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Desert Island Discs

Author: BBC Radio 4

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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.

2045 Episodes
Professor Alice Roberts is one of the most popular science communicators in Britain today. As the presenter of the BBC archaeology programme Digging for Britain, she reveals the underground mysteries of our collective past to millions of viewers. Alice was born in Bristol and developed an interest in science from an early age – examining insects under her microscope in order to draw them and digging up bits of pottery in her parents’ vegetable patch. At the age of eight she was entranced as she watched a live feed which showed researchers at Bristol University unwrapping an Egyptian Mummy. Alice studied medicine in Cardiff and worked as a house officer doing paediatric surgery and then taught anatomy to students at Bristol University. She followed this up with a PhD in paleopathology, the study of disease in old bones, which led to her first television appearance as a bone expert on the Channel 4 series Time Team. Alice has written several books that explore human evolution and history and in 2012 she was appointed the first Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. DISC ONE: Monkey Gone to Heaven - Pixies DISC TWO: Temple of Love - Sisters of Mercy DISC THREE: Apotheosis - Austin Wintory DISC FOUR: Cherub Rock (2011 Remaster) - The Smashing Pumpkins DISC FIVE: Times Like These (BBC Radio 1 Stay Home Live Lounge) - Live Lounge Allstars DISC SIX: Sugar - System Of A Down DISC SEVEN: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. Composed by Ryuichi Sakomoto and performed by Phoebe Stevens DISC EIGHT: Coins for the Eyes - Johnny Flynn & Robert Macfarlane BOOK CHOICE: Middlemarch by George Eliot LUXURY ITEM: A kayak CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. Composed by Ryuichi Sakomoto and performed by Phoebe StevensPresenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Jenny Sealey has been the artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company since 1997: Graeae is a deaf and disabled-led company and a leader and innovator in accessible theatre. Jenny has directed opera as well as plays, and was the co-director of the 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony. Jenny was born in Nottingham in 1963, the eldest of four sisters. She lost her hearing at the age of seven following a fall at school in which she banged her head. At that time, deaf children were not encouraged to use British Sign Language, and so she taught herself to lip read, and stayed in a mainstream school, although she often found it challenging. She also continued to take ballet lessons, helped by an inspirational teacher who encouraged her to follow the form and movements of the dancer in front of her. She went on to study dance and choreography at Middlesex Polytechnic.After graduation, Jenny worked as an actor before becoming the artistic director of Graeae. In 2022 she was awarded an OBE for services to disability arts. Most recently she returned to acting and toured the UK with Self Raising, her one-woman autobiographical play. Jenny lives in London with her son and partner. DISC ONE: Handel: Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: No. 44, Chorus. Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth. Composed by George Frideric Handel and performed by The Sixteen Choir, conducted by Harry Christophers DISC TWO: Yesterday - The Beatles DISC THREE: Teenage Kicks - The Undertones DISC FOUR: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack DISC FIVE: Because The Night - Patti Smith Group DISC SIX: Spasticus Autisticus – John Kelly and the cast of Reasons to be Cheerful DISC SEVEN: If It Can't Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong – John Kelly and the cast of Graeae’s stage production of Reasons To Be Cheerful DISC EIGHT: Days – Kirsty MacCollBOOK CHOICE: The Complete Works of Armistead Maupin LUXURY ITEM: A photography kit CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Handel: Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: No. 44, Chorus. Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth. Composed by George Frideric Handel and performed by The Sixteen Choir, conducted by Harry Christophers Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
James Graham, playwright

