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Desert Island Discs: Archive 2005-2010
36 minutes | Dec 26, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the singer Sandie Shaw. With her melodic, velvety voice, bare feet and Sassoon bob she was the epitome of everything that was swinging about the '60s. She was just 17 when she first topped the charts with Always Something There to Remind Me and went on to become Britain's first Eurovision winner with Puppet on a String. She loathed the song at the time, but has recently come to terms with it after recording a new version which is, she says, rather forlorn. Along with the highs have been terrible lows - years that she calls her dark ages, when, without money or creative freedom, she felt hopeless. It was Buddhism that turned her fortunes around and became central to her life. Now, she says, she cannot believe the journey life has taken her on and she is preparing for a final flourish as a performer. Record: None of them! Book: Lecture on The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life by Daisaku Ikeda Luxury: Omamori Gohonzon Producer: Leanne Buckle.
36 minutes | Dec 19, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the Oscar-winning animator Nick Park. His most famous creations are Wallace and Gromit: Gromit the silent but wise dog; Wallace, his well meaning owner with notably less brain-power. They now hold the same place in the nation's heart at Christmas that Morcambe and Wise once occupied. They are old-fashioned and quintessentially British - as familiar as bread and butter, or hoping the rain holds off - but their appeal is international. The world they inhabit is one of Jacobs cream crackers and tea-strainers - so it's little surprise that in real life too Nick Park's own creature comforts are modest: "The thing is, I have everything I want really. I've got my little house, I've got a campervan, I love the British countryside, I'm not after yachts or things like that." Record: I Forgot that Love Existed - Van Morrison Book: A Collins Bird book Luxury: My own 'Amazing pair of binoculars' Producer: Leanne Buckle.
35 minutes | Dec 12, 2010
Sir Torquil Norman
Kirsty Young's castaway week is the aviator, inventor and arts patron, Sir Torquil Norman. He comes from a family where derring-do is in the DNA - his grandfather was a pioneering airman, his grandmother an adventurer and his father also a keen pilot. Torquil ended up in the toy trade where the skills needed were, he says, a close attention to detail combined with the outlook on life of a seven year old. He was, he admits, perfectly qualified. In retirement he set about his biggest project - he bought a disused railway engine shed and raised tens of millions of pounds to safeguard its future as a venue for performing arts and a centre for young people. Record: Nobody Knows You when You're Down and Out - Bessie Smith Book: Book by his father: Nigel Norman - Verses 1911 - 1943. Luxury: A miniature still with a little ice-making machine attached to it to make dry martinis.
36 minutes | Dec 5, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer and historian Frances Wood. As head of the Chinese collection at the British Library she is the gatekeeper to some of the rarest printed texts in the world. Her life has been immersed in the language and culture of the Far East and, along the way, she's spent time learning how to throw hand-grenades, plant rice in the paddy-fields and bundle Chinese cabbages. She was in China in the final months of Mao Zedong's regime and remembers being aware of the sense of national unease: "There were the bodies that floated down the Pearl River to Hong Kong - you did get a real sense of foreboding. You did know that the whole country was on edge." Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: Don Carlos Book: A copy of Chinese dictionary Cihai, (which means Sea of Words) from the 1930s Luxury: The War Memorial outside Euston Station.
37 minutes | Nov 28, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the best-selling writer Robert Harris. He was, apparently, a political junkie from a young age; he was just six when he wrote the essay: 'Why me and my dad don't like Sir Alec Douglas Home' and he also had an early realisation that he wanted to grow up to be a writer. His first novel - Fatherland - imagined a world after the Nazis had won World War II. It sold more than three million copies and made him a household name. "I can remember I wrote the opening sentence and I practically had to go and lie down afterwards," he said, "the possibilities of it - and the feeling that I'd finally arrived at what I wanted to do - it was overwhelming." Record: Every Day I write the book - Elvis Costello Book: Scoop by Evelyn Waugh Luxury: A nightly fragrant bath.
36 minutes | Nov 21, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the rock musician Alice Cooper. As a teenager he says it was British music that he tuned in to - listening to The Beatles, The Yardbirds and The Who. He realised that while rock music had many heroes, there were few villains - that was the territory he marked out for himself. He developed his trademark look - blackened eyes, straggly hair and glamorous clothes - and set about designing live shows that were gleefully gory and macabre. While critics have described him as 'the world's most beloved heavy metal entertainer', it took him a while to untangle himself from his creation. "For a long time I honestly didn't know where I began and Alice ended. My friends at the time were Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and I was trying to keep up with them. And I realised when they all died that you didn't have to be your character off stage." Record: Work Song - The Butterfield Blues Band Book: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Luxury: An indoor golf driving range Producer: Leanne Buckle.
