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Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

915
Followers
3.0K
Plays
Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

915
Followers
3.0K
Plays
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About Us

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

Latest Episodes

Yusuf Cat Stevens, musician

Yusuf Cat Stevens is a singer-songwriter who first enjoyed success more than 50 years ago. He was born Steven Demetre Georgiou in July 1948. His Greek Cypriot father and his Swedish mother ran a restaurant in the West End of London, and he helped out there from an early age. He also became interested in music, writing and singing his own songs, partly inspired by the success of The Beatles. Under the name Cat Stevens, he was just 18 when he had his first hit, and soon found himself on tour with Engelbert Humperdinck and Jimi Hendrix. His career came to a sudden halt in 1969, when he contracted tuberculosis and was forced out of the limelight for a year of recuperation. It was also a time of reflection. He emerged a changed man in 1970 - a sensitive singer-songwriter whose albums, including Tea for the Tillerman, and Teaser and the Firecat, sold millions of copies around the world. While enjoying fame and success, he also thought more deeply about religious faith, an interest which i...

35 min4 d ago
Comments
Yusuf Cat Stevens, musician

Bernardine Evaristo, writer

Bernardine Evaristo won the Booker Prize in 2019 for her novel, Girl, Woman, Other. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Bernardine was born in May 1959, the fourth of eight children, to an English mother and a Nigerian father. She grew up in Woolwich in south London, and was educated at Eltham Hill Girls’ Grammar School. She spent her teenage years at the Greenwich Young People’s Theatre and, after deciding that she wanted to be a professional actor at the age of 14, did a Community Theatre Arts course at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. After graduation she founded the Theatre of Black Women with two fellow students in the early 1980s and they began to write roles for themselves. By the late 1980s, she had decided that it was the writing she enjoyed most. Her first poetry collection was published in 1994, followed by a semi-autobiographical verse novel called Lara three years later. More books followed, experimenting with form and narrat...

36 min1 w ago
Comments
Bernardine Evaristo, writer

Classic Desert Island Discs - Jack Charlton

The ball rolled past the gap between him and Gordon Banks and into the back of the net. The Germans were one goal up. Jack Charlton, Sue Lawley's castaway, recalls the match which was to bring him to his knees in relief and joy as England went on to win the 1966 World Cup - just one of the crowning moments of a career that could so easily have ended down the pit, except for his talent with the ball. Nicknamed The Boss because of his straight talking, Jack describes his relationship with his brother 'Our Kid' Bobby Charlton and his success as manager of Ireland. Jack died in July 2020, at the age of 85.

36 min2 w ago
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Jack Charlton

Classic Desert Island Discs - Liz Smith

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actress Liz Smith. Her story is a triumph of talent and perseverance over circumstance. Her mother died when she was tiny, her father walked out of her life and for many years she was brought up by her grandmother who was in mourning for her only child and her own husband. For Liz, acting and making people laugh was an escape from the often harsh realities of life, but she had to wait until she was 50 for her first real break - a role in Mike Leigh's film Bleak Moments. By that time, she'd raised her two children on her own with very little money and knew that this was her opportunity to prove what she could do. She won critical acclaim and was later awarded a Bafta for her appearance in Alan Bennett's A Private Function and finally, when she was in her 70s, she became a household name through her roles in The Vicar of Dibley and The Royle Family. Liz Smith recorded this programme in 2008, when she was 86 years old. Favourite track: Only The Lonely by ...

37 min3 w ago
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Liz Smith

Classic Desert Island Discs - Terry Jones

Roy Plomley's castaway is the Monty Python comedian Terry Jones, in a programme first broadcast in 1983. Terry Jones died in January 2020, at the age of 77.

39 minAUG 30
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Terry Jones

Classic Desert Island Discs - Wendy Cope

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...

39 minAUG 23
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Wendy Cope

Classic Desert Island Discs - Bryan Stevenson

Kirsty Young's castaway is Bryan Stevenson. An American lawyer, he is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, not-for-profit organisation working on death penalty cases, cases of children sentenced as adults, prison and sentencing reform, and issues of race and poverty. His great grandparents were slaves and he himself went to a segregated school in southern Delaware. Although from a poor African American background he made it to Harvard Law School. Since then he has secured relief for over a hundred prisoners sentenced to death. He has argued in front of the Supreme Court six times and won landmark rulings about the sentencing of children for both homicide and non-homicide offences. His TED talk from March 2012 has been viewed over two million times. The programme was first broadcast in 2015. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

37 minAUG 16
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Bryan Stevenson

Your Desert Island Discs

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. DISC ONE: Amazing Grace by Judy Collins DISC TWO: Who Knows Where The Time Goes? by Sandy Denny DISC THREE: The Whole of The Moon by The Waterboys DISC FOUR: Heimweh op. 57 Nr. 6: Homesickness, composed by Edvard Grieg, performed by Emil Gilels DISC FIVE: Ab Saunp Diya by Om Vyas DISC SIX: Prelude and The Sound of Music by Julie Andrews & Orchestra of St. Luke's DISC SEVEN: Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole DISC EIGHT: Six Million Steps (West Runs South) by Rahni Harris & F.L.O Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

50 minAUG 11
Comments
Your Desert Island Discs

Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate

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”. ...

35 minAUG 10
Comments
Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate

Steve Backshall, Explorer

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 ...

