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August 10, 2020
Maria Balshaw is the Director of Tate, overseeing four major art galleries: Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern and Tate St Ives. Maria was born in 1970 in Birmingham, and grew up in Northampton, where her father, Walter, was a parks officer, and her mother, Colette, was a teacher. She read English and Cultural Studies at the University of Liverpool and fell in love with the newly opened Tate Liverpool at Albert Dock. After working as an academic for almost a decade, she changed career and headed a government campaign to inspire creativity in schools. In 2006, she became director of the Whitworth gallery in Manchester, where she promoted works by women artists and oversaw a major redevelopment and expansion of the building. The Whitworth won the Art Fund Museum of the Year award in 2015. Maria also took on the roles of Director of Manchester City Galleries, and Director of Culture for Manchester City Council. The Observer called her “a northern powerhouse in her own right”. She took over leadership of the four Tate galleries from Sir Nicholas Serota in June 2017, and is the first woman to hold this role. Maria has two children from her first marriage and lives in Kent and London with her second husband, Nick Merriman, Director of the Horniman Museum. DISC ONE: Ghost Town by The Specials DISC TWO: Wild is the Wind by David Bowie DISC THREE: It's a Sin by Pet Shop Boys DISC FOUR: Love Hurts by Emmylou Harris with Gram Parsons DISC FIVE: Hope There's Someone by Antony and the Johnsons DISC SIX: Cantelowes by Toumani Diabaté DISC SEVEN: Waiting for the Great Leap Forward by Billy Bragg DISC EIGHT: Crown by Stormzy BOOK CHOICE: Vickery’s Folk Flora: an A-Z of the Folklore and Uses of British and Irish Plants by Roy Vickery LUXURY ITEM: A full set of flower and vegetable seeds CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Waiting for the Great Leap Forward by Billy Bragg Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
August 9, 2020
Maria Balshaw is the Director of Tate, overseeing four major art galleries: Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern and Tate St Ives. Maria was born in 1970 in Birmingham, and grew up in Northampton, where her father, Walter, was a parks officer, and her mother, Colette, was a teacher. She read English and Cultural Studies at the University of Liverpool and fell in love with the newly opened Tate Liverpool at Albert Dock. After working as an academic for almost a decade, she changed career and headed a government campaign to inspire creativity in schools. In 2006, she became director of the Whitworth gallery in Manchester, where she promoted works by women artists and oversaw a major redevelopment and expansion of the building. The Whitworth won the Art Fund Museum of the Year award in 2015. Maria also took on the roles of Director of Manchester City Galleries, and Director of Culture for Manchester City Council. The Observer called her “a northern powerhouse in her own right”. She took over leadership of the four Tate galleries from Sir Nicholas Serota in June 2017, and is the first woman to hold this role. Maria has two children from her first marriage and lives in Kent and London with her second husband, Nick Merriman, Director of the Horniman Museum. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
August 2, 2020
Steve Backshall is an explorer, naturalist and broadcaster. His BAFTA-winning programmes bring viewers of every generation closer to nature – from the children's series Deadly 60, featuring close encounters with the most dangerous and venomous creatures on earth, to Blue Planet Live and Springwatch. His interest in the natural world began at a young age, after his parents decided to swap their terraced house for a smallholding with goats, ducks and geese. His big break as a broadcaster arrived when National Geographic offered him the post of Adventurer in Residence and he’s been taking on the most arduous challenges and toughest environments on earth ever since. He ran a marathon in the Sahara and has swum cage-free with great white sharks. His adventures have also brought him many near-death moments. He broke his back while rock climbing and recently almost drowned while kayaking in Bhutan. Steve is married to the Olympic champion rower Helen Glover, and they have a two year old son and twins born earlier this year. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
July 26, 2020
Sharon Horgan is a writer, actor and producer best known for co-writing and co-starring in the Channel 4 series Catastrophe with US comedian Rob Delaney. Sharon was born in 1970 in east London, where her parents Ursula and John were running a pub. They moved to Ireland when Sharon was three and eventually set themselves up as turkey farmers. Sharon went to a convent school, then art college in Dublin, before moving to London in 1990, hoping to become an actor. Following six years working at a job centre, she decided to get a degree and enrolled on an English course at Brunel University. She reconnected with Dennis Kelly, who she had acted with previously, and they started writing together. Their breakthrough was the BBC Three series Pulling, first broadcast in 2006, which chronicled the lives of three single women leading unfulfilling lives in an unfashionable part of London. Sharon appeared in films while continuing to write and, in 2014, set up her own production company. In 2015, together with Rob Delaney, she co-wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed Catastrophe, about a couple who discover they're expecting a child after a short affair. Sharon was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Female Comedy Performer and she and Rob won the BAFTA TV Craft Award for Best Comedy Writer in 2016. Catastrophe ran for four series, ending in 2019. Sharon's other writing credits include the acclaimed series Motherland, Divorce and This Way Up, while her most recent film role was in Military Wives, opposite Kristin Scott Thomas. Sharon is divorced from her husband, Jeremy Rainbird, and lives in London with her two daughters. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
July 19, 2020
Annie Nightingale was BBC Radio 1’s first female presenter and is its longest-serving DJ, celebrating her 50th anniversary at the station this year. Born and brought up in south west London, she fell in love with the romance and mystery of radio through her father’s meticulous tuning of their home set to broadcasts from exotic places like Prague and Hilversum. On leaving school at 17, she spent a year on a journalism course in central London. After relocating to Brighton, she worked her way up through local newspapers to the national press and magazines and eventually, by the mid-1960s, to TV. She interviewed the Beatles as a young journalist, and gave early support to artists including David Bowie, Ian Dury, Eminem and Primal Scream. In 1970, she was the first woman DJ to join Radio 1 with a Sunday evening show. From 1978 to 1982, Annie was the sole female presenter on the BBC TV music show The Old Grey Whistle Test, the only woman to have held the job. Her excitement for new music and musical genres from acid house to grime, hasn’t wavered. She currently hosts a weekly Radio 1 show called Annie Nightingale Presents… (on air on Wednesdays between 1 and 3 am) and has received countless awards from Caner of the Year to Commander of the Order of the British Empire, which she received this year for services to radio. Annie has a son and a daughter from her first marriage. She is twice divorced and lives in London. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
July 12, 2020
Jens Stoltenberg is the Secretary General of NATO and a former Prime Minister of Norway. Although he was born into a political family in Norway, he grew up thinking he would become a statistician, before turning to a career in politics. He served as the Prime Minister of Norway twice. During his second term, Norway experienced one of the darkest days in its recent history, when 77 people were murdered in a bomb attack in Oslo and a mass shooting on a nearby island. Before becoming the Secretary General of NATO, a post he has held since 2014, he spent time as a UN Special Envoy on climate change. His term in office as Secretary-General has been extended until September 2022. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor Photo credit: NATO
July 5, 2020
Helen Fielding, writer and journalist, is best known for creating Bridget Jones, who first appeared in a newspaper column in the Independent in 1995, in the form of a diary detailing the single 30-something’s exploits in London as she tried to make sense of life and love. The column soon acquired a wider following, and Helen turned Bridget’s story into a best-selling book the following year. Born in 1958, Helen grew up in Yorkshire with an older sister and two younger brothers. Her father was a manager at the textile mill next door to where they lived. She read English at Oxford where she became friends with Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson. After graduating, she became a BBC trainee, travelling to Africa for Comic Relief. She later made documentaries for Thames TV before moving into print journalism. To date, Helen has written four Bridget Jones novels, three of which have been turned into feature films starring Renée Zellweger. She spent a decade in Los Angeles at the start of the new millennium and had two children with Kevin Curran, who was a scriptwriter for The Simpsons. She now lives in London. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
June 28, 2020
Helen McCrory shares the eight tracks, book and luxury she would want to take with her if cast away to a desert island. Helen McCrory OBE is one of the most versatile and critically acclaimed actresses working today. On screen she has played Anna Karenina, Cherie Blair (twice), Harry Potter's Narcissa Malfoy and the Peaky Blinders matriarch Aunt Polly. Her theatre roles range from Yelena in Uncle Vanya to Euripides' Medea. A diplomat's daughter, she spent her early childhood in Africa before continuing her education in the UK. After a bruising and unsuccessful audition at the Drama Centre in London - she was instructed to find out more about life before learning to act - she travelled to Italy where she discovered art and love and came back to try again. This time she passed the audition. In 1993 she made her mark in Richard Eyre's production of Trelawny of the Wells at the National Theatre and went on to perform leading roles on some of London's most prestigious stages, winning two Olivier Award nominations. She was awarded an OBE for services to drama in 2017. She met her husband, fellow actor Damian Lewis, when they both starred in a play called Five Gold Rings. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic Helen and Damian, together with the comedian Matt Lucas, co-founded the Feed NHS campaign which raises money to provide hot meals to frontline NHS workers. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
June 21, 2020
Racehorse trainer Mark Johnston is a lynchpin of British flat racing. In August 2018 - when 20-1 shot Poet's Society, ridden by Frankie Dettori, streaked to victory at York - Mark became the most prolific winning trainer in British racing history, saddling 4,194 winners. Based in a 300-acre training yard in Yorkshire, he has never trained fewer than 100 winners each season for the last 26 years including champions such as Attraction, Mister Baileys, Double Trigger and Shamardal. Mark grew up on a council estate in East Kilbride and learned to ride when he was a child. His father was a horse lover who enjoyed a flutter and took the young Mark to the bookies when he placed his bets - although Mark was too young to go inside. As a 14-year-old Mark raced whippets and later studied veterinary medicine at Glasgow University but his dream was always to become a racehorse trainer. In 1986, together with his wife and business partner Deirdre, Mark bought his first yard. He had no money or connections in the racing world and had three-and-a-half paying horses rather than the 12 he needed under the terms of his trainer's licence. In these early days, the horses trained on a nearby beach that doubled up as an MOD bombing range. Johnston horses are known for their front-running style - he believes races aren't won by horses accelerating and passing the other runners, but when the horses in front slow down. He says: "I tell my jockeys to bowl along at the speed the horse is happiest." Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
June 14, 2020
