelist, historian and biographer, Peter Ackroyd. As a child he used to walk the streets of London with his grandmother - an experience that, he believes, fostered his own love for the city. He was appointed literary editor of The Spectator when he was just 23 and has gone on to write dozens of books since. He has written a biography of London, as well as books about people he calls 'cockney visionaries' such as Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and, now, Charlie Chaplin. Yet, of the work he's produced so far, he says: "Every book for me is a chapter in the long book which will finally be closed on the day of my death. So that final book is the one which gives me a sense of achievement." Producer: Christine Pawlowsky.
5/20/201239 minutes, 33 seconds
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Baroness Hollins

Kirsty Young's castaway is Baroness Sheila Hollins. An Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, she has specialised in the health and welfare of people with learning disabilities; advising on policy and influencing attitudes. She started off as a GP, turning to psychiatry after finding a huge proportion of her patients were suffering from emotional and social problems. One of her four children has a learning disability and that has brought a focus to her professional ambitions. She says: "In many ways, I've always thought that our children are going to be different to any expectation we had of them and really the joy of parenthood is discovering who your children really are." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
5/13/201240 minutes, 35 seconds
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Tim Minchin

Kirsty Young's castaway is the composer and performer Tim Minchin. As a comic and musician he has sold out London's O2 Arena and won legions of fans. He wrote the songs for the Royal Shakespeare Company's musical Matilda - the production of Roald Dahl's children's story has been a smash hit on the West End, won seven Olivier awards and is due to transfer to Broadway next year. He says: "I'm not a magical thinker - I don't think I need my special undies on or my special pencil - I'm not superstitious about the process. I just took my childhood of reading Dahl and said, 'I know what this is' and wrote some songs." Producer: Isabel Sargent.
5/6/201234 minutes, 55 seconds
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Jamie Cullum

Kirsty Young's castaway is the jazz pianist and singer Jamie Cullum. His interview was recorded in front of an audience at St George's in Bristol and launched Radio 4's More Than Words Festival. Despite failing his grade four piano exam and, by his own admission, barely being able to read music, Jamie Cullum has become hugely popular. He is particularly celebrated for his live shows and in this very special recording, he performed three of his musical choices. Producer: Leanne Buckle.
3/25/201231 minutes, 49 seconds
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Anna Ford

Kirsty Young's castaway is the broadcaster Anna Ford. One of the first high profile women in news, she worked for Granada, ITV and the BBC before retiring after more than thirty years on our screens. One of her professional pairings was presenting the News at 10 with Reginald Bosanquet, she remembers how he would try to unsettle her during broadcasts: "I adored Reggie, he would land either obscene poems or love poems on my script just before I was to about to read it to camera and I would catch just a sight of this and it was almost impossible not to laugh." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
3/18/201237 minutes, 45 seconds
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Jackie Mason

Kirsty Young's castaway is the American comedian Jackie Mason. His one-man shows have been pulling in audiences for more than fifty years. Like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him, he trained initially as a rabbi - and quickly acquired a reputation for being very funny. "The people who heard my sermons kept saying to me; 'Rabbi, why aren't you a comedian?' I said to myself, maybe I should take the hint." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
3/11/201234 minutes, 21 seconds
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Patsy Rodenburg

Kirsty Young's castaway is the renowned voice coach Patsy Rodenburg. Her work at the National Theatre and the RSC has spanned decades and her students include Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Maggie Smith and Daniel Day Lewis. But her work takes her away from the stage too - she has coached politicians and helped offenders in prison. She says: "I did some work on Hamlet in a top security prison and the guy playing Claudius was a murderer and he spoke, 'Oh my offence is rank, it smells to heaven', and he just broke." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
3/4/201238 minutes, 8 seconds
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Brian Moore

Kirsty Young's castaway is the former rugby player and commentator Brian Moore. As a player he was ferociously competitive, he says his approach to the game was almost pathological and it earned him the nickname 'the pitbull'. By the time he retired, he'd earned dozens of England caps and played in three grand slams. But he discovered the obsessive determination he'd shown as a player was not so useful off the pitch. "In sport, the 'I won't give up', 'carry on training' and 'going again and again and again', that's rewarded because people say isn't that fantastic - but when it comes to normal life, you can't solve everything like that." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
2/26/201236 minutes, 28 seconds
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Lord Prescott

