• Sue Lawley's castaway is foreign correspondent Ann Leslie in a programme first broadcast in 2004. Ann Leslie died in June 2023, aged 82.

    The distinguished foreign correspondent Ann Leslie has witnessed and reported on some of the most significant events of the past 30 years including the fall of the Berlin wall; the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela's final walk to freedom. She has reported on uprisings, massacres and wars, collecting numerous awards as she has done so.

    She grew up in India and Pakistan and loved India and its culture. When she was around 10 years old she was sent to a boarding school in England. From school she went to Oxford and from there she joined the Daily Express. She was brought to London and was given her own column at the age of twenty-two. But she resigned, saying she wanted to do proper reporting, and it was David English's support for her that saw her start writing foreign news stories and set the course for her distinguished career.

  • Christopher Nolan is best known for reviving the Batman film franchise and for directing the blockbusters Inception and Dunkirk. His films have taken nearly $5 billion at the box office. Born in London in 1970 to an English father and an American mother, he discovered film-making at the age of seven. In what he describes as "a leap of faith", his father lent him his Super 8 camera - and he's not stopped making films since. From youthful experiments, manipulating his action figures and shooting stop motion animations, he progressed to making short films at university where he read English - although he spent more time at University College London's Bloomsbury Theatre, home to the film society, than the lecture theatre.

    His first feature film, Following, had enough festival exposure and critical success to secure him his first official budget of $4.5 million to make his next film, Memento. In 2005 he was hailed for reinventing the Caped Crusader in the dark and gritty Batman Begins. He regularly works with the same actors and production team including his long-time producer, his wife, Emma Thomas.

    Presenter: Kirsty Young
    Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

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  • Shirley Collins first enjoyed success as one of the leading figures in the British folk revival of the 1960s. She initially performed with her sister, Dolly Collins, and also collaborated with other folk luminaries to create some of the era’s most beloved albums. In the past decade she has made an acclaimed return to the concert stage and the recording studio.

    Shirley was born in Sussex in 1935. She can still recall how her grandfather used to sing folk songs to comfort her while they were sheltering during German air raids in the early 1940s.

    Alongside her career as a singer, in the 1950s she travelled to the American South with Alan Lomax, where they made field recordings of blues and folk musicians, helping to create a significant archive.

    Later in her performing career, Shirley found that she could no longer sing, following a distressing betrayal in her private life. She stepped away from music and was silent for many years, taking on other work, including a stint in a job centre Then, in her 80s, she found her voice again. In 2016 she released her first new album after a gap of almost four decades, and she has since released two more albums.

    Shirley lives in Sussex, not far from her childhood home.

    DISC ONE: Chiling O Guiry - Concerto Caledonia
    DISC TWO: The Birds in the Spring - The Copper Family
    DISC THREE: Who Would True Valour See - Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band
    DISC FOUR: Dear Father, Pray Build Me a Boat - Sheila Smith
    DISC FIVE: 61 Highway Blues - Mississippi Fred McDowell
    DISC SIX: Poor Sally Sits a-weeping - Dolly Collins
    DISC SEVEN: A Heart Needs A Home - Richard & Linda Thompson
    DISC EIGHT: Going Home - Mark Knopfler

    BOOK CHOICE: A collection of Brodie detective novels by Kate Atkinson
    LUXURY ITEM: A solar powered fridge filled with Italian Ice cream and two lipsticks
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Poor Sally Sits a Weeping

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Toto Wolff is CEO and Team Principal of the Mercedes Formula 1 motor racing team. He has led the team to an unprecedented seven consecutive drivers’ championships – six with Lewis Hamilton - and eight consecutive constructors' championships. He is the most successful manager in Formula 1 history, and arguably one of the most successful managers in any sport.

    Toto was born Torger Wolff in Vienna. When he was eight his father was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died when Toto was 15. Toto found himself looking after his mother and sister from a young age which he believes contributed to the strength of character he developed as an adult.

    Toto's original ambition in motorsport was to be a driver, and he started competing in his late teens. Following the deaths of drivers Ayrton Senna and then Roland Ratzenberger, his sponsor withdrew support, which forced him to give up his dream. He turned his attention to business and made a fortune as an entrepreneur.

    In 2009 he bought a stake in the Williams Formula 1 team and four years later bought a 30% stake in the Mercedes team.

    Toto is married to the former racing driver Susie Stoddart and they divide their time between the UK and Monaco. Their six-year-old son Jack is already showing an interest in karting.

