Desert Island Discsactive
Publisher |
BBC
Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Kirsty Young invites her guests to share the soundtrack of their lives.
People |
Country Of Origin |
United Kingdom
Produced In |
United Kingdom
Frequency |
Weekly

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324 Episodes Available

Average duration:00:36:38

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Christopher Nolan is best known for reviving the Batman film franchise and for directing the blockbusters Inception and Dunkirk. His films have taken nearly $5 billion at the box office. Born in London in 1970 to an English father and an American mother, he discovered film-making at the age of seven. In what he describes as "a leap of faith", his father lent him his Super 8 camera - and he's not stopped making films since. From youthful experiments, manipulating his action figures and shooting stop motion animations, he progressed to making short films at university where he read English - although he spent more time at University College London's Bloomsbury Theatre, home to the film society, than the lecture theatre. His first feature film, Following, had enough festival exposure and critical success to secure him his first official budget of $4.5 million to make his next film, Memento. In 2005 he was hailed for reinventing the Caped Crusader in the dark and gritty Batman Begins. He regularly works with the same actors and production team including his long-time producer, his wife, Emma Thomas. The couple's latest film, Dunkirk, is nominated in the best picture category of the Oscars this year and Christopher has a nomination for Best Director. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Chi-chi Nwanoku is a double bass player and founder of Europe's first professional majority black and minority ethnic orchestra, Chineke!. Chi-chi is the eldest of five children, born to a Nigerian father and an Irish mother. Early on, she discovered two competing passions: playing the piano and 100 metre sprinting. She was aiming to qualify for the 1976 Olympics when she suffered a knee injury which cut short her life as an athlete. Her music teacher then suggested that she could have a career as a musician if she took up 'an unpopular orchestral instrument'. She began learning the double bass a week later. She was a student at the Royal Academy of Music and for over 30 years has played with renowned orchestras, including the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, English Baroque Soloists, London Classical Players and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment , which she co-founded and where she was principal double bass for three decades. In 2015, she set up Chineke! to support, inspire and encourage black and minority ethnic musicians. Last year the Chineke! orchestra made its debut at the BBC Proms, and Chi-chi was awarded an OBE for her services to music. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
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Jack Whitehall, stand-up comedian, actor, sit-com writer and producer is Kirsty Young's castaway. He co-wrote and starred in the sitcoms Fresh Meat and Bad Education. He and his father launched their chat-show Backchat in 2013 and recently made a TV series together travelling around Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Jack played Paul Pennyfeather in a TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall in 2016 and has forthcoming roles in Good Omens and a film about Marc Bolan and David Bowie. The son of the talent agent and television producer Michael Whitehall and the actress Hilary Gish, he grew up in Putney. Sent away to boarding school at 11, he performed his first comedy gig aged 16 while still a pupil. He briefly attended Manchester University before he decided to exchange lectures for laughs and make his way in stand-up: he won the King of Comedy award at the British Comedy Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Garry Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, who became the youngest ever world champion at the age of 22. He is also a writer and a political activist. He grew up in the Soviet Union, the only child of engineer parents. He learned chess by watching his parents play as they worked out chess problems in the newspaper. As a five year old he was fascinated by the mysterious little pieces and the board with its 64 squares. Garry Kasparov's father died when he was seven and it was his mother who guided him on his chess career. As a player, he was nicknamed the Beast of Baku, because of his dynamic style at the chessboard. He became a grandmaster on his 17th birthday and went on to become the World Champion after beating Anatoly Karpov in a now-legendary series of games in the mid-1980s. He played high-profile matches against the IBM computer Deep Blue in 1996 and 1997. Since his retirement from competitive chess, he has written numerous books and become a high-profile political activist. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.
