• 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
    (First broadcast in 2019)

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  • Professor Sir Simon Wessely is the first ever psychiatrist to be awarded a Regius professorship – an honour bestowed by the Queen. He is professor of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, and is also a consultant psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital.

    Born in Sheffield to a father who had come to Britain on the Kindertransport, he started his research career working on unexplained symptoms and syndromes, leading progressive and sometimes controversial work on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Disagreement about whether the condition is physical or psychological continues to this day and although Simon’s studies helped develop a treatment programme, there is still no cure.

    Later he switched his attention to the military, exploring Gulf War Syndrome, PTSD, the risk and benefit of military service, social and psychological outcomes for ex-service personnel and historic aspects of war and psychiatry. In 1996 he established the Gulf War Illness Research Unit which subsequently became the King’s Centre for Military Health Research.

    He completed a term as president of the Royal Society of Medicine – the first psychiatrist to occupy the post - and in 2017 he led an independent review of the Mental Health Act.

    DISC ONE: Think by Aretha Franklin
    DISC TWO: String Quartet No. 1 (“From My Life”) in E minor (Allegro vivo appassionato) composed by Bedrich Smetana, performed by The Dante Quartet
    DISC THREE: Soave sia il vento, composed by Mozart, conducted by Karl Bohm, performed by Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Walter Berry, Christa Ludwig and Philharmonia Orchestra
    DISC FOUR: How Long has This Been Going On? by Dexter Gordon and Lonette McKee
    DISC FIVE: The Room Where it Happens by Leslie Odom, Jr and Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
    DISC SIX: France - La Marseillaise - Hymne national francais, composed by Claude Rouget de Lisle, performed by Ensemble du monde
    DISC SEVEN: Serenade No. 10 in B flat major, K. 361, "Gran Partita": Adagio, composed by Mozart, performed by German Wind Soloists
    DISC EIGHT: Tuxedo Junction by Jools Holland And His Rhythm And Blues Orchestra

    BOOK CHOICE: A Teach Yourself Russian book
    LUXURY ITEM: A Viennese cafe
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: How Long has This Been Going On? by Dexter Gordon and Lonette McKee

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Maggie O’Farrell has written eight novels, a memoir and a children’s book. In 2020 her novel Hamnet won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and was also named Waterstones Book of the Year.

    Maggie was born in Northern Ireland. Her parents moved around during her childhood, and she grew up in Wales and Scotland. As a young girl, she was very ill and almost died from encephalitis. She says her lifelong love of reading comes from her long stay in hospital followed by an extended convalescence, when she missed a year of school. Her illness also left her with a stammer, which she believes has profoundly affected her relationship with language.

    She studied English at Cambridge University, and then looked for work as a journalist, writing poetry in her spare time. When she chanced upon a discarded computer, she decided to write a novel. She attended a creative writing course, where her tutors encouraged her to get her first manuscript published.

    She lives in Scotland with her husband, the writer William Sutcliffe, and their three children.

    DISC ONE: Elephant Gun by Beirut
    DISC TWO: Sit Down By The Fire by The Pogues
    DISC THREE: Lovesong by The Cure
    DISC FOUR: Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31, composed by Frédéric Chopin, performed by Martha Argerich (piano)
    DISC FIVE: The Bends by Radiohead
    DISC SIX: Little Star by Stina Nordenstam
    DISC SEVEN: Feeling Good by Nina Simone
    DISC EIGHT: Prophet (Better Watch It) by Rizzle Kicks

    BOOK CHOICE: Selected Stories by Alice Munro
    LUXURY ITEM: National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Elephant Gun by Beirut

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Sarah Taylor

  • Baroness Casey of Blackstock is a former civil servant specialising in social welfare, who has worked under five prime ministers. She has taken on some of UK society’s most difficult issues, including homelessness, anti-social behaviour and family breakdown, and has become known for her forthright views.

    She grew up in Portsmouth and her first job was working on reception at a branch of the Department of Health and Social Security in the late 1980s. At 27 she became the deputy director of the housing and homelessness charity, Shelter. In 1999 she was appointed head of Tony Blair’s new Rough Sleepers Unit, prompting the media to call her the ‘homelessness tsar’.

    She went on to run the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit at the Home Office where she became known as the ASBO Queen. David Cameron appointed her director general of the Troubled Families Programme in 2011.

    In 2016 she was awarded a DBE for services to families and vulnerable people. During the first COVID-19 lockdown she led the government’s Everyone In campaign which found emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.

