Desert Island Discs

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

359 épisodes

15 septembre 2019 - 00:02082
Another chance to hear Lemn Sissay's Desert Island Discs from October 2015. Interviewed by Kirsty Young.As a poet, writer and playwright, much of his work tells the story of his search for his birth parents. Born to a young Ethiopian woman who wanted him temporarily fostered while she completed her studies, he was with a family until he was 12. He would spend the next five years in a number of children's homes where he began to write. On leaving care at 17, he self-published his first book of poetry while on the dole.Several poetry collections, plays and programmes for radio and TV followed and his work has taken him around the world. He was the first poet to be commissioned to write for the 2012 London Olympics and his success has also brought him two doctorates and an MBE for services to literature. He is about to be installed as Chancellor of the University of Manchester, an elected post he will hold for the next seven years. He takes writers' workshops for care-leavers and set up Culture World, the first black writers' workshop.Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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8 septembre 2019 - 00:02169
Another chance to hear Judith Kerr, interviewed by Sue Lawley. From February 2004.A writer and illustrator known to generations of children both for her charming Mog picture-books and for her careful rendering of the life of a Jewish child fleeing Nazi Germany. Judith Kerr escaped with her family on the day the Nazis were elected. The following day, police turned up at the doorstep in a belated attempt to confiscate their passports. The Kerr family moved across Europe, trying to support themselves and escape from the nearing threat, until they eventually settled in England in 1936. The family stayed in London throughout the war; surviving the Blitz and in fear of invasion. Judith Kerr wrote an autobiographical trilogy about her experiences and the books - in particular When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - have been used ever since as a way of explaining to children the horrors of the Nazi threat. Today, they are set texts in many German schools.She was always a keen painter but had never thought it could be a career; it was only when she had two children who enjoyed the tales she told that she decided to try her hand at picture books. Her first book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, was instantly successful when it was published in 1968 and has never been out of print. But it is probably her series of books about Mog the Cat that have won her most affection with children - over the past 30 years they have sold more than three million copies.[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]Favourite track: Kyrie - the Opening of Great Mass in C Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: A big, beautiful coffee table book of pictures by impressionists Luxury: Pencils and thick paper to write and draw on
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1 septembre 2019 - 00:02091
Another chance to hear Daniel Kaheneman, interviewed by Kirsty Young in August 2013.Widely acknowledged as one of the world's most influential living psychologists, his many years of study have centred on how and why we make the decisions we do.As a child, he lived in Nazi occupied France and he says that, from a young age, he already had a pretty good idea that he wanted to be an academic.He says "My mother had a big influence ... in fact I credit her with the fact that I became a psychologist ... because she got me interested in people and listening to gossip. I've been fascinated by gossip ever since."Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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25 août 2019 - 00:02291
Another chance to hear Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University, interviewed by Kirsty Young in July 2015.Well-known in scientific circles, at NASA and the European Space Agency, she came to the attention of the general public with her enthusiastic celebration when, as part of the Rosetta project, the probe Philae became the first-ever spacecraft to land on a comet - 67P - in November 2014. The spacecraft had taken ten years to journey through space and a decade was spent on the preparations.She was born in 1958 in Leeds as the eldest of eight children. She studied chemistry and geology at Durham University and did her PhD on carbon in meteorites at Cambridge, where she worked closely with Professor Colin Pillinger on the Beagle 2 project to Mars. She first worked at the OU in 1983 before joining the Department of Mineralogy of the Natural History Museum, becoming Head of the Meteorites and Cosmic Mineralogy Division. She is married to Professor Ian Wright who is one of the lead scientists on the Rosetta cometary mission and they have one son. She was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to space sciences and asteroid (4731) was named "Monicagrady" in her honour.Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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18 août 2019 - 00:02157
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
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11 août 2019 - 00:02152
Jo Fairley is a businesswoman and writer. She co-founded the Green & Black’s chocolate company with Craig Sams, her husband, and has launched several other successful ventures since then.Jo did not enjoy school, left at 16 with six O-levels and learned shorthand and typing at a secretarial college. She got a job with a magazine publisher and worked her way up through the features department to become the UK’s youngest magazine editor at the age of 23.Her move into chocolate came when she happened to try a couple of squares of a sample sitting on the desk of her future husband, Craig Sams, a health foods entrepreneur. Jo decided that it was the best she had ever tasted. She bought two tonnes of chocolate for £20,000, using all of the proceeds from the flat she had just sold. She and Craig launched Green & Black’s in 1991 and sold the company to Cadbury’s in 2005.BOOK CHOICE: Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Food Plants by National Geographic LUXURY ITEM: Her own pillow CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: I Wanna Be Like You by Louis PrimaPresenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