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Christina Lamb is chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times and travels the world reporting from war zones and hot spots, speaking not just to key protagonists but also seeking out and detailing the daily impact of conflict on civilians. An only child, and brought up in Carshalton Beeches, she was a voracious reader and dreamed of being an explorer. Although she was rebellious at school, and at one point was asked to leave, she won a place at Oxford and went on to edit the university newspaper. While working as an intern for the Financial Times, she interviewed Benazir Bhutto and was invited to her wedding in Pakistan. That experience led to her determination to be a reporter from the front line. Her work has taken her to South Africa, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, and among her best-selling books are two which tell the stories of remarkable young women - Nujeen Mustafa who escaped from Aleppo in her wheelchair, and the Nobel prize-winner Malala Yousafzai. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Christina Lamb is chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times and travels the world reporting from war zones and hot spots, speaking not just to key protagonists but also seeking out and detailing the daily impact of conflict on civilians. An only child, and brought up in Carshalton Beeches, she was a voracious reader and dreamed of being an explorer. Although she was rebellious at school, and at one point was asked to leave, she won a place at Oxford and went on to edit the university newspaper. While working as an intern for the Financial Times, she interviewed Benazir Bhutto and was invited to her wedding in Pakistan. That experience led to her determination to be a reporter from the front line. Her work has taken her to South Africa, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, and among her best-selling books are two which tell the stories of remarkable young women - Nujeen Mustafa who escaped from Aleppo in her wheelchair, and the Nobel prize-winner Malala Yousafzai. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Angela Hartnett is a chef, TV presenter and cookery writer. She holds a Michelin star and runs her own restaurants. Angela was born in 1968 to an Italian mother and Irish father, and her culinary career has been influenced by her Italian background and her grandmother's cooking. After studying for a history degree, Angela began work in the catering industry before joining Gordon Ramsay at his restaurant Aubergine. In 2002 she took over at the Connaught, London, as the first woman chef to run its restaurant. When it closed five years later, she moved on to open her own restaurant, Murano, in 2008. She achieved a Michelin star in both establishments and has expanded her restaurant business. She has been a regular contributor on some of TV and radio's most popular cookery programmes. In 2007, she was awarded an MBE for Services to the Hospitality Industry.
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Charlie Brooker is a satirist, broadcaster and writer. He created the Emmy-award winning series, Black Mirror, and presents Screenwipe and Newswipe which won Best Comedy Entertainment Show award at the British Comedy Awards in 2011. Born in 1971, his career has been influenced both by his early love of technology - he was a keen computer gamer - and by his passion for the anarchic, surreal and experimental comedy of Monty Python and The Young Ones. After creating his own comic while at school, he went on to provide cartoons for the magazine Oink! at the age of 15. He cultivated his acerbic style and satirical pessimism as a writer of games reviews and features for PC Zone magazine. His online creation TVGoHome, an often caustic parody of television listings in the style of Radio Times, brought him to the attention of the Guardian newspaper where he began writing a TV review column entitled Screen Burn in 2000. This was adapted into a BBC Four television series, and various spin-offs, including Gameswipe and Newswipe, followed. The first two series of Black Mirror, an anthology of unrelated dramas focused around the unexpected consequences of new technologies, aired on Channel 4. The third series was released on Netflix in 2016, followed by a fourth at the end of 2017. Charlie is married to former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq and they have two young sons. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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75 Years of Desert Island Discs - Kirsty Young ends the programme's anniversary year with some gems from the archive, including the creator of the format, Roy Plomley, actress Bebe Daniels, broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, trumpeter Louis Armstrong, politician Dame Barbara Castle and cellist Jacqueline du Pre. Kirsty also chooses some of her favourite moments with Dame Judi Dench, Sir David Attenborough, comedian Sarah Millican, the surgeon David Nott and rugby referee Nigel Owens.
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Bruno Tonioli, dancer, choreographer and a judge on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing, is Kirsty's guest. He was brought up in Ferrara, Northern Italy, and was the only child of hard-working parents who hoped he would be an accountant. Bruno wanted to pursue a creative career and joined a raunchy cabaret dance troupe when he was a teenager, and performed across Europe. He went on to train in other areas of dance and choreography and spent the 1980s working on pop videos with The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Bananarama, Boy George, George Michael, Duran Duran and many more. Since 2004, Bruno has been a judge on BBC One's Strictly Come Dancing and is a judge on the American version of the programme, Dancing with the Stars. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.