Kirsty Young's castaway is the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. In this frank interview, he describes life in the highly political home where he grew up, the impact that failing the school 11+ exam had on him and the gradual kindling of his own ambitions. He speaks of his debt to his wife Pauline and how for many years of their marriage he underestimated her. He describes, too, the inferiority complex which dogged him for much of his adult life: "All the attacks on me because of my grammar and kind of background, aggressive style - it used to ruff up a few feathers and whilst I would never let it show, certainly deep inside me I felt a bit inferior." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
2/19/201238 minutes, 6 seconds
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James Corden

James Corden, actor and writer of Gavin & Stacey, is Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor and writer . As a child he longed to act - he found early success in Alan Bennett's play The History Boys and became a household name for the TV show he devised and co-wrote, Gavin and Stacey. These days he's starring in the West End in the comedy One Man, Two Guvnors. It is due to transfer to Broadway in the spring and he says: "I'm well aware that this could well be the best part that I ever play on stage - it's a gift for any actor who has any interest in comedy. It feels like all my dreams come true." Record: Days Like this - Van Morrison Book: A book to learn the piano Luxury: A piano Producer: Leanne Buckle.
2/12/201235 minutes, 51 seconds
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Denise Lewis

Denise Lewis, Olympic gold medallist, is Kirsty Young's castaway. Her discipline was the heptathlon and it was at the 2000 Sydney Olympics that she leapt, threw, sprinted and hurdled her way on to the winner's podium. An only child of a single mother, she says her mum had always had ambition for her - and was there to witness her success. She said: "Her face said it all, there were tears in her eyes and for me it felt like, yes mum, we've done it together". Producer: Leanne Buckle.
2/5/201235 minutes, 52 seconds
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Sir David Attenborough

Kirsty Young's castaway for the 70th anniversary edition of Desert Island Discs is Sir David Attenborough. He has seen more of the world than anyone else who has ever lived - he's visited the north and south poles and witnessed most of the life in-between - from the birds in the canopies of tropical rainforests to giant earthworms in Australia. But despite his extraordinary travels, there is one part of the globe that's eluded him. As a young man and a keen rock-climber, he yearned to conquer the highest peak in the world. "I won't make it now - I won't make it to base camp now - but as a teenager, I thought that the only thing a red-blooded Englishman really should do was to climb Everest." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
1/29/201239 minutes, 44 seconds
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Vikram Seth

Kirsty Young's castaway is the author Vikram Seth. His novel A Suitable Boy was nearly a decade in the writing, but it was a huge and immediate hit and won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. He is now working on a follow-up novel called A Suitable Girl. He's due to finish work on it in 2013 - 20 years after the original work was published. The pace of work, he admits, is slow: "The sound of deadlines pushing past is one of the sounds that authors are most familiar with - it's very much in the gestational period." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
1/22/201237 minutes, 51 seconds
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Paul Johnson

Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer and historian Paul Johnson. He writes, he says, out of a desire to 'put things right' and more than fifty books and thousands of articles have flowed from his pen. His opinions have provoked, offended and enraged plenty of people over the years and sweeping works about modernity, morality, art and philosophy, sit alongside fiercely opinionated biographies and essays. He says: "I like to be, in general, in agreement with what most people think, but I also like to be a little bit independent and individual and, thank God, I've been allowed to do that all my writing life." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
1/15/201236 minutes, 18 seconds
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Dame Monica Mason

Kirsty Young's castaway is the director of the Royal Ballet, Dame Monica Mason. Her working life has been dedicated to dance. When she joined the Royal Ballet at fifteen she was the youngest dancer to be admitted to the company and, during her career, its legendary choreographer Kenneth MacMillan created five roles for her. She became director ten years ago and is due to step down this summer. She says: "I couldn't bear it if I thought that, behind closed doors, somebody was saying 'she's here again, you know', so I shall keep my distance and only go in when asked." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
1/8/201236 minutes, 55 seconds
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Sir Terry Wogan

Kirsty Young's castaway is the broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan. His career has spanned more than five decades and includes the chat show Wogan, the Eurovision Song Contest, the quiz Blankety Blank and for many years being the host of Radio 2's breakfast show. He says: "You have to create a kind of little club - you are not talking to an audience, you are talking to one person - and they are only half listening anyway. It's a mistake to think that everyone is clinging to your every word." Producer: Corinna Jones.
1/1/201237 minutes, 19 seconds
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Professor Brian Cox

Kirsty Young's castaway is the scientist Professor Brian Cox. In the press he's been called 'the pin-up professor' and his enormously popular TV series have been credited with creating the 'Brian Cox effect' - a surge in the number of would-be scientists applying to university. As a teenager he decided he wanted to be a rock star; he toured the world as a member of the band Dare and performed on Top of the Pops with his second group D:Ream. He says:"I hope, we're beginning to treat ideas almost like we treated rock and roll - I hope so, it would be wonderful, wouldn't it, if ideas were the new rock and roll?" Producer: Corinna Jones.
12/30/201136 minutes, 4 seconds
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Julian Fellowes

