Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

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

  • 50 minutes 33 seconds
    Dame Sarah Storey, athlete

    Dame Sarah Storey is Great Britain’s most successful Paralympian, winning 17 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals. She was just 14 when she took two weeks off school to compete as a swimmer in the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics, where she won her first two gold medals. Since then, she has competed in a further seven Paralympics, switching to cycling from 2005.

    A TV documentary inspired Sarah's childhood ambition to take part in the Paralympics, even though her swimming club coach told her that it was too late - at the age of 10 - to start training for an elite career.

    After competing in four Paralympics in the pool, she decided to try cycling after persistent ear infections and chronic fatigue. She was immediately successful and has continued to win medals at both the Paralympics and World Championships in numerous events, breaking many world records. She is supported on and off the track by her husband, Barney Storey, who is also a gold medal-winning cyclist. They have two children, who were born in 2013 and 2017.

    Sarah is the Active Travel Commissioner in her home city of Manchester, and is still training with the aim of competing in the 2024 Paralympics in Paris – which would be her ninth games, at the age of 46.

    DISC ONE: Livin’ on a Prayer - Bon Jovi DISC TWO: Spinning Around – Kylie Minogue DISC THREE: It Only Takes a Minute - Take That DISC FOUR: A Different Beat - Boyzone DISC FIVE: This is the One - The Stone Roses DISC SIX: Heroes - David Bowie DISC SEVEN: Wannabe - Spice Girls DISC EIGHT: Step On – Happy Mondays

    BOOK CHOICE: The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters LUXURY ITEM: A snorkel and mask CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Livin’ on a Prayer - Bon Jovi

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor

    15 June 2024, 11:33 pm
  • 49 minutes 38 seconds
    Greg Davies, comedian

    Greg Davies is a familiar face on television as the host of Taskmaster, the BAFTA-winning game show, and he has achieved sell out national arena tours as a stand-up. His on-screen breakthrough came in 2008 when he played the head of the sixth form, Mr Gilbert, in the highly successful teenage comedy series the Inbetweeners. He wrote and starred in the black comedy the Cleaner and co-wrote the sitcom Man Down in which he played a man in the grip of a midlife crisis.

    Greg was born in St Asaph in north Wales and grew up in Shropshire. At school he gravitated towards what he calls the silly boys who created characters and devised comedy sketches in the playground. When he was 18 he discovered Eddie Murphy whose stand-up routines about his relatives spurred Greg to look to his own family as comedic source material.

    Greg spent 13 years as an English and Drama teacher – a time he looks back on with mixed emotions and which he has mined for his stage act. When he was 33 he left teaching and started performing stand-up gigs and performed his first solo stand-up show at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010.

    Greg lives in south London.

    DISC ONE: Baggy Trousers - Madness DISC TWO: Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell DISC THREE: 100% Endurance - Yard Act DISC FOUR: Circlesquare - The Wonder Stuff DISC FIVE: Cemetry Gates - The Smiths DISC SIX: Consider Yourself - Jack Wild (The Artful Dodger) and The Orchestra, conducted by John Green. From Oliver! [An Original Soundtrack Recording] DISC SEVEN: She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult DISC EIGHT: The Next Episode - Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg BOOK CHOICE: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck LUXURY ITEM: Sausages CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: 100% Endurance - Yard Act

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

    9 June 2024, 10:00 am
  • 35 minutes 21 seconds
    Classic Desert Island Discs - Yoko Ono

    Kirsty Young talks to the artist Yoko Ono in a programme first broadcast in 2007.

    2 June 2024, 11:00 am
  • 34 minutes 30 seconds
    Classic Desert Island Discs - Benjamin Zephaniah

    Sue Lawley talks to the poet Benjamin Zephaniah in a programme first broadcast in 1997. Benjamin Zephaniah died in January 2024 at the age of 65.

