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Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

310
Followers
574
Plays
Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

310
Followers
574
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

Dame Glenys Stacey, former Chief Inspector of Probation

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

39 MIN8 h ago
Comments
Dame Glenys Stacey, former Chief Inspector of Probation

Baroness Arminka Helić

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 compass...

36 MIN6 d ago
Comments
Baroness Arminka Helić

Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer & lyricist

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...

43 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer & lyricist

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, firefighter

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. DISC ONE: Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire DISC TWO: J Balvin and Willy William - Mi Gente DISC THREE: The Clash - Bankrobber DISC FOUR: IDLES - Samaritans DISC FIVE: Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK DISC SIX: Oasis - Don’t Look B...

52 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, firefighter

Thom Yorke, musician

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 ...

54 MINSEP 22
Comments
Thom Yorke, musician

Classic Desert Island Discs: Lemn Sissay

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...

34 MINSEP 15
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Lemn Sissay

Classic Desert Island Discs: Judith Kerr

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 nev...

36 MINSEP 8
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Judith Kerr

Classic Desert Island Discs: Daniel Kahneman

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." DISC ONE: Don MacLean - American Pie DISC TWO: Tino Rossi - Bohémienne aux Grands Yeux Noirs DISC THREE: Shirat Hanoded (the wanderer’s song) sung by Betty Klein DISC FOUR: Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, 2nd movement, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Frederick Stock with Arthur Schnabel on piano DISC FIVE: Danny Kaye - Ugly Duckling DISC SIX: The Beatl...

34 MINSEP 1
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Daniel Kahneman

Classic Desert Island Discs: Professor Monica Grady

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 Profess...

38 MINAUG 25
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Professor Monica Grady

Classic Desert Island Discs: Freddie Flintoff

One of the best players of his generation, he was part of the England team that won the Ashes in 2005, a year that marked his sporting coming of age. On the strength of that historic victory he was awarded an MBE for services to the game, and the public voted him BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Barely out of his pram when he picked up a cricket ball he turned out to bat for an under-14 match when he was just six years old. His debut was not in crisp cricket whites, but in a second hand Manchester United tracksuit, setting the tone for someone who's made a habit of doing things his way. Not least at a 10 Downing Street reception when, somewhat the worse for wear, he weaved into the cabinet room, plonked himself down in the PM's chair and knocked back yet another bottle of beer. Since retiring from the game he's had a go at heavyweight boxing and won the bout. One area where he hasn't come out on top: his sons never listen to his cricket coaching tips. DISC ONE: Elvis Presley - I ...

35 MINAUG 18
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Freddie Flintoff

Latest Episodes

Dame Glenys Stacey, former Chief Inspector of Probation

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

39 MIN8 h ago
Comments
Dame Glenys Stacey, former Chief Inspector of Probation

Baroness Arminka Helić

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 compass...

36 MIN6 d ago
Comments
Baroness Arminka Helić

Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer & lyricist

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...

43 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer & lyricist

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, firefighter

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. DISC ONE: Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire DISC TWO: J Balvin and Willy William - Mi Gente DISC THREE: The Clash - Bankrobber DISC FOUR: IDLES - Samaritans DISC FIVE: Sex Pistols - Anarchy in the UK DISC SIX: Oasis - Don’t Look B...

52 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, firefighter

Thom Yorke, musician

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 ...

54 MINSEP 22
Comments
Thom Yorke, musician

Classic Desert Island Discs: Lemn Sissay

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...

34 MINSEP 15
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Lemn Sissay

Classic Desert Island Discs: Judith Kerr

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 nev...

36 MINSEP 8
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Judith Kerr

Classic Desert Island Discs: Daniel Kahneman

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." DISC ONE: Don MacLean - American Pie DISC TWO: Tino Rossi - Bohémienne aux Grands Yeux Noirs DISC THREE: Shirat Hanoded (the wanderer’s song) sung by Betty Klein DISC FOUR: Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, 2nd movement, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Frederick Stock with Arthur Schnabel on piano DISC FIVE: Danny Kaye - Ugly Duckling DISC SIX: The Beatl...

34 MINSEP 1
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Daniel Kahneman

Classic Desert Island Discs: Professor Monica Grady

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 Profess...

38 MINAUG 25
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Professor Monica Grady

Classic Desert Island Discs: Freddie Flintoff

One of the best players of his generation, he was part of the England team that won the Ashes in 2005, a year that marked his sporting coming of age. On the strength of that historic victory he was awarded an MBE for services to the game, and the public voted him BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Barely out of his pram when he picked up a cricket ball he turned out to bat for an under-14 match when he was just six years old. His debut was not in crisp cricket whites, but in a second hand Manchester United tracksuit, setting the tone for someone who's made a habit of doing things his way. Not least at a 10 Downing Street reception when, somewhat the worse for wear, he weaved into the cabinet room, plonked himself down in the PM's chair and knocked back yet another bottle of beer. Since retiring from the game he's had a go at heavyweight boxing and won the bout. One area where he hasn't come out on top: his sons never listen to his cricket coaching tips. DISC ONE: Elvis Presley - I ...

35 MINAUG 18
Comments
Classic Desert Island Discs: Freddie Flintoff