Kirsty Young's castaway is the creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes. He won an Oscar for his screenplay for Gosford Park and went on to write other feature films including The Young Victoria and Vanity Fair. Downton Abbey, which he created and writes, has been an enormous TV success with a huge audience. "Of course" he says, "if I had a clear understanding of why it had done so well, I would continue to write shows that attracted record viewers for the rest of my life." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
12/18/201137 minutes, 13 seconds
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Eve Pollard

Kirsty Young's castaway is the journalist and former editor Eve Pollard. She was groomed for success by Rupert Murdoch, but made an editor by Robert Maxwell. Her career has spanned glossy magazines and tabloid journalism, breakfast television, biographies and novels. When she first worked on Fleet Street, she says, women were such a rarity that the male reporters didn't know what to make of her. "Any woman who has a high flying job, they don't know who to compare you to - you're not their mum, you're not their sister, you're not their wife - so they make you a sort of monster-nanny figure." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
12/11/201136 minutes, 22 seconds
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Sir Martin Sorrell

Kirsty Young's castaway is the businessman Sir Martin Sorrell. He's been called "the world's most influential ad man," and is the founder and chief executive of the world's biggest advertising agency, WPP. He was 40 when he left Saatchi and Saatchi to be his own boss, he says: "When I started off, what I wanted to do was to build a company and manage it - I wanted to be an entrepreneur and be a manager." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
12/4/201137 minutes, 48 seconds
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Bear Grylls

Kirsty Young's castaway is the adventurer Bear Grylls. His first career was with the SAS, but he was forced to leave after a parachute jump went wrong and he broke his back in three places. As he recuperated, he rekindled his childhood ambition of climbing Mount Everest - he went on to become the youngest Briton to reach its summit. His TV series, Born Survivor, has a global audience of more than a billion people who regularly watch him eating the apparently indigestible and risking his life by pitting himself against nature. Married with three young sons, he says: "The unresolved struggle in my life is the fact that I have a job that has an element of danger to it and at the same time I have a gorgeous family - three young boys that are the pride of my life." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
11/27/201136 minutes, 41 seconds
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Robert Hardy

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor Robert Hardy. He became a household name as the vet Siegfried Farnon in the hit TV series All Creatures Great and Small and, to a younger generation, he is the Minister of Magic in the Harry Potter films. But the role he is best known for is Winston Churchill - he won a Bafta for his performance in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years. He believes actors are born rather than made and his own ambitions crystallised when, as a very young boy, he was a page boy at a wedding: "I walked down the aisle with my head held high and as I went, every eye was turned towards me and something inside me said, "That's it, get every eye on you". Producer: Leanne Buckle.
11/20/201139 minutes, 23 seconds
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Anna Scher

Kirsty Young's castaway is the drama teacher Anna Scher. It's more than forty years since she set up her theatre school and it has launched the careers of Kathy Burke, Martin Kemp, Pauline Quirke and Patsy Palmer to name just a few. It started out as a lunchtime drama club - and very quickly grew. Anna Scher says: "There were enormous classes - about seventy in a class - and a lot of those pupils were non-readers and so I fell into improvisation by chance. I found that it was a very effective way of character training." Producer: Leanne Buckle
11/18/201135 minutes, 59 seconds
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Francesca Simon

Kirsty Young's castaway is the children's author Francesca Simon. Educated at Yale and Oxford she initially thought she'd pursue an academic life - but within weeks of her son's birth, found that ideas for children's stories started flowing. She's now written twenty books featuring her creation Horrid Henry and they sell in their millions. She sees Horrid Henry as sitting within the long tradition of anarchic characters in children's literature. She says: "Everyone responds to Henry because I think everyone feels - however conventional they seem on the outside - that they are rebellious and unconventional, and Henry really taps into that." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
11/6/201135 minutes, 44 seconds
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Lord Victor Adebowale

Kirsty Young's castaway is the crossbench peer and social entrepreneur Lord Victor Adebowale. For the past decade, when not in the House of Lords, he has devoted his time to overseeing services for people who are homeless, suffer from drug or alcohol addiction and have mental health issues or learning disabilities. To many, they are the most disadvantaged people in society, but he says that's not a term he finds useful: "I find it very difficult when people use words like 'bottom of the pile' and 'disadvantaged' - you'd be amazed that the veneer that separates people who don't think they're at the bottom of the pile from people who are is quite thin." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
10/30/201135 minutes, 30 seconds
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Mark Gatiss

Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer and actor Mark Gatiss. His childhood passions have fuelled his adult creative life. As a boy he says he was drawn towards the macabre and gothic - while his teachers remarked that his school essays resembled scripts for Hammer horror films. He has written for - and acted in - Dr Who, was one of the creators of The League of Gentlemen and his re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes for a contemporary TV audience was a huge success. He says: "When I was a kid, anything supernatural drew me, I would try and find it in anything - Gardeners' Question Time - I would look for something." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
10/23/201135 minutes, 33 seconds
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Michael Johnson

Kirsty Young's castaway is the athlete Michael Johnson. He is the only person ever to hold world records in the 200 and 400 metres at the same time and, by the time he hung up his legendary gold trainers, his haul of medals included five Olympic golds. His upright running style earned him the nickname 'the duck'. He says: "They called me a really fast duck! I was ranked number one in the world - I'm so far ahead of the other people, why am I the one that's wrong?" Producer: Leanne Buckle.
10/16/201135 minutes, 22 seconds
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Vidal Sassoon

Kirsty Young's castaway is the veteran hairdresser Vidal Sassoon. He developed the architecturally precise bobs and cropped styles that were a defining look of the 1960s. Mary Quant, Mia Farrow and Twiggy were among the glamorous clients who came to his salons in London and Beverly Hills. His scissors and ambition lifted him out of the grinding poverty of his childhood - he spent six years in an orphanage because his mother could not afford to keep him at home. Now aged 83, he says:" I've had the best adventure you could possible have, for a kid that started from nowhere." Record: Mahler's 8th Symphony Book: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Luxury: A dozen bottles of Vidal Sassoon hair shampoo Producer: Isabel Sargent.
10/9/201136 minutes, 34 seconds
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Anne Wood

Kirsty Young's castaway is the children's TV producer Anne Wood. Her creations - which include Teletubbies, Rosie and Jim and In the Night Garden - have delighted millions of children around the world. She says she is driven by her fascination with children's creative development - and was horrified by the critical response when Teletubbies was first screened. "I wanted to make a programme that had love in it," she says, "You'd have thought I'd started World War Three the response that happened - it's innocent fun, that's all it is." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
10/2/201136 minutes, 28 seconds
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Arthur Edwards

Kirsty Young's castaway is the royal photographer Arthur Edwards. He is a Fleet Street legend and, for more than thirty years, has captured the most memorable moments of the House of Windsor - from the first tentative pictures of a teenage Lady Diana Spencer to the balcony kiss at the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. He's travelled the world, met the Pope and seen inside the Oval Office and the Kremlin - it's a life far removed from his early life in the East End of London where money was very tight and his mother saved up her wages as a cleaner to buy him his first camera. Record: Panis Angelicus Book: A photographic album with pictures of his family Luxury: An inexhaustible supply of tea and a kettle Producer: Leanne Buckle.
9/25/201136 minutes, 48 seconds
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Martin Clunes

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor Martin Clunes. He became a household name in the 1990s in the comedy "Men Behaving Badly" and, in the years since, has performed at The National Theatre, presented a number of natural history documentaries and become the gruff GP in the comedy drama "Doc Martin." His prominent ears are among his trademarks and he reveals that early in his career he turned down an opportunity to have them pinned back. He said: "I just didn't fancy it - maybe I hadn't noticed them". Record: Sailing - Rod Stewart Book: Puckoon by Spike Milligan Luxury: An electric guitar Producer: Leanne Buckle.
9/18/201135 minutes, 18 seconds
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Danny Baker

Kirsty Young's castaway is the broadcaster and writer Danny Baker. He is a Sony Gold award winning broadcaster with one of the most recognisable voices on our airwaves and his numerous radio and TV shows have brought him legions of fans. As a writer, he has put words in the mouths of Jeremy Clarkson, Ricky Gervais, Chris Evans and even the legendary George Burns. Despite the successes, he says he's never plotted his next career move: "No plan - certainly no plan - you've only got to look at the incredible way this is all botched together and yet I don't feel that's somehow lucky when you look around at some of the half-wits and boss-eyed bozos who people this business - and they're running departments. All of this is an ant-hill that somebody's kicked over, and I happen to be one of the more bumptious ants." Record: I've Grown Accustomed to her Face Book: The Most of S J Perelman Luxury: My blue suede shoes Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/31/201135 minutes, 35 seconds
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Heather Rabbatts