James Graham, playwright


James Graham is an award-winning dramatist whose plays include This House, Ink and Dear England starring Joseph Fiennes as the England football manager Gareth Southgate. His acclaimed television productions include Sherwood and Quiz, based on the story of the so-called coughing Major Charles Ingram who was found guilty of cheating on the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? James was born in Kirkby-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire in 1982. He was a shy boy who was encouraged to perform in school plays by his teachers. He went on to study drama at Hull University where he wrote his first play Coal Not Dole! He took the play to the Edinburgh fringe and the reception it received from audiences encouraged him to carry on writing.After graduating he worked as a stage doorkeeper at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham where one of his personal highlights was looking after Danny La Rue, the star of the Christmas panto. His first London premiere came in 2005 at the Finborough Theatre in London with Albert’s Boy, which explored the arguments for and against nuclear weapons. In 2020 James was awarded an OBE for services to drama and young people in British theatre. DISC ONE: Disco 2000 - Pulp DISC TWO: Chatanooga Choo Choo - Glenn Miller DISC THREE: Up In Arms - Foo Fighters DISC FOUR: Syncopes - Gabriel Yared DISC FIVE: Your Disco Needs You - Kylie Minogue DISC SIX: Where Are We Now? - David Bowie DISC SEVEN: If You Came To See Me Cry - Katie Brayben (from Tammy Faye: The Musical) DISC EIGHT: Going To A Town - Rufus Wainwright BOOK CHOICE: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking LUXURY ITEM: A keg of Single Malt Scotch Whisky CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Where Are We Now? - David Bowie Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
The Honourable Lady Rita Rae is a lawyer and judge, and the current Rector of the University of Glasgow. Early in her career she was a rare woman in the heavily male-dominated legal world. She went on to work on many high profile criminal cases over five decades as a solicitor, an advocate and subsequently a judge in Scotland’s Supreme Court.Rita grew up in Plains, Airdrie, to the east of Glasgow. She was a shy child but earned the nickname ‘The Last Word’ from her parents because of her need to argue her case when she felt something wasn’t right. She was inspired to become a lawyer by her maternal grandfather, a noted advocate and anti-fascist from Naples.Her parents met in a munitions factory in Italy where her mother was working. Her father was a Scottish bomb disposal expert helping to dismantle munitions after the war. They married and moved to Scotland, but Rita and her brother were not accepted by her Scottish family because of their Catholicism. Rita became a solicitor in 1974, entering a world dominated by men. When told by a senior colleague that women were ‘emotionally unsuitable for court work’, she set about proving him wrong. She became a partner in her firm at the age of 27, and was called to the bar in 1982, one of just 13 female advocates in Scotland at the time. She was made a Sheriff in 1997 and a Judge of the Supreme Courts in 2014.In 2021 she was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow, the first female working rector in the university’s 570-year history.DISC ONE: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18 - III. Allegro scherzando. Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) and London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André Previn DISC TWO: “Ah! Dite alla giovine” from Act 2 of La Traviata. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, performed by Angela Gheorghiu (soprano), Leo Nucci (baritone) and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Sir Georg Solti DISC THREE: Mamma - Beniamino Gigli DISC FOUR: Aranjuez mon amour - Massimo Ranieri DISC FIVE: Cheap Flights - Fascinating Aïda DISC SIX: “The Flower Song” (“La fleur que tu m’avais jetee”), Carmen, Act II. Composed by Georges Bizet, performed by José Carreras (tenor) and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Jacques Delacôte DISC SEVEN: Ave Maria. Composed by Giulio Caccini (Arr. Brinums) and performed by Inessa Galante (Soprano), Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Aleksandrs Vilumanis DISC EIGHT: Climb Ev’ry Mountain - Peggy WoodBOOK CHOICE: The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples by David Gilmour LUXURY ITEM: A solar powered car CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Mamma - Beniamino Gigli Presenter Lauren Laverne Producers Paula McGinley and Tim Bano
