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.

  • 51 minutes 47 seconds
    Anthony Joshua, boxer

    Anthony Joshua MBE is a British heavyweight boxer, Olympic gold medallist and two-time former unified world heavyweight champion.

    Anthony was born in 1989 and grew up in Watford. When he was 11, he moved with his mother to Nigeria, her home country, and attended a boarding school there for several months. When the family returned to Watford, Anthony took part in football and athletics at school, although he recalls that he didn’t enjoy sport in the freezing winter conditions.

    After school he briefly studied music technology, and worked as a bricklayer, but mostly drifted. When he found himself banned from Watford town centre, he moved to Edgware and started going to the gym. His cousin Ben Ileyemi, a keen boxer, invited him to his local boxing gym in Finchley. Anthony, then aged 18, and with no boxing experience, decided to enter the ring himself. Within five years, he won a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics. He turned professional in 2013 and has become one of the most high-profile boxers in the world.

    Anthony lives in London.

    DISC ONE: Waiting in Vain - Bob Marley & The Wailers DISC TWO: Hometown Glory - Adele DISC THREE: Water No Get Enemy - Fela Kuti DISC FOUR: Eye of the Tiger - Survivor DISC FIVE: One More Chance Freestyle - Skrapz DISC SIX: Shut Up - Stormzy DISC SEVEN: The Godfather Pt. I: Love Theme From "The Godfather" - Nino Rota DISC EIGHT: Agape - Nicholas Britell

    BOOK CHOICE: A Bear Grylls survival book LUXURY ITEM: A punchbag CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Agape - Nicholas Britell

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor

    20 July 2024, 11:12 pm
  • 52 minutes 5 seconds
    Clive Myrie, journalist

    Clive Myrie is an award-winning journalist and news presenter who is one of the BBC’s most experienced foreign correspondents. In 2021 he took over from John Humphrys as Question Master of the quiz show Mastermind and has also presented travel programmes about Italy and the Caribbean.

    Clive’s parents are from Jamaica and he was born in Farnworth, near Bolton – one of seven children. As a young boy he had a paper round and one of the perks was reading the leftover newspapers which gave him the opportunity to learn about a world beyond Bolton. He loved watching the news on television and his role models were Alan Whicker and Sir Trevor McDonald who inspired him to become a journalist.

    After he graduated from university Clive took up a place on the BBC’s reporter training scheme and in 1996 he was sent to Japan - his first posting as a foreign correspondent. During his career he has reported from war zones including Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine.

    In 2021 Clive was named Television Journalist of the Year and Network Presenter of the Year at the Royal Television Society Television Journalism Awards.

    Clive lives in north London with his wife Catherine.

    DISC ONE: String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante. Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven and performed by Kodály Quartet DISC TWO: Welcome to My World - Jim Reeves DISC THREE: Così fan tutte ossia La scuola degli amanti, K.588 / Act 1 - Soave sia il vento. Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed by Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano), Ann Murray (mezzo soprano), Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass) and Wiener Philharmoniker DISC FOUR: All Blues - Miles Davis DISC FIVE: Cello Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: I. Prelude. Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach and performed by Paul Tortelier DISC SIX: Slave to the Rhythm - Grace Jones DISC SEVEN: Long, Long Summer - Dizzy Gillespie DISC EIGHT: Stomp! - The Brothers Johnson

    BOOK CHOICE: The Metropolitan Museum of Art catalogue LUXURY ITEM: Hot pepper sauce CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Long, Long Summer - Dizzy Gillespie

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

    14 July 2024, 10:00 am
  • 49 minutes 42 seconds
    Shirine Khoury-Haq, businesswoman

    Shirine Khoury-Haq is the chief executive officer of the Co-op Group – the first female chief executive in its 180-year history and the first from an ethnic minority background.

    Shirine was born in Beirut to a Palestinian father and a Turkish mother. Her father was a geophysicist who worked in the oil industry and his work took the family around the world. By the time Shirine was 12 she had lived on every continent except Antarctica, regularly having to adapt to very different schools and classmates.