36 minutes | Nov 19, 2010
Anna Del Conte
Kirsty Young's castaway is the cookery writer Anna Del Conte. Born to a wealthy Milanese family, she arrived in Britain in 1949 where her Italian ingenuity with food was sorely needed in a nation still facing rationing and no olive oil. Her books, starting with Portrait of Pasta in 1976, helped to change all that, and established her as a food hero for younger cooks like Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith. She has still more to teach however: whatever you do, she says, you shouldn't serve bolognese with spaghetti as it's just the wrong shape. Tagliatelle is much better. Record: Part of the duet from the first act of Otello Book: The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa Luxury: Extra virgin olive oil.
37 minutes | Nov 7, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan. Thirty years ago he was working in a factory gluing together tennis ball halves. Then he got a grant, chucked in his job and devoted himself to writing and performing. These days he's known as the Bard of Barnsley and his appeal stretches from the terraces of his local football club to the balcony of the London Coliseum... he is poet in residence at both Barnsley FC and the English National Opera... He still lives in the village where he was born and he considers and analyses British culture from his very particular vantage point in south Yorkshire. He says: "You can do the universal in the local, I always think. You can see all the changes that have happened all over the world in the 20th and 21st centuries in microcosm." Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: 4' 33" - John Cage Book: The Long and The Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 by Roy Fisher Luxury: A tandem bike with wooden models of his family on the front.
37 minutes | Oct 24, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Of his career, he says: "Joining the Liberal Party was a no brainer for me - when you're a young man, you don't get a calculator out saying 'Am I going to get to power?' you get propelled forward by idealism". Yet this week more than any other, critics have questioned whether his interest in power has meant his ideals have had to take a back seat. In this candid conversation, he describes the behind-the-scenes negotiations that underpinned the coalition and he shares the personal trauma when, after his wife and baby son had both been dangerously ill, he wondered whether a political career would place too heavy a burden on his family. Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: Schubert - Impromptu No.3 in G flat major Book: The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa Luxury: A stash of cigarettes.
37 minutes | Oct 17, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the barrister Michael Mansfield. He is one of Britain's leading QCs - the Birmingham six, the Marchioness disaster, the Stephen Lawrence trial and the death of Jean Charles de Menezes are only a handful of the high profile cases he's been involved in. He describes himself as a 'radical lawyer' and says he's been educated by the cases he's taken on. He has become, he says, increasingly angry and radical over the years. "I do feel that reputation, standing up for principle, is one of the few ways in which a difference can be made." Record: The Goons - What's the Time, Eccles? Book: The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine as his Bible: and The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz Luxury: A drum kit.
37 minutes | Oct 10, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the founder of Storm model agency, Sarah Doukas. She has never, she says, had a normal career - after running away from school, she ran bric-a-brac stalls in London and Paris and then lived in America before returning to Britain. She enjoyed a stint as a model herself (her speciality, at only five feet two inches tall, was perching on car bonnets so they seemed bigger in advertising pictures). But she discovered she had a knack for spotting future talent and is best known for finding a 14 year old Kate Moss and turning her into an international star. "I'm a terrible old rocker" she says, "I always knew my life would be unconventional." Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: Mercy Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye Book: The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin Luxury: A photo album of all my family.
35 minutes | Oct 3, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the entertainer Johnny Vegas. As a stand-up comic he made his name as one of the most brilliant and unpredictable acts on the circuit. His stage persona was a belligerent drunk who would heckle his own audience. But the more successful he became, the more the similarities between his own life and his stage character seemed to blur. "I found popularity through self-destruction" he says, "and that can be quite addictive". In recent years, he has cut down on his drinking, lost weight and now got engaged - all part of a plan to ensure he reached his 40th birthday and could be a proper father to his young son. "Life's actually turned around and been very good to me," he says. Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: Hurt - Johnny Cash Book: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Luxury: A Kiln.
36 minutes | Sep 26, 2010
Sir Tom Jones
Kirsty Young's castaway is the singer Sir Tom Jones. In a career spanning fifty years he's sold 150 million albums and his hits have included It's Not Unusual, What's New Pussycat? and Delilah. As a child it was assumed he'd follow in his father's footsteps and become a miner. But he developed TB when he was twelve and doctors warned his parents against sending their only son to the pit; they said his lungs were too weak. Now aged seventy, he has no plans to retire. "Singing's like breathing to me", he says, "my voice drives me, it tells me that I have to do it". Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On Book: The Rise and Fall of the British Empire -Lawrence James Luxury: A Bucket and Spade.