Sandy Powell won her first Academy Award for dressing Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love, and has since won two more Oscars - along with a further dozen nominations - and three BAFTAs. Her credits range from Gangs of New York for Martin Scorsese to Mary Poppins Returns for Disney, and she's worked with many of the biggest current screen stars, including Leonardo di Caprio, Cate Blanchett and Al Pacino. Sandy was born in south London and completed an art foundation course at St Martin’s School of Art. In 1981 she got her first job designing costumes for the choreographer Lindsay Kemp’s show Nijinsky at La Scala in Milan. She later worked for the director Derek Jarman on his film Caravaggio and continued to collaborate with him until his death in 1994. She has also enjoyed long working relationships with Martin Scorsese and Todd Haynes. Sandy has won acclaim for her designs on films with historical settings, including The Wings of the Dove, The Young Victoria and The Favourite starring Olivia Colman, as well as the flamboyant glam rock world of Velvet Goldmine and the fairy-tale fantasy of Cinderella, starring Lily James. In 2011 she was awarded an OBE for services for the film industry and in 2023 she became the first costume designer to receive a BAFTA Fellowship. DISC ONE: Jeepster - T Rex DISC TWO: Adagietto, Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor. Composed by Gustav Mahler and performed by Orchestre de l'Académie de Santa Cécilia and conducted by Franco Mannino DISC THREE: Life on Mars? - David Bowie DISC FOUR: La Vie en Rose - Alan Dunn DISC FIVE: I’ll Never Fall in Love Again - Bobbi Gentry DISC SIX: Satellite of Love - Lou Reed DISC SEVEN: Where Love Lives (Come On In) - Alison Limerick DISC EIGHT: I Left My Heart in San Francisco - Tony BennettBOOK CHOICE: Josef Koudelka: Gypsies LUXURY ITEM: A lemon tree CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Life on Mars? - David BowiePresenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Clive Oppenheimer is a volcanologist, filmmaker and Professor of Volcanology at the University of Cambridge. His research has taken him on expeditions across the world, from Antarctica, where he discovered the camp of Captain Scott’s attempt to reach the South Pole, to Ethiopia where he was held at gunpoint by rebels. Clive was born in London, and fell in love with rocks and the stories they tell on visits to what is now the Natural History Museum. His mother survived the Blitz in London and his father escaped persecution by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. On a gap year trip to Indonesia, Clive saw his first volcanoes and realised both their natural power and their significance in human lives. He studied at the University of Cambridge, and completed a PhD at the Open University.He has taken part in and led expeditions to volcanoes all over the world, including Indonesia, Italy and Ethiopia. He is one of few Westerners to have worked in North Korea, where he was invited by the government to study volcanic activity at the culturally significant Mount Baekdu. He has also made three documentaries with filmmaker Werner Herzog about volcanoes and their scientific, cultural and spiritual significance. DISC ONE: Blue Rondo a la Turk - Dave Brubeck Quartet DISC TWO: Love Hangover - Diana Ross DISC THREE: Autobahn - Kraftwerk DISC FOUR: Lava - The B-52's DISC FIVE: Debaser - Pixies DISC SIX: Turangalîla-symphonie, Part VI Jardin du sommeil d’amour. Composed by Olivier Messiaen and performed by the Orchestre de l’Opéra Bastille, cond Myung-Whun Chung, with Yvonne Loriod (piano) and Jeanne Loriod (ondes martenot) DISC SEVEN: T’zeta - Bezawork Asfew DISC EIGHT: Hymn for the Dormition of the Mother of God - The Sixteen and Harry ChristophersBOOK CHOICE: The Vivisector by Patrick White LUXURY ITEM: A seismometer CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Debaser – PixiesPresenter Lauren Laverne Producers Sarah Taylor and Tim Bano
Cillian Murphy, actor

