• 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

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  • 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

  • Sir Keir Starmer is the leader of the Labour Party, and the leader of the opposition.

    Named after Keir Hardie, a founding father of the Labour party, he was elected leader seven months ago in the wake of Labour’s heavy defeat in the 2019 general election.

    He stood for, and won, the leadership on a platform of party unity but his resolve has been tested recently by factionalism and infighting. Following the publication of the highly critical Equality and Human Rights Commission report, he has vowed to tackle the issue of anti-Semitism in the party and heal division within the party ranks.

    He grew up in Oxted, Surrey, the son of a toolmaker and a nurse. His formative years were clouded by his mother’s debilitating illness: she suffered from Still’s disease, an autoimmune disease, and as a young boy he spent a lot of his time at her hospital bedside.

    His political awakening came at 16 when he joined the East Surrey Young Socialists and later he was one of the editors of the radical magazine Socialist Alternatives. After university he had a high-profile career as a human rights lawyer representing prisoners on death row and advising the new Police Service of Northern Ireland which was set up as part of the Good Friday Agreement. In 2008 he changed tack and became the director of Public Prosecutions before switching to politics. In 2015 he was elected to the House of Commons as MP for Holborn and St Pancras.

    DISC ONE: Out on the Floor by Dobie Gray
    DISC TWO: Symphony No. 6 in F major, op. 68 “Pastoral” (5th) Movement by Beethoven, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, performed by Berlin Philharmonic
    DISC THREE: Welcome to My World by Jim Reeves
    DISC FOUR: Falling and Laughing by Orange Juice
    DISC FIVE: Oh Happy Day by The Edwin Hawkins Singers
    DISC SIX: Three Lions by Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds
    DISC SEVEN: Piano Concerto No.5, 2nd movement, Adagio un pocco mosso by Beethoven, performed by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (pianist and director) and Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    DISC EIGHT: Bridge Over Troubled Water by Artists For Grenfell, featuring Stormzy

    BOOK CHOICE: A very detailed Atlas
    LUXURY ITEM: A Football
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Piano Concerto No.5, 2nd movement, Adagio un pocco mosso by Beethoven, performed by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (pianist and director) and Swedish Chamber Orchestra

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

  • David Mitchell has published eight novels, two of which – number9dream and Cloud Atlas – have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

    He has also translated two books on autism from Japanese, working with his Japanese wife: their son is on the autistic spectrum. While his work also includes writing for the screen and opera libretti, his main occupation has been, as one critic put it, “quietly pottering away at the frontier of fiction” for more than two decades.

    David is the son of two artists, and grew up near the Malverns, where his father worked in the art department of the Royal Worcester porcelain factory. After studying at the University of Kent, he worked in a bookshop, and moved to Japan in the mid-1990s to teach English. Here he met his wife and put his mind to writing. His first two novels were published while still living in Hiroshima.

    With each standalone novel, David is also adding to what he calls an uber-novel in which all of his books are part of a larger narrative, with characters flitting from one story to another, transported to a different time and place, but bringing a familiarity and a backstory with them.

    He now lives in County Cork, Ireland, with his wife and two children.

    DISC ONE: Sunset by Kate Bush
    DISC TWO: Requiem Op. 33b, For Mixed Choir A Cappela / Fyrir Blandadan Kór A Capella.
    Performed by Motet Choir Of The Hallgrím's Church, chorus Master: Hörður Áskelsson
    DISC THREE: Mercury by Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhli, James McAlister
    DISC FOUR: Un Dia De Noviembre by Zsofia Boros
    DISC FIVE: Anima by Milton Nascimento
    DISC SIX: Stylo by Gorillaz, featuring Bobby Womack and Mos Def
    DISC SEVEN: In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane
    DISC EIGHT: Sonata in F minor, K466, composed by Domenico Scarlatti, performed by
    Yevgeny Sudbin

    BOOK CHOICE: A book of Chinese characters (Kanji)
    LUXURY ITEM: A complete archive of Desert Island Discs
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Anima by Milton Nascimento

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor.

  • Hilary McGrady is Director General of the National Trust.

    She was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, in 1966, where her father was a builder while her mother looked after Hilary and her two older siblings. She spent her childhood roaming the fields near her home, 20 miles outside Belfast. She went to art college after school where she met her husband, Frank. Their relationship initially caused difficulty for her family who were staunch Protestants and unionists, while Frank’s came from a Catholic, nationalist area.