Joe Wicks, professionally known as The Body Coach, is a fitness and nutrition coach. Since the lockdown, he has been running daily free virtual PE lessons for children and adults stuck at home. In March he became a Guinness World Record holder after his second PE with Joe class was watched by 955,158 people around the world, a record number of viewers for a live streamed YouTube workout. Getting children to be more active has been a long-held ambition and in 2019 he went on a tour of fifteen schools around the UK delivering High Intensity Interval Training workouts as part of his mission to get school children working out for 15 minutes a day. Born in 1985, Joe’s mother was nineteen when she gave birth to him while his father was in and out of his life with a heroin addiction. He was a hyperactive child whose salvation at school was channelling his excess energy into PE lessons. With a Sports Science degree under his belt, he briefly became a teaching assistant himself, but found it wasn’t for him and set himself up as a personal trainer instead, preaching the importance of combining training with the right nutrition. With the advent of the video function on Instagram, he started posting free 15-second recipes using the name The Body Coach, building up a following of first hundreds, then thousands and eventually millions. His phenomenally successful business began when he created a commercial 90-day plan with workouts and meals. He published Lean in 15 in 2015 which became the bestselling non-fiction book of the year, and he has since written eight further cook books. He married his wife, Rosie, in 2019 and the couple have two children, Indie and Marley. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
June 7, 2020
Martin Lewis is a financial journalist, campaigner and broadcaster. His high-profile campaigns on bank charges, student finance, and mental health and debt have made headlines, and millions of people subscribe to his weekly money tips email. He founded the Money Saving Expert website in 2003 with just £100 and sold it less than a decade later for £87 million, although he calls himself an 'accidental entrepreneur'. He has since supported numerous groups and causes through charitable donations, most recently setting up a Coronavirus Poverty Emergency Fund to help small local charities. He has also campaigned for financial help and guidance for self-employed people who are unable to work during the current pandemic. Martin grew up in Cheshire and studied at the London School of Economics. After a brief spell working in financial PR, he took a postgraduate course in broadcast journalism with the aim of becoming a commentator on money matters, and he initially worked as a producer and presenter on radio and TV, Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
June 5, 2020
Listeners choose the music that has been special to them during the weeks of lockdown. With Jane Moss, Hugh Mullally, Ailish Douglas, Professor Jason Warren, Niti Acharya, Margery Hookings, Simon Spiller, Clare Raybould and Garry Greenland. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
May 31, 2020
Elizabeth Anionwu is a retired nurse, campaigner and Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London. A fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, she spent 40 years in the profession and has been named one of the most influential nurses in the history of the NHS. Her career was distinguished by her pioneering work in the understanding of sickle cell disease - bringing better treatment and support to the thousands living with it. She was the first sickle cell and thalassaemia nurse counsellor in the UK. Her decades of dedication, care and service are a contrast to her own disrupted childhood as a mixed race child born out of wedlock in the 1940s, though it was the kindness of a nurse when she was just five that sparked a nascent interest in what would become her life’s work. After leaving school at 16, with seven O-levels, Elizabeth was made a Professor of Nursing in 1998. She left her day job behind in 2007, but as she puts it “it has not turned out to be a quiet retirement”. She spent nine years fundraising and campaigning for a statue to British-Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole. Unveiled in 2016 in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital, London, the statue is the first in the UK to represent a named black woman. Elizabeth received the DBE in 2017 for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
May 24, 2020
Charles Hazlewood is a conductor and the founder of Paraorchestra, the world's first professional ensemble of disabled musicians. Once described as the Heston Blumenthal of orchestral music, Charles has spent his career challenging Britain’s musical palate, exploding boundaries and expanding our ideas about what an orchestra can be - and do. His repertoire encompasses Beethoven, Bruckner and Barry White, and his critically-acclaimed projects include more than 100 world premieres and the first orchestral headline performance at Glastonbury. Paraorchestra, the ensemble he established in 2011, reached a global audience at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympics. He also co-founded an opera company in South Africa, and its production of Carmen, with a mainly black cast, won international acclaim. He studied music at Keble College, Oxford and was the Organ Scholar there. He won the EBU conductor's competition in 1995 and has had an international career as a conductor. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
May 17, 2020
Sinead Burke is a disability rights activist and teacher. She has combined her love of education and style to campaign for more representation of diversity in the fashion industry. Born in Dublin, Sinead has achondroplasia – a genetic condition which causes restricted growth – and is 3’ 5” tall. She refers to herself as a “little person” and knew she wanted to be a teacher after her first day at school. She has used the classroom environment to discuss openly with her pupils the issues surrounding disability. She believes openness and kindness are the ways forward to develop understanding and respect. As a child she collected the September issues of Vogue and later on started writing a blog in which she held the fashion industry to account about diversity and representation. She continues to work towards greater inclusivity in fashion and her mission is to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to realise the industry is open to them whether as editors, designers or models. Last year she was selected as one of 15 trailblazing women to appear on the cover of the September issue of British Vogue. In 2018 Sinead spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos – the only Irish female delegate. She has taken her message to the White House at the invitation of the Obamas and was appointed to Ireland’s Council of State to advise the president about disability rights. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
May 10, 2020
Lauren Laverne launches Radio 4's invitation for you to tell us about one piece of music that you have turned to in the recent weeks of lockdown, and the story behind your choice. For more information about how to share your story, please visit the Desert Island Discs website. Producer Paula McGinley
May 10, 2020
Simon Armitage was appointed Poet Laureate in 2019. His poems celebrate the everyday and the ordinary with wit and affection. But beyond the wood chip and washing lines he addresses the complexities and the profound feelings that underpin daily life. Born in Huddersfield, Simon Armitage grew up in the village of Marsden in West Yorkshire. Marsden has informed and inspired much of his work and as a boy he would look out of his bedroom window at night to watch the comings and goings of village life. He vividly remembers as a teenager discovering the work of fellow laureate Ted Hughes, recalling an almost electrical surge of excitement when he realised the power of words on a page. Hughes grew up in the next valley and Simon admits to thinking "If Ted Hughes can do it why can't I?" He worked as a probation officer in Manchester for several years, writing poetry in the evenings and at weekends. His first collection Zoom! was published in 1989 and a few years later he left the probation service to write full time. Prolific and popular, he was named the Millennium poet and in 2015 was appointed Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford. Three years later he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Today he lives not far from Marsden where, when he's not writing poems, plays and novels, he still looks out of his window and daydreams. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
May 3, 2020
Lauren Laverne's castaway is the artist Lubaina Himid. The programme was first broadcast in June 2019.
April 26, 2020
Lauren Laverne's castaway is the poet John Cooper Clarke. The programme was first broadcast in July 2019.
April 19, 2020
Michael Parkinson's castaways are the restaurateurs and chefs Albert and Michel Roux (broadcast in 1986). Michel died in March 2020 at the age of 78.
April 12, 2020
Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Jilly Cooper, best known for her best-selling series of romantic novels The Rutshire Chronicles.
April 5, 2020
The writer, critic, poet and broadcaster Clive James (1939 - 2019) appeared twice on Desert Island Discs - first in 1980, and again in 2000.
March 29, 2020
Brian Cox CBE is a Scottish actor whose career spans almost 60 years, from his early days sweeping the stage at his local theatre in Dundee to his current Golden Globe-winning role as the media patriarch Logan Roy in the HBO series Succession. He has appeared in more than 100 films, many television series, and has won two Olivier awards for his work on stage. Brian Cox was born in 1946, the youngest of five children, and grew up in a working-class household in Dundee. His father died of cancer when he was eight and his mother, who was receiving regular psychiatric treatment, was unable to take care of him. He moved in with his sister Betty and her family. He left school aged 14 with no qualifications, and started out as a stage hand and stage cleaner at Dundee Rep, before winning a place at drama school. Years of theatre work followed, alongside actors such as Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Albert Finney. His later stage roles include acclaimed performances as King Lear at the National Theatre, and Titus Andronicus for the Royal Shakespeare Company. On film, his work includes the first screen portrayal of Hannibal Lecter - renamed Lecktor - in Manhunter, and blockbusters such as The Bourne Identity, X-Men 2, Braveheart and Troy. He received a CBE in 2002, and lives in New York City with his second wife Nicole Ansari. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
March 22, 2020
Dame Helena Morrissey is a former city fund manager and chief executive of a major investment company, who has also campaigned to boost the number of women in the boardroom. Newspapers regularly describe her as 'Superwoman', because alongside her many professional achievements, she's the mother of nine children. Helena Morrissey is the daughter of two teachers, and her drive was evident from an early age. She was - by her own admission - a 'manic Brownie', striving to gain the maximum number of badges, and she also played the piano to a high standard. She won a place at Cambridge University from her comprehensive school in Chichester, and on graduating, joined an asset management company in their New York office. On her return to London, she felt that she was denied promotion because she had a young baby. She moved to Newton Investment Management, and at the age of 35 she was appointed the CEO - a role she was not expecting to take. Under her leadership, the company's assets grew from £20 billion to £50 billion. In 2010 she established the 30% Club, campaigning for better female representation on the boards of British companies, and in 2017 she received a DBE for services to diversity in the financial sector. She lives in London with her husband Richard, who gave up full time work to look after their many children. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
March 15, 2020
Daniel Radcliffe reached a global audience in the title role of the hugely successful Harry Potter films. He has also appeared on Broadway and in the West End, as well as in over a dozen films since the final part of the Harry Potter series was released in 2011. Born in 1989, the only child of Alan and Marcia Radcliffe, Daniel made his acting debut aged 10 in a BBC adaptation of David Copperfield. The following year he was cast as Harry Potter, and he and his co-stars, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, would spend ten years filming the series. Daniel made a point of taking other roles before it had finished, and he appeared on stage in Peter Shaffer’s play Equus in 2007, a role which involved prolonged full frontal nudity. Since then he has appeared on screen, on stage and on television, playing characters from the beat poet Allen Ginsberg to a cop going undercover as a neo-Nazi, and his recent films include Guns Akimbo and Escape from Pretoria. In the theatre, he is appearing in Samuel Beckett’s Endgame in London. He supports the Trevor Project which works to prevent suicides among LGBTQ youth and which Daniel first became aware of during the Broadway run of Equus in 2008. Daniel has been in a long-term relationship with fellow actor Erin Drake who he met on a film set in 2012. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
March 8, 2020