    DISC ONE: Hanging on the Telephone by Blondie
    DISC TWO: What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
    DISC THREE: G Puccini: La Boheme / Act 1: Che Gelida Manina by Luciano Pavarotti and Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan
    DISC FOUR: Love Train by The O’Jays
    DISC FIVE: Abide With Me by Shirley Bassey and the Morriston Rugby Club Choir
    DISC SIX: Danny Boy by The Grimethorpe Colliery RJB Band
    DISC SEVEN: Nocturne No 2 in E flat Discogs title: Op. 9/2 in E flat major, composed by Frédéric Chopin, performed by Daniel Barenboim (piano)
    DISC EIGHT: Quanta Qualia composed by Patrick Hawes, performed by The Self-Isolation Choir

    BOOK CHOICE: The collected works of Jane Austen
    LUXURY ITEM: A supply of wine
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Love Train by The O’Jays

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Mark Strong has appeared in more than 60 films, along with numerous TV dramas and plays.

    His career took off after he won a leading role in the landmark 1996 BBC series Our Friends in the North, and since then his screen work includes dramas such as Syriana, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Zero Dark Thirty and The Imitation Game, as well as the fantasy and comic book worlds of Stardust, Kick Ass and Shazam. In 2015 he won the Olivier best actor award for his London stage performance in A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller, in a production that also won him great acclaim in New York.

    Mark was born in London, the only child of an Austrian mother and an Italian father. His father left the family when Mark was a baby and has played no part in his life. Thanks to his mother, Mark is fluent in German, and he spent most of his school holidays with his Austrian grandmother. His mother had two jobs to support them both, and Mark attended state boarding schools in the UK from the age of six. His first taste of performing came in a punk rock band at school, but he began his further education by starting a law degree in Germany, before changing course and returning to the UK to study drama.

    Most recently he has been filming the TV drama Temple, in which he plays a rogue surgeon operating in abandoned tunnels beneath a London underground station.

    DISC ONE: Spanish Stroll by Mink DeVille
    DISC TWO: Are You Lonesome Tonight (Laughing Version) by Elvis Presley
    DISC THREE: Helden by David Bowie
    DISC FOUR: Police and Thieves by The Clash
    DISC FIVE: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by Devo
    DISC SIX: You’ve Got the Love by The Source featuring Candi Staton (Eren’s Bootleg Mix)
    DISC SEVEN: Peter Piper by Run DMC
    DISC EIGHT: Whole Lotta Love by Ike and Tina Turner

    BOOK CHOICE: Magnum Streetwise: The Ultimate Collection of Street Photography
    LUXURY ITEM: A wind up radio
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Helden by David Bowie

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Claire Horton is the former chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and is currently director general of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

    She joined Battersea in 2010 during its landmark 150th year, spearheading a campaign which transformed the animal rescue service into a UK top 10 charity brand. During her years in charge, income and volunteer numbers quadrupled; new facilities were developed and the charity successfully campaigned for changes in animal welfare legislation.

    As a teenager Claire volunteered for a number of organisations including Mencap and the Riding for the Disabled Association. At 18 she joined the police force as a special constable, patrolling the streets of Dudley where she lived.

    Her first position in the charity sector was at the NSPCC and she later worked for the Cats Protection League and the Variety Club of Great Britain. In 2020 she was appointed CBE for her services to animal welfare.

    DISC ONE: Howlin’ For You by The Black Keys
    DISC TWO: Drink, Drink, Drink by Mario Lanza
    DISC THREE: Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
    DISC FOUR: Ghost Town by The Specials
    DISC FIVE: Agnus Dei, Op 11composed by Samuel Barber, conducted by Edward Higginbottom, performed by Choir of New College Oxford
    DISC SIX: Affirmation by Savage Garden
    DISC SEVEN: Heroes by David Bowie
    DISC EIGHT: Benedictus by Karl Jenkins

    BOOK CHOICE: A book by Dick Francis
    LUXURY ITEM: A piano and sheet music
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

  • Sophia Loren is the first performer to win the Best Actress Academy Award for a role in a foreign language film. She won in 1962 for her performance in Vittorio De Sica’s film Two Women in which she played a mother trying to protect her 12-year-old daughter in war-torn Italy. In 1991, she picked up a second Oscar when the Academy presented her with an Honorary Award for her contribution to world cinema.