37 minutes | Aug 15, 2010
From Lady Gaga to The Specials. Actor and director Kathy Burke shares her castaway choices with Kirsty Young. She became a household name for her comedy performances, working with Harry Enfield to create the characters Kevin and Perry. She won critical acclaim for serious roles and picked up the Best Actress award at Cannes for her portrayal of an abused wife in the film "Nil By Mouth". Kathy's early life had been tumultuous - her mother died before she was two and her father was often drunk, leaving her older brother to run the family home. She was a teenager when she discovered acting and, she says, it was the saving of her. First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in August 2010.
35 minutes | Aug 8, 2010
Lord David Cobbold
Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs is Lord David Cobbold. He was just 32 years old when he took over the ancestral pile Knebworth House and he succeeded in turning a crumbling corner of the establishment into one of the best rock concert venues in the world. Over the past forty years, everyone from Led Zeppelin to Paul McCartney to Robbie Williams has played there. The concerts have not only allowed him to keep the house in private hands, but have also given him a front-row seat to some of the most celebrated performances in rock history. Record: Pink Floyd - Brain Damage Book: Zanoni by Edward Bulwer-Lytton Luxury: A fishing rod Producer: Leanne Buckle.
36 minutes | Aug 1, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is Jimmy Mulville. He began his life in comedy as a performer and writer but success in front of the camera clearly wasn't enough - he set up the production company Hat Trick and has turned out a huge number of hits, including "Have I Got News for You", "Father Ted" "Room 101" and "Outnumbered". But he says that for many years he was a ticking time bomb - he became addicted to drugs and alcohol and, after triumphing over them, also fought cancer. These days, he is the father to four children and says he looks back with an overwhelming sense of gratitude at how his life has unfolded. Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: In My Life - The Beatles Book: The Complete works of P G Wodehouse Luxury: A solar powered espresso machine.
36 minutes | Jul 25, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the interviewer Lynn Barber. A master of the profile interview, her razor-sharp observations have earned her the nickname the Demon Barber and won her a stack of awards. Although critics say her articles are hatchet jobs, she disagrees: "I think that people are well served by quite blunt or quite rude questions because it forces them to fight back and come back strongly," she says. Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: Macushla sung by John McCormack Book: The Complete F Scott Fitzgerald Luxury: A cyanide pill.
36 minutes | Jul 18, 2010
Kirsty Young's castaway is the Oscar-winning actor, writer and director Tim Robbins. His film credits include The Shawshank Redemption, Dead Man Walking, The Hudsucker Proxy and Mystic River. Brought up in an artistic and creative household in New York's Greenwich Village, he was always encouraged to sing and perform. After talking politics around the dinner table as a teenager he would, on occasion, spend his evenings working the lights for the local drag act. Indeed it was on stage, rather than in front of the camera, that Tim Robbins developed his own acting style: "It gave me a discipline to still the anarchic energy I had," he says: "A rigid discipline to an emotional truth and the ability to have that at my fingertips." Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: A Case of You -Joni Mitchell Book: A Matchbook Luxury: A Surfboard.
38 minutes | Jul 11, 2010
Dr Gwen Adshead
Kirsty Young's castaway is the forensic psychotherapist Dr Gwen Adshead. A consultant at Broadmoor Hospital, it is her job to try to understand the behaviour of some of the most vilified people in our society. The Victorian institution in Berkshire is home to more than two hundred men; all people who have been convicted or accused of the most dangerous violent behaviour. Her life outside work seems impossibly normal - bringing up her children, singing in a choir and gardening fill her spare time. Of her work, she says: "Other people's minds are so fascinating I can't think of anything more interesting and I can't understand why everyone isn't a psychiatrist." Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: James Taylor - Shower the People Book: Biggest book of poetry available. Luxury: Pen and paper.
40 minutes | Jul 4, 2010
Dame Fanny Waterman
Kirsty Young's castaway is Dame Fanny Waterman. It was during a sleepless night, more than forty years ago, that she came up with the idea of launching a piano competition in Leeds. Since then it's become a world renowned event and been a springboard for many of our most celebrated pianists including Radu Lupu and Murray Perahia. Although she is now 90 years old, she still teaches masterclasses and continues to be involved with every detail of the competition. "They call me Field Marshal Fanny" she says, "I am a busy breeches." Record: Radu Lupu- Piano Concerto No.3 Book: The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith Luxury: A grand piano and a stool.
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