Chris Riddell is an illustrator, author of children’s books and a political cartoonist. From 2015 to 2017, he was the Children’s Laureate, and he has won three Greenaway Medals for his work – more than any other illustrator. He was born in 1962 in Cape Town, South Africa, where his parents were both anti-apartheid activists. They moved to the UK when Chris was a year old. He grew up first in rural England, and later in south London where his father, a vicar, became chaplain of Brixton Prison. He started drawing as a young boy when he was given paper and pencils by his mother to keep him quiet during his father’s sermons. After school, he studied illustration under Raymond Briggs at Brighton Polytechnic and received his first commission while still at art school. As a writer his work ranges from picture books to chapter book series including Ottoline and Goth Girl, and as an illustrator he has frequently collaborated with authors such as Paul Stewart and Neil Gaiman. He started as a political cartoonist in the late 1980s and has drawn the Observer’s weekly cartoon since 1995, celebrating 25 years at the paper this year. As Children's Laureate, he encouraged children to draw, and championed the importance of school libraries and librarians. Chris is married to Jo, a fellow illustrator and printmaker, with whom he has three grown-up children, among them Katy, another illustrator. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
March 1, 2020
Dorothy Byrne is the head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, and has worked in journalism for more than four decades. In 2018 she received the Outstanding Contribution Award at Royal Television Society Journalism Awards, and her recent commissions include the Channel 4 News investigation into Cambridge Analytica, the Michael Jackson expose Leaving Neverland and the BAFTA-winning documentary For Sama, about one family’s life under siege in Aleppo, which also won an Oscar nomination. She began her career in journalism in her mid 20s on the Waltham Forest Guardian, after writing a cheeky letter to 50 local newspaper editors - just one responded. She later moved into television, joining the acclaimed World in Action team at Granada, where she argued that the programme's agenda was male-dominated and needed to change. Dorothy gave the MacTaggart Lecture at the 2019 Edinburgh International Television Festival, in which she argued that the scrutiny of politicians through broadcast interviews is important for the health of democracy. She also described herself as 'just about the oldest female TV executive working for a broadcaster'. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
February 23, 2020
Melanie Chisholm - known as Melanie C - is a singer and songwriter who found global fame as one fifth of the Spice Girls, the most commercially successful female group ever. Melanie was one of 400 other hopefuls who answered an advertisement to form a new girl band in 1994 - little knowing how her life would be turned upside down by fame and worldwide success. She was given the nickname Sporty Spice and presented what she calls a "gobby' persona to the outside world, but inside she was a shy girl who preferred to stay in the background. She grew up in Merseyside and as a child she loved performing. At 16 she attended the Doreen Bird College of Arts, aiming for a career in musical theatre. By her early 20s, she was an international star: Spice world was a high-octane life of constant recording and touring and the accompanying press scrutiny contributed to a stressful environment. As the pressure intensified Melanie suffered from eating disorders and in 2000 she was diagnosed with depression. Her recovery was long and painful but she says finally getting a diagnosis enabled her to begin the process of getting better. When the Spice Girls went their separate ways for a while Melanie began a career as a successful solo artist. In 2009 she played Mrs Johnstone in the West End production of Willy Russell's musical Blood Brothers, earning five star reviews and standing ovations. Recently she has been back on stage with the Spice Girls on their stadium tour. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
February 16, 2020
Ian Wright is a former professional footballer and now a football pundit on TV and radio. He began his career at Crystal Palace before moving to Arsenal where he became their highest goal scorer of all time, a record only surpassed eight years later by Thierry Henry. Born to a Jamaican couple in south-east London, Ian grew up with his mother and step-father. His biological father had left the family when Ian was under two years old. Things at home were difficult and Ian spent as much time as possible outside playing football. At his primary school a teacher, Mr Pigden, took him under his wing and Ian would later credit him with changing his life. He left his secondary school at the age of 14 to get a job. Although he took part in trials for many professional football clubs as a teenager, he was never selected. He continued to play for amateur sides. By the age of 21, he had three children to provide for, so when Crystal Palace came calling in 1985, he turned them down three times before accepting a two-week trial, followed by a three-month contract. His football career had finally begun. After impressing as a forward at Palace, he was bought by Arsenal for a record fee in 1991. He was called up to the England squad the same year and would go on to collect 33 caps. He spent his last couple of years in professional football at a number of clubs around the country and in total, he played 581 league games, scoring 387 goals for seven clubs in England and Scotland. Since his retirement from football in 2000, he has had a career as a pundit on both TV and radio. He has eight children and has been happily married to his second wife, Nancy, since 2011. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
February 9, 2020
Zoe Ball is a radio and television presenter. She became the first woman to present the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 1997, and then the first woman to present the Radio 2 Breakfast Show in 2019. Zoe grew up in Buckinghamshire with her father – TV presenter Johnny Ball – and her stepmother. After working behind the scenes in TV as a runner and researcher, she first moved into the spotlight hosting children's programmes, including the very successful BBC Saturday morning show Live & Kicking, with Jamie Theakston. In the late 1990s, coinciding with her move to the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, she found herself described in the press as a 'ladette', enjoying the partying culture of the time. Further headlines followed her marriage to superstar DJ Norman Cook - Fatboy Slim - in 1999. She decided to leave Radio 1 in 2000, and her first child, Woody, was born later that year. She and Norman announced their separation in 2016. Zoe was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, and has presented Strictly: It Takes Two since 2011. In 2018, she cycled 350 miles from Blackpool to Brighton as part of Sport Relief, and to raise awareness of mental health, after her partner Billy Yates took his own life. She began presenting the Radio 2 Breakfast Show just over a year ago. She lives in Sussex with her two children, Woody and Nelly. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
February 2, 2020
Sonita Alleyne is the Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, the first woman to hold the post and - more significantly - the first black master of any Oxbridge college. In her previous career in the media, she was the co-founder and former CEO of the production company Somethin’ Else. Born in Barbados, she came to England aged three and grew up in East London, the youngest of three children. She was an able reader by the time she started primary school, and her potential was spotted at her secondary school, where she was encouraged to apply to Cambridge. She read philosophy at Fitzwilliam College and, after a brief and unfulfilling spell selling life insurance, she followed her passion for jazz by starting to write for music magazines. In 1989 she joined the radio station Jazz FM. When she was made redundant a couple of years later, she and two former Jazz FM colleagues set up a production company they called Somethin’ Else. Sonita stepped down as CEO in 2009 to concentrate on other boardroom roles. She served on the BBC Trust for nearly five years, sits on the board of the London Legacy Development Corporation, and founded the Yes Programme to show primary school pupils their future career options. She is a fellow of the Radio Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts. Sonita began her ten year tenure as Master of Jesus College in October 2019. She lives in Cambridge with her partner, the screenwriter James McCarthy, and their teenage son. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
January 26, 2020
Anne Enright won the Booker Prize for her fourth novel, The Gathering, in 2007, and was appointed the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction in 2015. She has written seven novels, two collections of short stories and a book of essays about motherhood and her work has been widely translated. Born in Dublin in 1962, Anne is the youngest of five children. She was a voracious reader from an early age, finishing every children's book at her local library. When she was 16, she won a scholarship to study at a school in Canada, and then returned to Ireland for a degree in English and Philosophy at Trinity College, Dublin. After taking an MA in Creative Writing at University of East Anglia, with teaching from Angela Carter and Malcolm Bradbury, she worked for six years as a TV producer for the Irish broadcaster RTE. When her TV work left her feeling burned out, she began her writing career in earnest. Her book of short stories, The Portable Virgin, won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 1991, and she published her first novel, The Wig My Father Wore, in 1995. Her latest novel, The Actress, is published in February 2020. She is also now a Professor at University College Dublin and teaches creative writing. She met her theatre director husband, Martin Murphy, at university and they have two children. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
January 19, 2020
Dame Sue Campbell is the Director of Women’s Football at the Football Association. The women’s game has become increasingly popular recently and last year the England team, the Lionesses, made it to the World Cup semi-finals. Born in 1948, just outside Nottingham, Sue was sporty from an early age, even changing schools to allow her to play football. She became a PE teacher in Manchester and realised how transformative sport could be, increasing self-esteem, motivation and self-belief. In the mid-1980s, after learning about excellence in sport at Loughborough University and playing netball for England as well as dabbling in the pentathlon, Sue became deputy chief executive (and a year later chief executive) of the National Coaching Foundation, which provided education for coaches at both ends of the spectrum, from parent volunteers to elite coaches. Ten years later, in 1995, she co-founded the Youth Sport Trust to set up a sports activity programme for every primary school in the country. It was hugely successful: in 2003 only 23% of school children were getting two hours of PE a week. By 2008, this figure had risen to 95%. In 2010, the coalition government cut their funding. By this time, back at the elite end of the sporting spectrum, Sue was also in charge of UK Sport, where she presided over Team GB's biggest Olympic medal haul in living memory, at the London 2012 games. In 2016, she took her current job as head of Women’s Football at the FA. She has also been a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords since 2008. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
January 12, 2020
Michael Lewis is a best-selling non-fiction writer and journalist. He initially worked for an investment bank, and his experiences of Wall Street excess in the 1980s informed his acclaimed first book, Liar’s Poker. Three of his later books – Moneyball, The Blind Side and The Big Short – have been adapted into Hollywood feature films. He was born in New Orleans in 1960, where his father was fond of quoting the family motto: 'Do as little as possible, and that unwillingly, for it is better to receive a light reprimand than perform an arduous task.' After studying at Princeton and the LSE, he joined an American bank in London, and wrote articles about the quirks of the industry under a pseudonym. In spite of his father’s opposition, he decided to quit his highly-paid job to become a writer. In Moneyball, he examined how a struggling baseball team used intensive data analysis to find undervalued players overlooked by richer clubs. The Big Short focused on the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and his most recent book, The Fifth Risk, is about the Trump administration’s approach to government. Michael lives in California with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their three children. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
January 9, 2020
