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Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

Podcast Desert Island Discs
Podcast Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

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  • Deborah Levy, writer
    Deborah Levy is a writer whose novels Swimming Home and Hot Milk were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Last year she published the final instalment of her ‘living autobiography’ trilogy of memoirs, and her earlier work includes plays for the RSC as well as short story collections and poetry. Deborah was born in South Africa in 1959, the eldest child of anti-apartheid activists Norman and Philippa Levy. Her father was arrested when she was five and was imprisoned for four years. During this time, Deborah became an almost silent child, but was encouraged by a teacher to write down her thoughts, sparking her love of creative writing. After her father’s release, the family relocated to the UK and first lived above a menswear shop in London. As a teenager Deborah worked as a cinema usher, and a chance encounter with the film-maker Derek Jarman inspired her to change her plans to take a degree in literature, and instead she headed to Dartington College of Arts, where she studied writing for the stage and performance. Her first play, Pax, was commissioned in 1984, and was followed by more than a dozen dramas. Deborah then turned to writing novels in the late 1980s and 1990s. Swimming Home was shortlisted for the 2012 Booker Prize, although it initially struggled to find a publisher. Her trilogy of autobiographies, beginning in 2013 with Things I Don't Want to Know, have enjoyed considerable critical acclaim. DISC ONE: Nkosi Sikelel I’Afrika by Sol Plaatje DISC TWO: Starman by David Bowie DISC THREE: Opening by Phillip Glass DISC FOUR: Moritat Vom Mackie Messer (German version of Mack the Knife) by Lotte Lenya DISC FIVE: Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair by Nina Simone DISC SIX: Soothing by Laura Marling DISC SEVEN: Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez DISC EIGHT: Because the Night by Patti Smith BOOK CHOICE: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C. G. Jung) LUXURY ITEM: A silk sheet CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Because the Night by Patti Smith Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
    1/16/2022
    37:46
  • Simon Reeve, broadcaster and writer
    Simon Reeve is a broadcaster and writer best known for his TV documentaries which combine travel and adventure with investigations into the challenges faced by the places he visits. His journeys have taken him across jungles, deserts, mountains and oceans, and to some of the most dangerous and remote regions of the world. He’s dodged bullets on frontlines, dived with seals and sharks, survived malaria, walked through minefields and tracked lions on foot. Simon grew up in Acton in west London. He experienced anxiety and depression as a teenager and left school with few qualifications. He eventually found a job in the post room at the Sunday Times and from there progressed to working with the news teams, filing stories on a range of subjects from organised crime to nuclear smuggling. In the late 1990s he wrote one of the first books about Al-Qaeda and its links to Osama Bin Laden. His expertise in this area was quickly called upon after the 9/11 attacks in the USA, and he became a regular guest on American television and radio programmes. The current pandemic put Simon’s overseas trips into abeyance and he has turned his attention to the UK, recently making programmes about Cornwall and the Lake District. DISC ONE: Eskègizéw Bèrtchi by Alèmayèhu Eshèté DISC TWO: Vissi d’arte - from Puccini’s Tosca, performed by Kiri Te Kanawa with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Pritchard DISC THREE: It Takes Two by Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock DISC FOUR: We Will Rock You by Queen DISC FIVE: Mr Brightside by The Killers DISC SIX: Wiley Flow by Stormzy DISC SEVEN: You’re Lovely to Me by Lucky Jim DISC EIGHT: Rocket Man by Elton John BOOK CHOICE: Moonshine for Beginners and Experts by Damian Brown LUXURY ITEM: Bird seed CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Rocket Man by Elton John Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
    1/9/2022
    35:45
  • Richard Osman, writer and broadcaster
    Richard Osman is a broadcaster, TV producer and writer who co-presents the quiz show Pointless on BBC One. His first novel, The Thursday Murder Club, was a publishing phenomenon, selling more than a million copies, and the follow-up became one of the fastest-selling titles since records began. Richard grew up in Haywards Heath in West Sussex and his early passion for television led to him devising quiz shows and programme formats from a young age. After graduating from university he worked for a number of production companies where he helped to develop and produce shows including Total Wipeout, Deal or No Deal and 8 out of 10 Cats. In 2009 Richard became a co-presenter of Pointless alongside Alexander Armstrong. It was not his intention to move in front of the camera, but he was given the job after