Kirsty Young's castaway is the businesswoman Heather Rabbatts. Born in Jamaica and raised in Britain, her early years were unpromising and she left school with just a few O levels. But after evening classes, she studied law and became a barrister before making her name as the youngest council chief in the country. She's at home in the toughest business environments - from Millwall Football Club to the Royal Opera House - and says: "I definitely like being in charge and I've always felt that I can gather everyone's spirits and energies to take that jump into the unknown together." Record: Que Sera Sera by Corinne Bailey Rae Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Luxury: A solar powered digital photo album Producer: Isabel Sargent.
7/24/201136 minutes, 22 seconds
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Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs. In less than five years he's gone from being an unknown stand-up with debts of more than £30,000 to become one of the most successful comedians in the business - with awards, chart topping DVDs and sell-out arena shows under his belt. He says: "I was on the circuit for years, I did get more and more in debt - it really did drag on and I just couldn't get a break. But when my chance came, I'd envisaged it so many times, I wasn't even nervous. I knew I could do it." Record: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - Ella Fitzgerald Book: The Complete Prose of Woody Allen. Luxury: A pen Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/17/201135 minutes, 47 seconds
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John Graham

Kirsty Young's castaway is the crossword compiler John Graham. Now aged 90, he works under the name Araucaria and, for more than fifty years, has infuriated, intrigued and entertained with fiendish clues and mind-twisting anagrams. Like his father and grandfather he became a vicar but, when divorce forced him to leave the church, crosswords provided an unlikely source of revenue. Of the skills needed to dream up cryptic clues, he says: "So much of it is something that goes on unconsciously. You see the word, you play with it in your mind, you don't actually think about the punters at all at that stage, you try and do it for yourself. I hope that it equips one for life in the sense that it makes one think more clearly and that can only be good." Record: Haydn - The Heavens are Telling Book: The complete works of Saki. Luxury: A telescope Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/10/201137 minutes, 24 seconds
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Tony Robinson

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor and broadcaster Tony Robinson. His Baldrick to Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder turned idiocy into an art form and the series went on to become one of our best-loved comedies. The role changed his life but, he says, when he first saw the script he didn't think much of it: "It was only about eight lines of dialogue and none of them were funny - but it was with these incredible people. On the one hand, I thought what a lousy part and on the other hand I thought, I'd love to work with these people". Record: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band Book: Middlemarch - George Eliot Luxury: A luxury bed and mattress. Producer: Leanne Buckle.
7/3/201135 minutes, 57 seconds
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Dame Harriet Walter

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actress Dame Harriet Walter. She has been a stalwart of the stage for more than three decades - winning great acclaim for her work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. Performing ran in the family - her uncle is the actor Christopher Lee and she remembers how, as a child, he would make her shriek by putting on his famous 'Mummy' walk to scare her. She turned down a place at Oxford because she knew she wanted to act - only to find that the drama schools weren't keen on her... she was turned down five times before securing a place. She says she has never thought about making clever career choices, but, in the year in which she has been made a dame, turned sixty and married for the first time, she says it has all turned out better than she ever expected. Record: My Baby Just Cares for Me - Nina Simone. Book: The complete works of Isabella Bird. Luxury: A flute Producer: Leanne Buckle.
6/26/201140 minutes, 58 seconds
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Len Goodman

Kirsty Young's castaway is the international dance judge, Len Goodman. He became a star of Strictly Come Dancing and the US show Dancing with the Stars, after a forty year career as a ballroom dancer and judge. Born in London's east end, as a kid he was a barrow-boy, selling fruit and veg on his grandfather's stall. He went on to work on the docks as a welder. But come Saturday night he would don his best threads and head for the Embassy ballroom in Welling. He was in his sixties when he found international fame and it was, he says, perfect timing. "If it had happened when I was thirty, I'd have been one these people that would be seen rolling out of nightclubs drunk, with a couple of dolly-birds on my arm. The pilot was on my sixtieth birthday and I think it was the perfect age because I was sensible by then, my feet were planted firmly on the ground." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
6/19/201136 minutes, 8 seconds
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Andrea Levy

Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Andrea Levy. Born in London to Jamaican parents, she has spent much of her career describing the experiences of Caribbean immigrants and cementing the role they have played in British life. Her books have found both a large and appreciative audience as well as critical success - Small Island was named Whitbread Book of the Year, while Long Song, was shortlisted for the Man-Booker Prize. Her achievements are all the more extraordinary because she says she didn't read her first novel until she was 23 years old. She says: "The reason I write is because I am exploring my heritage - and there's still a lot of that story untold." Producer: Isabel Sargent.
6/12/201137 minutes, 18 seconds
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Alfie Boe