    Born Sofia Villani Scicolone in a hospital ward for unmarried mothers, she was brought up by a single mother in Pozzuoli near Naples during the war years. After success in her first beauty pageant at the age of 15 and starring in photo romance stories for popular magazines, she first came to wider attention in 1953 when she played the title role in the Italian film Aida.

    She played a pizza seller in De Sica’s The Gold of Naples which is regarded as her breakthrough performance and led to her working on Hollywood movies with a who’s who of co-stars including Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck and Paul Newman. Her most enduring on-screen partnership was with the Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni.

    In 1966 she married the film producer Carlo Ponti and went on to have two children. In her most recent film The Life Ahead, directed by her son Edoardo Ponti, she plays a holocaust survivor and ex-prostitute who cares for the children of local sex workers.

    DISC ONE: I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Ella Fitzgerald
    DISC TWO: Debussy: Suite bergamasque, L.75 - 3. Clair de lune composed by Claude Debussy, performed by Tamás Vásáry
    DISC THREE: Lara Says Goodbye to Yuri by Maurice Jarre
    DISC FOUR: Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) by Frank Sinatra with The Count Basie Orchestra, directed by Quincy Jones
    DISC FIVE: Oggi Sono Io by Mina
    DISC SIX: The Marketplace at Limoges composed by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, performed by Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Ponti
    DISC SEVEN: Io Sì by Laura Pausini
    DISC EIGHT: Caruso by Lucio Dalla

    BOOK CHOICE: Letters from a Young Father by Edoardo Ponti
    LUXURY ITEM: A pizza oven
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Caruso by Lucio Dalla

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Malala Yousafzai is an activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize when she was 17 - becoming the youngest winner in its history. Today she is known globally for her human rights advocacy and her ongoing campaign to ensure all children have equal access to education.

    She was born in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan where her father Ziauddin was a prominent activist who believed boys and girls should sit side by side in the classroom and co-founded a school which Malala attended. After the Taliban began to establish its presence in the Valley, day-to-day life became synonymous with danger and fear – people were taken from their homes and killed for speaking out against the regime. Education for girls was forbidden and schools were shut down or bombed.

    In 2009 Malala began writing an anonymous blog for BBC Urdu in which she spoke out about what was happening in Swat Valley. This made her a target. In 2012 she was shot by a Taliban gunman as she sat on the school bus. Two girls sitting alongside her were also shot. What Malala calls ‘the incident’ generated headlines around the world. Her injuries were severe and she was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. After a long and painful recovery she settled in Birmingham with her family.

    Now 23, Malala graduated from the University of Oxford last year and continues to campaign globally for girls’ education through the Malala Fund which she co-founded with her father.

    DISC ONE: Rang by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Amjad Sabri
    DISC TWO: Shinwari Lawangeena by Zarsanga
    DISC THREE: Never Say Never by Justin Bieber
    DISC FOUR: Hum Dekhen Ge by Iqbal Bano
    DISC FIVE: All I Ask of You by Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton
    DISC SIX: Kaari Kaari by Qurat Ul Ain Balouch
    DISC SEVEN: Love Always Comes as a Surprise by Peter Asher
    DISC EIGHT: Bibi Sherina by Sardar Ali Takkar

    BOOK CHOICE: Plato: Complete Works
    LUXURY ITEM: Lip balm
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Hum Dekhen Ge by Iqbal Bano

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

  • George McGavin is an entomologist, explorer and broadcaster, who has spread the word about the importance of insects to audiences in their millions.

    Born in Glasgow, he grew up in Edinburgh where he studied zoology at university. Following a PhD in entomology, he went on to teach and research at the University of Oxford. He gave up his post as the assistant curator of the university’s Museum of Natural History after 25 years to follow his dream of becoming a television presenter.

    He has presented documentaries from far-flung locations including Borneo, Guyana and New Guinea. He has made it his life’s work to uncover the mysteries of the largely uncatalogued world of invertebrates which he says makes up close to 80% of life on earth.

    In 2018 he was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer and the following year he turned the camera on himself to present a very personal programme about his diagnosis and treatment.