taking on the role of co-host while the show was being developed. In 2020 Richard published his debut novel, the Thursday Murder Club, the story of four friends in a retirement community who band together to solve cold cases. It was an instant hit, selling 45,000 copies in its first three days on sale. Steven Spielberg has bought the film rights. Richard lives in London and is writing his third novel featuring his resourceful retirees. DISC ONE: Bring Me Sunshine by Morecambe And Wise DISC TWO: Metal Mickey by Suede DISC THREE: Snooker (Drag Racer) by The Douglas Wood Group DISC FOUR: You Can't Stop The Beat by the cast of Hairspray (Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Elijah Kelly, John Travolta and Queen Latifah) DISC FIVE: Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple DISC SIX: American Boy by Estelle Featuring Kanye West DISC SEVEN: Ran by Future Islands DISC EIGHT: A Little Respect by Erasure BOOK CHOICE: Hercule Poirot: the Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie LUXURY ITEM: A pad of paper, a pen and dice CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: DISC FOUR: You Can't Stop The Beat by the cast of Hairspray Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
    12/28/2021
    35:00
  • Dame Prue Leith, writer and broadcaster
    Dame Prue Leith is a broadcaster, writer, former restaurateur and a judge on the television show the Great British Bake Off. Prue was born in Cape Town, South Africa, during the era of Apartheid. After leaving school she moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne, but decided that her future lay in food, and took a Cordon Bleu cookery course in London. She set up her own catering business from her bedsit, where space was so tight that she washed lettuces in the bath. In 1969 she opened Leith’s, her own fine dining restaurant, in Notting Hill in west London. Leith’s was awarded a Michelin star in the 1980s. She went on to write columns and cookbooks and became a regular broadcaster about food, on shows including the Great British Menu. In 1975 she opened Leith’s School of Food and Wine which trains professional chefs and amateur cooks. Prue replaced Mary Berry as a judge on the Great British Bake Off in 2017. She has written eight novels and lives with her husband in Gloucestershire. DISC ONE: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles DISC TWO: Ugly Duckling by Danny Kaye DISC THREE: Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika by Ladysmith Black Mambazo DISC FOUR: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (I) composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed by Sir Neville Marriner (violin), Academy Of St Martin-in-the-Fields Orchestra and conducted by David Willcocks DISC FIVE: 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford DISC SIX: Skylark by Aretha Franklin DISC SEVEN: Chopin, Nocturne No. 2, op 9 in E flat major, played by Elisabeth Leonskaja DISC EIGHT: Big Spender by Shirley MacLaine BOOK CHOICE: Ulysses by James Joyce LUXURY ITEM: Writing materials CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika by Ladysmith Black Mambazo Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley
    12/19/2021
    35:52
  • Jack Thorne, screenwriter
    Jack Thorne is a writer who has enjoyed great success with his scripts for the stage, cinema and television, winning five BAFTA awards for his TV work. His theatre credits include the international hit play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which has won major awards in London and New York. For television, his recent successes include his adaptation of His Dark Materials, from the books by Philip Pullman, and The Virtues, co-written with Shane Meadows, and starring Stephen Graham. Jack was born in Bristol in 1978. His mother was a care worker, and her experiences partly inspired his 2021 TV drama Help, set in a care home during the pandemic. As a student at Cambridge University, Jack became involved in student drama, but had to halt his studies for a year when he became seriously ill with cholinergic urticaria, which he describes as an extreme form of ‘prickly heat... which feels like you’re burning from the inside.’ While he enjoys better health now, this experience informed his writing, and he has campaigned for more opportunities and better representation for disabled people, on both sides of the camera. In 2021 he gave the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, in which he argued that TV has failed disabled people. DISC ONE: Common People (At Glastonbury 1995) by Pulp DISC TWO: Blah Blah Café by Jean-Michel Jarre DISC THREE: The Red Flag by Billy Bragg DISC FOUR: Spasticus Autisticus by John Kelly and the Graeae Theatre Company DISC FIVE: Lippy Kids by Elbow DISC SIX: 54-46 That’s My Number by Toots and the Maytals DISC SEVEN: Skeleton Key by Audrey Nugent DISC EIGHT: End credit music from the film E.T. by John Williams BOOK CHOICE: Miller Plays: 1 by Arthur Miller LUXURY ITEM: TV with Channel 4 archive only CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Skeleton Key by Audrey Nugent Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
    12/12/2021
    36:09

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