Kirsty Young's castaway is the singer Alfie Boe. He is one of our most popular tenors and, highly unusually, is a sell-out success in both opera houses and musical theatre. The youngest of nine children, he left school to work as a mechanic - before being plucked off the shop-floor for stardom. However, while he's at home on the stage, you won't necessarily find him in the stalls: "I like good singers, I don't necessarily like one genre of music, I just like good singers, good voices and good songs," he says, adding: "I never go to the opera.... it's just not my world." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
6/5/201135 minutes, 40 seconds
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Roger Waters

Kirsty Young's castaway is the musician Roger Waters. As one of the founding members of the band Pink Floyd, he has seen huge critical and commercial success. But in 1985 he walked away from the group and years of acrimony followed. They were reunited for one final performance, twenty years later, for Live 8. It was a moment many of their fans thought they would not live to see and it was, he says, highly emotional. "We did a run through on the Friday night and it was remarkable, there were about fifty or sixty people working on the site, putting out rubbish bins or whatever it was they were doing and they all stopped and at the end they all applauded - that was a very moving moment." Record: Mahler - Symphony No.5 in C Sharp - 4th movement Book: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy Luxury: A grand piano Producer: Leanne Buckle.
5/29/201137 minutes, 54 seconds
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Debbie Harry

Kirsty Young's castaway is the singer Debbie Harry. Her group Blondie started out in seedy New York bars and went on to achieve international success - selling tens of millions of albums along the way. She was ultra cool - a striking beauty with platinum hair and a sneer. Now aged 65, her trademark look continues to serve her well, she says: "As far as ageing goes it's rough - I try my best - I'm healthy and I exercise like a fiend. I'm glad that I've had all the radical experiences in my life - it suits me." Record: Mahler's Symphony No.5 in C sharp Minor -4th movement Book: War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy Luxury: Paints and papers Producer: Leanne Buckle.
5/22/201136 minutes, 45 seconds
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Kwame Kwei-Armah

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor, director and playwright, Kwame Kwei-Armah. His creative output spans both high art and popular culture. He became a household name starring in BBC One's Casualty, but at the same time he was pursuing a career in writing and his award-winning plays have been staged at the National Theatre. He's just finished a stint as the artistic director of The World Festival of Black Arts in Senegal and his next posting is to the US, where he's taking over a theatre in Baltimore. Throughout his life, he says, he continues to be inspired by the joyful atmosphere he grew up in. "My home was so warm, so full of life and noise. Most of my theatre I call the theatre of my front room. My memory was just this citadel to love and joy." Record: Fight the Power Book: The complete works of August Wilson Luxury: A basic word processor Producer: Leanne Buckle.
5/15/201135 minutes, 49 seconds
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Molly Parkin

Kirsty Young's castaway is the doyenne of bohemian living, Molly Parkin. She left the Welsh valleys to train as a fine artist in London and was a successful painter then teacher before becoming a fashion writer and novelist. She is as well known, though, for her lifestyle as her work. She adopted a hedonistic approach to life - smoking and drinking through the night and picking up numerous lovers along the way. Now aged 79 she prefers to live alone and says she has found a calmer way of living. "I have been blessed, and made it my business, to surround myself with larger than life characters," she says, "love, on a very profound level comes unexpectedly and brilliantly." Record: Good Golly Miss Molly Book: The History of the Colony by Sophie Parkin Luxury: Her entire outfit including her Andrew Logan brooch Producer: Leanne Buckle.
5/8/201135 minutes, 5 seconds
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Prof David Phillips

Kirsty Young's castaway is the President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Professor David Phillips. His love of science has taken him on an extraordinary journey. At the height of the Cold War, he swapped a post in America for a place at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow, where he partied with the Bolshoi and was interrogated by the KGB. He is also Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Imperial College, but, despite his eminence, he admits his students had a 'professor button' fitted onto their hi-tech lasers. It was, he explains, a knob he could twiddle while showing visitors around the lab, but it wasn't connected to the machinery and meant he didn't ruin his students' experiments. Record: The Marriage of Figaro Book: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Luxury: A piano with music Producer: Leanne Buckle.
5/1/201138 minutes, 41 seconds
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Cath Kidston