    After finishing her degree in Graphic Design, Hilary worked as a designer before moving into marketing and then into the charity sector for an organisation called Arts & Business. After working on Belfast’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to become European Capital of Culture she joined the National Trust in 2006 as regional director for Northern Ireland. She moved around the organisation, taking on ever bigger roles with every move, becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2014. She succeeded Dame Helen Ghosh as Director General in March 2018. Her major priority for the National Trust over the next decade is to tackle climate change and biodiversity, and she set out a ten-year plan in January 2020 to coincide with the Trust’s 125th anniversary.

    Hilary lives in County Antrim with her husband. They have three grown-up children, a dog and 16 ducks. She lists her interests as the arts, gardening and hill walking.

    DISC ONE: The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, performed by Tasmin Little (violin) and BBC Symphony Orchestra
    DISC TWO: How Great Thou Art by Chris Rice
    DISC THREE: Blue Monday by New Order
    DISC FOUR: She Moved Through The Fair by Cara Dillon
    DISC FIVE: One by U2
    DISC SIX: Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol
    DISC SEVEN: Gabriel's Oboe by Ennio Morricone
    DISC EIGHT: Paradise by George Ezra

    BOOK CHOICE: A Poem for Every Day of the Year by Allie Asiri
    LUXURY ITEM: Painting set and easel
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: She Moved Through the Fair by Cara Dillon

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Cathy Drysdale

  • Chris Boardman is an Olympic cyclist, businessman and the Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester.
    Both his parents were keen competitive amateur cyclists and they backed Chris as he gradually became interested in the sport as a teenager. He left school at 16, and trained as a carpenter to fund his cycling, and his love of making things has never left him. He met his wife Sally when they were teenagers and she supported him when he took time off work to train and compete.
    He became a household name in 1992 at the Olympics in Barcelona, as the first British cyclist to win a gold medal in 72 years. He moved on to road racing and wore the yellow jersey in the Tour de France on three occasions. After retiring from racing, he was instrumental in the success of Team GB cycling at subsequent Olympics, with his focus on how improvements could be made in all aspects of design.
    He also launched his own range of bicycles catering for elite and everyday cyclists, and as Greater Manchester's Cycling and Walking commissioner, he is finding ways to help people leave their cars at home.

    DISC ONE: Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra
    DISC TWO: Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann
    DISC THREE: Hurt Feelings by Flight of the Conchords
    DISC FOUR: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) by Simon and Garfunkel
    DISC FIVE: Barcelona by Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé
    DISC SIX: Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones
    DISC SEVEN: Embrace Me, You Child by Carly Simon
    DISC EIGHT: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John

    BOOK CHOICE: Feersum Endjinn by Iain M. Banks
    LUXURY ITEM: Butter
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) by Simon and Garfunkel

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Averil Mansfield is a retired vascular surgeon and was the first female Professor of Surgery in the UK when she was appointed in 1993.

    She was born in 1937 in Blackpool, where her father worked as a welder on the attractions at the Pleasure Beach. She was an only child and an avid reader when young. After perusing a library book on early advances in surgery, she decided, at the age of eight, that she wanted to become a surgeon. She studied at the University of Liverpool and spent her early working life in the city. Appointed a consultant surgeon in 1972, she moved to London eight years later with her second husband. She became a consultant vascular surgeon at St Mary’s Hospital in 1982 and remained there until her retirement in 2002.

    One of the leading vascular surgeons in the country in the 1990s, she was a key figure in proving the safety of vital life-saving vascular operations: the stroke-preventing carotid endarterectomy, an intricate procedure to unblock the carotid artery, and surgery to repair a thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm. These surgeries have helped save thousands of lives by reducing the risk of strokes by 50%.

    In the early 1990s, she set up an initiative called Women in Surgical Training to encourage more women to take up the profession. In addition to becoming the first female Professor of Surgery in Britain, she was also the first elected Chairman of the Court of Examiners at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, served as Chair of the Stroke Association for five years following her retirement, and as President of the British Medical Association.

    She lives in London and has three step-children and six grandchildren from her late husband.