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Christine McVie enjoyed huge success with Fleetwood Mac, penning many of their signature songs including You Make Loving Fun, Oh Daddy, Little Lies, Everywhere and Songbird. The band has sold more than 100 million records and the album Rumours remains one of the most popular discs of all time, with sales of more than 40 million copies. The album was recorded during 1976 whilst the band members were going through relationship break-ups and the stories of excess and drug taking during the 1970s and 1980s are well documented. In 1998 McVie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac and received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The same year, after almost 30 years with the band, and having a developed a fear of flying, she opted to leave and lived in semi-retirement for the next 15 years, releasing only one solo album in 2004. She bought a Jacobean house in Kent and spent the next four years restoring it. Christine rejoined the band officially in January 2014, and that year she received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Kelsey Grammer is best known for his two-decade-long portrayal of psychiatrist Dr Frasier Crane which began on the NBC sitcom Cheers. He continued the role in the hugely successful spin-off series Frasier which ran for 11 years. When the series ended in 2004, it had won a total of 35 Emmys. Born in the Virgin Islands, he was brought up by his mother and maternal grandparents in Florida, after his parents divorced. He studied drama at the Julliard School in New York but left before the end of the second year. He got his big break when he joined the cast of Cheers in 1984. In his personal life Grammer has experienced a great deal of loss - his much-loved grandfather died when he was 12 and his 18 year old sister was murdered when he was 20. His struggles with drink and drugs, now behind him, are well documented. Married four times, he is the father of seven. The winner of multiple awards, he is also a TV producer, director, writer, and known for his voice work: among others he was Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons and Stinky Pete in Toy Story 2. He is currently on stage in London. Presenter Kirsty Young Producer Cathy Drysdale.
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Tim Martin is the chairman and founder of the pub company JD Wetherspoon. He opened his first pub, Martin's Free House, in 1979 in North London. Now the chain employs 37,000 people, in 891 pubs of which 54 are hotels. Travelling from his home in Devon, Tim visits at least ten of them a week taking detailed 'call notes' on the staff, the beer, the quality of the food and even the cutlery. In 2016 he became one of the most high-profile UK business people arguing in favour in leaving the EU. He printed half a million beer mats for his pubs, making the case for Brexit. His success in the pub industry might be in the genes. His father, initially an aerobatic pilot, later worked for Guinness, which took the family around the globe and Tim spent his childhood in both New Zealand and Northern Ireland. He trained for the law but instead chose the career of a publican. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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The writer and activist Naomi Klein reached an international audience with her first book, the best-selling No Logo, a rallying cry against the power of corporate brands and the replacement of traditional manufacturing jobs with sweatshop labour. Since then, she's turned her intellectual ire on to even bigger terrain - the political and economic systems underpinning capitalism and climate change. The way to save the planet, she says, requires a radical rethink which will address what she calls the "unresolved tensions" between big business and over-consumption. It's no surprise then that her fierce broadsides against the free market ideology have attracted plaudits and opprobrium in equal measure. But, coming from a family steeped in political activism, such polarized reactions come with the territory. Her grandparents were fervent Marxists and she was born in Canada to American activist parents who fled the US in protest against the Vietnam War. Her mother is a feminist filmmaker while her doctor father was heavily involved with the natural birth movement. Growing up in the 1980s, she was a committed shopper and self-confessed "teeny bopper." But at 19 she experienced a dramatic political awakening - after that, she says, "you had to call yourself a feminist." Presenter Kirsty Young Producer Paula McGinley.