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4 août 2019 - 00:02419
Sir Tim Waterstone is the founder of the bookshop chain that bears his name. Born in May 1939, he was the youngest of three children. His father, who worked for a tea company all his life, served in the Royal Army Service Corps during the war, and so was absent when Tim was very young. Their relationship was difficult throughout his childhood. Tim was educated at boarding schools from the age of six, when his parents went to India for two and a half years. After studying English at Cambridge and a stint working in India, he joined Allied Breweries, moving to WH Smith in 1973. Eight years later he was fired and at this point he decided to open his own bookshop.The first Waterstone’s opened its doors in 1982 when Tim was 43. A further 86 bookshops opened within a decade. In 1993, he sold the company to his former employer, WH Smith. Five years later, he bought it back again as part of a newly formed group, HMV Media, but just three years after that, in 2001, he resigned as chairman. Since then he’s made several unsuccessful attempts to buy back the company which changed hands most recently in 2018.He recently celebrated his 80th birthday and lives in London with his third wife, the television director Rosie Alison.BOOK CHOICE: Oxford Book of English Poetry LUXURY ITEM: A Photo of his wife CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Dream of Gerontius by Edward ElgarPresenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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28 juillet 2019 - 00:02439
Dame Sally Davies is the outgoing Chief Medical Officer for England. She will take up her next post as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, later this year.She was born in Birmingham in 1949 to academic parents - her father was an Anglican priest and theologian, her mother a scientist. She studied medicine at Manchester University and after two 'brutalising' years spent learning the job on the wards, she welcomed the opportunity to move to Madrid as a diplomat’s wife. However, she decided that she did not enjoy being - in her words - 'an appendage', and so she returned to medicine in the UK, starting in paediatrics and then moving to haematology, specialising in Sickle Cell Disease. Her first marriage didn’t last and her second ended in tragedy when her husband died of leukaemia within months of the wedding.After joining her first research scheme committee in the late 1980s, Sally widened her remit. She became Chief Scientific Adviser to the Health Secretary and, in 2011, Chief Medical Officer for England. Her achievements include creating the National Institute for Health Research, a body to oversee the funding of research in the NHS, and working tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of anti-microbial resistance.Sally holds 24 honorary degrees and is about to return to academia, taking up her post as the first woman Master of Trinity College in October 2019. She is married to Willem with whom she has two grown-up daughters.BOOK CHOICE: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee LUXURY ITEM: Bubble bath CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Trumpet Shall Sound, from Handel's MessiahPresenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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21 juillet 2019 - 00:02660
John Cooper Clarke first achieved fame with his poetry during the punk rock era of the late 1970s. Born in Salford in 1949 to Hilda and George, he suffered from tuberculosis as a child and was sent to recuperate with a relative in Wales. He failed his 11 plus exam and was educated at a secondary modern school which he hated. However the one “rose in a garden of weeds” was his English teacher, Mr Malone, who instilled a love of poetry in John and his classmates.John had various odd jobs after leaving school at 15 and by his mid-20s, he was reciting his poetry in clubs around Manchester. His entry into the punk scene was helped, he says, by “already looking like a punk”, and despite some initially hostile receptions from audiences waiting for the Sex Pistols or the Buzzcocks, he acquired a cult status, going on to release five albums of his poetry set to music by former Joy Division producer Martin Hannett.By early 1980s, he was also in the grip of a heroin addiction which would see him write very little for over a decade. He cleaned up in the early 90s after marrying his second wife, Evie, and having a daughter, Stella. His star began to rise again in 2007 when one of his poems was used in an episode of The Sopranos and others were included on the GCSE syllabus, which led to collaborations with artists like Plan B and Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys.BOOK CHOICE: Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans LUXURY ITEM: A boulder of opium twice the size of his head CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: How Great Thou Art by Elvis PresleyPresenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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14 juillet 2019 - 00:02253
Marcus Wareing is a prize-winning chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and cookery book writer, who gained his first Michelin star at the age of just 26.He grew up in Southport, and by the age of 11 was helping out in his family’s fruit and vegetable business, which dominated his father’s life. Marcus assumed he would join the business, but his father told him to take a catering course instead, as the family firm had no future.When Marcus was 18, he moved to London to work at the Savoy. He loved the experience of life in a high-pressure professional kitchen and was quickly promoted. In 1993 he joined Gordon Ramsay at Aubergine, creating one of the most celebrated London restaurants of the time. He went on to launch a number of Michelin star-winning restaurants, often working with Gordon Ramsay and his company, before a much-publicized falling-out.Marcus now runs a group of restaurants in London, founded with his wife Jane, and since 2014 he has appeared as a judge and mentor on the TV series MasterChef: The Professionals.BOOK CHOICE: A Bear Grylls Survival Guide LUXURY ITEM: A knife CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: How Deep is Your Love by The Bee GeesPresenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
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7 juillet 2019 - 00:02269
Sue Biggs is the Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society.She’s been at the helm of the RHS since 2010 and during that time, its membership has grown to more than half a million people. The RHS is also renowned for its spectacular flower shows and garden festivals around the country, including Chelsea, Hampton Court, Chatsworth House and Tatton Park. Sue has had a lifelong love of gardening since her mum gave her a packet of seeds on her seventh birthday.She has enjoyed two very successful careers. Before her tenure at the RHS, she worked in the travel industry for 25 years, identifying new destinations for holidaymakers. She was the first woman to be appointed to the board of Kuoni Travel.In her current role, she strongly believes that horticultural work and expertise do not receive the wider respect they deserve. She was made a CBE in 2017 for her services to the environment and ornamental horticulture industries.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
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30 juin 2019 - 00:02486
Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, although his interests and expertise range far wider, from physiology to ornithology, history to ecology and from anthropology to evolutionary biology. His 1997 book, Guns, Germs and Steel, asked why Eurasian civilizations prospered and conquered others. It won a Pulitzer Prize and has sold more than a million copies around the world.He was born in Boston in 1937 to a physician father and a mother who was a teacher and a concert pianist. She taught him to read when he was three and he also learned to play the piano and developed a love of languages. Thinking his professional life would be in science, he decided to focus on the humanities at school, including Latin and Greek. After graduating from Harvard, he moved to England to pursue a PhD in physiology at Cambridge and became an expert on salt absorption in the gall bladder. He returned to the USA, and then his travels took him to New Guinea where he developed a passionate interest in ornithology and a lifelong love of the island which he’s continued to visit for the past 50 years.He has learned 12 languages, speaking several of them fluently, and has published six books and hundreds of articles. His most recent book, Upheaval, examines how nations cope with crisis and change.Jared lives in Los Angeles with his wife Marie, a clinical psychologist. They have grown-up twin sons.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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23 juin 2019 - 00:02782
Emily Eavis is co-organiser of the Glastonbury Festival. Together with her husband and her father, she masterminds the booking of bands and oversees the setting up of what is the largest greenfield festival in the world. The site itself becomes the size of Oxford town centre once it’s built and rigged, and when tickets for 2019 went on sale, they sold out within 36 minutes.Born in 1979, she was a small child when her parents, Jean and Michael, were inspired to make the Glastonbury Festival an annual event, although she wasn’t keen on the yearly invasion of the family farm. By her late teens, however, she had changed her views. She left Worthy Farm to study to be a teacher at Goldsmiths College in London but when, at the end of her first year, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Emily left and went home to help look after her and to help her father run that year’s festival.Emily never went back to university. Motivated by a visit to Haiti to look at Oxfam projects, she spent a few years in London putting on charity gigs, before returning home to work with her father running the festival. She married her husband, Nick Dewey, manager of The Chemical Brothers in 2009. The couple have three children and live on Worthy Farm.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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16 juin 2019 - 00:02386
Nitin Sawhney is a composer, musician and producer working in the worlds of music, film, video games, dance and theatre. He has released 10 studio albums, scored over 50 films and television programmes, and is known for his collaborations, with musicians and artists including Paul McCartney, Akram Khan, John Hurt and Andy Serkis.He was born in 1964 to parents who had emigrated from North India the previous year to work in the UK. His father was a chemical engineer while his mother taught English and later worked at the post office in their home town of Rochester. Nitin showed early musical promise when he took up the piano aged five, later also learning flamenco guitar, sitar and tabla. He was bullied at school at a time when the National Front was gaining traction and music became his sanctuary.After abandoning a law degree at Liverpool and completing an accountancy course in Hertfordshire, he became financial controller of a hotel, before leaving to become a full time musician. While at college, he met Sanjeev Bhaskar and formed a comedy duo with him which would become the radio and TV series, Goodness Gracious Me.His breakthrough came with his fourth album, released in 1999, entitled Beyond Skin, which was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Since then, his career has been in the ascendant: he has established himself as one of the most versatile composers for film, scoring pictures like Midnight’s Children and television programmes including the BBC’s Human Planet series. He received the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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9 juin 2019 - 00:02223
Professor Monica McWilliams is an academic, peace campaigner and former politician.In 1996, she was the co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected to a seat at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which led to the Belfast (Good Friday) Peace Agreement in 1998.She served as a member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly from 1998-2003 and was the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005-2011.She continues her academic research into domestic violence and is Emeritus Professor in the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University. She also specialises in conflict resolution and working with women who are in conflict situations. Alongside her academic work and peace work she currently sits on the Independent Reporting Commission for Northern Ireland.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
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2 juin 2019 - 00:02331
Lubaina Himid is a Turner Prize-winning artist, curator and Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire.Lubaina was born in Zanzibar in 1954. Her mother was from Britain and her father was originally from the Comoros Islands. He died from malaria when Lubaina was just a few months old, and so she and her mother returned to England. She studied Theatre Design at the Wimbledon College of Art and began organising exhibitions of works by fellow black women artists in the early 1980s as part of the Black Art Movement.Her own work focuses on black identity, often shining a light on the slave trade and the contribution made by the people of the black diaspora. She was the first black woman to win the Turner Prize, and was also its oldest winner, at the age of 63. She was appointed an MBE in 2010 and a CBE in 2018. She lives and works in Preston.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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26 mai 2019 - 00:02391
Derren Brown, illusionist and mentalist, chooses the eight tracks, book and luxury he wants to take with him if cast away to a desert island.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
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19 mai 2019 - 00:02356
Pat McGrath is a renowned make-up artist. She works with the world’s top designers, photographers, editors and models, creating images for the pages of the world’s most glamorous magazines. She and her team also work at the most high-profile catwalk shows in Milan, London, New York and Paris.She born and brought up in Northampton by her mother, who had a passion for fashion and make-up, which she passed onto Pat. In the mid-1980s, as an art student, Pat was captivated by the London club scene – the Blitz club, Boy George, and Spandau Ballet. By day she took on a number of casual jobs, but her interest in make-up continued and her break came when she was asked to do the make-up for Caron Wheeler, a member of the band, Soul II Soul, on a tour of Japan. Her career took off and within just a few years she was working with John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Dolce and Gabana, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Prada, Lanvin, Calvin Klein and Balenciaga.In addition to her work at the fashion shows and photographic shoots, in 2004 she became the global creative-design director for Procter and Gamble, where she was in charge of Max Factor and Cover Girl cosmetics. She was awarded an MBE for her services to the fashion and beauty industry in 2013 and in 2015 she launched her own cosmetics brand – Pat McGrath Labs. In 2017 she became beauty editor at large at British Vogue and won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the Fashion Awards.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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12 mai 2019 - 00:03078
Louis Theroux is a television documentary maker. He has received two BAFTAs and a Royal Television Society Award for his work which includes the series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and When Louis Met…Born in 1970, and brought up in south London, he is the son of the American writer Paul Theroux and the BBC World Service radio producer Anne Castle. He was privately educated at Westminster School and read History at Oxford, graduating with a first. He moved to the USA where he was introduced to the American documentary maker Michael Moore and started making segments on unusual subcultures for Moore’s show TV Nation. He was given his own series – Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends – by the BBC in the late 1990s and, after three series, he went on to present two series of When Louis Met…, which included Neil and Christine Hamilton, Max Clifford, Chris Eubank and Jimmy Savile.Since then, he has made dozens of documentaries, many of them in the USA. In 2016, he revisited his encounters with Jimmy Savile in the wake of Savile’s death and the surfacing of allegations of child sexual abuse. The same year, his only feature-length film, My Scientology Movie, was released. His most recent documentaries dealt with sexual assault on American campuses, mothers with post-natal mental illness, and escorting.Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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5 mai 2019 - 00:02005
Another chance to hear artist Tracey Emin's Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley, first broadcast in November 2004.Tracey Emin is one of the most successful and controversial artists to emerge during the 1990s. Her work was championed early on by influential art dealer Jay Jopling and later by the collector Charles Saatchi. Her work is highly autobiographical and confessional. A talented drawer and painter, she has attracted most attention for her art installations - including her tent, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With and the Turner Prize-nominated My Bed. Her art is adored and condemned in equal measure, but wherever she exhibits she attracts queues and has a room at Tate Britain dedicated to her work. She was brought up in Margate.
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