Episodes
Another chance to hear Mary Berry's Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young from 2012. Mary Berry is one of the UK's best-known and respected cookery writers. More than six million copies of her books have now been sold - not bad for a girl who failed her school certificate in English. On television, it is her role as a judge on The Great British Bake-off that has brought her to the attention of a new generation. It was in domestic science lessons that she discovered her love of cooking and...
Published 04/21/19
Another chance to hear Paralympian and broadcaster Ade Adepitan interviewed by Kirsty Young in 2012. When he's not stuck in a studio explaining the intricacies of Goalball he's reporting from the rainforests of Nicaragua or the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Adversity seems to suit him - he even survived turning up for his first day at school aged 7 in a pink checked suit and bow tie. Inspired by his boyhood heroes Seb Coe and Daley Thompson, who he first saw on TV competing in the 1984 Los...
Published 04/14/19
Another chance to listen to the comedian, Ricky Gervais speaking to Kirsty Young in 2007. In just twelve episodes, his show The Office changed the face of British television comedy. At its centre was the comic monster, David Brent, a middle-manager being filmed for a mock-documentary who saw the ever-present cameras as his route to popularity and fame. Ricky Gervais's performance was both excruciating and unmissable - one critic called the programme "among the most affecting and invigorating...
Published 04/07/19
Martin Freeman is a multi-award winning actor, best known for his roles as the lovable Tim in BBC Two’s The Office and as Dr Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. He also played Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, Lester Nygaard in the US drama series Fargo and Everett K Ross in the film Black Panther. Born in Hampshire in 1971, he grew up in Teddington in south-west London. The youngest of five children, he was just 10 when his father died of a heart attack. As a...
Published 03/31/19
Lauren Laverne’s castaway this week is Jacqueline de Rojas, the President of techUK, the body that represents 900 companies in the technology sector. She is Chair of the Board of Digital Leaders, co-Chair of the Institute of Coding and sits on the government’s Digital Economy Council. She was born Jacqueline Yu in Kent to a Chinese father and British mother, and moved to Swindon when her mother left the marriage. Jacqueline did well at school, particularly in languages, and went on to take...
Published 03/24/19
Marlon James is a writer who won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 for A Brief History of Seven Killings, a novel which centres on an attempt to assassinate Bob Marley. Marlon was the first Jamaican to win the Prize. He was born in Kingston in 1970 and grew up in suburbia. His mother worked as a detective, and his father was lawyer, leading to a family joke that his mum locked criminals up and his dad got them out. As a self-confessed geek, Marlon did not enjoy his time at school, and even...
Published 03/17/19
Dame Esther Rantzen is best known as the presenter of the long-running TV series That’s Life, which began on BBC One in 1973. She was both presenter and producer of the programme, which was hugely successful, regularly reaching 20 million viewers. It featured consumer affairs, vox pops and light-hearted pieces about talking dogs and peculiarly shaped vegetables, along with serious investigations, including reports on the safety of children’s playgrounds and on child abuse. A special...
Published 03/10/19
Trevor Sorbie is known as an innovative hairdresser and is the founder of the charity, MyNewHair. Born into a family of hairdressers – both his father and grandfather were barbers – he spent the first decade of his life in Scotland before the family relocated to Essex. His first ambition was to become an artist, but when he left school aged 15 with no qualifications after being bullied, his father suggested that he could help out at his barbershop. Within three months, Trevor was cutting...
Published 03/03/19
Professor Margaret MacMillan is a Canadian historian, author and broadcaster. In 2018 she delivered the Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4, in which she examined the tangled history of war and society. She was born in Toronto in 1943, and her interest in history was kindled by the stories her parents told about when they were young and by the historical adventure novels she read as a child. After a long academic career in Canada, she found herself in the international spotlight in her late...
Published 02/24/19
Ann Cleeves is a crime writer best known for two series of novels, both of which have been adapted for television. Vera, for ITV, features her detective Vera Stanhope, and Shetland, for the BBC, focuses on DI Jimmy Perez, who works for the Shetland police. Born in 1954, Ann grew up in Herefordshire and Devon. After secondary school she spent a year providing childcare for a family in London before reading English at the University of Sussex. She dropped out of her degree course, and by...
Published 02/17/19
Cressida Dick is Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. She was born in 1960, the youngest child of two university professors. Her parents divorced when she was still at primary school and she and her older siblings grew up in Oxford. Their father died when Cressida was just 11. She read Agriculture and Forest Sciences at Oxford University before spending a year in accountancy. She joined the Metropolitan Police in 1983 where her first beat was on the streets of Soho. After a decade in...
Published 02/10/19
Bob Mortimer is a comedian best known for his work with his comedy partner Vic Reeves. For 30 years, he and Vic have appeared in numerous TV series together, including Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, Shooting Stars and The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. Bob first saw Vic performing in a south London pub: Vic was wearing a Bryan Ferry mask while trying to tap dance with wooden planks strapped to his feet. Bob found this hugely entertaining, and began to take part in Vic’s shows. Bob was born in...
Published 02/03/19
Wendy Cope is one of England’s most popular and widely-read contemporary poets. Wendy was born in Erith, Kent. Her father was 29 years older than her mother and she was sent to boarding school at the age of seven. Although English was her favourite subject at school, in a bid to defy her English teacher’s expectations, she read history at Oxford. Following graduation she became a primary school teacher. After the death of her father in 1971, Wendy entered psychoanalysis in 1973 and turned...
Published 01/27/19
James Rebanks is a shepherd and the best-selling author of The Shepherd’s Life. Born in Cumbria in 1974, he grew up venerating his grandfather, who taught him what he needed to know in order to take over the family farm from his father one day. He found school an irksome distraction, and left aged 15 with two GCSEs. It wasn’t until his early 20s, after he’d developed an interest in reading and had met his future wife Helen, that he decided to return to study at a local college in the...
Published 01/20/19
Ruth Jones is an actor and writer. She co-created and starred in the award-winning TV comedy series Gavin and Stacey, and also wrote and took the title role in the comedy drama Stella, which ran for six series. She grew up in Porthcawl, in South Wales, where the local secondary school nurtured her love of performance. She took to the stage in numerous school musicals, along with fellow pupil Rob Brydon. After studying drama at Warwick University, she struggled at first to find work as an...
Published 01/13/19
The Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller is perhaps best known for We’re Here Because We’re Here, a moving and powerful memorial to the Battle of the Somme, and The Battle of Orgreave – a re-enactment of the confrontation between police and pickets at the height of the miners’ strike. Deller doesn’t paint, draw or sculpt and his work encompasses film, photography and installations. At school his creative endeavours were not always appreciated, and at 13 he was asked to leave the art...
Published 01/06/19
Alan Carr, comedian and chat show host, is known for his love of silliness, dressing up and camp daftness. His stand-up shows have filled arenas, and on TV he co-hosted the Friday Night Project and then his own show - Chatty Man. Alan was born into a footballing family – his dad, Graham, was a professional player and then a manager. Alan first tried his hand at comedy while reading Theatre Studies at Middlesex University. After he graduated, he took on a range of jobs before his ability...
Published 12/23/18
Professor Mariana Mazzucato is an economist, who focuses on value and innovation. Born in Italy, Mariana moved to America as a child, when her father accepted a post at Princeton University. She has lived in the UK for the last 20 years and is currently Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and the Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London. She examined how government funding has enabled highly profitable inventions in the...
Published 12/16/18
Gary Barlow, musician and Take That lead singer, has written more than a dozen chart-topping songs, and has received six Ivor Novello awards including the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Born in Cheshire in 1971, his interest in music was sparked at an early age by a child’s keyboard. At the age of 10, he saw Depeche Mode on Top of the Pops, prompting the desire to take to the stage himself. He wrote A Million Love Songs, which later became a Top 10 hit for Take That,...
Published 12/09/18
Tom Kerridge is a chef, restaurateur and TV presenter. Tom made his name with his Buckinghamshire pub The Hand and Flowers, which he opened with his wife in 2005. It is the only British pub with two Michelin stars. Tom grew up near Gloucester. After his parents divorced when he was 11, his mother took two jobs to support the family, and Tom was often left to cook for himself and his younger brother. As a teenager, he worked as a TV actor, playing small roles in dramas such as Miss Marple....
Published 12/02/18
Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for her 1995 debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has won the Costa Novel Award twice, for Life After Life in 2013 and for A God in Ruins two years later. Born in York in 1951, she was the only child of a couple who ran a medical and surgical supplies shop. She began to write after she had failed her doctorate at Dundee University and had given birth to two daughters. She took on a wide range of jobs while writing short...
Published 11/25/18
Tracey Thorn, musician and writer, is best known as one half of the duo Everything but the Girl. Brought up in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, she bought her first guitar, a black Les Paul copy, when she was 16 and her first band was called the Stern Bobs. Shortly after, she formed her own all-female band, Marine Girls, before moving to Hull University to study English. On her first night there, she met her future husband, Ben Watt, and they went on to form Everything But the Girl. Between...
Published 11/18/18
As one of the Guardian’s first female foreign correspondents, Hella Pick reported on events that shaped the world in the second half of the 20th century, from Martin Luther King's civil rights activism to Watergate, the Gdansk shipyard strikes to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Born in Vienna in 1929, she was raised by her mother who, in March 1939, put her on a Kindertransport train to Britain to escape the Nazis. Her mother was able to follow her to England a few months later and Hella...
Published 11/11/18
Vanley Burke is a Jamaican-born photographer often described as the Godfather of Black British Photography. His body of work is regarded as the greatest photographic record of African Caribbean people in post-war Britain. He is motivated by a desire to document culture and history. Vanley was born in 1951 in St Thomas, Jamaica. When he was four, his mother emigrated to Britain to train as a nurse, leaving him in his grandparents’ care. His mother sent him a Box Brownie camera as a present...
Published 11/04/18
Jacqueline Gold is the CEO of the retail brands Ann Summers and Knickerbox. She joined the business at the age of 19 for work experience, and faced resistance because her father, David Gold, was the owner. By the time she was 21, she had persuaded the largely sceptical all-male board to invest in her radical idea: to re-invent the Ann Summers brand by selling lingerie and sex toys at women-only parties held in their homes. Along with the parties, there are now over 100 high street shops,...
Published 10/28/18