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Micky Flanagan found mainstream success as a comedian in 2007 with his autobiographical 'What Chance Change?' show at the Edinburgh fringe, where he was nominated as best newcomer. Raised in the East End of London, he left school at 15 with no qualifications and followed his dad into work as a fish porter at Billingsgate fish market. When he quit that job, he spent a summer working in a kitchen in New York, and then returned to London to spend much of the 1980s working in the furniture trade. When his business collapsed he worked as a window cleaner and decorator. He played truant through much of his secondary school career, but in his mid-twenties he studied for a GCSE in English, and later gained a place at City University, London, graduating with Social Sciences degree. He trained to become a teacher, and then discovered comedy through night classes. Sell-out UK tours and appearances on 'Mock the Week' and 'Would I Lie to You' followed, and he's made two TV series for Sky - 'Detour De France' and 'Micky Flanagan: Thinking Aloud'. He's just finished his third tour of the UK and Ireland with his show 'An' Another Fing...' Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Anna Pavord, writer & gardener, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Professor Phil Scraton is Professor Emeritus at the School of Law at Queen's University Belfast. A criminologist and author, he's director of the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative and was lead researcher of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. Born into a working class family in Wallasey in the Wirral in 1949, he attended a seminary at the age of 12. Deciding the religious life was not for him he worked as a bus conductor before attending Liverpool University where he read Sociology. His early work with Travellers and Liverpool's black community led to an interest in deaths in custody and prison conditions. Then, following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 he would spend the next 28 years researching and writing about the disaster - his book Hillsborough: The Truth was first published in 1999. The Hillsborough Independent Panel's 2012 report led to a second inquest which concluded in April 2016 that the 96 people who died had been unlawfully killed and that fans behaviour had not contributed to the disaster in any way. Phil and his partner, Deena, have lived in Belfast since 2003. He has two grown-up sons from his first marriage. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Kay Mellor, OBE, is an English screenwriter and director best known for TV drama series including Band of Gold, Playing the Field, Fat Friends and The Syndicate. She has won a Bafta award, along with numerous nominations, and she received a Royal Television Society Fellowship in 2016. She has also worked as an actress, and has written for the stage. Kay was born in Leeds and has lived there all her life. It's also the home of her production company. Her highly successful career now seems worlds away from her early life, when she became pregnant and got married at the age of 16, curtailing her dreams of going to drama school. Later, whilst enjoying motherhood, she decided to return to education, studying for a degree in drama at Bretton Hall College. Upon graduation, she worked in theatre, then at Granada TV as a scriptwriter on Coronation Street before embarking on her own prolific writing career for TV and theatre. She celebrates her Golden Wedding anniversary later this year. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.
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Edna Adan Ismail is a midwife and campaigner. As a 12 year old growing up in British Somaliland, her dream was to build her own hospital. It took her some 50 years and all her savings to realise her ambition, and the state of the art hospital she built is a testament to her passion and dogged determination. Nursing and midwifery have been her life since she won a scholarship to study in the UK in the mid-1950s, when she cycled to appointments in her black raincoat to deliver babies all around London. Married at one time to the prime minister of Somalia, she juggled the high profile role of First Lady with shifts at her local hospital. "I was born with this desire to fix things," she says. As her country's first female foreign minister, she broke deep-rooted taboos by publicly condemning the widespread practice of female genital mutilation - FGM. Her opposition stems from personal experience - she was only eight years old when she endured the invasive procedure herself. Now 80, she lives on site at her beloved hospital, where more than 22,000 babies have been born since it opened in 2002. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Paula McGinley.
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Jane Gardam is best known for her trilogy of novels about an ex-colonial QC nicknamed Old Filth. A writer for both adults and children, she has won two Whitbread awards, the Katherine Mansfield Award and has been shortlisted for the Booker and the Orange Prize for Fiction. Born in 1928, she grew up in North Yorkshire where her father was a schoolmaster at a small independent boys' school. Her mother wrote sermons and was an inveterate letter-writer. After graduating, Jane had a number of literary jobs, but gave up working to raise her three young children. Although she wrote poems as a young girl, her writing career didn't begin in earnest until the day her youngest child started school when she began to write her first book. Since then, she has published more than 30 books, including novels for children and adults as well as short stories and a non-fiction volume about the Yorkshire of her youth. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Sir James MacMillan is a Scottish composer and conductor. He's one of Britain's most successful living classical composers, with his percussion concerto, Veni Veni Emmanuel, receiving more than 600 performances since its premiere in 1992. He draws inspiration from both the spiritual and the secular: many of his works draw on his Roman Catholic faith, while his passion for Celtic football club provided the initial spark for a piano concerto. James MacMillan grew up in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, traditionally a mining centre. His father was a carpenter, and his grandfather a coal miner. He learned the trumpet and played in brass bands, whilst realising at a very young age that he wanted to make music his life. When he first picked up a recorder at school, and realised that he could change the pitch by putting different fingers over the holes, he says a light went on and he knew that he wanted to write music as well as play it. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Sarah Taylor.
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Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer specialist. His biography of the disease, The Emperor of All Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. A haematologist and oncologist by training, his research focuses on cancer therapy and gene functions related to blood cells. His latest book, The Gene, goes in search of normality, identity, variation and heredity. Born in India in 1970 he grew up with his extended family in Delhi. In his youth he trained as an Indian classical singer before travelling to the US to study biology at Stanford. At Oxford he was a Rhodes scholar before enrolling at Harvard to study medicine. He is currently Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Centre. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Professor Dame Jane Francis is the Director of the British Antarctic Survey. She is no stranger to surviving in extreme conditions, because for much of her career her research has taken her to the Polar Regions. Travelling with her fossil hammer, her principal interests are in palaeoclimatology and palaeobotany. She specialises in the study of fossil plants, and how they shape our understanding of climates in the distant past, when Antarctica was much warmer. In 2002 she received the Polar Medal, for her outstanding contribution to British polar research, and in 2013 she became the first woman to head the British Antarctic Survey.
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Paul Greengrass has directed three Jason Bourne films, starring Matt Damon, Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks in the title role, and the 9/11 film United 93, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. He won a Bafta for the film The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, and he wrote and directed the acclaimed Bloody Sunday. His father was a merchant seaman and his mother a teacher and he grew up in Gravesend in Kent. Expelled from his first secondary school, at his next he made his first film at the age of 16. After learning the craft of documentary-making on World In Action at Granada TV, he turned to making feature films. In October 2017, Paul will receive the BFI fellowship, the British Film Institute's highest accolade. Presenter: Kirsty Young Producer: Cathy Drysdale Photo: Amanda Benson.
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Kirsty Young's castaway is Dr. Kevin Fong. He is a consultant anaesthetist at University College Hospital London, and an expert on space medicine. He is a senior lecturer in Physiology at UCL and the co-director of the Centre for Aviation, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine. Born to parents who had come to the UK from Mauritius, he grew up in London. His parents put great emphasis on education - which they had both missed out on in their youth. Kevin's first degree was in astrophysics and he went on to study medicine. He has combined his love of space with medicine and has spent time working at the Johnson Space Centre in the US. He has been a consultant anaesthetist since 2010, but has kept pursuing his interests in extreme environments from space to altitude and depth. He has made many television documentaries about his field of interest and gave the 2015 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
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Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, is Kirsty Young's castaway. She worked for Google at the beginning of the tech boom before joining Facebook in 2008. Raised in Miami Beach, Florida, she studied economics at Harvard. She became chief of staff for Larry Summers, Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, before moving to Silicon Valley. Sheryl published her first book called Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead in 2013 which tried to answer the question why so few women reach the top echelons of their professions. In 2015, her husband of eleven years and father of their two children, Dave Goldberg, died suddenly while they were on holiday. In her second book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, she describes her struggles in dealing with this sudden loss. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Kirsty Young's castaway is Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive of Virgin Money. She is currently the government's Women in Finance Champion. She worked for Fred Goodwin at RBS just prior to the financial crisis before returning to Virgin Money in 2007. A mother of one, she endured many miscarriages and has written about her experience of post-natal depression following her daughter's birth. An only child, she was brought up first in the Midlands, then in East Anglia. She was one of very few girls to attend a newly co-educational boys' school where she was bullied. Following a year spent working in an unemployment office she went to Royal Holloway College in London where she met her future husband, Ash, to whom she's been married for 33 years. Earlier this year she published her autobiography. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Kirsty Young's castaway is the tennis player and commentator, John McEnroe. He won three singles and five doubles Wimbledon titles, four singles and four doubles at the US Open and was ranked number one in the world for four consecutive years in the 1980s. John McEnroe grew up in New York and didn't pick up a tennis racquet until the age of eight, but his talent was quickly spotted and he began to compete in junior tournaments. In 1977, aged 18 and between high school and university, he qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals where he lost to Jimmy Connors. By the end of the tournament his on-court behaviour - shouting, haranguing umpires and abusing his racquet - earned him the nickname 'Superbrat'. He made his first Wimbledon final against Bjorn Borg in 1980. In one of the finest matches in history, despite winning a tiebreak 18-16 to win the fourth set, he lost the match. He beat Borg the following year to win his first Wimbledon singles title. 1984 was the best year in John's career: he won 82 out of 85 matches he played, but it was also the year when he was beaten at the French Open by Ivan Lendl, who replaced him as number one. John married the actress Tatum O'Neal in 1986. They divorced in the mid-1990s and he has been married to the singer Patty Smyth since 1997. Since retiring in 1992, in addition to his role as tennis commentator, he has been a coach and runs his own tennis academy. He still plays in tennis tournaments. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Kirsty Young's castaway is the comedian and TV presenter Sue Perkins. She and her friend Mel Giedroyc first appeared as a comedy duo at the Edinburgh Fringe over 20 years ago and together they presented the first seven series of The Great British Bake Off. Born at the end of the 1960s, Sue grew up in Croydon, the eldest of three siblings. By her own description a "shy and awkward" child, she nonetheless made it to Cambridge University to study English. She and Mel met at a Footlights open mic gig soon after she'd arrived. Their first joint high-profile success was landing a new live daytime programme on Channel 4 called Light Lunch, which turned them into household names. Sue also formed a second presenting partnership, making historical food programmes with Giles Coren. When she was 38 she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour which left her unable to have children. Sue has been in a relationship with the TV presenter Anna Richardson since 2013. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Kirsty Young's castaway is the theoretical physicist, Professor Carlo Rovelli. His book 'Seven Brief Lessons on Physics' became one of the fastest-selling science titles of all time, catapulting him from the world of academia into the global spotlight. Committed to bridging the gap between science and art and making complex scientific issues comprehensible for the lay person, he is currently Professor of Physics at Aix-Marseille University. Born in Verona, and an only child, he was encouraged to learn, to be independent and dreamed of travelling through space. By the age of 12 his long-standing rebellious streak was visible and he would later interrupt his university career to travel. Now in his early sixties, his academic career has seen him work in Europe and America and among the scientific community he is best known as one of the founders of Loop Quantum Gravity theory. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the fashion designer Stella McCartney. Born the middle child of Paul and Linda McCartney, Stella's early years were a paradox: she would either spend her days riding ponies, sharing one of two bedrooms with her sisters in a farmhouse, and generally mucking around in the countryside - or touring the world with her parents' band Wings and spending time in the company of stars such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Amid the tours and travelling, she believes her parents offered her a vital childhood gift: normality. Stella attended the local school and went on to win a place at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to study fashion design. Two years after a graduation show that made the headlines because the clothes were modelled by Stella's friends Kate Moss, Yasmin Le Bon and Naomi Campbell, she landed the job of Creative Director at the French fashion house Chloé. During her four years there, she transformed its fortunes. In 2001, she set up her own label in a joint venture with Gucci. Throughout her career, she has never used leather, fur, feathers or animal skins. She now operates 51 freestanding stores in locations including Manhattan, Mayfair, and Milan, and her collections are distributed through shops in over 70 countries. Her signature style is described as combining sharp tailoring - learned in Savile Row where she would spend her evenings whilst at Saint Martins - with a sexy femininity. She has also designed all the outfits for Team GB for the past two Olympics. She has four children with her husband, Alasdhair Willis. Stella has won numerous awards including the British Fashion Council's Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year as well as Designer of the Year and Brand of the Year at the British Fashion Awards. She received an OBE in 2013. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
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Kirsty Young's castaway is Jed Mercurio. Creator of Line of Duty, and an award-winning TV writer, producer, director and novelist, he is one of the few British script-writers to work as an American-style show-runner. A former hospital doctor and RAF officer, he has been ranked among UK television's leading writers by TV industry magazine Broadcast. His Italian parents moved to the UK after the Second World War and he was brought up in Cannock in the Midlands. Keen on science as a child, with dreams of becoming an astronaut, he studied medicine at Birmingham University. While there, he applied for the RAF medical doctor programme and learned to fly. While he was working as a hospital doctor, he answered an advertisement in the British Medical Journal seeking advisors for a medical TV drama. Despite negligible writing experience, he went on to script the BBC medical drama Cardiac Arrest. Its continuing success led him to leave medicine and embark on a successful career as a scriptwriter. His chief works for TV are the series Line of Duty, Bodies, The Grimleys and Cardiac Arrest. He's also written books: Bodies; Ascent; American Adulterer, and for children, The Penguin Expedition. Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
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Rick Wakeman, musician and composer, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs Producer: Paula McGinley.