    DISC ONE: Unfinished Sympathy - Massive Attack
    DISC TWO: Mama - Genesis
    DISC THREE: Money Can’t Buy It - Annie Lennox
    DISC FOUR: Iron Sky - Paolo Nutini
    DISC FIVE: We Are The Champions – Queen
    DISC SIX: Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins
    DISC SEVEN: Fallen - Lauren Wood
    DISC EIGHT: The Power of Love - Frankie Goes to Hollywood

    BOOK CHOICE: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    LUXURY ITEM: Diving fins and a mask
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Fallen - Lauren Wood

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Simon Woolley, Lord Woolley of Woodford, is principal of Homerton College at Cambridge University. He is the first black man to head an Oxbridge college. He is a co-founder of Operation Black Vote, which campaigns for greater inclusivity in politics, and became a crossbench peer in 2019.

    Simon spent his early years in an orphanage in Leicester before being fostered and then adopted by a white couple who also adopted his brother Mick. He left school at 16 to work as a car mechanic and then moved to London where he embarked on a successful career in sales. In 1988 he completed a one year access course which provided the pathway to university and a degree in English and Spanish.

    In 1996 Simon was one of the co-founders of Operation Black Vote, a non-partisan organisation which encourages voter registration and community engagement, aiming to give a voice to all sections of society.

    He was awarded a knighthood for services to race equality in 2019 and took up his current role as principal of Homerton College in 2021.

    DISC ONE: I Want You Back - The Jackson 5
    DISC TWO: Green Green Grass of Home - Tom Jones
    DISC THREE: Manhattan - Ella Fitzgerald
    DISC FOUR: Titanium (Morten Future Rave Mix) - David Guetta (feat Sia)
    DISC FIVE: Hagamos Lo Que Diga El Corazón - Grupo Niche
    DISC SIX: Dreamland – Composed and performed by Alexis Ffrench and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by James Morgan
    DISC SEVEN: Cowboy bebop tank! - Niyari
    DISC EIGHT: For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder

    BOOK CHOICE: Football in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
    LUXURY ITEM: A razor blade
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Jill Scott is the second most capped England footballer ever, playing for her country 161 times. Before her retirement last year, she played in ten major international tournaments and was part of the England team who beat Germany to win the 2022 European Championships.

    Jill was born and brought up in Sunderland, and excelled in a range of sports from an early age. She won the London mini-marathon when she was 14 but her heart was in football. She played for a boys junior football team until she was asked to leave when she was nine years old. Fortunately her mother found a girls team for her.

    She began her senior career when she was a teenager, initially playing for Sunderland before moving on to Everton and then Manchester City, where she won all the domestic trophies. She was renowned as a highly competitive midfield player, who scored 27 goals for England.

    She lives in Manchester with her partner Shelly, where they co-own a coffee shop. .

    DISC ONE: (Something Inside) So Strong - Labi Siffre
    DISC TWO: So Good - Boyzone
    DISC THREE: Step by Step - Whitney Houston
    DISC FOUR: Sunday Morning - Maroon 5
    DISC FIVE: The Climb - Miley Cyrus
    DISC SIX: My Love is Your Love - Whitney Houston
    DISC SEVEN: Mysterious Girl - Peter Andre
    DISC EIGHT: Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond

    BOOK CHOICE: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend
    LUXURY ITEM: A notebook and pens
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Climb - Miley Cyrus

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Peter Doig is one of Britain’s most successful living artists. His paintings have been exhibited at major galleries around the world, winning wide critical acclaim and selling for tens of millions of pounds at auction, setting sales records.

    Peter was born in Edinburgh in 1959, but grew up in Trinidad and Canada, where his father had chosen to work. Peter was partly educated at a Scottish boarding school, but didn't enjoy the experience. He returned to Canada, dropped out of education, and at the age of 17 found work on a gas rig in the rural west. He decided to move to London, largely attracted by the post-punk music scene, and from 1979 until the late 1980s, he trained as a painter at art schools in the capital, as well as spending time back in Canada.

    While his contemporaries among young British artists in the 1990s often created large-scale installations, sculptures or videos, Peter dedicated himself to painting, often working with very large canvases, creating atmospheric, mysterious landscapes acclaimed for their use of colour.

    In 2002, echoing his own childhood, he and his family moved to Trinidad, where he set up his studio. The island became his main home for almost two decades, before he moved to London in 2021.