Cillian Murphy, actor


Cillian Murphy has received global acclaim for his performance in the title role of Christopher Nolan’s epic film Oppenheimer. He has been nominated for an Oscar, which follows the best actor award he picked up at this year’s Golden Globes. On the small screen he played the Birmingham gangster Thomas Shelby for a decade in the BAFTA-winning Peaky Blinders, which made him a household name. Cillian was born in Cork in 1976 and initially music was his creative outlet. His band Sons of Mr Green Genes, which he formed with his younger brother, was offered a five album record deal, but the boys’ parents thought his brother was too young and vetoed a career in music.Cillian changed tack and in 1996 was cast as Pig in Enda Walsh’s play Disco Pigs, reprising the role in a film version in 2001. His breakthrough film role came playing Jim the bicycle courier in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later in 2002 which he followed up with a starring role in Ken Loach’s the Wind that Shakes the Barley. In 2005 he played Dr Jonathan Crane - Scarecrow - in Christopher Nolan’s film Batman Begins, which was the start of their continuing creative collaboration.Cillian lives in Ireland with his wife, the artist Yvonne McGuinness, and their two sons. DISC ONE: The Boy in the Bubble - Paul Simon DISC TWO: The Wandering Minstrel - Séamus Ennis DISC THREE: Walter’s Trip - The Frank and Walters DISC FOUR: Bullet the Blue Sky - U2 DISC FIVE: Somebody to Love - Queen DISC SIX: Everything in its Right Place - Radiohead DISC SEVEN: We Can Work it Out - The Beatles DISC EIGHT: If I Was A Painter - Lisa O’Neill BOOK CHOICE: Samuel Beckett: The Complete Dramatic Works LUXURY ITEM: An acoustic guitar and strings CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: We Can Work it Out - The BeatlesPresenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Val Wilmer has photographed and interviewed many of the most significant musicians of the post-war years, including Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and many more. Val grew up in Streatham in South London, where a local record shop helped to nurture her love of music, especially jazz. Her lifelong passion for jazz and photography began at an early age: when she was just 14 years old, she persuaded her mother to take her to London Airport to see off the jazz legend Louis Armstrong who had been playing in the UK. She asked him for an autograph, then took a picture of him as he broke into a huge smile. The image was the first of many classic shots. Alongside her work as a photographer, Val has written extensively about music, as a journalist for numerous publications and as an author: her book As Serious As Your Life, examining the evolution of free jazz within the wider context of racial and sexual politics, has been widely acclaimed as a classic text. In 1983 she co-founded Format, the first all-female photographic agency, which aimed to champion women photographers and to widen the range of images available to newspapers and magazines. Her photographs are held in the collections of the V&A and the National Portrait Gallery. DISC ONE: Potato Head Blues - Louis Armstrong & His Hot Seven DISC TWO: Black, Brown And White - Big Bill Broonzy DISC THREE: Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8_1. By Kodaly, First movement performed by Janos Starker DISC FOUR: The Weary Blues – Langston Hughes DISC FIVE: My Lovely Elizabeth - S.E. Rogie DISC SIX: Criss Cross - Thelonious Monk DISC SEVEN: Dogon A D - Julius Hemphill DISC EIGHT: Love and Affection - Joan Armatrading BOOK CHOICE: The Collective Works of Langston Hughes LUXURY ITEM: Nail scissors CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Criss Cross - Thelonious Monk Presenter Lauren Laverne Producers Tim Bano and Sarah Taylor
Jamie Dornan, actor