    DISC ONE: Love Reign O’er Me by The Who
    DISC TWO: The Dark Island by The Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch
    DISC THREE: Cello Concerto in E minor Op. 85, composed by Edward Elgar, performed by Jacqueline du Pré and London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli
    DISC FOUR: Night Lament by Kate Rusby
    DISC FIVE: To Begin at the Beginning read by Richard Burton, from Under Milk Wood
    DISC SIX: Keep Talking by Pink Floyd
    DISC SEVEN: Sola, Perduta, Abbandonata by Maria Callas and Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Tullio Serafin
    DISC EIGHT: The Bog by Einojuhani Rautavaara

    BOOK CHOICE: A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
    LUXURY ITEM: Hot sauce
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Cello Concerto in E minor Op. 85, performed by Jacqueline du Pré and London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

  • Monica Galetti is a chef, restaurateur and cook book writer, who is also known as a judge on the television series MasterChef: the Professionals.

    Born on the island of Upolu in Western Samoa, she grew up on the family plantation where her earliest food memories are of collecting eggs and mangoes and peeling bananas for special suppers. When she was eight she moved to New Zealand where her mother and stepfather had emigrated a couple of years earlier.

    After studying hospitality management and enjoying success in numerous cooking competitions, she travelled around Europe before settling in London where she found work as a commis chef at the Roux family’s restaurant, Le Gavroche. Under the watchful eye of Michel Roux Jr, she rose through the ranks to become Le Gavroche’s first female sous chef.

    She opened her own restaurant in 2017 where she works alongside her husband David who is head sommelier and co-owner.

    DISC ONE: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley And The Wailers
    DISC TWO: Samoa Matalasi (My Beautiful Samoa) by The Five Stars
    DISC THREE: You Oughta Be in Love by Dave Dobbyn (ft. Ardijah)
    DISC FOUR: Hotel California by The Eagles
    DISC FIVE: La Vie en Rose by Louis Armstrong
    DISC SIX: My Girl by The Temptations
    DISC SEVEN: Purple Rain by Prince
    DISC EIGHT: Feeling Good by Nina Simone

    BOOK CHOICE: The complete Works of Oscar Wilde
    LUXURY ITEM: Scuba diving gear
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley And The Wailers

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

  • Major Tim Peake, is an Army Air Corps officer and a European Space Agency astronaut. He was the first British astronaut to carry out a spacewalk.

    As a child, he became interested in aviation, visiting air shows with his father and learning to fly as a teenager, although space travel was not yet a passion. He joined the school Cadet Corps and found he was in his element. From there he progressed to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and then into the Army Air Corps in 1992. His military career included service in Northern Ireland and the former Yugoslavia, and he spent several years based in Germany where he met his wife Rebecca. He qualified as a helicopter pilot in 1992, and later became a helicopter instructor. He spent time in the USA, learning to fly the Apache attack helicopter, before becoming a test pilot in 2005.

    In 2008, he answered an advert from the European Space Agency looking for astronauts. The following year he became one of six successful candidates, chosen from more than 8000 hopefuls. Years of training followed, involving anything from basic dentistry to underwater 'spacewalking', and in December 2015 he headed to the International Space Station for six months.

    After his return, Tim moved back to the UK to work with industry and engage in outreach work while he awaits his next space mission. He lives in Hampshire with his wife and two sons.

    DISC ONE: Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
    DISC TWO: It Must Be Love by Madness
    DISC THREE: Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks
    DISC FOUR: Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra
    DISC FIVE: Word Up! By Gun
    DISC SIX: I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith
    DISC SEVEN: Glycerine by Bush
    DISC EIGHT: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Monty Python

    BOOK CHOICE: An atlas
    LUXURY ITEM: A telescope
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Samantha Power was the USA's youngest ever ambassador to the UN, during President Barack Obama’s second term, and is a writer and academic. She has just been invited to join president-elect Joe Biden's administration.

    Samantha was born in London but grew up in Ireland. At the age of nine, she moved to the US with her mother and younger brother following the breakdown of her parents’ marriage.

    Her first ambition was to be a sports broadcaster, but watching live footage of events in Tiananmen Square in 1989 led her to change course and she became a war correspondent instead, reporting on the conflict in Bosnia in the early 1990s. After returning to the US, she wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning book in which she examined what she saw as America’s repeated reluctance to confront genocide in the 20th century.

    In 2013 she was appointed ambassador to the UN. She stepped down in 2017 and became professor of global leadership, public policy and human rights at Harvard. Shortly after this edition of Desert Island Discs was recorded, she accepted the role of Administrator of the US Agency for International Development.