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Stanley Tucci is an actor, director and writer who is known for his roles in a broad range of feature films including the Devil Wears Prada, Julie and Julia and the Hunger Games. More recently he has whetted the appetites of television viewers with his food and travel series Searching for Italy.

    Stanley’s grandparents left Calabria in southern Italy for a new life in America, where his parents were born. Stanley himself was born in Peekskill, New York, and grew up in the nearby hamlet of Katonah. He studied drama at the State University of New York and in 1985 made his debut in John Huston’s film Prizzi’s Honour.

    In 1996 he co-wrote, co-directed and starred in Big Night about two brothers who run a struggling Italian restaurant. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance film Festival. In 2002 he starred in Sam Mendes’s Road to Perdition and he played a serial killer in Peter Jackson’s film the Lovely Bones. He published his first cookbook in 2012.

    Stanley lives in London with his wife, the literary agent Felicity Blunt, and their family.

    DISC ONE: Let It Be - The Beatles
    DISC TWO: Compared to What (Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival) - Les McCann & Eddie Harris
    DISC THREE: Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622 - II. Adagio. Performed by Karl Leister (clarinet) and Academy of St Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner
    DISC FOUR: The Weakness in Me - Joan Armatrading
    DISC FIVE: What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
    DISC SIX: Tchaikovsky: Serenade for String Orchestra in C Major, Op. 48, TH 48 - I. Pezzo in forma di sonatina: Andante non troppo - Allegro moderato. Performed by Berliner Philharmoniker and conducted by Herbert von Karajan
    DISC SEVEN: A Foggy Day (In London Town) - Frank Sinatra
    DISC EIGHT: Not Dark Yet - Bob Dylan

    BOOK CHOICE: Westward Ha! by S J Perelman
    LUXURY ITEM: Art supplies
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Kate Mosse OBE is a British novelist and broadcaster. She is the author of ten novels and short story collections, including The Joubert Family Chronicles and the best-selling Languedoc Trilogy. She has also written four works of non-fiction including her memoir about caring, An Extra Pair of Hands. In 1996 she co-founded the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

    Born in Chichester, she studied English at Oxford University and had a very successful career in publishing before writing her first book about pregnancy. Her novel, Labyrinth, published in 1995 and set in Carcasonne, became an international bestseller which enabled her to give up her publishing job and write full time.

    Kate lives in Chichester with her husband, Greg Mosse, and her mother-in-law, Grannie Rosie. She is a Visiting Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, a Patron of the Chichester Festival for Music, Dance and Speech, and President of the Festival of Chichester.

    She was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to literature and women.

    DISC ONE: Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens
    DISC TWO: These Boots Are Made for Walkin' - Nancy Sinatra
    DISC THREE: Station to Station - David Bowie
    DISC FOUR: Walls Come Tumbling Down - The Style Council
    DISC FIVE: I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
    DISC SIX: Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83. Composed by Maurice Ravel. Performed by Martha Argerich and London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado
    DISC SEVEN: Dancing Queen - Abba
    DISC EIGHT: La chanson des vieux amants - Jacques Brel

    BOOK CHOICE: Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
    LUXURY ITEM: A jukebox
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Piano Concerto in G Major, M. 83, composed by Maurice Ravel and performed by Martha Argerich and London Symphony Orchestra

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Sarah Taylor

  • Adam Kay is a writer whose memoir This is Going to Hurt; Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor won the Book of the Year prize at the National Book Awards and has sold over three million copies. It was adapted for television as a BBC series that won four BAFTAs this year, including Adam’s award for best drama writer.Adam was born in Brighton in 1980 and studied medicine at Imperial College London. In 2004 he started working as a junior doctor, specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology. In 2010 he left medicine following a catastrophic incident in surgery.He had kept a diary throughout his medical career, partly to help cope with the long shifts and stressful environment that came with life as a hospital doctor. In 2016 Adam read from his diaries for a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the positive reception he received from audiences encouraged him to use them as the basis for a memoir. The book became a publishing sensation, and Adam has published further books and enjoyed considerable success with his live performances. Adam lives in Oxfordshire with his husband James. DISC ONE: Chopsticks - LiberaceDISC TWO: Mis-shapes - Pulp DISC THREE: Chopin: Waltz No. 14 in E Minor, Op. posth. (no intro) Composed by Frédéric Chopin and performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy DISC FOUR: Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat - Stubby Kaye, Original Cast Chorus (from Guys and Dolls) DISC FIVE: Forgot About Dre - Dr Dre & Eminem DISC SIX: Poisoning Pigeons - Tom Lehrer DISC SEVEN: A Lady of a Certain Age - The Divine Comedy DISC EIGHT: San Diego Serenade - Tom WaitsBOOK CHOICE: York Notes for the Complete Works of ShakespeareLUXURY ITEM: A diary and pen CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: San Diego Serenade - Tom WaitsPresenter Lauren LaverneProducer Paula McGinley