Jamie Dornan, actor


Jamie Dornan is an actor who first came to the attention of television audiences in 2013 when he played serial killer Paul Spector in the BBC series the Fall. Two years later he starred alongside Dakota Johnson in the film Fifty Shades of Grey and went on to play the same part in the rest of the trilogy. In 2022 he was the lead in the BBC drama the Tourist which was watched by millions of viewers and recently returned for its second season.Jamie was born in Holywood in County Down. At 10 he played Widow Twankey in the school pantomime - a defining moment for him when he experienced the thrill of playing to a live audience.After dropping out of university Jamie became a model and worked on big campaigns for some leading fashion brands before landing his first acting part in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette in 2006. His role in the Fall was his big break and the Fifty Shades films catapulted him to movie star status.In 2021 he played Pa in the film Belfast which was written and directed by Kenneth Branagh about his own childhood, growing up at the beginning of the Troubles.Jamie is married to the musician and composer Amelia Warner and they have three children.DISC ONE: Caravan - Van Morrison DISC TWO: Violin Concerto No. 1: II. Composed by Philip Glass and performed by Adele Anthony (violin) and Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Takuo Yuasa DISC THREE: Hoppípolla - Sigur Rós DISC FOUR: Bridge over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel DISC FIVE: Metarie - Brendan Benson DISC SIX: Forever – The Beach Boys DISC SEVEN: Something - The Beatles DISC EIGHT: The Whole of the Moon – The WaterboysBOOK CHOICE: Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak LUXURY ITEM: A golf club and balls CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Forever – The Beach Boys Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Sheku Kanneh-Mason is a cellist who came to international attention when he performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018. Still only 24, he has performed at a series of high profile locations including the Hollywood Bowl and Downing Street. Last year he was a soloist at the Last Night of the Proms. Sheku was brought up in Nottingham along with his six siblings who are also extremely talented musicians. At six-years-old he went to a concert by the Nottingham Youth Orchestra where he was transfixed by the cello section. He started having lessons not long afterwards and by the age of nine he’d completed all of his music grades – receiving the highest marks in the country. At 17 he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition.He went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music and made his debut at the BBC Proms as a soloist with the Chineke! Orchestra in 2017.In 2020 he was appointed an MBE for services to music and two years later became the Royal Academy of Music’s first Menuhin Visiting Professor of Performance Mentoring.DISC ONE: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op.85 - 1st movement: Adagio – Moderato. Composed by Edward Elgar and performed by Jacqueline du Pré, with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli DISC TWO: Rivers of Babylon -The Melodians DISC THREE: Dat - Pluto Shervington DISC FOUR: String Quartet in C major, Op 20 No. 2, Capriccio: Adagio. Composed by Joseph Haydn and performed by The London Haydn Quartet DISC FIVE: Chances Are - Bob Marley DISC SIX: Requiem in D minor, K. 626 , Introitus 1 – Requiem. Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed by the Monteverdi Choir DISC SEVEN: Symphony No.11 'The Year 1905' - II. The 9th January; Adagio. Composed by Dmitri Shostakovich and performed by The Moscow Philharmonic, conducted by Kirill Kondrashin DISC EIGHT: Largo from Organ Sonata No.5 in C major, BWV 529. Composed by Johan Sebastian Bach and performed by Samuel FeinbergBook: The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Richard Feynman Luxury: A cello and strings CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Requiem in D minor, K. 626 , Introitus 1 – Requiem. Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed by the Monteverdi ChoirPresenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani is the Bishop of Chelmsford. She also sits in Parliament as a Lord Spiritual and last year she played a prominent role in the Coronation, administering Holy Communion to the King and Queen. She was born in Isfahan, central Iran, the youngest of four children to Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, the first ethnic Iranian Anglican Bishop of his country, and his wife Margaret. In 1980, in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, her family were targeted and forced to leave the country. She arrived in the UK aged 13 as a refugee. Four decades on, Guli has yet to set foot on Iranian soil.She was ordained as a deacon in 1998 and a priest the following year. She was consecrated a bishop in November 2017, making her the first woman from a minority ethnic background to be ordained as an Anglican bishop in the UK.She is the lead Bishop for Housing for the Church of England and is a contributor to BBC Radio 4s Thought for the Day. She is married to Lee, who is a priest, and they have three children.DISC ONE: Requiem in D Minor, Op. 48: VI. Libera me. Composed by Gabriel Fauré and performed by Stephen Varcoe (baritone), The Cambridge Singers, conducted by John Rutter DISC TWO: Morgh-e Sahar - Homayoun Shajarian and Dastan Ensemble DISC THREE: Ride on Time - Black Box DISC FOUR: Miniatures for Piano Trio. Set 2: No. 4, Romance. Composed by Frank Bridge and performed by Alexander Chaushian and Ashley Wass DISC FIVE: Variations on Bahram’s Melody. Composed by Bahram Dehqani-Tafti and performed by Gabriel Francis-Dehqani with Fiona Sweeney, Krystof Kohout and Will Harmer DISC SIX: Take me to Church - Sinead O’Connor DISC SEVEN: Sovereign Light Café - Keane DISC EIGHT: Mahi - Golnar Shahyar, Mahan Mirarab, (feat. Luis Guerra)BOOK CHOICE: The Book of Kings LUXURY ITEM: Photo albums CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Requiem in D Minor, Op. 48: VI. Libera me. Composed by Gabriel Fauré and performed by Stephen Varcoe (baritone), The Cambridge Singers, conducted by John Rutter Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Graham Nash, musician