    She studied for a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting and economics at the Australian National University in Canberra, while taking on a number of jobs to pay her way. In 1996 she joined the McDonald’s Corporation as a finance and operations manager and then joined IBM as an associate partner.

    In 2014 she was appointed chief operating officer for Lloyd’s of London and five years later she joined the Co-op as chief financial officer. She became the Group’s CEO in August 2022.

    Shirine lives in Cheshire with her husband and two daughters.

    DISC ONE: Jamaica Farewell - Harry Belafonte DISC TWO: Ya Talien Eljabal - Rola Azar DISC THREE: Better Together - Jack Johnson DISC FOUR: Fight the Power - Public Enemy DISC FIVE: Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang - Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg DISC SIX: Supermassive Black Hole - Muse DISC SEVEN: How Great Thou Art - Susan Boyle DISC EIGHT: Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of - U2

    BOOK CHOICE: The Quran LUXURY ITEM: A photo frame CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: How Great Thou Art - Susan Boyle

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

    7 July 2024, 10:00 am
  • 48 minutes 36 seconds
    Rebel Wilson, actor

    The Australian actor Rebel Wilson became an international star with a breakthrough part in the 2011 Hollywood comedy Bridesmaids, opposite Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. She followed this up playing Fat Amy in the highly successful Pitch Perfect trilogy, which documents the fortunes of a female college acapella group.

    Rebel was born in Balmain, a suburb of Sydney. Her parents bred and showed dogs, in particular beagles, and her first brush with showbusiness came when she visited television studios to watch the dogs perform in popular shows. The dogs were so successful they even had their own agents.

    She studied for a combined arts and law degree and then joined the Australian Theatre for Young People. At the age of 29 she sold everything she had and left Sydney to try her luck in Hollywood where she slept on a friend’s sofa for the first few months. She gave herself a year to make it and Bridesmaids came at just the right time – she never looked back.

    Rebel recently made her debut as a director with the Deb, a musical set in Australia.

    DISC ONE: Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars DISC TWO: Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston DISC THREE: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Monty Python DISC FOUR: I Missed the Bus - Kris Kross DISC FIVE: We Belong - Pat Benatar DISC SIX: Let Me Entertain You - Robbie Williams DISC SEVEN: Can You Feel the Love Tonight? - Elton John DISC EIGHT: Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles

    BOOK CHOICE: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl LUXURY ITEM: A bath tub and bath salts CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Monty Python

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

    30 June 2024, 10:00 am
  • 51 minutes 31 seconds
    John Boyne, writer

    The Irish writer John Boyne is best known for his 2006 novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which became a literary phenomenon, selling more than 11 million copies around the world. It was translated into 60 languages and adapted into a film, a play, a ballet and an opera. He has written more than two dozen books, including a number of titles for younger readers.

    He was born in Dublin in 1971, and had ambitions to become a writer from an early age. He studied English Literature at Trinity College Dublin, followed by a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. From the mid-1990s, he spent seven years working at a bookshop in Dublin, while trying to launch his literary career.

    Many of his books have historical settings: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is the story of two boys – one German, one Jewish – during the Holocaust; other books have taken inspiration from the Mutiny on the Bounty and Tsarist Russia. More recently, he’s addressed sexual and physical abuse within the Catholic church in Ireland, drawing in part on his own experiences at school.

    He lives in Dublin, not far from where he grew up.

    DISC ONE: Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel DISC TWO: The Sound of Music - Julie Andrews DISC THREE: Elton's Song - Elton John DISC FOUR: Take on Me - A-ha DISC FIVE: Lullaby for Cain (Instrumental) - Sinéad O'Connor DISC SIX: Extract from String Quartet No. 4, composed by Noah Max and performed by The Tippett Quartet DISC SEVEN: Make Your Own Kind of Music - Mama Cass DISC EIGHT: Night of the Swallow - Kate Bush

    BOOK CHOICE: The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot LUXURY ITEM: A cinema screen showing The Devil Wears Prada CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Night of the Swallow - Kate Bush

    Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor

    22 June 2024, 11:39 pm
  • 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
  • 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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