  • Claudia Rankine is a poet, essayist and playwright. She is best known for her book Citizen: An American Lyric which combines short stories about everyday injustices experienced by people of colour with poems telling the stories of black men who died during confrontations with the police. The book won several awards in the US and the UK’s Forward Prize for best collection in 2015.

    Claudia was born in Kingston, Jamaica and at seven followed her parents to New York City where they had emigrated some years before. After graduating from university in 1993, she won a poetry prize for her thesis which became her first book – Nothing in Nature is Private.

    In addition to her poetry Claudia has written three plays and has taught at several universities including Yale and New York University. In 2016 she won a prestigious ‘Genius Grant’ from the MacArthur Fellowship which celebrates intellectual and artistic achievement and awards its winners hundreds of thousands of dollars. She used the money to co-found the Racial Imaginary Institute which interrogates notions of race and whiteness.

    Claudia lives in Connecticut with her husband, the photographer and filmmaker John Lucas.

    DISC ONE: Good as Hell - Lizzo
    DISC TWO: Stir It Up - Bob Marley & The Wailers
    DISC THREE: Nightshift - Commodores
    DISC FOUR: More Than This - Roxy Music
    DISC FIVE: Can't Take My Eyes Off of You (I Love You Baby) - Lauryn Hill
    DISC SIX: Kiss - Prince & The Revolution
    DISC SEVEN: My Favorite Things - John Coltrane
    DISC EIGHT: The Rhythm Of The Night - Corona

    BOOK CHOICE: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
    LUXURY ITEM: A solar powered television, playing tennis matches
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Good as Hell - Lizzo

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Jeremy Bowen is the BBC’s award-winning international editor. He has been reporting from the world’s conflict zones, including Iraq, Bosnia, the Middle East and Ukraine, for more than 30 years.

    Jeremy was born in Cardiff in 1960. His father was a journalist for BBC Wales, who covered the Aberfan disaster in 1966, and his mother was a press photographer. In 1984, after university, Jeremy joined the BBC as a news trainee and in 1989 he starting reporting from Afghanistan and El Salvador.

    From 1995 to 2000 he was based in Jerusalem as the BBC’s Middle East correspondent. During that time he reported on the assassination of the Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. His coverage of the event won him the Royal Television Society’s Award for Best Breaking News report.

    In 2022 Jeremy started reporting on the ground in Ukraine and earlier this year he returned to Iraq to discover how the country was coping, 20 years after the US-led invasion in March 2003.

    Jeremy lives in London with his partner Julia.

    DISC ONE: Let’s Stay Together - Al Green
    DISC TWO: Symphony No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 63: II. Larghetto. Composed by Edward Elgar and performed by Hallé Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli
    DISC THREE: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op 18. Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff and performed by Vladimir Ashkenazi (piano) with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André Previn
    DISC FOUR: America - Simon & Garfunkel
    DISC FIVE: La bohème: O soave fanciulla. Composed by Giacomo Puccini and performed by Plácido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé, London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Georg Solti
    DISC SIX: Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras. Composed by Johannes Brahms and performed by Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Herbert von Karajan
    DISC SEVEN: In My Life – The Beatles
    DISC EIGHT: Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks

    BOOK CHOICE: The Complete Novels of George Orwell
    LUXURY ITEM: A manual typewriter
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Symphony No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 63: II. Larghetto. Composed by Edward Elgar and performed by Hallé Orchestra and Wiener Singverein, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan OBE is currently ranked the number one snooker player in the world, and is widely regarded as one of the finest players in the history of the sport.

    He has won the Masters a record seven times and he jointly holds the record for winning the World Snooker Championship seven times. Since 1997 he has held the world record for the fastest 147 break, leading to his nickname 'the Rocket'.