Rupert Everett is an actor, writer and director whose breakthrough came in 1981 when he was cast as a gay schoolboy in Another Country, Julian Mitchell's play and subsequent film. Rupert later starred in Dance with a Stranger before making a splash in Hollywood playing Julia Roberts's gay confidante in My Best Friend's Wedding. But his movie career took a dive after The Next Best Thing - in which he played the gay father of Madonna's baby - flopped. After a period out of the limelight he turned his attention to writing and won great acclaim for his witty and illuminating memoirs about his life in showbusiness. In 2018 Rupert starred in his directorial debut, The Happy Prince - a film about Oscar Wilde's final years in exile. The film was a decade-long labour of love for Rupert from writing the screenplay to securing the funding and persuading his friends Colin Firth and Emily Watson to join the cast. The film was well-received, with one critic calling it a 'deeply felt, tremendously acted tribute to courage'. Later this year Rupert is starring in the Broadway revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
January 5, 2020
Rupert Everett is an actor, writer and director whose breakthrough came in 1981 when he was cast as a gay schoolboy in Another Country, Julian Mitchell's play and subsequent film. Rupert later starred in Dance with a Stranger before making a splash in Hollywood playing Julia Roberts's gay confidante in My Best Friend's Wedding. But his movie career took a dive after The Next Best Thing - in which he played the gay father of Madonna's baby - flopped. After a period out of the limelight he turned his attention to writing and won great acclaim for his witty and illuminating memoirs about his life in showbusiness. In 2018 Rupert starred in his directorial debut, The Happy Prince - a film about Oscar Wilde's final years in exile. The film was a decade-long labour of love for Rupert from writing the screenplay to securing the funding and persuading his friends Colin Firth and Emily Watson to join the cast. The film was well-received, with one critic calling it a 'deeply felt, tremendously acted tribute to courage'. Later this year Rupert is starring in the Broadway revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
December 22, 2019
Stephen Merchant first came to fame with the TV sitcom The Office, which he co-wrote and co-directed with Ricky Gervais. He continued to work with Gervais on the series Extras, Life is Short and An Idiot Abroad. His comedy hero as a young man was John Cleese and as a fellow tall West Country boy, he felt he would try his hand at a comedy career. As a teenager, he worked at Radio Bristol, was a wedding DJ and enjoyed drama at school. While at Warwick University, he created his own radio programme, The Steve Show. Those radio production skills encouraged him to send in his CV to a new London radio station, XFM, where the head of speech was Ricky Gervais. Following a successful interview – conducted in a pub – Stephen became Ricky’s assistant. Stephen left XFM to join a BBC training scheme. It was the short film he made with Ricky as part of his course which would eventually lead to the creation of The Office. Alongside his successful comedy partnership with Gervais, Stephen has pursued his acting and writing ambitions and this year wrote and directed his first film, Fighting with my Family, based on a family of wrestlers. His performance as a stand-up led to his HBO series Hello Ladies, and he starred in his first stage play, Richard Bean's The Mentalists, in London in 2015. His work has earned him two Golden Globe Awards, three BAFTAs, a Primetime Emmy Award, and four British Comedy Awards. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
December 15, 2019
Heidi Thomas is a screenwriter and playwright best known for Call the Midwife. The BBC TV series, which began in 2012, was originally a six part adaptation of a trilogy of memoirs by Jennifer Worth, recalling her experiences as a midwife in the East End of London. It was an immediate hit, with 10 million viewers a week, becoming one of BBC One’s most popular dramas and a fixture in the Christmas schedules. Born in 1962, Heidi Thomas grew up as the eldest of three children in the leafy suburbs of Liverpool. Her father ran a drain cleaning business while her mother looked after the children, including Heidi's youngest brother David, who was born with Down's Syndrome. Heidi studied English at Liverpool University, supporting herself by selling ladies’ underwear at a department store. During a bout of viral hepatitis, which left her unable to apply for jobs when she graduated, she entered a competition for new plays and won a prize for her debut, All Flesh is Grass. During the production,of her next play, Shamrocks and Crocodiles, she met the actor Stephen McGann. They went on to marry, and many years later Stephen was cast as the GP in Call the Midwife. After nearly a decade in the theatre, Heidi made the leap into television, first writing on existing series such as Soldier, Soldier and Doctor Finlay. Her other screenwriting credits include Lilies, based on her grandmother’s recollections, and adaptations of classic novels including Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford, Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes and Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
December 8, 2019
Professor Russell Foster is head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford, professor of circadian neuroscience and the director of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology. An expert in sleep, he describes it as 'the single most important health behaviour we have'. Born in 1959, as a child he loved his toy microscope and digging up fossils. Despite being labelled “entirely non-academic” by his headmaster and attending remedial classes for some years, he achieved three science A levels which won him a place at the University of Bristol. There, he developed an early interest in photo-receptors - cells which convert light into signals that can stimulate biological processes. This eventually led to his post-doctoral discovery, in 1991, of a previously unknown type of cell – photosensitive retinal ganglion cells – in the eyes of mice. His proposition that these ganglion cells – which are not used for vision, but to detect brightness – exist in humans too initially met with scepticism from the ophthalmological community. Russell’s research has made a significant impact, proving that our eyes provide us with both our sense of vision and our sense of time, which has changed the clinical definition of blindness and the treatment of eye disease. He has published several popular science books. Russell is married to Elizabeth Downes, with whom he has three grown-up children. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
December 1, 2019
Asif Kapadia is an Academy Award-winning film director, renowned for his documentaries about the musician Amy Winehouse, the Brazilian motor racing star Ayrton Senna, and the Argentinian footballer, Diego Maradona. Born in 1972, Asif is the youngest of five children. His parents emigrated from Gujarat in the mid-1960s. His father’s ambition to seek his fortune took the family to the US for a short time in the late 70s, but by 1980 they had returned to London. Asif grew up in Hackney, and describes his all-boys secondary school as tough. His mother was ill while he was taking his GCSEs, and he vowed never to sit exams again. At 17, he worked as a runner on a film and so enjoyed feeling part of a crew that he decided he wanted to make a career in the industry. He studied film at the Newport Film School, going on to the Polytechnic of Central London where his graduation film, Indian Tales, was highly regarded. His 1997 Royal College of Art graduation film, The Sheep Thief, shot in Rajasthan in the Hindi language, won a prize at Cannes. He made two feature films, The Warrior which won two Baftas, and Far North, which was filmed close to the North Pole. His first documentary was Senna, which was widely acclaimed and won two Baftas. Asif used the same collage technique - drawing on camcorder snippets, TV news, and entertainment specials – on Amy, his film about Amy Winehouse. It won an Oscar, a Bafta and a Grammy Award and surpassed Senna to become the highest grossing documentary of all time in the UK. His latest documentary is about the footballer Diego Maradona: he calls it “the third part of a trilogy about child geniuses and fame”. Asif is married to Victoria Harwood with whom he has two sons. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
November 24, 2019
Isabella Tree is a conservationist and writer of the award-winning book Wilding: the Return of Nature to a British Farm, which tells the story of rewilding a 3,500 acre farm estate in Sussex, which she oversaw with her husband Charlie. The adopted daughter of Michael Tree and Lady Anne Cavendish, Isabella grew up in Mereworth Castle in Kent, and then in Shute House, a vicarage in Dorset. Following her expulsion from two secondary schools, she attended Millfield School as a sixth former, where mutual friends introduced her to her future husband. After reading classics at the University of London, she went on to work as a journalist and travel writer for the Evening Standard and The Sunday Times. Her first book, The Bird Man, about the Victorian ornithologist John Gould, was published in 1991. She married Charles Burrell in 1993 and settled at Knepp, a dairy and arable farm in Sussex. She continued to travel, writing books about Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Mexico. In 2000 Isabella and Charlie closed the farm business at Knepp, and turned the estate into a conservation project, letting the land develop on its own, and eventually introducing free-roaming animals – cattle, pigs, deer and ponies. Two decades later, the project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife, fungi, and vegetation with extremely rare species like turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies breeding there. The soil is richer in micro-organisms which help to recapture carbon from the air and promote a functioning ecosystem where nature is given as much freedom as possible. She lives at Knepp with her husband Charlie and has two children, Ned and Nancy. DISC ONE: ‘The Whole of the Moon’ by The Waterboys DISC TWO: ‘These Foolish Things’ by Billie Holiday DISC THREE: ‘Life’s a Gas’ by T. Rex DISC FOUR: ‘Where’s the Telephone Bill? by Bootsy’s Rubber Band DISC FIVE: ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley DISC SIX: Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, played by the Brindisi String Quartet DISC SEVEN: BBC Sound recording of Nightingales And Bombers The Night Of The Mannheim Raid DISC EIGHT: ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ by Toploader BOOK CHOICE: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy LUXURY ITEM: Mask, snorkel and a neoprene vest CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: These Foolish Things by Billie Holiday Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
November 17, 2019
Stephen Graham is an actor, whose credits include key roles in films including This is England and The Irishman, and in TV dramas such as Boardwalk Empire and Line of Duty. Stephen was born in Kirkby just outside Liverpool in 1973. He discovered acting at school, where a starring role in a production of Treasure Island at the age of 10 was a turning point: local actor Andrew Schofield was in the audience and suggested that Stephen should join the Everyman Youth Theatre in Liverpool. After leaving school, Stephen won a place to study drama in London, but left after a year. His first roles as a professional actor, when he once pretended to be his own agent to talk his way into an audition, gave little indication of the success to come. In 2006, his performance as Combo the skinhead in This is England, directed by Shane Meadows, won widespread critical acclaim. More recently, he has played Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire, and the undercover policeman Corbett in the most recent series of Line of Duty. Stephen, who lives in Leicestershire, is married to fellow actor Hannah Walters, who he met at drama school. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
November 13, 2019
Lauren Laverne introduces extracts from some of her favourite editions
November 10, 2019
Kimberley Motley is an American attorney and the first foreign lawyer to practise in Afghanistan. Born in 1975 to an African-American father and a North Korean mother, she grew up in a poor neighbourhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where hers was the only mixed-race family - and the only family with two parents. Education was very important to her parents, who sent their four children to private schools and also paid for extra tutoring. After completing degrees in Criminal Justice and Law, Kimberley spent five years working as a Public Defender before taking up the opportunity in 2008 to go to Afghanistan for a year to train local lawyers. Her husband, Claude, stayed in the US to take care of their three children. When her one-year contract in Afghanistan came to an end, she decided to stay and started her own private legal practice. Initially she only took on foreign clients, but once she had familiarised herself with the intricacies of local laws and customs, she accepted her first Afghan client. She has gone on to build a thriving practice, with a 70-30% ratio of paid to pro-bono work. Her practice now extends to other parts of the world including Uganda, Ghana and the UAE and earlier this year she published a book about her working life. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
