Episodes
Dame Glenys Stacey has spent 40 years in public service, including high profile work as a regulator in key areas of national life. She has just stepped down after her five year term as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation during which she criticised the decision to privatise the Probation service calling it “irredeemably flawed”. Glenys was born in Walsall Wood in the West Midlands, where her father was a painter and decorator for the council and her mother worked full time in Union...
Published 10/20/19
Baroness Arminka Helić is credited with persuading William Hague, the former foreign secretary, and the actor and director Angelina Jolie to launch the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) to campaign against rape as a weapon of war. Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Arminka fled her home country as violence escalated in the former Yugoslavia and her family appeared on a Serbian death list. Following the intervention of Lady Miloska Nott, wife of the former secretary of state...
Published 10/13/19
Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known as the composer, lyricist and original star of the multi-award-winning Broadway musical, Hamilton. It won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, 11 Tony Awards and Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. The London production won seven Olivier Awards in 2018. Lin-Manuel was brought up in New York by his Puerto Rican parents, and his creativity and sensitivity to music began when he was a child: he performed in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance as a...
Published 10/06/19
Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton is the Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. She is one of the most senior women in the Fire and Rescue Service in the UK. After spending some time living on the streets as a teenager, her work as a firefighter began at the age of 18, after she had applied to 31 different fire services. During her career, her interest in psychology and fascination with how people make choices in stressful situations led to her studying for a degree, followed by...
Published 09/29/19
Thom Yorke has been the front man of Radiohead, one of Britain’s most successful British bands, for 34 years. They have sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and have won three Grammys and four Ivor Novello awards. Their debut studio album, Pablo Honey, was released in 1993, with their debut single, Creep, becoming a big international success. Thom decided on his career at the age of seven, when he lay on the floor between large speakers at a friend’s house and listened to Queen’s Bohemian...
Published 09/22/19
Another chance to hear Lemn Sissay's Desert Island Discs from October 2015. Interviewed by Kirsty Young. As a poet, writer and playwright, much of his work tells the story of his search for his birth parents. Born to a young Ethiopian woman who wanted him temporarily fostered while she completed her studies, he was with a family until he was 12. He would spend the next five years in a number of children's homes where he began to write. On leaving care at 17, he self-published his first book...
Published 09/15/19
Another chance to hear Judith Kerr, interviewed by Sue Lawley. From February 2004. A writer and illustrator known to generations of children both for her charming Mog picture-books and for her careful rendering of the life of a Jewish child fleeing Nazi Germany. Judith Kerr escaped with her family on the day the Nazis were elected. The following day, police turned up at the doorstep in a belated attempt to confiscate their passports. The Kerr family moved across Europe, trying to support...
Published 09/08/19
Another chance to hear Daniel Kaheneman, interviewed by Kirsty Young in August 2013. Widely acknowledged as one of the world's most influential living psychologists, his many years of study have centred on how and why we make the decisions we do. As a child, he lived in Nazi occupied France and he says that, from a young age, he already had a pretty good idea that he wanted to be an academic. He says "My mother had a big influence ... in fact I credit her with the fact that I became a...
Published 09/01/19
Another chance to hear Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University, interviewed by Kirsty Young in July 2015. Well-known in scientific circles, at NASA and the European Space Agency, she came to the attention of the general public with her enthusiastic celebration when, as part of the Rosetta project, the probe Philae became the first-ever spacecraft to land on a comet - 67P - in November 2014. The spacecraft had taken ten years to journey through space and...
Published 08/25/19
One of the best players of his generation, he was part of the England team that won the Ashes in 2005, a year that marked his sporting coming of age. On the strength of that historic victory he was awarded an MBE for services to the game, and the public voted him BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Barely out of his pram when he picked up a cricket ball he turned out to bat for an under-14 match when he was just six years old. His debut was not in crisp cricket whites, but in a second hand...
Published 08/18/19
Jo Fairley is a businesswoman and writer. She co-founded the Green & Black’s chocolate company with Craig Sams, her husband, and has launched several other successful ventures since then. Jo did not enjoy school, left at 16 with six O-levels and learned shorthand and typing at a secretarial college. She got a job with a magazine publisher and worked her way up through the features department to become the UK’s youngest magazine editor at the age of 23. Her move into chocolate came when...
Published 08/11/19
Sir Tim Waterstone is the founder of the bookshop chain that bears his name. Born in May 1939, he was the youngest of three children. His father, who worked for a tea company all his life, served in the Royal Army Service Corps during the war, and so was absent when Tim was very young. Their relationship was difficult throughout his childhood. Tim was educated at boarding schools from the age of six, when his parents went to India for two and a half years. After studying English at Cambridge...