    DISC ONE: Dancing Queen by ABBA
    DISC TWO: Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens
    DISC THREE: Thousands Are Sailing by The Pogues
    DISC FOUR: Crazy by Seal
    DISC FIVE: Boots of Spanish Leather by Mandolin Orange
    DISC SIX: Why? (The King of Love is Dead) by Nina Simone
    DISC SEVEN: Tonight Will Be Fine by Teddy Thompson
    DISC EIGHT: A Million Years by Alexander

    BOOK CHOICE: A guitar
    LUXURY ITEM: The Irish Times Book of Favourite Irish Poems by Colm Tóibín
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Tonight Will Be Fine by Teddy Thompson

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • David Olusoga is a historian, writer and broadcaster who has presented a range of programmes including the BBC’s A House Through Time and Civilisations. He is currently professor of public history at Manchester University.

    Born in Lagos, the second child to a Nigerian father and a British mother, David was brought up by his mother in Gateshead after his parents’ marriage broke down. As a child he and his siblings experienced sustained racism and he remembers school as a place of violence and cruelty.

    He credits his mother’s tenacity and her determination to educate her children for his later success in getting to university and establishing a career in television. His love of history developed from a young age, thanks to one of his teachers who taught him why an understanding of history matters. Watching television documentaries also opened up a world of possibility and David fondly recalls programmes from the 1980s presented by the historian Michael Wood, who made history seem cool in the eyes of the young schoolboy glued to the TV in his Gateshead council house.

    Last year David delivered the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival in which he talked candidly about his loneliness at being the only black person on a production team and the difficulties he had trying to explain the racial implications of how, for example, people in Africa were often portrayed on screen.

    DISC ONE: Zombie by Fela Kuti
    DISC TWO: Roll on Buddy by Aunt Molly Jackson
    DISC THREE: Black Mountain Blues by Bessie Smith
    DISC FOUR: Just The Other Day by Dr Alimantado
    DISC FIVE: Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground by Blind Willie Johnson
    DISC SIX: Last Kind Words by Geeshie Wiley
    DISC SEVEN: You Can't Blame The Youth (Live At The Record Plant '73) by Bob Marley & The Wailers
    DISC EIGHT: Precious Lord, Take My Hand / You’ve Got a Friend by Aretha Franklin

    BOOK CHOICE: The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell: An Age Like This, 1920-40
    LUXURY ITEM: Acoustic guitar
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground by Blind Willie Johnson

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Colonel Lucy Giles is an officer of the British Army’s Royal Logistic Corps and is currently President of the Army Officer Selection Board - the first woman to take on this role.

    After attending her local comprehensive school in Wincanton, Somerset, she studied Biological Sciences at Exeter University where she joined the University Officers’ Training Corps, despite having no military background herself.

    After what she calls a “retrospective year out”, she joined the last female-only company at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Corps of Transport in 1992, which became the Royal Logistic Corps the following year.

    Over a career spanning more than 25 years, she has served in over 20 countries including South Africa, Bosnia, East Timor and Sierra Leone. She was the first female Officer Commanding of 47 Air Despatch Squadron, enabling operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in 2015 became the first woman Commander of New College, Sandhurst. She was promoted to the rank of colonel in 2018.

    She is married to Brigadier Nick Post, and they have two children, Jess and Alex. In her spare time, she is a marathon runner.

    DISC ONE: The Day That Never Comes by Metallica
    DISC TWO: Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana
    DISC THREE: Pilate's Dream (from Jesus Christ Superstar) by Barry Dennen
    DISC FOUR: Love Shack by The B-52’s
    DISC FIVE: Street Spirit (Fade Out) by Radiohead
    DISC SIX: For those in Peril on the Sea, a special arrangement by Lieutenant Colonel Simon Haw MBE, performed by Band of the Coldstream Guards and members of the Guards’ Chapel Choir
    DISC SEVEN: Fire by Kasabian
    DISC EIGHT: Big in Japan by Alphaville

    BOOK CHOICE: A book by Agatha Christie
    LUXURY ITEM: A jigsaw puzzle
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Day That Never Comes by Metallica

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Sir Cliff Richard makes a second trip to the island he first visited 60 years ago, when he had just turned 20, but had already topped the UK charts three times.

    Over the course of his career, Sir Cliff has released over 100 albums and sold well over 250 million records. His chart success in the UK has been eclipsed only by his hero Elvis Presley and one-time rivals, the Beatles.