    Ronnie grew up in Essex and his father gave him his first snooker cue when he was seven. He took to the game immediately: he was playing on a full size snooker table when he was just eight, and two years later he was beating adult players. By the age of 12, he was winning cash prizes in local tournaments, and was soon earning more than his teachers.

    Ronnie turned professional when he was 16, and quickly established himself as a star player and a fans' favourite - but he has also made headlines away from the snooker table, with accounts of his depression and struggles with alcohol and drugs. For many years he has kept his physical and mental health in check through his passion for running.

    He received an OBE in 2016 for services to snooker.

    DISC ONE: Lose Yourself - Eminem
    DISC TWO: Careless Whisper - Wham!
    DISC THREE: Step by Step - Whitney Houston
    DISC FOUR: Real Gone Kid - Deacon Blue
    DISC FIVE: You’re So Vain - Carly Simon
    DISC SIX: Maybe Tomorrow - Stereophonics
    DISC SEVEN: Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me) - Train
    DISC EIGHT: That’s All - Genesis

    BOOK CHOICE: Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn
    LUXURY ITEM: A painting set
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: That’s All - Genesis

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Professor Sharon Peacock is professor of public health and microbiology at Cambridge University. In March 2020 she set up the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium to map the genetic sequence of the virus as it spread and mutated. Within a year COG-UK was leading the world in identifying mutant COVID strains, and this data was instrumental in helping the development of vaccines and treatments.

    Sharon was born in Margate and left school at 16 to work in her local corner shop. She moved on to become a dental nurse the following year and after that she trained to be a nurse at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. After studying for A levels at evening classes, in 1983 she won a place to study medicine as a mature student at the University of Southampton.

    After further training and several years researching bacterial diseases in Thailand, she returned to the UK where she led the development of the Cambridge Infectious Diseases Initiative.

    In 2021 Sharon was awarded the MRC Millennium Medal, the Medical Research Council’s most prestigious prize.

    DISC ONE: Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
    DISC TWO: A Boy and a Girl - Voces8
    DISC THREE: Time Has Told Me - Nick Drake
    DISC FOUR: Title: Driving Home for Christmas - Chris Rea
    DISC FIVE: Take a Bow - Muse
    DISC SIX: Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11 (from Fauré’s Requiem) Composed by Gabriel Fauré and performed by Choir of St. John's College, conducted by Andrew Nethsingha
    DISC SEVEN: Symphonie Fantastique by Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, composed by Hector Berlioz, performed by Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and conducted by John Eliot Gardiner
    DISC EIGHT: The Lark Ascending, composed by Vaughan Williams and performed by Tasmin Little (violin) BBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis

    BOOK CHOICE: Oxford Textbook of Medicine
    LUXURY ITEM: A projector and photos
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Time Has Told Me – Nick Drake

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Simon Pegg is an actor and screenwriter who became a household name after appearing in two of Hollywood’s most successful film franchises – Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. He also won many fans for co-creating the so-called Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy of films – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the World’s End.

    Simon was born in Gloucester and studied theatre, film and television at the University of Bristol. As a student he started performing stand-up routines with his pet goldfish called Roger who was a Marxist poet – albeit a silent one.

    Simon first appeared on television in the mid-1990s and made a name for himself by co-creating the sitcom Spaced with the actor Jessica Hynes and the director Edgar Wright. He is one of the few performers to have achieved what Radio Times calls the “Holy Grail of Nerdom” – playing roles in Doctor Who, Star Trek – as Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott – and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also co-wrote the screenplay for Star Trek Beyond.

    In 2006 Simon played the British technician Benji Dunn in Mission: Impossible III and has appeared in every Mission: Impossible film since. He is currently filming the eighth instalment alongside Tom Cruise.

    Simon lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Maureen, daughter Tilly and their dogs.

    DISC ONE: A Day in the Life – The Beatles
    DISC TWO: Rosalinda’s Eyes – Billy Joel
    DISC THREE: The Asteroid Field. Composed and conducted by John Williams and performed by London Symphony Orchestra
    DISC FOUR: Accept Yourself – The Smiths
    DISC FIVE: Marian (Version) – The Sisters of Mercy
    DISC SIX: I Feel For You – Chaka Khan
    DISC SEVEN: I Bloom Blaum – Coldplay
    DISC EIGHT: Salt In The Wound - Boygenius

    BOOK CHOICE: The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
    LUXURY ITEM: A coffee maker
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: A Day in the Life – The Beatles

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Professor Peter Hennessy is one of the UK’s leading contemporary historians. He has written acclaimed and important books about politics, the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the British constitution on which he is an expert.