Published 08/04/19
Dame Sally Davies is the outgoing Chief Medical Officer for England. She will take up her next post as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, later this year. She was born in Birmingham in 1949 to academic parents - her father was an Anglican priest and theologian, her mother a scientist. She studied medicine at Manchester University and after two 'brutalising' years spent learning the job on the wards, she welcomed the opportunity to move to Madrid as a diplomat’s wife. However, she decided...
Published 07/28/19
John Cooper Clarke first achieved fame with his poetry during the punk rock era of the late 1970s. Born in Salford in 1949 to Hilda and George, he suffered from tuberculosis as a child and was sent to recuperate with a relative in Wales. He failed his 11 plus exam and was educated at a secondary modern school which he hated. However the one “rose in a garden of weeds” was his English teacher, Mr Malone, who instilled a love of poetry in John and his classmates. John had various odd jobs...
Published 07/21/19
Marcus Wareing is a prize-winning chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and cookery book writer, who gained his first Michelin star at the age of just 26. He grew up in Southport, and by the age of 11 was helping out in his family’s fruit and vegetable business, which dominated his father’s life. Marcus assumed he would join the business, but his father told him to take a catering course instead, as the family firm had no future. When Marcus was 18, he moved to London to work at the Savoy. He...
Published 07/14/19
Sue Biggs is the Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society. She’s been at the helm of the RHS since 2010 and during that time, its membership has grown to more than half a million people. The RHS is also renowned for its spectacular flower shows and garden festivals around the country, including Chelsea, Hampton Court, Chatsworth House and Tatton Park. Sue has had a lifelong love of gardening since her mum gave her a packet of seeds on her seventh birthday. She has enjoyed...
Published 07/07/19
Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, although his interests and expertise range far wider, from physiology to ornithology, history to ecology and from anthropology to evolutionary biology. His 1997 book, Guns, Germs and Steel, asked why Eurasian civilizations prospered and conquered others. It won a Pulitzer Prize and has sold more than a million copies around the world. He was born in Boston in 1937 to a physician father and a mother who was...
Published 06/30/19
Emily Eavis is co-organiser of the Glastonbury Festival. Together with her husband and her father, she masterminds the booking of bands and oversees the setting up of what is the largest greenfield festival in the world. The site itself becomes the size of Oxford town centre once it’s built and rigged, and when tickets for 2019 went on sale, they sold out within 36 minutes. Born in 1979, she was a small child when her parents, Jean and Michael, were inspired to make the Glastonbury...
Published 06/23/19
Nitin Sawhney is a composer, musician and producer working in the worlds of music, film, video games, dance and theatre. He has released 10 studio albums, scored over 50 films and television programmes, and is known for his collaborations, with musicians and artists including Paul McCartney, Akram Khan, John Hurt and Andy Serkis. He was born in 1964 to parents who had emigrated from North India the previous year to work in the UK. His father was a chemical engineer while his mother taught...
Published 06/16/19
Professor Monica McWilliams is an academic, peace campaigner and former politician. In 1996, she was the co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected to a seat at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which led to the Belfast (Good Friday) Peace Agreement in 1998. She served as a member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly from 1998-2003 and was the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005-2011. She...
Published 06/09/19
Lubaina Himid is a Turner Prize-winning artist, curator and Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. Lubaina was born in Zanzibar in 1954. Her mother was from Britain and her father was originally from the Comoros Islands. He died from malaria when Lubaina was just a few months old, and so she and her mother returned to England. She studied Theatre Design at the Wimbledon College of Art and began organising exhibitions of works by fellow black women artists in...
Published 06/02/19
Derren Brown, illusionist and mentalist, chooses the eight tracks, book and luxury he wants to take with him if cast away to a desert island. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor
Published 05/26/19
Pat McGrath is a renowned make-up artist. She works with the world’s top designers, photographers, editors and models, creating images for the pages of the world’s most glamorous magazines. She and her team also work at the most high-profile catwalk shows in Milan, London, New York and Paris. She born and brought up in Northampton by her mother, who had a passion for fashion and make-up, which she passed onto Pat. In the mid-1980s, as an art student, Pat was captivated by the London club...
Published 05/19/19
Louis Theroux is a television documentary maker. He has received two BAFTAs and a Royal Television Society Award for his work which includes the series Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends and When Louis Met… Born in 1970, and brought up in south London, he is the son of the American writer Paul Theroux and the BBC World Service radio producer Anne Castle. He was privately educated at Westminster School and read History at Oxford, graduating with a first. He moved to the USA where he was...
Published 05/12/19
Another chance to hear artist Tracey Emin's Desert Island Discs, with Sue Lawley, first broadcast in November 2004. Tracey Emin is one of the most successful and controversial artists to emerge during the 1990s. Her work was championed early on by influential art dealer Jay Jopling and later by the collector Charles Saatchi. Her work is highly autobiographical and confessional. A talented drawer and painter, she has attracted most attention for her art installations - including her tent,...
Published 05/05/19