Graham Nash, musician


Graham William Nash is a musician, singer, songwriter and photographer. He had his first musical success as a member of the UK band The Hollies before his move to America when he sang as part of Crosby, Stills and Nash.Graham was born in 1942 and grew up in Salford. He found his singing voice at the age of six when he realised that not only could he sing, but he had the ability to harmonise any melody. He is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Over the years, Graham has written many hit songs for The Hollies and Crosby, Stills and Nash including Our House and Marrakesh Express. Alongside his critically acclaimed musical career, Graham is also a successful photographer. His photos have been on show in galleries and museums around the world. He lives in New York with his third wife.DISC ONE: Be-bop-a-Lula - Gene Vincent DISC TWO: Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis DISC THREE: Maybe Baby - Buddy Holly and the Crickets DISC FOUR: Bye Bye Love - The Everly Brothers DISC FIVE: God Only Knows - The Beach Boys DISC SIX: Adagio for Strings, composed by Samuel Barber and performed by City of London Sinfonia conducted, by Richard Hickox DISC SEVEN: Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush DISC EIGHT: A Day In The Life - The BeatlesBOOK CHOICE: The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto LUXURY ITEM: A sleeping bag CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: A Day In The Life - The BeatlesPresenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
Delia Smith CH CBE is one of Britain’s most popular and successful cookery writers and broadcasters. Her first book, How to Cheat at Cooking, was published in 1971 and she presented her first television series, Family Fare, two years later. Since then she has presented many more series and her books have sold more than 21 million copies in the UK alone. Her widespread influence has led to the phrase ‘the Delia effect’, when large numbers of shoppers sought out her recommendations. Delia was born in Woking in 1941, and grew up in Bexleyheath. She attended the local secondary modern school, but left without any qualifications. She eventually found work as a pot washer and then a waitress in a French restaurant in London, where the chef encouraged her interest in cooking and food. In 1969 she landed the job of cookery writer on the Daily Mirror’s new colour supplement. There she honed her simple, no-nonsense instructions and met her husband, Michael Wynn-Jones.She hung up her apron in 2013 to spend more time on her other passion - football. Delia and Michael have been long-standing supporters – and, since 1996, majority shareholders - of Norwich City FC. She lives in Suffolk countryside in the same cottage she and Michael bought as their first home. DISC ONE: The Sound of Silence - Paul Simon DISC TWO: Within You Without You - The Beatles DISC THREE: Gnossienne No 1. Composed by Erik Satie and performed by Alexandre Tharaud DISC FOUR: Caruso – composed by Lucio Dalla and performed by Luciano Pavarotti DISC FIVE: Kyrie: Call To Prayer – Muezzin from the Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo. Performed by Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Choristers of St. George's Chapel, Windsor and composed by David Fanshawe DISC SIX: This Woman's Work - Kate Bush DISC SEVEN: He Moved Through the Fair - Sinéad O'Connor DISC EIGHT: Happy - Pharrell WilliamsBOOK CHOICE: Sister Wendy’s 100 Best-loved Paintings by Wendy Beckett LUXURY ITEM: The Desert Island Discs archive CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Kyrie: Call To Prayer – Muezzin from the Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo. Composed by David Fanshawe and performed by Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Choristers of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
Greta Gerwig is the director of the feature film Barbie - the first woman in cinematic history to have the sole director’s credit for a billion dollar blockbuster. Her previous films include Lady Bird, inspired in part by her own childhood, and Little Women, a widely acclaimed adaptation of the much-loved novel. Greta was born and brought up in Sacramento in California. Her parents encouraged her love of the arts and she started trying to direct her friends in productions while she was still in kindergarten. She studied English and Philosophy at Barnard College in New York where she started acting and writing.After she graduated she appeared in a series of low budget, improvised, so-called mumblecore films, noted for their often low-key naturalistic style. Her solo directorial debut came in 2017 with Lady Bird, starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. The film won two Golden Globe Awards and was nominated for five Academy Awards. Her follow up film, Little Women, received six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.Greta has been named president of the jury for next year's Cannes Film Festival. She lives with her partner, the writer and director Noah Baumbach, and two sons in Manhattan. DISC ONE: Opening: I Hope I Get It - Don Pippin, A Chorus Line Orchestra, A Chorus Line Ensemble DISC TWO: Pinball Wizard - The Who DISC THREE: Sleigh Ride - Johnny Mathis, Percy Faith & His Orchestra DISC FOUR: And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind - Elvis Presley DISC FIVE: Moonage Daydream - David Bowie DISC SIX: Top Hat, White Tie and Tails - Johnny Green & His Orchestra, Fred Astaire DISC SEVEN: Camelot: Finale Ultimo - Camelot Orchestra conducted by Franz Allers, Original Broadway Cast of Camelot DISC EIGHT: Ain't Got No / I Got Life - Nina Simone BOOK CHOICE: The Complete Poems: Emily Dickinson LUXURY ITEM: A writing set CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Sleigh Ride - Johnny Mathis, Percy Faith & His Orchestra Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Shirley Ballas is the head judge on Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC’s Saturday night entertainment show, which regularly attracts an audience of many millions. Known as the Queen of Latin dancing, she joined the show in 2017 after a long career as a competitive dancer and teacher. Shirley was born in Wallasey in 1960. She discovered dance as a seven-year-old when she started taking classes in her local church hall. With a combination of natural flair and hard graft she began winning competitions with her partners. In 1980, while she was still an amateur, she met Sammy Stopford who was ranked seventh in the world as a professional Latin dancer. Together they shot up the rankings and became known as the ‘non-stop Stopfords’.In 1984 she divorced Sammy and the following year she married Corky Ballas, an amateur dancer from Houston. Shirley set about training Corky to become a professional and in 1995 they won the British Open to the World Championships – a feat they repeated the following year.In 1996 Shirley retired from competitive dancing to concentrate on coaching dancers