    Peter was born in London in 1947 and read history at St John’s College, Cambridge. He started writing for the Times in the mid-1970s, covering the inner workings of Whitehall whose activities at that time were shrouded in secrecy. Peter says he approached his journalism like an amateur anthropologist trying to discover more about an unknown culture. His reports were viewed with suspicion by some members of the civil service and Harold Wilson, the then prime minister, issued an edit banning them from talking to him.

    In 1986 Peter co-founded the Institute of Contemporary British History, and in 1992 he moved from journalism to academia at Queen Mary, University of London where he is Attlee professor of contemporary British history. He is a fellow of the British Academy and was made a crossbench life peer in 2010. During the COVID-19 pandemic he started keeping a diary which he describes as an “aid to humility” with the aim of assessing post-world war history as BC (Before Covid) or AC (After Covid).

    Peter lives in London with his wife Enid.

    DISC ONE: Slow Train - Flanders & Swann
    DISC TWO: Italian Concerto in F, BWV 971, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach and performed by George Malcolm
    DISC THREE: Why Don’t Women Like Me? - George Formby
    DISC FOUR: Schubert String Quintet In C Major,D. 956 - 2. Adagio, composed by Franz Schubert, performed by Robert Cohen (cello) and Amadeus Quartet
    DISC FIVE: The Elements - Tom Lehrer
    DISC SIX: London Girls - Chas & Dave
    DISC SEVEN: Skye Boat Song - The Pipes and Drums Of Leanisch
    DISC EIGHT: How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place, composed by Johannes Brahms, performed by Festival Choir And Orchestra, conducted by Thomas D. Rossin

    BOOK CHOICE: Poetry in the Making by Ted Hughes
    LUXURY ITEM: A fountain pen, ink and paper
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: London Girls - Chas & Dave

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Dara Ó Briain has toured the world as a stand-up comedian, and hosted the BBC’s satirical series Mock the Week for 17 years. A science graduate with a love of astronomy, he co-presented the BBC series Stargazing Live with Professor Brian Cox, and is a regular guest on television quizzes and panel shows.

    Dara grew up in Bray, County Wicklow and attended Irish language schools, playing for the Gaelic football and hurling teams. He studied mathematical physics at University College Dublin where he took part in debating competitions and discovered a flair for getting laughs from an audience.

    In 2001 he moved to the UK and, alongside performing at comedy gigs, he started appearing on television shows including Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You. His love of mathematics came to the fore when he presented the game show School of Hard Sums and he has gone on to write popular science books for children.

    Dara continues to perform stand-up and, when he’s not touring what he calls his conversational and whimsical style of comedy, he lives in London with his wife and three children.

    DISC ONE: Kiss - Prince & The Revolution
    DISC TWO: Requiem in D Minor, K. 626: No 1, Introitus and Kyrie - Requiem and Kyrie. Composed by Mozart and performed by London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony chorus, conducted by Sir Colin Davis
    DISC THREE: Glanfaidh Mé - Kíla
    DISC FOUR: Groove is in the Heart - Deee-Lite
    DISC FIVE: Cuba Libre - Gloria Estefan
    DISC SIX: All About My Girl - Jimmy McGriff
    DISC SEVEN: Piazza, New York Catcher - Belle and Sebastian
    DISC EIGHT: Adagio for Strings. Composed by Samuel Barber and performed by Berliner Symphoniker, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle

    BOOK CHOICE: The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Richard Feynman
    LUXURY ITEM: Astrophotography equipment
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Groove is in the Heart - Deee-Lite

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Liz Carr is most widely known for her role as the forensic examiner Clarissa Mullery in the long-running BBC TV drama Silent Witness. She appeared in more than 70 episodes, from 2013 until 2020. Last year she won the Olivier award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the National Theatre production of The Normal Heart. Her role was inspired by Dr Linda Laubenstein, a pioneer in the treatment of AIDS and a wheelchair user: Liz was the first wheelchair user to play the part, almost four decades after the premiere.

    Liz was brought up in Bebington, Merseyside. One of her early stage roles was as the Cowardly Lion in a primary school production of The Wizard of Oz. She became a wheelchair user at the age of 11, after a protracted illness.

    She studied Law at Nottingham University and after graduation worked as a disability rights adviser. She also became a disability rights activist, and more recently has been a campaigner against the legalisation of assisted dying.