35 minAUG 2
Comments
Steve Backshall, Explorer

Latest Episodes

Yusuf Cat Stevens, musician

Yusuf Cat Stevens is a singer-songwriter who first enjoyed success more than 50 years ago. He was born Steven Demetre Georgiou in July 1948. His Greek Cypriot father and his Swedish mother ran a restaurant in the West End of London, and he helped out there from an early age. He also became interested in music, writing and singing his own songs, partly inspired by the success of The Beatles. Under the name Cat Stevens, he was just 18 when he had his first hit, and soon found himself on tour with Engelbert Humperdinck and Jimi Hendrix. His career came to a sudden halt in 1969, when he contracted tuberculosis and was forced out of the limelight for a year of recuperation. It was also a time of reflection. He emerged a changed man in 1970 - a sensitive singer-songwriter whose albums, including Tea for the Tillerman, and Teaser and the Firecat, sold millions of copies around the world. While enjoying fame and success, he also thought more deeply about religious faith, an interest which i...

35 min4 d ago
Comments
Yusuf Cat Stevens, musician

Bernardine Evaristo, writer

Bernardine Evaristo won the Booker Prize in 2019 for her novel, Girl, Woman, Other. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. Bernardine was born in May 1959, the fourth of eight children, to an English mother and a Nigerian father. She grew up in Woolwich in south London, and was educated at Eltham Hill Girls’ Grammar School. She spent her teenage years at the Greenwich Young People’s Theatre and, after deciding that she wanted to be a professional actor at the age of 14, did a Community Theatre Arts course at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama. After graduation she founded the Theatre of Black Women with two fellow students in the early 1980s and they began to write roles for themselves. By the late 1980s, she had decided that it was the writing she enjoyed most. Her first poetry collection was published in 1994, followed by a semi-autobiographical verse novel called Lara three years later. More books followed, experimenting with form and narrat...

36 min1 w ago
Comments
Bernardine Evaristo, writer

Classic Desert Island Discs - Jack Charlton

The ball rolled past the gap between him and Gordon Banks and into the back of the net. The Germans were one goal up. Jack Charlton, Sue Lawley's castaway, recalls the match which was to bring him to his knees in relief and joy as England went on to win the 1966 World Cup - just one of the crowning moments of a career that could so easily have ended down the pit, except for his talent with the ball. Nicknamed The Boss because of his straight talking, Jack describes his relationship with his brother 'Our Kid' Bobby Charlton and his success as manager of Ireland. Jack died in July 2020, at the age of 85.

36 min2 w ago
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Jack Charlton

Classic Desert Island Discs - Liz Smith

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actress Liz Smith. Her story is a triumph of talent and perseverance over circumstance. Her mother died when she was tiny, her father walked out of her life and for many years she was brought up by her grandmother who was in mourning for her only child and her own husband. For Liz, acting and making people laugh was an escape from the often harsh realities of life, but she had to wait until she was 50 for her first real break - a role in Mike Leigh's film Bleak Moments. By that time, she'd raised her two children on her own with very little money and knew that this was her opportunity to prove what she could do. She won critical acclaim and was later awarded a Bafta for her appearance in Alan Bennett's A Private Function and finally, when she was in her 70s, she became a household name through her roles in The Vicar of Dibley and The Royle Family. Liz Smith recorded this programme in 2008, when she was 86 years old. Favourite track: Only The Lonely by ...

37 min3 w ago
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Liz Smith

Classic Desert Island Discs - Terry Jones

Roy Plomley's castaway is the Monty Python comedian Terry Jones, in a programme first broadcast in 1983. Terry Jones died in January 2020, at the age of 77.

39 minAUG 30
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Terry Jones

Classic Desert Island Discs - Wendy Cope

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...

39 minAUG 23
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Wendy Cope

Classic Desert Island Discs - Bryan Stevenson

Kirsty Young's castaway is Bryan Stevenson. An American lawyer, he is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a private, not-for-profit organisation working on death penalty cases, cases of children sentenced as adults, prison and sentencing reform, and issues of race and poverty. His great grandparents were slaves and he himself went to a segregated school in southern Delaware. Although from a poor African American background he made it to Harvard Law School. Since then he has secured relief for over a hundred prisoners sentenced to death. He has argued in front of the Supreme Court six times and won landmark rulings about the sentencing of children for both homicide and non-homicide offences. His TED talk from March 2012 has been viewed over two million times. The programme was first broadcast in 2015. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

37 minAUG 16
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs - Bryan Stevenson

Your Desert Island Discs

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. DISC ONE: Amazing Grace by Judy Collins DISC TWO: Who Knows Where The Time Goes? by Sandy Denny DISC THREE: The Whole of The Moon by The Waterboys DISC FOUR: Heimweh op. 57 Nr. 6: Homesickness, composed by Edvard Grieg, performed by Emil Gilels DISC FIVE: Ab Saunp Diya by Om Vyas DISC SIX: Prelude and The Sound of Music by Julie Andrews & Orchestra of St. Luke's DISC SEVEN: Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole DISC EIGHT: Six Million Steps (West Runs South) by Rahni Harris & F.L.O Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale

50 minAUG 11
Comments
Your Desert Island Discs

Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate

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”. ...

35 minAUG 10
Comments
Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate

Steve Backshall, Explorer

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 ...

35 minAUG 2
Comments
Steve Backshall, Explorer
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