Kirsty Young's castaway is the designer Cath Kidston. Cheerful and practical, her products nod towards the 1950s. She began with ironing board covers but these days you can listen to a radio decorated with one of her designs, pitch one of her tents or decorate the children's bedroom with her cowboy wallpaper. In her own room as a child she used to play at keeping shop. These days her business has a turnover of more than £50 million. "I really felt, from very, very early on, I was onto something with the notion of what I was doing," she says. "I remember feeling I'd really overstepped the mark when I opened my second shop - thinking, that's probably going a stage too far." Record: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life Book: The Larousse French/English dictionary Luxury: A hot water bottle Producer: Isabel Sargent.
4/24/201135 minutes, 13 seconds
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Felicity Green

Kirsty Young's castaway is the pioneering fashion journalist Felicity Green. As hem-lines headed north in the early 60s she was hitting her stride in Fleet Street. She was the first woman on the board of a national paper and, as society changed, she kept right up with it. She introduced readers to Mary Quant, Biba and Twiggy and, on one memorable occasion, gave Harold Wilson's wife Mary a home perm. Now in her mid-80s she is still mentoring students at St Martin's College and says "I have never been fashionable - fashion needs to be followed at a very, very respectful distance. My blue-print for fashion is to be simple and stylish." Record: Chan Chan Book: Finishing the Hat by Stephen Sondheim Luxury: A bronze sculpture by Giles Penny Producer: Rachel Simpson.
4/17/201136 minutes, 7 seconds
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Terry Gilliam

Kirsty Young's castaway is the animator and director Terry Gilliam. He first planted his foot-print on our cultural landscape more than thirty years ago - back then, it was a huge, animated foot which squashed everything beneath it and became one of the defining images of Monty Python's Flying Circus. In the years since, his film credits have included Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. Now aged 70, he's directing his first opera. He says: "I've always liked the extremes, the edges. I like to know where the cliff is, but you only find out by stepping off." Record: Ein Heldenleben Book: Dictionary Luxury: A mirror Producer: Leanne Buckle.
4/10/201136 minutes, 24 seconds
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Martin Sheen

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor Martin Sheen. In recent years he has won great acclaim and a Golden Globe for playing the leader of the free world in the hugely successful political drama The West Wing. He's made more than a 100 movies, including Apocalypse Now, Badlands and The Departed. For him, work is often a family affair, in Wall Street he acted alongside his son Charlie Sheen and in his latest movie, The Way he was directed by another of his children - Emilio Estevez. But away from the film set, he's an activist and campaigner - he's been arrested around 70 times and is motivated, he says by faith and conscience above politics. Record: Knockin' on Heaven's Door Book: The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. Luxury: A full set of golf clubs and a bag of golf balls. Producer: Leanne Buckle.
4/3/201137 minutes, 57 seconds
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Dame Anne Owers

Kirsty Young's castaway is the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Dame Anne Owers. A long-time human rights campaigner, she's spent years immersing herself in the problems of people on the margins of society. During the time she was Chief Inspector, the prison population expanded hugely. "The thing that saddened me greatly is that our prisons became better places but they also became places that soaked up a lot of money and into which we put a lot of people. My view is a lot of that money could have been better spent doing things that stopped people getting there in the first place and therefore prevented there being victims of crime." Record: Handel's Messiah Book: An Anthology of British poetry Luxury: A solar powered word processor Producer: Isabel Sargent.
2/27/201138 minutes, 33 seconds
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Lawrence Dallaglio

Kirsty Young's castaway is the former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio. He was capped 85 times for England, played in three Lions tours and led his club side, Wasps, to the top of the premiership five times. Yet, he says, he only started playing rugby seriously after the death of his sister, Francesca. She died in the Marchioness disaster on the Thames when he was 16 and her death, he says, blew his world apart. "Losing my sister was devastating. It made me more determined to do something to bring my parents together. When I first took up rugby, I took it up not for sporting reasons, I needed something to grab onto, I needed an olive branch." Producer: Leanne Buckle.
2/20/201135 minutes, 39 seconds
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Celia Imrie

Immediately recognisable as one of Britain's most versatile actresses she's worked in television, theatre and films over the past four decades. While she's taken roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company and in big budget films, it's her instinct for TV comedy - working alongside Victoria Wood and Julie Walters - that has made her a household name. Audiences loved the spoof soap opera Acorn Antiques and she won an Olivier Award for her role in the stage production. In the early days, though, she remembers the camera crews were unsure what was going on. "I do remember the cameramen watching what had been a very slick show up until Acorn Antiques and then just thinking, 'Why is this bit so bad? Why is the scenery swaying in the background?'" Record: Tiptoe Through the Tulips Book: The Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable Luxury: A cut glass crystal chandelier with candles Producer: Leanne Buckle.
2/13/201137 minutes, 34 seconds
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Howard Jacobson

Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Howard Jacobson. After many years of swiping at literary prizes, last October he walked off with the biggest one going, the Man Booker. His book, The Finkler Question, was a study of what it meant to be Jewish in England. It's a subject that has been very near to Howard Jacobson's heart. He says: "My sense of myself has always meant being on the outside. On the outside as a Jew, looking into gentile England, but also on the outside of Jewishness too. I have always felt myself to be on the outside of everything." Record: You're a Sweetheart Book: The Oxford Book of English Verse Luxury: A never ending supply of pressed shirts and trousers Producer: Leanne Buckle.
2/6/201138 minutes, 6 seconds
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Jon Snow

Kirsty Young's castaway is the journalist Jon Snow. For the past 21 years he's been the face of Channel Four's nightly bulletins where, along with his patent enthusiasm and vigour for dissecting the day's stories, he's noted for his natty line in neckties and socks. He's a highly experienced foreign correspondent too - he's reported from Haiti, New Orleans, Washington and East Africa among many locations. However it was in El Salvador that he found his name on the list of people who might be targeted by death squads. It was, he says, something of a 'badge of honour'. "I cry on location", he says, "and it's a good thing, because otherwise you bottle it up and come home bonkers." Record: Petite Messe Solennelle Book: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin Luxury: A set of watercolours and an endless supply of paper Producer: Leanne Buckle.
1/30/201136 minutes, 42 seconds
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Betty Driver

Kirsty Young's castaway is the veteran Coronation Street actress Betty Driver. For more than forty years she's been pulling pints and dishing up her hot-pot in the Rovers Return. But her career in showbusiness started decades before she took up residence on Britain's most famous street. She was a child when her mother put her on the stage and she toured the country with an act that showcased her stunning singing voice - it brought success but not happiness. "I did it for over twenty years," she says, "and hated every day of it." Although she has been working now for an incredible 80 years, she says: "I just love work and I will never retire. They'll have to shoot me to get rid of me!" Producer: Leanne Buckle.
1/23/201138 minutes, 10 seconds
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Rt Hon Alex Salmond

Kirsty Young's castaway is the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond. He has spent his political life campaigning for Scottish independence. As a schoolboy he stood in classroom elections - back then, he won on the canny ticket of half-days for all and replacing the school milk with ice-cream. He was a child when he realised he had a knack for public performance - he was a boy soprano who seemed to have a promising career ahead of him. He says: "If you can sing in front of thousands of people when you're ten or eleven then being Scottish First Minister is nothing in comparison." Record: Joe Hill sung by Paul Robeson Book: The complete works of Robert Burns Luxury: A Sand Wedge & endless golf balls for playing golf. Producer: Leanne Buckle.
1/16/201135 minutes, 38 seconds
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Gyles Brandreth

Kirsty Young's castaway is Gyles Brandreth. A former Conservative MP, he is also a some-time actor, broadcaster and prolific writer who has authored biographies, diaries, stage plays and mysteries. Pursuing a political career has been, he says, the over-riding ambition of his life. However the happiest moment came not from politics, but when he was performing in a West End show that he had written himself. These days, his ambitions are to return to the stage and the role he wants to take on is Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. "I have no complaints" he says; "my life has been one long series of tomato and marmite sandwiches. I've always had what I wanted." Record: I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face sung by Simon Cadell Book: The Complete plays of Anton Chekhov Luxury: Michelangelo's Pietà Producer: Leanne Buckle.
1/9/201136 minutes, 14 seconds
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Tony Iveson

Kirsty Young's castaway is the veteran RAF pilot Tony Iveson. Aged 21, he survived being shot down in his Spitfire over the North Sea during his first taste of combat in the Battle of Britain. Unusually for a fighter pilot, he then went on to join Bomber Command and the famous Dambusters squadron, sinking the German battleship The Tirpitz and winning a Distinguished Flying Cross. Aged 89 he returned to the skies, becoming the oldest man to fly a Lancaster bomber: "Well, I got out of that aeroplane and looked at it and it and thought how did we do it?" he says. "I know it was a long time ago and I was young and fit and a professional flier. But I thought about some of my friends who had been lost and it was an emotional experience." Record: Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor Book: A volume of Somerset Maugham's short stories Luxury: Two established vines and a tin bath to make wine Producer: Rachel Simpson.
1/2/201138 minutes, 58 seconds