and judging competitions. In 2017 she joined Strictly Come Dancing, replacing her friend and former teacher Len Goodman as head judge. Shirley lives in south London with her mother Audrey and her boyfriend, the actor Danny Taylor.DISC ONE: Get Lucky - Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers DISC TWO: Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash DISC THREE: Moon River - Frank Sinatra DISC FOUR: Sherry - The Four Seasons DISC FIVE: Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana DISC SIX: You To Me Are Everything - The Real Thing DISC SEVEN: Highs and Lows - Alexander Jean DISC EIGHT: We’ve Only Just Begun - The Carpenters BOOK CHOICE: Unleash the Power Within by Tony Robbins LUXURY ITEM: Cotton knickers CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Highs and Lows - Alexander Jean Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Marina Abramović is an artist renowned for performances and feats of endurance, in which her body is pushed to its limits. She has moved, scandalised and delighted audiences for half a century, and is now celebrated by world-leading galleries and institutions. Marina was born in Belgrade in 1946. Her parents were honoured as war heroes for their work for the Partisan resistance movement, and both took up senior roles in the post-war Yugoslav government. Marina became interested in painting during her childhood, and went on to study art. She first made her name as a performance artist in her 20s, creating events which often shocked viewers – and were equally traumatic for her. In 1974 she placed 72 objects, including sharp tools, a whip and a loaded pistol, on a table and invited gallery goers to use them on her, however they wished. She was attacked and left scarred, and part of her hair went white. For many years she led a nomadic existence, creating works with her partner, the German artist Ulay. In 1997, in response to the war in Bosnia, she created a prize-winning work for the Venice Biennale, in which for four days she attempted to scrub the blood from a vast pile of cow bones. In 2010 her exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York attracted almost a million people, many queuing for hours for a chance to sit opposite her in silence as part of her marathon performance The Artist is Present. More recently her work has been celebrated in a major retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy in London, along with performances at English National Opera, marking the centenary of Maria Callas. DISC ONE: Aria from The Goldberg Variations. Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach German composer and musician, performed by Igor Levit DISC TWO: Norma, Act 1: "Casta diva". Composed by Vincenzo Bellini, performed by Maria Callas (soprano) and Coro del Teatro alla Scala di Milano DISC THREE: 4 Degrees - Anohni DISC FOUR: Paloma Negra - Chavela Vargas DISC FIVE: Private Dancer - Tina Turner DISC SIX: Sherab Nyingpo Mantra (The Heart Sutra) - Tashi Lhumpo Monks DISC SEVEN: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467 - 2. Andante. Composed by Mozart and performed by Mitsuko Uchida (piano), with the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Tate DISC EIGHT: Rum And Coca-Cola - The Andrews Sisters BOOK CHOICE: In Search of the Miraculous by Peter D Ouspensky LUXURY ITEM: A cashmere blanket CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Sherab Nyingpo Mantra (The Heart Sutra) - Tashi Lhunpo MonksPresenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
Dr Nicky Fox is only the second woman to hold the post of Head of Science at NASA since the agency was founded in 1958. She has responsibility for around a hundred missions which are investigating the mysteries of outer space. These missions are tackling questions such as how do hurricanes form and are we alone in the universe.Nicky was born in Hitchin in Hertfordshire and her father introduced her to the wonders of space when she was just a few months old. In 1969 he lifted her out of her cot to watch the television coverage of the Apollo 11 mission when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Nicky’s enduring fascination with the cosmos led her to study physics at Imperial College in London.After completing her PhD she took up a post-doctoral fellowship at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland. In 2010 she became the project scientist for the Parker Solar Probe, humanity’s first mission to a star, which launched in 2018 and is still flying through the sun’s atmosphere collecting data. Recently she oversaw the Osiris-Rex mission which brought back the first asteroid samples from deep space.In 2021 Nicky was awarded the American Astronautical Society’s Carl Sagan Memorial Award for her leadership in the field of Heliophysics. DISC ONE: The Best – Tina Turner DISC TWO: Livin’ On A Prayer - Bon Jovi DISC THREE: Lara’s Theme - MGM Studio Orchestra, composed and conducted by Maurice Jarre DISC FOUR: Danny Boy - Andy Williams DISC FIVE: When You Know - Shawn Colvin DISC SIX: (Reach Up for the) Sunrise - Duran Duran DISC SEVEN: Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day DISC EIGHT: Canyon Moon - Harry StylesBOOK CHOICE: Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan LUXURY ITEM: Lego CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green DayPresenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Pia Sinha is the Director of the Prison Reform Trust and a former prison governor. She was awarded the St Martin’s Award for Prison Governance for her role in turning around HMP Liverpool, which was widely described as Britain’s worst jail in 2018, following a highly critical report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons. Pia was born in north India and she and her family came to the UK when she was 14. After studying economics and psychology at university, she pursued a career as a psychologist, and her work took into prisons. Whilst she was training, she also ran a London pub with her first husband. After many years working as a psychologist in male and female prisons she was encouraged to apply for the Senior Prison Manager Programme aimed at training governors of the future. In 2013 she became the governor of HMP Thorn Cross, and was the first Asian woman to a run a prison in England and Wales. Earlier this year she joined the Prison Reform Trust as its Director. DISC ONE: Kathy’s Song - Simon & Garfunkel DISC TWO: Ek Ladki Ko Dekha - Kumar Sanu DISC THREE: Back to Life - Soul II Soul DISC FOUR: Melt - Leftfield DISC FIVE: Andmoreagain - Love DISC SIX: Black (featuring Norah Jones) - Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi DISC SEVEN: The Power of Love - Frankie Goes to Hollywood DISC EIGHT: Hometown Glory - AdeleBOOK CHOICE: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry LUXURY ITEM: Chilli sauce CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Kathy’s Song - Simon & Garfunkel Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
Peter White, broadcaster

Peter White, broadcaster


Peter White is an award-winning broadcaster. In 2024 he will celebrate 50 years presenting Radio 4’s In Touch, the programme for blind and visually impaired people. He is also one of the presenters of the network’s consumer series, You and Yours.Peter was born in 1947 and has been blind since birth. Like his older brother Colin, he has a rare genetic anomaly that meant his optic nerve hadn’t developed properly. From the age of five he boarded at The Royal School of Industry for the Blind where he excelled at Braille and won national reading competitions for several years running. He completed his secondary education at Worcester College for the Blind. In 1970 he turned up in the reception for the new local radio station BBC Solent and announced that he wanted to present programmes for them. They took him on and he went on to report and present for Link, the station’s programme for blind people. Years later he presented Viewpoint, a two hour live, mainstream mid-morning programme on Radio Solent. His appointment was featured on the 9 O’clock news as he was the first blind presenter to host a live daily topical programme.In 1995 he was appointed the BBC's Disability Affairs Correspondent - the first totally blind person to produce as well as present reports for television news. Peter has presented other Radio 4 programmes including No Triumph, No Tragedy and Blind Man on the Rampage. In 1998 he was appointed MBE for services to broadcasting. Peter lives in Marple, Greater Manchester with his second wife Jackie.DISC ONE: Somebody Who Loves You - Joan Armatrading DISC TWO: An extract from Hancock’s Half Hour - Sunday Afternoon at Home with Tony Hancock. With Sidney James, Bill Kerr, Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams DISC THREE: Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye - Ella Fitzgerald DISC FOUR: Badge - Cream DISC FIVE: Albatross - Judy Collins DISC SIX: The Banks of Green Willow. Composed by George Butterworth and performed by The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner DISC SEVEN: My Old Man - Joni Mitchell DISC EIGHT: We Can Work It Out – The BeatlesBOOK CHOICE: The 1962 edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack LUXURY ITEM: Pear drops CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Albatross - Judy Collins Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
Lea Salonga was just 18 when she became an international theatre star, taking a leading role in the world premiere production of the musical Miss Saigon in 1989. Her performance - first in London, then on Broadway - won her Olivier and Tony awards. She has provided the singing voice for two Disney princesses, and has become a strong advocate for better Asian representation on stage and screen. She was born in Manila in the Philippines, where she made her professional stage debut in 1978 at the age of seven in a production of The King and I. Further roles in musicals followed, and she recorded a best-selling solo album when she was 10. Lea planned to become a doctor before she was invited to audition for Miss Saigon, and her immediate success launched a performing career in which she has made history many times. She was the first Asian woman to win a Tony for an acting role, the first Asian actor to star in Les Misérables, the first Filipino artist to sign a record deal with an international label and the first person to voice two different Disney princesses - Mulan and Jasmine in Aladdin, in which she sang A Whole New World, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song. She has appeared in numerous international stage productions, as well as television shows, films and singing tours. Earlier this year she starred in and made her debut as a producer on the musical Here Lies Love on Broadway: written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, it focuses on the life of Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos. In September, Lea returned to the London Stage in 'Old Friends' , a musical tribute to Stephen Sondheim.She has performed for six Filipino and four American presidents. DISC ONE: Feed The Birds (Tuppence a Bag) - Julie Andrews, The Disney Studio Chorus DISC TWO: Days and Days -Judy Kuhn DISC THREE: Billie Jean - Michael Jackson DISC FOUR: Tsismis - Ryan Cayabyab DISC FIVE: Gymnopédie No. 1. Composed by Erik Satie and performed by Philippe Entremont DISC SIX: Intro: Singularity - BTS DISC SEVEN: Baby Mine - Betty Noyes DISC EIGHT: Snooze - Agust D ft. Ryuichi Sakamoto & WOOSUNGBOOK CHOICE: The Complete Far Side by Gary Larson LUXURY ITEM: A typewriter CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Snooze - Agust D ft. Ryuichi Sakamoto & WOOSUNG Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
Comments (138)

Purple Vampyr

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Feb 15th

Chemical Bull

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Feb 2nd

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Jan 29th

Grai Brad

terrible that he's talking about his death when only months after this recording he did actually die of an overdose : (

Dec 8th

Jack Listens

I would love to see the impact on it, really loved content .

Dec 5th

Maguire Josephine

Absolutely adore Kate Mosses and her books.Loved hearing this interview

Jul 28th

Mir Media

Didn't like his choice of music. Don't think we'd get on.

Jun 14th

dash geometry

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Jan 3rd

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Nov 17th

far mina


Sep 9th

Eleanor Davies

great podcast, 5🌟

Jul 7th

Michael Williams

Loved it. Thanks.

Jun 7th

Mark Jordan

This is a bad decision from the BBC. The Sounds App is too long-winded. My preferred App connects instantly to my car radio or headphones. Sounds App doesn't.

Mar 7th



Feb 17th

Josephine Maguire

A beautiful soul. I really enjoyed her interview.

Feb 13th

Duncan Bradshaw

Won’t play or download on Castbox. No other issues with any other episodes

Jan 21st

Chris Sowade

Great episode!! I remember as a young Adelaide boy, we were in awe of the greatness in that West Indies team. Met Michael very briefly later and he was a gentleman. Have always respected this bloke, while always wanting our Aussies to beat them, of course. What a super bloke, still, to this day. Thanks for having Mr Holding on the show!

Sep 14th

Jenny Eaton

What an amazing man! I love stumbling across episodes which really stick with you long after listening to them. I took so much from this one - not only has Nazir been hugely successful in his career but he comes across as thoroughly decent and kind.

Aug 6th


Jesus Christ this has got to be one of the most depressing episodes we’ve have ever heard of this show. Still good! But man every sentence this guy speaks feels like a sponge soaked in sorrow.

Aug 6th
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