    26 May 2024, 11:00 am
  • 44 minutes 21 seconds
    Classic Desert Island Discs - Samantha Morton

    Lauren Laverne talks to the actor and director Samantha Morton in a programme first broadcast in 2020.

    19 May 2024, 11:00 am
  • 34 minutes 11 seconds
    Classic Desert Island Discs - Keith Richards

    Kirsty Young talks to the musician and Rolling Stones member Keith Richards in a programme first broadcast in 2015.

    11 May 2024, 11:01 pm
  • 35 minutes
    Classic Desert Island Discs - Annie Nightingale

    Lauren Laverne talks to the broadcaster Annie Nightingale in a programme first broadcast in 2020. Annie Nightingale died in January 2024 at the age of 83.

    5 May 2024, 11:00 am
  • 49 minutes 17 seconds
    Professor Tim Spector, scientist

    Tim Spector is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Head of the Department of Twin Research at King’s College London. He was one of the co-founders of the ZOE Covid Symptom study, which for which he was awarded an OBE. He has also written best-selling books about the relationship between what we eat and our health and well-being.

    Tim was born in London in 1958 into a medical family. His mother was a physiotherapist and his father was an eminent pathologist, although Tim initially resisted his father’s encouragement to follow him into medicine. Once qualified, Tim specialised in rheumatology before switching to epidemiology. In 1992, he set up a large-scale research study of twins which now has more than 15,000 identical and non-identical twins taking part.

    After a health scare in 2011, Tim became more interested in how we can influence the microbes in our gut to help us stay well. He has published several books on the science of eating well and is a pioneer in personalised food nutrition.

    Tim lives in London with his wife, who is also a doctor.

    DISC ONE: Life on Mars - David Bowie DISC TWO: Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 / Act 1 - 13. Dance Of The Knights Composed by Sergei Prokofiev and performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy DISC THREE: Paint it, Black - The Rolling Stones DISC FOUR: Dreams - Fleetwood Mac DISC FIVE: Puttin’ on the Ritz - Gene Wilder playing Dr Frankenstein, Peter Boyle as The Monster and Norbert Schiller as the announcer. Music conducted by John Morris from Young Frankenstein (Original Soundtrack) DISC SIX: All of Me (live) - Louis Armstrong DISC SEVEN: That’s Entertainment - The Jam DISC EIGHT: In the Ghetto - Elvis Presley

    BOOK CHOICE: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens LUXURY ITEM: A fermenting set CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: All of Me (live) - Louis Armstrong Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor

    27 April 2024, 11:07 pm
  • 36 minutes 56 seconds
    Professor Alice Roberts, scientist and broadcaster

    Professor Alice Roberts is one of the most popular science communicators in Britain today. As the presenter of the BBC archaeology programme Digging for Britain, she reveals the underground mysteries of our collective past to millions of viewers.

    Alice was born in Bristol and developed an interest in science from an early age – examining insects under her microscope in order to draw them and digging up bits of pottery in her parents’ vegetable patch. At the age of eight she was entranced as she watched a live feed which showed researchers at Bristol University unwrapping an Egyptian Mummy.

    Alice studied medicine in Cardiff and worked as a house officer doing paediatric surgery and then taught anatomy to students at Bristol University. She followed this up with a PhD in paleopathology, the study of disease in old bones, which led to her first television appearance as a bone expert on the Channel 4 series Time Team.

    Alice has written several books that explore human evolution and history and in 2012 she was appointed the first Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham.

    DISC ONE: Monkey Gone to Heaven - Pixies DISC TWO: Temple of Love - Sisters of Mercy DISC THREE: Apotheosis - Austin Wintory DISC FOUR: Cherub Rock (2011 Remaster) - The Smashing Pumpkins DISC FIVE: Times Like These (BBC Radio 1 Stay Home Live Lounge) - Live Lounge Allstars DISC SIX: Sugar - System Of A Down DISC SEVEN: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. Composed by Ryuichi Sakomoto and performed by Phoebe Stevens DISC EIGHT: Coins for the Eyes - Johnny Flynn & Robert Macfarlane

    BOOK CHOICE: Middlemarch by George Eliot LUXURY ITEM: A kayak CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. Composed by Ryuichi Sakomoto and performed by Phoebe Stevens

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

    21 April 2024, 10:00 am
  • 34 minutes 47 seconds
    Jenny Sealey, theatre director

    Jenny Sealey has been the artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company since 1997: Graeae is a deaf and disabled-led company and a leader and innovator in accessible theatre. Jenny has directed opera as well as plays, and was the co-director of the 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony.