    DISC ONE: II. Waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich, conducted by Steven Sloane, performed by Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin
    DISC TWO: A Transport of Delight by Donald Swann & Michael Flanders
    DISC THREE: Piano Concerto No. 2in B Flat. Op.83 – 3. Andante – Piu adagio by Johannes Brahms, conducted by Andris Nelsons, performed by Hélène Grimaud (piano) and The Vienna Philharmonic
    DISC FOUR: Farewell to Stromness by Peter Maxwell Davies
    DISC FIVE: Quartet for Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello No. 1 in G minor K478: Allegro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Daniel Barenboim (piano) Kian Soltani (cello) Michael Barenboim (violin) Yulia Deyneka (viola)
    DISC SIX: Pavane, Op. 50 by Gabriel Fauré, conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier, performed by BBC Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus
    DISC SEVEN: Dancing Queen by Abba, performed by Christine Baranski, Julie Walters and Meryl Streep
    DISC EIGHT: "Schwanengesang", Ständchen by Franz Schubert, performed by Peter Schreier (tenor) and András Schiff (piano)

    BOOK CHOICE: A book of poetry
    LUXURY ITEM: A grand piano
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Piano Concerto No. 2in B Flat. Op.83 – 3. Andante – Piu adagio by Johannes Brahms, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Performed by Hélène Grimaud (piano) and The Vienna Philharmonic

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Cathy Drysdale

  • Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE is a Trinidadian-British broadcaster, writer and politician. She became a familiar face to millions of viewers through her work on children's television, most notably on Play School, which she first presented in 1976.

    She was born in Trinidad in 1949, the second of six children. When her parents emigrated to the UK, she and her siblings were initially left behind with foster parents. After 16 months, the family was able to reunite, when the children travelled to England by sea. At first they all lived in one room in south London. Eventually her parents were able to buy a house in Beckenham, where they lived for 40 years - which is why Floella decided on the title Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham when she entered the House of Lords in 2010 as a Liberal Democrat peer.

    There was no hint of her later high public profile when she left school at 16 to work in a bank, until she dared to audition for a West End musical during her lunch break. She was successful, going on to appear in numerous London shows, before her move into television. Along with her work in front of the camera, she set up her own TV production company, as well as publishing books and working closely with charities for children and young people. She has also campaigned for high standards in children's broadcasting and more diversity in the creative industries.

    She was the Chancellor of Exeter University for a decade, starting in 2006, and earlier this year she received a Damehood for her services to charity.

    DISC ONE: The Greatest Love of All by George Benson
    DISC TWO: Waiting in Vain by Bob Marley and the Wailers
    DISC THREE: Puttin’ on the Ritz by Ella Fitzgerald
    DISC FOUR: Once by Stan Getz
    DISC FIVE: Begin the Beguine by Julio Iglesius
    DISC SIX: The Prince of Denmark’s March by Jeremiah Clarke, performed by the London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble
    DISC SEVEN: Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz
    DISC EIGHT: Smile by Nat King Cole

    BOOK CHOICE: Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
    LUXURY ITEM: A neck rest
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Greatest Love of All by George Benson

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Sarah Taylor

  • Samantha Morton is an actor and director. She has appeared in films directed by Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg, and is also known for her work on independent productions, often with serious themes such as prostitution and bereavement. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards and won many accolades including a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.

    Born in Nottingham in 1977, she had a difficult childhood. She was first taken into care as a baby, then spent the next decade between foster parents and her father’s home before being taken into care permanently at the age of 11. She was sexually abused in one of the homes, and left school at the age of 13.

    She discovered acting when a teacher recommended she apply to the Central Junior Television Workshop which lead to her appearing in TV series including Soldier Soldier, Cracker, and Band of Gold. She went onto appear in the films, Emma and Jane Eyre and received her first Academy Award nomination for her role as a mute laundress in Woody Allen’s 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown. Her second was for her portrayal of a grieving mother in the 2003 film In America.

    Other roles have ranged from Mary, Queen of Scots, in Elizabeth: The Golden Age to a war widow in The Messenger and the wife of a serial killer in Rillington Place. She made her directorial debut with The Unloved in 2009, a film based on her own experience of the care system. It won the BAFTA Award for Best Single Drama.

    Sam lives in Sussex with her husband, Harry Holm. They have two children together, Edie and Teddy. Sam also has a daughter, Esme, from her relationship with Charlie Creed-Miles.

    DISC ONE: Burden of Shame by UB40
    DISC TWO: Flower by The Charlatans
    DISC THREE: The Town I Loved So Well (Live) by Luke Kelly And The Dubliners
    DISC FOUR: Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) by Talking Heads
    DISC FIVE: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized
    DISC SIX: Blume (French version) by Einstürzende Neubauten
    DISC SEVEN: Dream Baby Dream by Suicide
    DISC EIGHT: I Remember by Molly Drake

    BOOK CHOICE: Light on Yoga: The Bible of Modern Yoga by B. K. S. Iyengar
    LUXURY ITEM: A photograph of Samantha's children
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Cathy Drysdale