November 3, 2019
Russell T. Davies is one of the U.K.’s most successful television writers. He spent his teenage years learning his dramatic craft with the West Glamorgan Youth Theatre, and his career in television began in the children’s department at the BBC. His first solo hit TV series was the ground-breaking, sexually frank drama Queer as Folk, first broadcast on Channel 4 in 1999. A lifelong Doctor Who fan, he relaunched the series in 2005 for a new generation of viewers. Such was its success, he found himself working around the clock. More recently, he wrote the highly-acclaimed series A Very English Scandal, starring Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe, and the dystopian drama Years and Years. DISC ONE: Julie Covington, Charlotte Cornwell, Rula Lenska - Sugar Mountain DISC TWO: Hora Staccato (1950 version) performed by Jascha Heifetz and Emanuel Bay DISC THREE: The New Christy Minstrels - Three Wheels on My Wagon - DISC FOUR: Leonard Bernstein's Gloria in excelsis, performed by The Norman Scribner Choir DISC FIVE: Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights DISC SIX: The OT Quartet - Hold That Sucker Down (Builds Like A Skyscraper Mix) DISC SEVEN: Neil Hannon - Song For Ten DISC EIGHT: Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky BOOK CHOICE: Asterix and the Roman Agent by by René Goscinny with illustrations by Albert Uderzo LUXURY ITEM: A black Ball Pentol Pen CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Leonard Bernstein's Gloria in excelsis Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
October 27, 2019
Wendell Pierce is an American actor best known for his role as Bunk Moreland in the television series The Wire. Since the series ended in 2008, he has made around 40 film and television appearances, including Treme, Selma and the legal drama Suits, in which he played Robert Zane, the father of Rachel Zane, played by Meghan Markle. His theatre credits range from The Cherry Orchard to Death of a Salesman. Born in 1963, the youngest of three sons, Wendell grew up in the Pontchartrain Park area of New Orleans, which was the first middle-class African-American suburban-style development in the city. He graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York and his career got off to a flying start with a small part opposite Tom Hanks in a film called The Money Pit. He hasn’t been out of work since. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed Wendell’s childhood home in New Orleans and he was instrumental in rebuilding his parents’ house in Pontchartrain Park. He also built 40 new homes and staged a production of Waiting for Godot on an empty street corner in one of the most devastated districts of the city. He is currently reprising his role as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman on stage in London. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
October 20, 2019
Dame Glenys Stacey has spent 40 years in public service, including high profile work as a regulator in key areas of national life. She has just stepped down after her five year term as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation during which she criticised the decision to privatise the Probation service calling it “irredeemably flawed”. Glenys was born in Walsall Wood in the West Midlands, where her father was a painter and decorator for the council and her mother worked full time in Union Locks. She left school at 16 and her first job was in an explosives factory. She became a legal executive before deciding to take A levels and then study law at the University of Kent. She was the founding CEO of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, set up by the government in January 1997, after the miscarriages of justice in the cases of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four. As Chief Executive of Animal Health, she oversaw the management of the outbreak of foot and mouth in 2007 and then led Ofqual for five years, during the reform of GCSEs and A levels. She was awarded a Damehood in 2016 for her services to education and earlier this year she became a founding Board Member of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, an advisory body established by the government. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
October 14, 2019
Baroness Arminka Helić is credited with persuading William Hague, the former foreign secretary, and the actor and director Angelina Jolie to launch the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) to campaign against rape as a weapon of war. Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Arminka fled her home country as violence escalated in the former Yugoslavia and her family appeared on a Serbian death list. Following the intervention of Lady Miloska Nott, wife of the former secretary of state for defence Sir John Nott, she arrived in London as a refugee in October 1992. She completed a master’s degree in international history at the LSE which ignited her interest in politics. Her first Westminster job was filing press cuttings in the House of Commons Library where she was spotted and started working for MPs including Robert Key, Liam Fox and William Hague. When William Hague became foreign secretary in 2010, she joined him as a special adviser and made it her mission to bring compassion and humanity to foreign policy. After watching Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey, the story of an inter-ethnic love affair set against the backdrop of the war in Bosnia, Arminka persuaded the foreign secretary to join forces with the Hollywood star. The PSVI highlights how sexual violence in conflict zones is often a hidden crime in which the perpetrators go unpunished. In 2014 the PSVI held a global summit in London which brought together activists and policy-makers with the aim of recognizing this crime and bringing about successful prosecutions. In the same year, Arminka Helić entered the House of Lords as a Conservative Life Peer. DISC ONE: Tereza Kesovija - Prijatelji Stari Gdje Ste DISC TWO: Kim Wilde - Cambodia DISC THREE: Zaim Imamović - Kraj Tanana Šadrvana DISC FOUR: Tracy Chapman - Fast Car DISC FIVE: Bijelo Dugme - Pljuni i zapjevaj moja Jugoslavijo DISC SIX: Madonna - True Blue DISC SEVEN: Vivaldi - Concerto in F minor, RV 297 “Winter”, 1st movement by performed by The English Concert DISC EIGHT: Josipa Lisac - O jednoj mladosti BOOK CHOICE: A DIY book LUXURY ITEM: A pen and paper CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Kraj Tanana Šadrvana by Zaim Imamović Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
October 13, 2019
Baroness Arminka Helić is credited with persuading William Hague, the former foreign secretary, and the actor and director Angelina Jolie to launch the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) to campaign against rape as a weapon of war. Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Arminka fled her home country as violence escalated in the former Yugoslavia and her family appeared on a Serbian death list. Following the intervention of Lady Miloska Nott, wife of the former secretary of state for defence Sir John Nott, she arrived in London as a refugee in October 1992. She completed a master’s degree in international history at the LSE which ignited her interest in politics. Her first Westminster job was filing press cuttings in the House of Commons Library where she was spotted and started working for MPs including Robert Key, Liam Fox and William Hague. When William Hague became foreign secretary in 2010, she joined him as a special adviser and made it her mission to bring compassion and humanity to foreign policy. After watching Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey, the story of an inter-ethnic love affair set against the backdrop of the war in Bosnia, Arminka persuaded the foreign secretary to join forces with the Hollywood star. The PSVI highlights how sexual violence in conflict zones is often a hidden crime in which the perpetrators go unpunished. In 2014 the PSVI held a global summit in London which brought together activists and policy-makers with the aim of recognizing this crime and bringing about successful prosecutions. In the same year, Arminka Helić entered the House of Lords as a Conservative Life Peer. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
October 6, 2019
Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known as the composer, lyricist and original star of the multi-award-winning Broadway musical, Hamilton. It won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, 11 Tony Awards and Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. The London production won seven Olivier Awards in 2018. Lin-Manuel was brought up in New York by his Puerto Rican parents, and his creativity and sensitivity to music began when he was a child: he performed in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance as a teenager and created films using his father’s camcorder. He attended the elite Hunter school for gifted children and spent his summer holidays in Puerto Rico with his extended family. His first musical, In the Heights, opened on Broadway in 2008, directed by his long-time collaborator, Thomas Kail. It received four Tony Awards including Best Score as well as a Grammy Award for its Original Broadway Cast Album. Among his TV and film acting credits are Fosse/Verdon, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Mary Poppins Returns, and he is currently filming the second series of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials for the BBC. He recently collaborated with J.J. Abrams on the song Dobra Doompa, for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and he contributed music, lyrics and vocals to several songs in the Disney animated feature film Moana. Lin-Manuel supported the relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, performing Hamilton there and raising funds for arts and culture on the island. He co-founded the hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme in 2003 and they have just begun a debut run on Broadway. He lives in New York City with his wife, sons and dog. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
September 29, 2019
Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton is the Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. She is one of the most senior women in the Fire and Rescue Service in the UK. After spending some time living on the streets as a teenager, her work as a firefighter began at the age of 18, after she had applied to 31 different fire services. During her career, her interest in psychology and fascination with how people make choices in stressful situations led to her studying for a degree, followed by a PhD. Her research into risk, decision-making under extreme pressure and human error has won awards and she has shared her findings with fire services in other countries. She is also an ambassador for The Big Issue magazine, in the wake of her own experiences of homelessness. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
September 22, 2019
Thom Yorke has been the front man of Radiohead, one of Britain’s most successful British bands, for 34 years. They have sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and have won three Grammys and four Ivor Novello awards. Their debut studio album, Pablo Honey, was released in 1993, with their debut single, Creep, becoming a big international success. Thom decided on his career at the age of seven, when he lay on the floor between large speakers at a friend’s house and listened to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. He made his own electric guitar when he was 10, and wrote his first song at 11. At his secondary school he joined up with fellow pupils and they formed a band called On a Friday, as that was the only day they were allowed to rehearse. They all went their separate ways as university students, but then signed to Parlophone in 1991 and renamed themselves Radiohead. Thom has collaborated with artists including PJ Harvey and Björk and has composed for film and theatre. His first feature film soundtrack, Suspiria, was released last year. His first classical piece, Don’t Fear the Light, was premiered in Paris this year, and he has also been touring his latest solo album Anima. He is an activist on behalf of human rights, animal rights, environmental and anti-war causes. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
September 15, 2019
Another chance to hear Lemn Sissay's Desert Island Discs from October 2015. Interviewed by Kirsty Young. As a poet, writer and playwright, much of his work tells the story of his search for his birth parents. Born to a 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.
September 8, 2019
Another chance to hear Judith Kerr, interviewed by Sue Lawley. From February 2004. A writer and illustrator known to generations of children both for 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
September 1, 2019
Another chance to hear Daniel Kaheneman, interviewed by Kirsty Young in August 2013. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's most influential living 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.
August 25, 2019
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.