    Born Harry Webb in Lucknow, India, Sir Cliff returned to the UK with his family in 1948: money was tight and the family of six shared a room until they were able to move into a council house. Sir Cliff’s father bought him a guitar for his 16th birthday and he initially performed in a skiffle band until he discovered rock ‘n’ roll and started a new band called the Drifters which later became the Shadows. His first hit single came in 1958 with Move It – often credited as being the first authentic British rock ‘n’ roll track – and he dominated the home-grown music scene of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

    During his long career Sir Cliff performed on screen in films including Summer Holiday and The Young Ones. He has fronted television shows, twice performed Britain’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest and starred in two stage musicals. Today, at 80, he is still recording new songs and itching to get back on tour to perform his music in a post-Covid world.

    Sir Cliff's return to Desert Island Discs after 60 years is record-breaking: it's the longest time between appearances in the programme's eight decade history.

    DISC ONE: Rolling in the Deep by Aretha Franklin
    DISC TWO: What's Love Got To Do With It by Cliff Richard
    DISC THREE: Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley
    DISC FOUR: I Honestly Love You by Olivia Newton-John
    DISC FIVE: It Is Well by Sheila Walsh Featuring Cliff Richard
    DISC SIX: I Can't Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt
    DISC SEVEN: Stayin' Alive by Bee Gees
    DISC EIGHT: High Water Everywhere by Joe Bonamassa

    BOOK CHOICE: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
    LUXURY ITEM: A Gibson acoustic guitar
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: It Is Well by Sheila Walsh Featuring Cliff Richard

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

  • Minette Batters is the first woman to become President of the National Farmers' Union, representing 47,000 members. She was first elected to the post in 2018 for two years, and was re-elected in March 2020.

    Minette runs a tenanted family farm in Wiltshire. The mixed farming business includes cattle, sheep and arable, as well as the conversion of a 17th century barn into a wedding and events venue.

    Her father was a tenant farmer, and Minette adored helping him as a youngster, but the idea of taking on the farm herself seemed out of the question: her father strongly advised against it. Instead she took a Cordon Bleu course, graduated with distinction and ran her own catering business for 20 years. When her father retired, the lure of the land pulled her back and she took on the tenancy in 1998, despite the misgivings of many of her friends. Her campaigns on behalf of farmers include the initiatives Ladies in Beef and the Great British Beef Week. This year she has represented the views of NFU members during the Covid-19 crisis and the Brexit negotiations.

    DISC ONE: Green Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones
    DISC TWO: I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers
    DISC THREE: Antonio Vivaldi: Spring From The Four Seasons: 1. Allegro by Nigel Kennedy (violin) and English Chamber Orchestra
    DISC FOUR: Give A Little Bit by Supertramp
    DISC FIVE: Silent Night by The Salisbury Cathedral Choir, conducted by David Halls
    DISC SIX: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
    DISC SEVEN: The Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler
    DISC EIGHT: I Vow To Thee My Country by Katherine Jenkins

    BOOK CHOICE: We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
    LUXURY ITEM: A loaf of bread
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Give A Little Bit by Supertramp

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Professor Sir Jeremy Farrar is Director of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation which funds scientific research. He is a member of Sage, the scientific group currently advising the government on Covid-19.

    He is the youngest of six children and was born in Singapore. His mother was an artist and his father was a teacher, who worked around the world, and the family lived in New Zealand, Cyprus and Libya.

    After struggling to win a place a medical school, he trained as a doctor in London and then moved to Edinburgh to work as a neurologist. He switched to public health and was for 18 years the Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, where he worked on infectious diseases, including the re-emergence of bird flu in 2004. He was knighted for services to global health in 2019, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of The Royal Society.

    DISC ONE: Under The Boardwalk by The Rolling Stones
    DISC TWO: The World Service Lillibulero theme, composed by Henry Purcell
    DISC THREE: Muezzin Call To Prayer, recorded by David Fanshawe
    DISC FOUR: Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, read by Sir Simon Russell Beale
    DISC FIVE: Mallai Chroch Shli by Duncan Chisholm
    DISC SIX: Nabucco: Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves from Verdi's Nabucco, by the Chicago
    Symphony Chorus, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti
    DISC SEVEN: 7 Seconds by Youssou N'Dour & Neneh Cherry
    DISC EIGHT: Love under the Moonlight by The Khac Chi Ensemble

    BOOK CHOICE: Other Men's Flowers: An Anthology of Poetry by A. P. Wavell
    LUXURY ITEM: A cricket bowling machine
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Love under the Moonlight by The Khac Chi Ensemble

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Helen Oxenbury is an illustrator of children’s books whose work has featured in many very popular titles for younger readers including the award-winning We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen.