    Jenny was born in Nottingham in 1963, the eldest of four sisters. She lost her hearing at the age of seven following a fall at school in which she banged her head. At that time, deaf children were not encouraged to use British Sign Language, and so she taught herself to lip read, and stayed in a mainstream school, although she often found it challenging. She also continued to take ballet lessons, helped by an inspirational teacher who encouraged her to follow the form and movements of the dancer in front of her. She went on to study dance and choreography at Middlesex Polytechnic.

    After graduation, Jenny worked as an actor before becoming the artistic director of Graeae. In 2022 she was awarded an OBE for services to disability arts. Most recently she returned to acting and toured the UK with Self Raising, her one-woman autobiographical play.

    Jenny lives in London with her son and partner.

    DISC ONE: Handel: Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: No. 44, Chorus. Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth. Composed by George Frideric Handel and performed by The Sixteen Choir, conducted by Harry Christophers DISC TWO: Yesterday - The Beatles DISC THREE: Teenage Kicks - The Undertones DISC FOUR: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack DISC FIVE: Because The Night - Patti Smith Group DISC SIX: Spasticus Autisticus – John Kelly and the cast of Reasons to be Cheerful DISC SEVEN: If It Can't Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong – John Kelly and the cast of Graeae’s stage production of Reasons To Be Cheerful DISC EIGHT: Days – Kirsty MacColl

    BOOK CHOICE: The Complete Works of Armistead Maupin LUXURY ITEM: A photography kit CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Handel: Messiah, HWV 56, Pt. 2: No. 44, Chorus. Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth. Composed by George Frideric Handel and performed by The Sixteen Choir, conducted by Harry Christophers Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor

    13 April 2024, 11:49 pm
  • 50 minutes 35 seconds
    James Graham, playwright

    James Graham is an award-winning dramatist whose plays include This House, Ink and Dear England starring Joseph Fiennes as the England football manager Gareth Southgate. His acclaimed television productions include Sherwood and Quiz, based on the story of the so-called coughing Major Charles Ingram who was found guilty of cheating on the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

    James was born in Kirkby-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire in 1982. He was a shy boy who was encouraged to perform in school plays by his teachers. He went on to study drama at Hull University where he wrote his first play Coal Not Dole! He took the play to the Edinburgh fringe and the reception it received from audiences encouraged him to carry on writing.

    After graduating he worked as a stage doorkeeper at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham where one of his personal highlights was looking after Danny La Rue, the star of the Christmas panto. His first London premiere came in 2005 at the Finborough Theatre in London with Albert’s Boy, which explored the arguments for and against nuclear weapons.

    In 2020 James was awarded an OBE for services to drama and young people in British theatre.

    DISC ONE: Disco 2000 - Pulp DISC TWO: Chatanooga Choo Choo - Glenn Miller DISC THREE: Up In Arms - Foo Fighters DISC FOUR: Syncopes - Gabriel Yared DISC FIVE: Your Disco Needs You - Kylie Minogue DISC SIX: Where Are We Now? - David Bowie DISC SEVEN: If You Came To See Me Cry - Katie Brayben (from Tammy Faye: The Musical) DISC EIGHT: Going To A Town - Rufus Wainwright

    BOOK CHOICE: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking LUXURY ITEM: A keg of Single Malt Scotch Whisky CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Where Are We Now? - David Bowie Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

    7 April 2024, 11:00 am
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