August 18, 2019
One of the best players of his generation, he was part of the England team that won the Ashes in 2005, a year that marked his sporting coming of age. On the strength of that historic victory he was awarded an MBE for 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
August 11, 2019
Jo Fairley is a businesswoman and writer. She co-founded the Green & Black’s chocolate company with Craig Sams, her husband, and has launched 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. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
August 4, 2019
Sir Tim Waterstone is the founder of the bookshop chain that bears his name. Born in May 1939, he was the youngest of three children. His father, who worked for a tea company all his life, served in the Royal Army 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 Elgar Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
July 28, 2019
Dame Sally Davies is the outgoing Chief Medical Officer for England. She will take up her next post as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, later 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 Messiah Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
July 21, 2019
John Cooper Clarke first achieved fame with his poetry during the punk rock era of the late 1970s. Born in Salford in 1949 to Hilda and George, he 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 Presley Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
July 14, 2019
Marcus Wareing is a prize-winning chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and cookery book writer, who gained his first Michelin star at the age of just 26. He grew up in Southport, and by the age of 11 was helping out in his 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 Gees Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
July 7, 2019
Sue Biggs is the Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society. She’s been at the helm of the RHS since 2010 and during that time, its 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. BOOK CHOICE: The Book of Joy LUXURY ITEM: A bed CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
June 30, 2019
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. BOOK CHOICE: The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle LUXURY ITEM: Six cases of Scharzhofberger Kabinett, a Riesling wine from the Saar Basin CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Bach’s Cantata 50: "Nun ist das Heil" Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
June 23, 2019
Emily Eavis is co-organiser of the Glastonbury Festival. Together with her husband and her father, she masterminds the booking of bands and oversees the setting up of what is the largest greenfield festival in the 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. BOOK CHOICE: The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski LUXURY: Carpenter’s tool set (so she can build her own veranda) CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go by Bob Dylan Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
June 16, 2019
Nitin Sawhney is a composer, musician and producer working in the worlds of music, film, video games, dance and theatre. He has released 10 studio albums, scored over 50 films and television programmes, and is known for 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. BOOK CHOICE: The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch LUXURY ITEM: Desalinating bottle CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Mustt Mustt (the Massive Attack remix) by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
June 9, 2019
Professor Monica McWilliams is an academic, peace campaigner and former politician. In 1996, she was the co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s 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. BOOK CHOICE: Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing Volumes 4 and 5 (known as the Women’s anthology) LUXURY ITEM: A snorkel CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Il Postino by Luis Bacalov Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
June 2, 2019
Lubaina Himid is a Turner Prize-winning artist, curator and Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. Lubaina was born in Zanzibar in 1954. Her mother was from Britain and her father was 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. BOOK CHOICE: Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy LUXURY ITEM: An endless supply of self-ironing Japanese shirts CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Suzanne by Nina Simone Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
May 26, 2019
Derren Brown, illusionist and mentalist, chooses the eight tracks, book and luxury he want to take with him if cast away to a desert island. BOOK CHOICE: Collected works of Carl Jung LUXURY: Leica Camera CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Goldberg Variations Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
May 19, 2019
Pat McGrath is a renowned make-up artist. She works with the world’s top designers, photographers, editors and models, creating images for the pages of the world’s most glamorous magazines. She and her team also work at 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. BOOK CHOICE: Andy Warhol: Polaroids - Richard B. Woodward LUXURY: Makeup CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: “La Vie en Rose" - Grace Jones Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
May 12, 2019
Louis Theroux is a television documentary maker. He has received two BAFTAs and a Royal Television Society Award for his work which includes the series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and When Louis Met… 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. BOOK CHOICE: Remembrance of things Past – Marcel Proust LUXURY: 40,000 piece Jigsaw puzzle CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: “Heaven on their Minds” from the album Jesus Christ Superstar Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
May 5, 2019
Another chance to hear artist Tracey Emin's Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley, first broadcast in November 2004. Tracey Emin is one of the most 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.
April 28, 2019
Another chance to hear Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell choose her Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley. First broadcast 24th December, 2000. Jocelyn Bell Burnell was only twenty-four when she made the discovery of a lifetime: As she was mapping the universe for her PhD, she chanced upon the radio signal for a totally new kind of star, known as a 'pulsar'. Her find is seen as one of the most important contributions to astrophysics in the twentieth century.
April 21, 2019
Another chance to hear Mary Berry's Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young from 2012. Mary Berry is one of the UK's best-known and respected cookery 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."
April 14, 2019
Another chance to hear Paralympian and broadcaster Ade Adepitan interviewed by Kirsty Young in 2012. When he's not stuck in a studio explaining the intricacies of Goalball he's reporting from the rainforests of Nicaragua 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".
April 7, 2019
Another chance to listen to the comedian, Ricky Gervais speaking to Kirsty Young in 2007. In just twelve episodes, his show The Office changed the face of British television comedy. At its centre was the comic monster, David Brent, a middle-manager being filmed for a mock-documentary who saw the ever-present cameras as his route to popularity and fame. Ricky Gervais's performance was both excruciating and unmissable - one critic called the programme "among the most affecting and invigorating works of fiction since the turn of the century". As he discusses with Kirsty Young, comedy was the language he grew up with - the youngest of four children, being able to come up with a gag or a smart rejoinder was the linguistic currency of his home. That, he says, is where the 'show-off performer' was born. Now with seven Baftas, two Golden Globes and an Emmy to his name, Ricky Gervais is gratified that his work is recognised and says his aim has always been to bring art into comedy.
March 31, 2019
Martin Freeman is a multi-award winning actor, best known for his roles as the lovable Tim in BBC Two’s The Office and as Dr Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. He also played Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, Lester Nygaard in the US drama series Fargo and Everett K Ross in the film Black Panther. Born in Hampshire in 1971, he grew up in Teddington in south-west London. The youngest of five children, he was just 10 when his father died of a heart attack. As a teenager, he played competitive squash, making the national squad, until he realised he lacked the necessary killer instinct required and switched to youth theatre. He studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama and left in his third year to work at the National Theatre, playing minor roles. He first reached a wider audience when he was cast as Tim in The Office, which was broadcast from 2001 to 2003 and became the first British sitcom to win a Golden Globe. More screen roles followed, including playing Arthur Dent in the film of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In 2010 he first appeared as Dr Watson opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and went on to win both a BAFTA and an Emmy as Best Supporting Actor. He has continued to work in films, TV and on stage. He appeared in Sherlock with his ex-partner Amanda Abbington. They have two children. BOOK CHOICE: Animal Farm by George Orwell LUXURY: Tea-making Facilities CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
March 24, 2019
Lauren Laverne’s castaway this week is Jacqueline de Rojas, the President of techUK, the body that represents 900 companies in the technology sector. She is Chair of the Board of Digital Leaders, co-Chair of the Institute of Coding and sits on the government’s Digital Economy Council. She was born Jacqueline Yu in Kent to a Chinese father and British mother, and moved to Swindon when her mother left the marriage. Jacqueline did well at school, particularly in languages, and went on to take a degree in European Business Studies, spending the first year of her course in Southern Germany. She is fluent in German and French. She married after university and, despite dreams of becoming a BBC newsreader, she went to work for a tech recruitment company. After two years she moved to work for her largest client, the software company, Synon, using her German to manage the company’s distribution in Germany. She has stayed in the tech industry ever since, primarily working for blue chip software companies. She became Managing Director of Informix in 1999, and her last managing director role was a seven month stint at Sage in 2016. In 2013 Jacqueline joined the board of techUK, , becoming its President in 2015. A key focus of her tenure has been to make the case for greater diversity in an industry struggling fill the roles that it is creating, particularly in appointing women. She also works as a mentor for a number of organisations and has been an advisor to the Girl Guides since 2016, assisting them in helping to attract girls into STEM subjects. She was appointed a CBE in 2018 for services to international trade in the technology industry. BOOK CHOICE: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier LUXURY: Saxophone CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
March 17, 2019
Marlon James is a writer who won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 for A Brief History of Seven Killings, a novel which centres on an attempt to assassinate Bob Marley. Marlon was the first Jamaican to win the Prize. He was born in Kingston in 1970 and grew up in suburbia. His mother worked as a detective, and his father was lawyer, leading to a family joke that his mum locked criminals up and his dad got them out. As a self-confessed geek, Marlon did not enjoy his time at school, and even pretended that he was not related to his older brother, a fellow pupil, because he thought his lack of cool would embarrass his sibling. After studying English at the University of the West Indies, he worked in advertising as a copywriter. His first novel was rejected 78 times, and he thought he had destroyed every copy of it, until he met novelist Kaylie Jones at a writing workshop and she insisted on seeing it. She showed it to her publisher and his career was launched. The book, John Crow's Devil, was published in 2005. His fourth novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the first of a fantasy trilogy, was published earlier this year. Marlon lives in the United States, where he teaches Creative Writing at Macalester College in Minnesota. BOOK CHOICE: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding LUXURY: A pressure cooker. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: When Doves Cry by Prince Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
March 10, 2019
Dame Esther Rantzen is best known as the presenter of the long-running TV series That’s Life, which began on BBC One in 1973. She was both presenter and producer of the programme, which was hugely successful, regularly reaching 20 million viewers. It featured consumer affairs, vox pops and light-hearted pieces about talking dogs and peculiarly shaped vegetables, along with serious investigations, including reports on the safety of children’s playgrounds and on child abuse. A special edition of That’s Life in 1986 led Esther to set up Childline, the charity which offers support and information for young people. That's Life ended after 21 years and Esther went on to present her own daytime talk show. A fan of reality TV, she’s appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, Celebrity First Dates, Celebrity Stars in their Eyes and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. It was while she was working on That’s Life that she met TV producer Desmond Wilcox. They later married and had three children. A few years after Desmond’s death, Esther wrote a newspaper article about how lonely she felt as a widow. The response inspired her to set up her second charity, Silverline, which offers friendship and advice to older, lonely people. She has received many TV awards over the years and was made a Dame in 2015 for her charity work. She stood unsuccessfully as an independent MP for Luton South in the General Election of 2010. Now 78, she is still very involved in her charity work and is a grandmother of five. BOOK CHOICE: Poem for the Day with a Foreword by Wendy Cope LUXURY: A bath – sometimes filled with hot water, sometimes cold water and sometimes champagne. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: September Song by Frank Sinatra Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
March 3, 2019
Trevor Sorbie is known as an innovative hairdresser and is the founder of the charity, MyNewHair. Born into a family of hairdressers – both his father and grandfather were barbers – he spent the first decade of his life in Scotland before the family relocated to Essex. His first ambition was to become an artist, but when he left school aged 15 with no qualifications after being bullied, his father suggested that he could help out at his barbershop. Within three months, Trevor was cutting hair and found that he loved it. Five years down the line, however, he decided to learn about cutting women’s hair and following his training, his first job was at a Vidal Sassoon salon. He would later go on to work at both John Frieda and Toni & Guy, before launching his own salon with his business partner in 1979. He invented several iconic haircuts of the era, including the Wedge and the Chop, and he came up with the technique of scrunch drying. His innovative styles won him the British Hairdresser of the Year award four times. In 2006, he set up his charity MyNewHair to teach hairdressers how to cut and style wigs after his sister-in-law lost her hair in the course of her cancer treatment. Since then, he has trained nearly a thousand hairdressers. He was the first hairdresser to be awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2004. BOOK CHOICE: All of Jeremy Clarkson’s books LUXURY: A bottle of wine CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: My Sweet Lord by George Harrison Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
February 24, 2019
Professor Margaret MacMillan is a Canadian historian, author and broadcaster. In 2018 she delivered the Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4, in which she examined the tangled history of war and society. She was born in Toronto in 1943, and her interest in history was kindled by the stories her parents told about when they were young and by the historical adventure novels she read as a child. After a long academic career in Canada, she found herself in the international spotlight in her late 50s. Her book Peacemakers, about the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize and many other awards, and became a best-seller. Margaret is the great-granddaughter of David Lloyd George, who attended the Paris Conference as the British Prime Minister. She has also written books about Nixon and Mao, about Europe’s path to World War One, and about personalities who have shaped history. She became the Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, in 2007, and retired from the role in 2017. In the 2018 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, Professor MacMillan was appointed a Companion of Honour. She continues to research and write. BOOK CHOICE: À la Recherche du Temps Perdu by Proust LUXURY: A machine to help her learn to sing CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Mood Indigo by Duke Ellington Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
February 17, 2019
Ann Cleeves is a crime writer best known for two series of novels, both of which have been adapted for television. Vera, for ITV, features her detective Vera Stanhope, and Shetland, for the BBC, focuses on DI Jimmy Perez, who works for the Shetland police. Born in 1954, Ann grew up in Herefordshire and Devon. After secondary school she spent a year providing childcare for a family in London before reading English at the University of Sussex. She dropped out of her degree course, and by chance, was offered a job as assistant cook at the bird observatory in Fair Isle, despite not knowing how to cook, nor anything about birds. She met her husband Tim there, who came as a visiting bird watcher. They spent four years on the tiny tidal island of Hilbre off the Wirral peninsula, where Ann started to write. Her debut novel was published in 1986 and she has published a book a year since then. Her first Shetland novel, Raven Black, appeared in 2006 and won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger, at the time the richest crime-writing prize in the world. Her second breakthrough came when a TV producer picked up a second-hand copy of one her novels featuring her dishevelled detective Vera Stanhope and decided it would make perfect prime-time viewing. In October 2017, Ann received the Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers’ Association, the highest honour in British crime writing, awarded by fellow crime authors. In 2018, she published the final of eight Shetland novels, and this autumn will see the publication of the first of a new Vera series set in Devon. Her husband Tim died in December 2017. Ann lives in Whitley Bay, with her two daughters and six grandchildren nearby. BOOK CHOICE: The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning LUXURY: Pen and paper CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Suzanne by Leonard Cohen Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Cathy Drysdale
February 10, 2019
Cressida Dick is Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. She was born in 1960, the youngest child of two university professors. Her parents divorced when she was still at primary school and she and her older siblings grew up in Oxford. Their father died when Cressida was just 11. She read Agriculture and Forest Sciences at Oxford University before spending a year in accountancy. She joined the Metropolitan Police in 1983 where her first beat was on the streets of Soho. After a decade in London, she transferred to Thames Valley Police where she worked her way up to become area commander in Oxford. In 2001 she completed a master’s degree in Criminology, re-joining the Met to head its diversity directorate and, from 2003, Operation Trident, the Met’s gun crime unit. It was in this capacity that she came to wider public attention when, in the wake of the 2005 London transport bombings, an innocent man was shot dead by police at Stockwell tube station. The Met was severely criticised in the aftermath of Jean Charles de Menezes’s death. Cressida Dick was the commander in charge of the operation, but a 2007 trial found that she bore no personal culpability. In 2011, she became Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations responsible for counter-terrorism work, but in 2015 she left the Met to work at the Foreign Office. In February 2017, she made her return to policing when she was the successful candidate in the search for a new Commissioner. She took up the post in April 2017 for a five-year term, the first woman and the first openly gay person to hold the job. BOOK CHOICE: The Complete works of Thomas Hardy LUXURY ITEM: Endless supply of floral scented soaps CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
February 3, 2019
Bob Mortimer is a comedian best known for his work with his comedy partner Vic Reeves. For 30 years, he and Vic have appeared in numerous TV series together, including Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, Shooting Stars and The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. Bob first saw Vic performing in a south London pub: Vic was wearing a Bryan Ferry mask while trying to tap dance with wooden planks strapped to his feet. Bob found this hugely entertaining, and began to take part in Vic’s shows. Bob was born in 1959 in Middlesbrough, the youngest of four boys. His father died in a car crash when he was seven and Bob says he became his mother’s little helper – although he also set fire to their house after playing with fireworks. As a teenager he dreamed of a career as a footballer, but he ended up studying law at university, and worked as a solicitor in south London. In 2015 Bob underwent triple heart bypass surgery. After this – in a rare diversion from working with Vic – he accepted an invitation from fellow comedian Paul Whitehouse to get out of the house and go fishing, which led to a successful TV series, Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. BOOK CHOICE: My Secret History by Paul Theroux LUXURY ITEM: His own pillow CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Down to You by Joni Mitchell Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
January 27, 2019
Wendy Cope is one of England’s most popular and widely-read contemporary poets. Wendy was born in Erith, Kent. Her father was 29 years older than her mother and she was sent to boarding school at the age of seven. Although English was her favourite subject at school, in a bid to defy her English teacher’s expectations, she read history at Oxford. Following graduation she became a primary school teacher. After the death of her father in 1971, Wendy entered psychoanalysis in 1973 and turned to writing poetry. Having attended evening classes in creative writing, one of her poems was published in a collection which brought her to the attention of Faber and Faber. Her first volume of poetry, Making Cocoa For Kingsley Amis, was published in 1986, and became an instant success, and she gave up teaching to become a full time writer. She has since published four volumes of a poetry: Serious Concerns (1992), If I Don’t Know (2001), Family Values (2011) and Anecdotal Evidence (2018) as well as two volumes for children, Twiddling Your Thumbs (1988) and The River Girl (1991). In 2011, Wendy sold her entire personal archive to the British Library, which consisted of 15 boxes of manuscript, including several unpublished early works. Wendy lives in Ely and is married to fellow poet, Lachlan Mackinnon. BOOK CHOICE: Compleet Molesworth by Geoffrey Willans LUXURY ITEM: Pen and paper CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in D minor Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
January 20, 2019
James Rebanks is a shepherd and the best-selling author of The Shepherd’s Life. Born in Cumbria in 1974, he grew up venerating his grandfather, who taught him what he needed to know in order to take over the family farm from his father one day. He found school an irksome distraction, and left aged 15 with two GCSEs. It wasn’t until his early 20s, after he’d developed an interest in reading and had met his future wife Helen, that he decided to return to study at a local college in the evenings. Encouraged by a tutor, he applied for a place at Oxford University, and graduated with a double first in History. After university, he worked in a number of white-collar jobs, in order to boost his income while ensuring he could continue to work on the farm. He breeds two different types of sheep: Herdwicks, which are a native breed to his part of the world, and Swaledales, which he kept out of respect to his father who died in 2015, just before the publication of James’s first book. He began chronicling his life as a shepherd on Twitter in 2012 but is currently taking a break from tweeting. He and Helen have four children. BOOK CHOICE: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway LUXURY: Pen and Paper CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: A New England by Kirsty MacColl Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
January 13, 2019
Ruth Jones is an actor and writer. She co-created and starred in the award-winning TV comedy series Gavin and Stacey, and also wrote and took the title role in the comedy drama Stella, which ran for six series. She grew up in Porthcawl, in South Wales, where the local secondary school nurtured her love of performance. She took to the stage in numerous school musicals, along with fellow pupil Rob Brydon. After studying drama at Warwick University, she struggled at first to find work as an actor. She briefly considered becoming a solicitor, before she won the role of a ninja turtle in Dick Whittington at the Porthcawl Pavilion and gained an Equity card. Her TV work ranges from costume dramas to comedies including Little Britain and Nighty Night. She developed the idea for Gavin and Stacey with James Corden when they were both filming the ITV series Fat Friends. The story of a boy from Billericay who falls for a girl from Barry, Gavin and Stacey began on BBC Three, with Ruth’s role as straight-talking, leather-wearing Nessa winning people’s hearts. She and James wrote every episode, and the finale, on BBC One, reached more than 10 million viewers. Last year Ruth published her first novel, Never Greener, which topped the bestseller lists, and she returned to the stage in the musical play The Nightingales. BOOK CHOICE: Halliwell's Film Guide LUXURY: The back catalogue of The Archers CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Smooth by Santana feat. Rob Thomas Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
January 6, 2019
The Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller is perhaps best known for We’re Here Because We’re Here, a moving and powerful memorial to the Battle of the Somme, and The Battle of Orgreave – a re-enactment of the confrontation between police and pickets at the height of the miners’ strike. Deller doesn’t paint, draw or sculpt and his work encompasses film, photography and installations. At school his creative endeavours were not always appreciated, and at 13 he was asked to leave the art class. His lifelong love of history was ignited by childhood trips to museums with his father, and is evident in the subjects he addresses, from Stonehenge, which he re-created as a giant bouncy castle, to William Morris. He managed to meet Andy Warhol in London in 1986 and went to spend two formative weeks at Warhol’s New York City studio, the Factory. The experience crystallised in Deller the belief that art can come in many forms and that an artist can create their own world of ideas. His memorial to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre will be unveiled in August 2019. BOOK CHOICE: An A to Z London Street Atlas LUXURY: A stretch of road over Hay Bluff between Hay-on-Wye and Abergavenny. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Out of the Blue by Roxy Music. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
December 23, 2018
Alan Carr, comedian and chat show host, is known for his love of silliness, dressing up and camp daftness. His stand-up shows have filled arenas, and on TV he co-hosted the Friday Night Project and then his own show - Chatty Man. Alan was born into a footballing family – his dad, Graham, was a professional player and then a manager. Alan first tried his hand at comedy while reading Theatre Studies at Middlesex University. After he graduated, he took on a range of jobs before his ability to make friends laugh with his stories of working in a call centre in Manchester led him to try stand-up at a local venue. In 2001 he won the City Life Best Newcomer of the Year and the BBC New Comedy Awards. His break into TV came after a spell as the warm-up man for the Jonathan Ross chat show. He has won many awards including Best Entertainment Show for Alan Carr: Chatty Man at the 2010 TV Choice Awards, the 2013 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance and 2013 British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Entertainment Personality. In 2015 he won the National Television Award for Best Chat Show Host. He and his long term partner Paul were married in January 2018 by Adele - who also organised the wedding, and paid for it. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
December 19, 2018
As one of the Guardian’s first female foreign correspondents, Hella Pick reported on events that shaped the world in the second half of the 20th century, from Martin Luther King's civil rights activism to Watergate, the Gdansk shipyard strikes to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Born in Vienna in 1929, she was raised by her mother who, in March 1939, put her on a Kindertransport train to Britain to escape the Nazis. Her mother was able to follow her to England a few months later and Hella spent her formative years in the Lake District. After reading Politics at London School of Economics, she worked as commercial editor of a London-based weekly publication called West Africa. After she left, she offered her services to The Guardian – and spent the next 35 years or so with the paper. While UN correspondent, she worked alongside Alistair Cooke in New York and subsequently held posts as European Integration correspondent, Washington correspondent, Eastern Europe correspondent, and diplomatic editor before retiring in the mid-1990s. Since leaving The Guardian, she has nurtured a new career as a writer, publishing a biography of Simon Wiesenthal and a book about Austria’s post-war history. BOOK: Scorn by Matthew Parris LUXURY: Recliner armchair FAVOURITE TRACK: Mozart's Marriage of Figaro Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
December 16, 2018
Professor Mariana Mazzucato is an economist, who focuses on value and innovation. Born in Italy, Mariana moved to America as a child, when her father accepted a post at Princeton University. She has lived in the UK for the last 20 years and is currently Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and the Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London. She examined how government funding has enabled highly profitable inventions in the private sector in her 2013 book The Entrepreneurial State. She advises policymakers around the world on how to deliver sustainable growth, and has also taken a particular interest in pricing and profit in the pharmaceutical industry. Earlier this year she published The Value of Everything, in which she argued that we need to re-think our ideas about how wealth is created in the global economy. In 2013 she was named as one of the 'three most important thinkers about innovation' by the New Republic. BOOK CHOICE: Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar LUXURY: One of her mother's handmade quilts CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
December 9, 2018
Gary Barlow, musician and Take That lead singer, has written more than a dozen chart-topping songs, and has received six Ivor Novello awards including the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Born in Cheshire in 1971, his interest in music was sparked at an early age by a child’s keyboard. At the age of 10, he saw Depeche Mode on Top of the Pops, prompting the desire to take to the stage himself. He wrote A Million Love Songs, which later became a Top 10 hit for Take That, in his bedroom when he was 15. By this time he was a regular performer in a Labour club just across the Welsh border, where he cut his teeth playing the organ and singing. By the time he was 18, he was so good at writing songs that he successfully auditioned for a place in the group which became Take That. They went on to be one of the most successful bands of all time, winning a devoted audience with tracks such as Back For Good, Everything Changes and Pray. When they broke up in early 1996, helplines were set up to assuage their fans’ feelings of loss and grief. In 2005, Take That reformed, with Robbie Williams rejoining them for a spell in 2010, and – in some form or other – the band has kept going and will tour again in 2019. Gary was put in charge of organising the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert and performed at the closing ceremony for the London Olympics in 2012. He was a judge on the X-Factor for three series and his talent show, Let It Shine, was broadcast on BBC One in 2017. Earlier this year he published a second autobiography. BOOK CHOICE: Recording the Beatles by by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew. LUXURY ITEM: Piano CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Nimrod by Elgar Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
December 2, 2018
Tom Kerridge is a chef, restaurateur and TV presenter. Tom made his name with his Buckinghamshire pub The Hand and Flowers, which he opened with his wife in 2005. It is the only British pub with two Michelin stars. Tom grew up near Gloucester. After his parents divorced when he was 11, his mother took two jobs to support the family, and Tom was often left to cook for himself and his younger brother. As a teenager, he worked as a TV actor, playing small roles in dramas such as Miss Marple. He entered his first professional kitchen at 18, and immediately fell in love with the world he found, with its constant pressures and rushes of adrenalin. He studied at catering college at the same time. As well as now running his own pubs and a London restaurant, Tom has presented numerous TV series and is the author of five best-selling cookbooks. More recently, he made headlines with his weight loss. He shed twelve stone after deciding that he needed to change his life as he reached the age of 40. He is married to the sculptor Beth Cullen-Kerridge. BOOK CHOICE: White Heat by Marco Pierre White LUXURY: A Shaving Kit FAVOURITE TRACK: Proof by I Am Kloot Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
November 25, 2018
Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for her 1995 debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has won the Costa Novel Award twice, for Life After Life in 2013 and for A God in Ruins two years later. Born in York in 1951, she was the only child of a couple who ran a medical and surgical supplies shop. She began to write after she had failed her doctorate at Dundee University and had given birth to two daughters. She took on a wide range of jobs while writing short stories for women's magazines, and did not publish her first book until she was in her early 40s. Her mid-career reinvention as a writer of detective fiction has seen her publish four novels starring her sleuth Jackson Brodie, with another one in the pipeline. She lives in Edinburgh, has two grown-up daughters, and two grandchildren. BOOK CHOICE: The Collected Poems and Letters of Emily Dickenson LUXURY ITEM: A 500 year old, mature oak tree FAVOURITE TRACK: Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
November 18, 2018
Tracey Thorn, musician and writer, is best known as one half of the duo Everything but the Girl. Brought up in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, she bought her first guitar, a black Les Paul copy, when she was 16 and her first band was called the Stern Bobs. Shortly after, she formed her own all-female band, Marine Girls, before moving to Hull University to study English. On her first night there, she met her future husband, Ben Watt, and they went on to form Everything But the Girl. Between 1982 and 2000, they sold more than nine million records and toured Europe and America. Despite their success, Tracey did not always enjoy performing live. At 35 she left the pop world to look after her twin girls, who were followed by her son Blake. She took about seven years out to be a full time parent, but since then she has come back to song-writing, recording music and writing: her first memoir Bedsit Disco Queen was a best seller, and she has a fortnightly column in the New Statesman. This year Tracey was presented with the outstanding contribution to music prize, at the AIM independent music awards. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
November 4, 2018
Vanley Burke is a Jamaican-born photographer often described as the Godfather of Black British Photography. His body of work is regarded as the greatest photographic record of African Caribbean people in post-war Britain. He is motivated by a desire to document culture and history. Vanley was born in 1951 in St Thomas, Jamaica. When he was four, his mother emigrated to Britain to train as a nurse, leaving him in his grandparents’ care. His mother sent him a Box Brownie camera as a present when he was ten, and his interest in photography was born. When he was 14 he left Jamaica to join his mother and her husband and their children, in Handsworth, Birmingham, where they ran a shop. Vanley’s fascination with photography continued and he began taking photographs of every aspect of the life of his local community. He also started collecting relevant objects to provide more context for his photographs, gathering everything from pamphlets, records and clothes to hurricane lamps. His archive became so substantial that it is largely housed in Birmingham’s Central Library. In 1977 he photographed African Liberation Day in Handsworth Park, documenting what is thought to be the largest all-black crowd ever to assemble in Britain. In 1983 he held his first exhibition, Handsworth from the Inside, at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, and in 2015 the entire contents of his flat was relocated to the gallery for the exhibition At Home with Vanley Burke. His images have appeared in galleries around the UK and abroad. Earlier this year, he was commissioned to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, creating the installation 5000 Miles and 70 Years at the MAC in Birmingham. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Blue in Green by Miles Davis BOOK CHOICE: Encyclopedia of Tropical Plants by Ahmed Fayaz LUXURY ITEM: A Machete and a Crocus bag Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
October 28, 2018
Jacqueline Gold is the CEO of the retail brands Ann Summers and Knickerbox. She joined the business at the age of 19 for work experience, and faced resistance because her father, David Gold, was the owner. By the time she was 21, she had persuaded the largely sceptical all-male board to invest in her radical idea: to re-invent the Ann Summers brand by selling lingerie and sex toys at women-only parties held in their homes. Along with the parties, there are now over 100 high street shops, with a multi-million pound turnover. Jacqueline’s childhood was difficult after her parents divorced when she was 12. Although she was a shy child, she worked throughout her teens which brought her a degree of financial independence and resilience. Today she’s a strong advocate of female empowerment, supports women in business and has set up the WOW incentive on Twitter. Jacqueline was awarded a CBE in 2016 and was ranked as the 16th wealthiest female entrepreneur by The Sunday Times in 2017. Happily married for the second time, she and her husband Dan underwent several courses of IVF treatment, and she eventually conceived twins. One of the children, Alfie, only survived for eight months. Their daughter, Scarlett is now aged nine. CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Wishin' On A Star - Rose Royce BOOK CHOICE: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne LUXURY ITEM: Her own feather pillow Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
October 21, 2018
Venki Ramakrishnan is a Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist. He is most renowned for his research into the atomic structure of the ribosome - a complex molecule in the cell which translates DNA into chains of amino acids that build proteins, the essence of life. This work eventually secured Venki a Nobel Prize in 2009, which he shared with Ada Yonath and Thomas Steitz. Venki was born in Tamil Nadu, in the south of India. Both his parents were scientists, and both pursued postgraduate studies overseas when Venki was very young. He completed his schooling in India, and then moved to the United States. Life on an American campus in the early 1970s was, he recalls, a culture shock for a self-confessed nerdy young Indian. He completed a PhD in Physics in 1976, but then switched to biology which he felt was a more exciting discipline. His research into the ribosome began when he was working at Yale as a post-doctoral fellow in the late 1970s. He moved to the UK in 1999, joining the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge as a group leader. He was knighted in 2012, and has served as President of the Royal Society since 2015, where he has argued that science should enjoy a central place in the curriculum and in our wider culture. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
October 14, 2018
Nile Rodgers is a Grammy-winning composer, musician, and producer. With his own band, Chic, he's been enticing people on to the dance floor since the mid-1970s with hits like Le Freak and Good Times. With over 200 production credits to his name, he has worked on many highly successful albums from Sister Sledge’s We Are Family to David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Madonna’s Like a Virgin. Born in New York City in 1952 to a teenage mother, he spent his early life immersed in his parents’ bohemian, beatnik, and drug-dominated lifestyle. Drugs played a part in Nile's life too from an early age, and he took his first acid trip with Timothy Leary at the age of 15. After learning to play the guitar, he got his musical break touring with the Sesame Street stage show and playing in the house band of Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, where he met bassist Bernard Edwards with whom he developed a productive musical partnership and went on to found Chic. Following the Disco Sucks movement of the late 1970s, Nile and Bernard turned to production, and sprinkled their magic dust on Sister Sledge and Diana Ross. When Nile and Bernard went their separate ways in the early 1980s, Nile forged ahead on his own, working with, among others, Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Duran Duran. Nile went into rehab in 1994 and has been clean and sober for the past 24 years and has received successful treatment for cancer twice. He won three Grammys for his 2013 collaboration with the French electronic music duo Daft Punk, and has recently released the first Chic album in 26 years. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
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