    Helen has won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice and was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Book Trust in 2018. She attended the Ipswich School of Art and later the Central School of Art in London where she met fellow illustrator and her future husband, John Burningham.

    After the birth of her children she began illustrating children’s books, working at the kitchen table long after they’d gone to bed. Her work for Ivor Cutler’s Meal One, published in 1971, was praised by Spare Rib magazine for its portrayal of a single mother and her relationship with her young son.

    Helen came up with the idea of her baby board books in the late 1970s after the birth of her third child who suffered with eczema. Discovering that her daughter could be distracted from scratching by looking at baby catalogues, Helen created a series of board books placing babies and toddlers at their heart. Such a concept was unheard of at the time.

    From the late 1980s, Helen ensured that the babies and children featured in her books came from different ethnic backgrounds and her work in So Much by Trish Cooke has become a children’s classic. In We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, published in 1989, Helen’s pictures celebrated the joy of adventure and the bond between siblings.

    DISC ONE: America by Marilyn Cooper, Chita Rivera and Shark Girls
    DISC TWO: Mir Ist So Wunderbar by Ludwig van Beethoven, conducted by Mark Elder, performed by London Philharmonic Orchestra. Tenor: Andrew Kennedy, Soprano: Lisa Milne, Soprano: Anja Kampe, Bass: Brindley Sherratt
    DISC THREE: Tubby The Tuba by Danny Kaye
    DISC FOUR: Lullaby of Birdland by Erroll Garner
    DISC FIVE: Episode 1of Life In A Scotch Sitting Room Vol. II by Ivor Cutler ‎
    DISC SIX: Schubert ’s Impromptu No. 3 in G flat D899 by Alfred Brendel, (piano)
    conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras
    DISC SEVEN: Singin’ in the Rain by Gene Kelly
    DISC EIGHT: Les Pecheurs de Perles, Act 1: Romance: Mi par d'udir ancora (Je crois entendre encore) by Beniamino Gigli, conducted by Eugene Goossens

    BOOK CHOICE: The Empire Trilogy by JG Farrell
    LUXURY ITEM: A bed with an unlimited supply of white linen sheets
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Les Pecheurs de Perles, Act 1: Romance: Mi par d'udir ancora (Je crois entendre encore) by Beniamino Gigli, conducted by Eugene Goossens

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

  • Arsène Wenger was the manager of Arsenal FC for 22 years, becoming the longest-serving and most successful manager in the club’s history.

    He was born in Strasbourg in 1949 and grew up as the youngest of three children in the nearby village of Duttlenheim, where his parents ran a bistro. There he listened in to the daily conversations about football, which preoccupied the men of the village.

    After playing for his local team and studying for a degree in economics, Arsène made a career as a footballer in France for a decade, before moving into management. He coached in France, Monaco and Japan before joining Arsenal in 1996. At that point he was a complete unknown in English football, but soon proved his doubters wrong. He took a declining mid-table side to Premier League glory within two years, going on to win two further Premierships and a record number of FA Cups. In 2003-4 his so-called Invincibles achieved a record-breaking run of 49 matches without defeat.

    He also won a reputation as an innovator, changing his players’ diets and contributing to the globalisation of soccer by signing overseas players and scouting young talent from across the world. He was instrumental in building a new home for Arsenal, when the club moved from Highbury to the brand new Emirates Stadium

    Arsène retired from Arsenal in 2018 and took up a post as FIFA’s head of Global Football Development the following year. He is separated from his partner Annie Brosterhous. They have one grown-up daughter, Léa.

    DISC ONE: Could You Be Loved by Bob Marley And The Wailers
    DISC TWO: Imagine by John Lennon
    DISC THREE: Avec Le Temps by Léo Ferré
    DISC FOUR: Your Song by Elton John
    DISC FIVE: Évidemment by France Gall
    DISC SIX: The Wonder of You by Elvis Presley
    DISC SEVEN: Ne Me Quitte Pas by Jacques Brel
    DISC EIGHT: My Way by Frank Sinatra

    BOOK CHOICE: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
    LUXURY ITEM: A ball
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Avec Le Temps by Léo Ferré

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Cathy Drysdale