    When she was 30, Liz decided on a career change after taking part in a drama course with the Graeae Theatre Company. She became a stand-up comedian and a member of various comedy groups, and moved on to theatre and television work, including recent roles in the TV dramas The Witcher and Good Omens.

    Liz lives in London with her wife.

    DISC ONE: Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland
    DISC TWO: Beautiful Dreamer - Sheryl Crow
    DISC THREE: Sit Down - James
    DISC FOUR: Rollin’ Thunder - Ian Stanton
    DISC FIVE: 9 to 5 - Dolly Parton
    DISC SIX: Something Good - Julie Andrews
    DISC SEVEN: Palliative Clare (from Assisted Suicide The Musical) - Claire Willoughby
    DISC EIGHT: I Feel Love - Donna Summer

    BOOK CHOICE: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    LUXURY ITEM: A pair of ruby slippers
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Sit Down – James

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Sarah Taylor

  • Amanda Blanc is the group CEO of the insurance company Aviva. She is one of a handful of women at the top of FTSE 100 companies and has spoken out against the sexism and misogyny many – including herself - have encountered during their careers. In 2022 she called out disparaging comments made to her by some of the male shareholders at her company’s own AGM. Her published riposte received some 1.6m views in the space of a few days.

    Amanda was born in Treherbert, a former mining village in the Rhondda Valley. Both her grandfathers worked down the mines and she says the miners’ strike of 1984 left a lasting impression on her and taught her the value of community. After studying modern history at Liverpool University, Amanda joined a graduate training scheme at Commercial Union. By the age of 29 she was the company’s youngest and first female branch manager when she took up the post in Leicester.

    She joined Aviva in 2020 and the following year she was appointed Women in Finance Charter Champion by HM Treasury. She was named the Sunday Times Business Person of the Year for 2022.

    Amanda is married to Ken Blanc, who also worked in insurance but gave up his job to support her career. They have two daughters and live in Hampshire.

    DISC ONE: Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) - Kate Bush
    DISC TWO: Town Called Malice - The Jam
    DISC THREE: Thank You for the Music - Abba
    DISC FOUR: Tainted Love - Soft Cell
    DISC FIVE: This is Me - Keala Settle
    DISC SIX: Dignity - Deacon Blue
    DISC SEVEN: The Man – Taylor Swift
    DISC EIGHT: Land of My Fathers - Welsh rugby fans at Six Nations Championship, 2013

    BOOK CHOICE: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    LUXURY ITEM: A photo album
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Tainted Love - Soft Cell

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Robert Webb first reached a wide audience as the co-star of Channel 4’s longest running sitcom, the BAFTA-award winning Peep Show. With his long-standing comedy partner David Mitchell, he also created That Mitchell and Webb Sound for BBC Radio 4, which transferred to TV as That Mitchell and Webb Look, which also won a BAFTA.

    Robert was born in Lincolnshire and first became hooked on comedy when his impressions of teachers made his school friends laugh. After realising that many of his comedy heroes had studied at Cambridge University, and were members of the Cambridge Footlights, he decided to follow in their footsteps. He took his A levels twice in order to win a place to study English there, and went on to become vice-president of the Footlights - where he met David Mitchell. Their comedy partnership has lasted for 30 years, starting out with shows for the Edinburgh fringe and writing for other performers, before enjoying TV success as a double act.

    Robert has also written a best-selling memoir, How Not to be a Boy, in which he reflects on masculinity, and a novel. In 2019, a routine medical examination revealed that he had a congenital heart defect. He underwent heart surgery and is now fully recovered.

    Robert lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

    DISC ONE: Do I Move You? - Nina Simone
    DISC TWO: The Old Fashioned Way - Charles Aznavour
    DISC THREE: Fool if you Think It’s Over - Elkie Brooks
    DISC FOUR: Get A Life - Soul II Soul
    DISC FIVE: Metal Mickey - Suede
    DISC SIX: Being Alive, composed by Stephen Sondheim, performed by Adrian Lester and cast of Company and recorded in 1996 at Donmar Warehouse, London
    DISC SEVEN: How to Disappear Completely - Radiohead
    DISC EIGHT: It’s Corn - Tariq, The Gregory Brothers & Recess Therapy

    BOOK CHOICE: Cultural Amnesia by Clive James
    LUXURY ITEM: A top hat and tails
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Old Fashioned Way - Charles Aznavour

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor