Desert Island Discs: Archive 2005-2010
BBC Radio 4
Guests are invited to choose the eight records they would take to a desert island
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor and director Kathy Burke. 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". Her early life had been tumultuous - her mother died before she was two and her father was often drunk, leaving her older brother ran the family home. She was a teenager when she discovered acting and, she says, it was the saving of her. Producer: Leanne Buckle Record: Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Book: The Complete works of Graham Linehan. Luxury: A life size laminated photo of James Caan from Dragon's Den.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the footballer Tony Adams. He's one of the few people who know at first hand the pressures and joys of captaining the England team. And, after signing as a schoolboy for Arsenal, he is the only man ever to have led a championship winning team across three decades. The drama and successes of his life have been as remarkable off the pitch as on it. He found sporting glory despite being an alcoholic and even served time in prison for drink-driving. But his journey of recovery has been a remarkable one. He went back to studying, developed a love of literature and the arts and put his own money into a charity to support other sports men and women recovering from addiction. It's a transformation that his former team-mates have described as 'heroic'. Now, he is heading to Azerbaijan to become a manager, he is planning, he says, to build the Tony Adams team. Record: Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life Book: The book of Alcoholics Anonymous Luxury: Football.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the film director Lewis Gilbert. His career started in the 1920s when he was a child actor in silent movies. Over the next seven decades, he went on to direct Hollywood blockbusters as well as landmark British films. His directing credits include Reach for the Skies, Alfie, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine - as well as three Bond films. Depite his numerous successes, though, he remains haunted by the film he didn't make: he spent years working with Lionel Bart and planning how Oliver! might look... only for the project to slip through his fingers. Record: I'll String Along with You Book: A book of poems Luxury: A football Producer: Leanne Buckle.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the comedian Frank Skinner. As a football-obsessed comic whose stand-up routines were peppered with details of his personal life, he became the poster-boy for the 'Loaded' generation. Beneath the surface, though, he seems to be full of contradictions. He was expelled from school when he was a teenager - but went on to gain a masters degree; he has long been obsessed with Elvis Presley - but now says he feels a tingle when he goes to the opera. Although he had long enjoyed entertaining his friends, he was 30 before he realised where his future lay. "I was an unemployed drunk going nowhere," he says, "And then comedy turned up. Comedy saved my life" Record: The Fall Book: Teach yourself French Luxury: A ukulele.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the violinist Gyorgy Pauk. In a career spanning fifty years, he has played with all the best orchestras and continues to teach masterclasses around the world. He grew up in Hungary and, after both his parents were taken to labour camps, he was brought up by his grandmother. His parents died during the war and it was, says Gyorgy, a miracle that he and his grandmother survived in the Budapest ghetto. For years afterwards, he says, he would carry food with him because he was so scarred by the hunger he'd felt. His musical talent was his passport to the West and, when he was 22 years old, he fled first to France, then to Holland and finally to Britain where he has lived for nearly fifty years. Of his early years, he says: "There were times when you were punished if you were listening to the radio. That's when it started to get to me - realising that I was not free. Music is international, it has to be worldwide." Record: Bach's Andante from the Second Sonata in A Minor Book: How To Be An Alien by George Mikes Luxury: A N'espresso machine Producer: Leanne Buckle.

Entrepreneur Dame Stephanie Shirley joins Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs. As a child, she escaped Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport - travelling across Europe for two days in a train with a thousand children and just two adults. She went on to set up a computer programming company which made her a millionaire many times over. But she has given away most of her fortune and now is an ambassador for philanthropy. Her determination throughout it all, she says, has been to prove that hers was a life worth saving. Record: Mozart- Sonata in C, K. 545 Book: AA Milne - Winnie The Pooh Luxury: Mother and Child by Henry Moore.

The comedian and actor Rob Brydon joins Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs. Growing up in Port Talbot, South Wales, he discovered performing when he was a teenager and says he came alive when he was on stage: so much so that he left school with only a couple of O Levels. For years, he made a comfortable but unfulfilling living recording voice-overs and working on a television shopping channel. He always dreamed of working in comedy, though, and eventually it was 'Marion and Geoff' and then 'Gavin and Stacey' that made him a household name. Record: Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen Book: Collected works of Dylan Thomas Luxury: A guitar.

The writer Fay Weldon joins Kirsty Young to choose her Desert Island Discs. The author of dozens of novels, essays and radio and TV dramas, she says she spends so much time inventing characters and storylines that the distinction between fact and fiction has become blurred. As a child, Fay Weldon believed she had a second sight - seeing people who weren't there and hearing voices that no-one else could hear. As an adult, her perceptive nature has served her well too and she says: "I think I know what goes on in other people's heads - more than most people do." Record: Rockin' My Life Away -Jerry Lee Lewis Book: Kennedy's Latin Primer Luxury: A shotgun.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Emma Thompson. Sense and Sensibility, The Remains of the Day, Much Ado About Nothing and Howards End are just a handful of her notable screen credits in a dazzling career that has seen her pick up Oscars for both acting and writing. She appears to have pulled off that rare trick of being both a star and one of us - she famously keeps her brace of Oscars in the downstairs loo, still lives across the road from her mum and holidays in a cottage in Scotland where, she says, she and her husband spend a third of the year 'digging in like a pair of old potatoes.' Record: Corarsik Book: Homer's Odyssey Luxury: A saucepan - heavy bottomed with a removable handle.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce. His film credits include Hilary and Jackie, Welcome to Sarajevo and 24 Hour Party People. He's also written TV soaps, radio and stage plays and children's novels. These days children are his main audience and, as a father of seven himself, he should know what they want. He not only tests his ideas on them, but they keep him focused: 'I need them in the house to make sure I'm not watching telly, or having a four-hour bath - the fact that they're there makes me work.' Record: Miserere by Allegri Book: The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin Luxury: A ferris wheel.

Kirsty Young's castaway is entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne. He made his name appearing on the TV show Dragons' Den as a no-nonsense investor with an eye for the bottom line. He made his fortune in nursing homes, health clubs and hotels. Quite something, given that aged 30 he was a deck chair attendant who had been thrown out of the Royal Navy for attempting to throw his commanding officer overboard. He says, 'When you've got a criminal record, no qualifications, no references, the best option is starting your own business - because no one can stop you.' Record: Love Changes Everything Book: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follet Luxury: A pillow.

Kirsty Young's castaway is space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock. She has, she says, a special relationship with the moon, one that started when she first saw The Clangers as a small child. As a teenager she made her own telescope so she could study the moon more closely. Now she makes highly technical optical equipment for satellites, but says she still harbours desires to go into space - her dream job is building a telescope on the moon. She says: 'From the age of three, I wanted to get into space and I still do. It's been the driving force of my life really, that desire to get out there one day.' Record: As by Stevie Wonder Book: Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon Luxury: A telescope.

Kirsty Young's castaway is actress June Spencer. She is one of the best-loved matriarchs in broadcasting. As Peggy Woolley in The Archers, she's the only original member of the cast still in the show. It's 60 years this spring since the pilot episodes were first broadcast and, although she is now aged 90, June has no plans to retire. She says, 'It's a great bonus for me that The Archers has run as long as it has, and I've gone along with it.' Record: Concierto de Aranjuez played by John Williams Book: Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K Jerome Luxury: A Scrabble board.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward. He took England to World Cup glory in 2003, becoming the first ever northern hemisphere side to win the trophy. He well understands the pressure and the glory of top-flight sport, which is just as well, as he's now Director of Elite Performance for Team GB's 2012 Olympic effort. He says, 'It is the coach's job to refuse to compromise. If you do, you will come second'. Record: Take That, Greatest Day Book: Dave Pelz, Short Game of Golf Luxury: Sand wedge and golf ball.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili. He's spent his adult life studying sub-atomic particles - and trying to explain them to the rest of us. He fell in love with physics when he was a teenager growing up in Iraq. With an Iraqi father and English mother, the Baghdad he spent his early years in was cosmopolitan and vibrant but, once Saddam Hussein came to power, his parents realised the family would have to flee, and he has lived and worked in Britain for the past 30 years. Record: She's Not There by Santana Book: The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose Luxury: Acoustic guitar.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the stylist Gok Wan. Dispensing fashion advice and hugs in equal measure, he aims, he says, to 'make women feel like women, not like turkeys'. Yet although he made his name as a stylist, his special talent isn't for fashion, but for gaining people's trust. He understands only too well the emotional journey he is asking women to make; the first person he had to transform was himself, and that, he says, is very much work in progress. Record: The Promise Book: Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey Luxury: Lip balm.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the classicist Mary Beard. A professor at Cambridge, she's that rare thing: a university academic who writes for the masses. Her popular books, blog, articles and reviews have led to her being called 'Britain's best-known classicist'. But while her research is steeped in the ancient world, her commentary is all about the here and now. The classical world speaks to us, she says, and makes us see our own world differently. Record: It's All Over Now, Baby Blue - Bob Dylan Book: Treasures of the British Museum - Marjorie Caygill Luxury: The Elgin Marbles.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the boxing promoter Frank Warren. He has managed and promoted some of the biggest names in the sport, including Joe Calzaghe, Prince Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and the Olympic medal winner Amir Khan. Over the past three decades he has lost fortunes and remade them, survived an assassination attempt and even a run-in with Mike Tyson. Boxing has been good to him, he says, but now he says he wants to find something that will nourish his soul too. Record: Don't Worry 'Bout Me, Billie Holiday Book: Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson Luxury: Merlot grapevine.

Kirsty Young's castaway is American crime writer James Ellroy. His books have been translated into 30 languages and, according to the New York Times, he is the author of some of the most powerful crime novels ever written. But the case that has dominated his life and much of his writing was the murder of his mother when he was just ten years old. In the years since, he has tried to find a way of getting to know and understand her. Record: Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29 'Hammerklavier', Op. 106 Book: Libra by Don DeLillo Luxury: Sun block.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Mary Portas. She's made an art-form out of turning heads, and her galleries have been the enormous plate-glass windows of Harrods, Topshop and Harvey Nichols. These days she brings retail therapy to small traders, helping them to hold their own against the high street's big names. Record: Casta Diva from Norma Book: The works of Rumi, Persian poet and philosopher Luxury: 'A set of different fragrances from the people I love'.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the opera director John Copley. Throughout his sixty year career he's worked with all the greats at the major opera houses of the world. He introduced Luciano Pavarotti to a London audience, charmed Georg Solti with his piano playing and was even called upon to stand in for Maria Callas. He was just ten years old when he first saw an opera and he loved it straight away; "I caught opera," he says, "like the measles". Record: Janet Baker singing Handel's Ariodante Book: Grove's Operatic Dictionary of Music Luxury: My 49-year-old double bed. Producer: Leanne Buckle.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor David Tennant. He has been voted the best Dr Who ever and has redefined the Time Lord for a generation of parents and children. As a child he was a huge fan of the programme; he reckons he only ever missed one episode, wore a long stripy scarf and queued up to meet Tom Baker and get his autograph. As a role, he says, it appealed not just to his adult self but to the eight-year-old boy who was just below the surface [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs].

Kirsty Young's castaway this Christmas is Sir Michael Caine. In a film career that has spanned more than four decades he has won two Oscars; his credits include Alfie, The Italian Job, Hannah and Her Sisters and Educating Rita. As well as discussing his remarkable life in films, he describes how the Queen used to cut through his back garden on her way to the horse races, discusses the secrets of a happy marriage and reveals the tricks for cooking perfect roast potatoes this Christmas. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Record: My Way, by Frank Sinatra Book: The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand Luxury: A large bed with 50 per cent goose down and 50 per cent feather pillows.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Sebastian Coe. It is more than a quarter of a century since his rivalry with fellow middle-distance runner Steve Ovett enraptured the nation. After retiring from the racetrack, he enjoyed a career in politics. Now, though, his focus is on the Olympics once again - not on individual medals this time, but ensuring the 2012 games in London are a success. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Record: The Closest Thing to Crazy, Katie Melua Book: Such Sweet Thunder: Benny Green on Jazz Luxury: A piano and guide to playing it.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland. She is the government's chief law officer, a position as significant as it is isolated. She was on course to be the first female High Court judge before a life in politics intervened and she joined the government. Before she took on her current role she thought she understood the pressures that came with it. In fact, she says, that only became evident once she was in office: 'It is a huge responsibility and it is, and it always will be, a fairly lonely one'. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Record: Pie Jesu with Sarah Brightman Book: A bound version of her children's (and their cousin's) prose and poems. Luxury: A luxurious bathroom.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Morrissey. As the lead singer of The Smiths he captivated a generation of angst-ridden teenagers and, a quarter of a century later, he remains the outsider's outsider. As a child, he was enthralled by the emotion and beauty in pop music. He discovered the joy of public performance when, as a six-year-old boy, he stood on a table and started singing. But from an early age he felt he had to avoid everything conventional life had to offer. 'I just didn't want the norm in any way, he says, 'and I didn't get it. And I'm very glad.' [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Record: (There's Gonna Be A) Showdown, New York Dolls Book: The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde Luxury: A comfy bed with lots of pillows.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Sir Stuart Rose. As the boss of Marks and Spencer, he has held a national institution - and the nation's knickers - in his hands. After seeing off a hostile takeover bid and revamping its tired image, he is regarded by many as the store's saviour. Now, after five years in one of the top jobs on the high street, his successor has been announced and, in this timely interview, Sir Stuart looks to the future and considers where life might take him next. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Casta Diva by Bellini Book: The collected cricketers' almanac by Wisden Luxury: A power shower with white fluffy towels and constant hot water.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the children's author Julia Donaldson. The Gruffalo is her best known creation. Published 10 years ago, it's become a modern classic; it has sold more than four million copies, won an armful of awards and been turned into a film. But Julia nearly gave up when she was half way through writing it, and only the encouragement of her son persuaded her to continue. Its latest accolade is that BBC listeners have just voted it their favourite book for reading out loud at bedtime. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: An Die Music by Felicity Lott Book: Poem for the day by Wendy Cope Luxury: A piano.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the lawyer and writer Anthony Julius. He was already renowned in legal circles when, in 1996, he moved into the public arena, representing Princess Diana in her divorce. He became her confidante and, after her death, one of the founders of her memorial fund. Of the high profile cases he has fought, he says. "You're on a higher wire, stared at by a larger number of people, but in the end, the only audience that matters is your own client." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Promise of Living by Aaron Copland Book: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Luxury: San Pellegrino water on tap.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the talk show host Jerry Springer. His life has been split between serving the public and outraging them. His first career was in politics where, as a life-long Democrat, one of his early jobs was working with Bobby Kennedy. Then he found global fame with his controversial TV programme, The Jerry Springer Show. He says that in politics and in his TV show, he is always on the side of the powerless and disenfranchised. It's a philosophy, he says, he learned from his parents. They were among the last Jews to escape from Berlin in August 1939 and their memories and fears of that time shaped the entire family. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler Book: Photo album of family & friends Alternative to Bible: Torah Luxury: A cheeseburger machine.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the scientist Professor Colin Pillinger. A world-class planetary scientist, his first job was for NASA, analysing the lunar samples brought back by Apollo 11. He is best known, though, for being the public face of Beagle 2, the daring mission to search for life on Mars. Although Beagle 2 was unsuccessful, he is adamant that the mission was not a failure. Now it is hoped that the technology developed for the mission to Mars can be used to diagnose TB faster than has ever been possible before. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: As Time Goes By by Johnnie Ray Book: Journey into Space by Charles Chilton Luxury: A picture of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the illustrator Jan Pienkowski. He was born in Warsaw before the Second World War and lived through the uprising of 1944. He spent his childhood in Poland, Bavaria, Vienna and Italy, before making his home in England more than 60 years ago. The folk traditions of central Europe are still much in evidence in his work though; twice winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, his illustrations see childhood terrors realised in gothic scenes, with witches a constant presence. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles Book: Audiobook of Martin Jarvis reading Just William by Richmal Crompton Luxury: Large supply of moleskin sketch books.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the comedian and actor Steve Coogan. As a child he found he had a knack for impressions, a talent which led him to work on Spitting Image. Recently he has also found success in films, but is best known for the comic monster he created - Alan Partridge. The chatshow host in Pringle jumper and slacks made us cringe with his crass questions and witless interventions and has remained one of our most enduring comic anti-heroes. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: We Have All the Time in the World by Louis Armstrong Book: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne Luxury: Fully-restored Morris Minor Traveller with wooden detail.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the solo yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur. She was 28 when she became the fastest person to sail solo around the world, and has been called the 'first true heroine of the 21st century'. She still sails with friends and with the charity she set up for children with cancer and leukaemia, but her ambition now is to try to find a way of living the same sustainable existence on land that she lives at sea. When your life depends on it, she says, you realise how scarce food and fuel really are. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Boys of Summer by Don Henley Book: SAS Survival Handbook by John 'Lofty' Wiseman Luxury: A fluffy purple worm (which has been taken everywhere).

Kirsty Young's castaway is Barry Manilow. He has been a hugely successful performer for more than 30 years but, in this intimate interview, Manilow describes how it was never the career he intended to have. He always knew he would be a musician, but thought his future lay behind the scenes, not at the front of the stage. Brought up by his mother and grandparents in Brooklyn, money was always scarce and family life often difficult - but when there was music playing in their apartment, Manilow says, the home was a happy one. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland Book: Man vs Wild - Survival Techniques from the Most Dangerous Places on Earth by Bear Grylls Luxury: A piano.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the singer Roberto Alagna. He is one of the most celebrated tenors in the world and one half of opera's golden couple; his wife is the soprano Angela Gheorghiu. Yet, his is not a voice that was honed through early years in a conservatoire. He was brought up in Paris in a family of keen amateur musicians. He used to sing in nightclubs and in those early years, he says, the world of opera was, to him, no more than an impossible dream. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: One Day from the Immortal Heights by Giuseppe Verdi Book: The works by Victor Hugo Luxury: Guitar.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell. Born in Stockport in 1933, it was in the 1960s that she first started to shape the cultural agenda, interviewing the likes of Kingsley Amis and Stockhausen for the radical BBC TV show Late Night Line-Up. It was also during the 1960s that she had an affair with Harold Pinter, a relationship which inspired his play Betrayal. Looking back on it now from the age of 76, she says, "We always said we had a damn good time". Now appointed as the Voice of Older People by Gordon Brown, her passion for debate and social change is as strong as ever. She says she has always regarded the world to be improved and is not afraid of being called a wishy-washy liberal. "It's a good thing to do," she says, "you feel you can be part of change." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: String Quintet in C Major by Franz Schubert Book: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Luxury: An abundance of paper and pencils.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the interior designer, socialite and one-time cowboy, Nicky Haslam. His life defies easy description. In America in the 1960s, he was part of Andy Warhol's circle of friends. He got to know Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor and met Cyd Charisse and President Kennedy; and after all that, he became a cowboy. When he returned to Britain he brought the sleek style of the States with him. When he is designing a room, he says, first he lets the room speak to him, then his client - then he gets the last word on how it should look. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: You're Just In Love from Call Me Madam by Ethel Merman & Dick Haymes Book: A Legacy by Sybille Bedford Luxury: A large 18th-century picture.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the food writer and cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Famous for making paté out of placenta and dining on such delicacies as squirrel and rook in his TV programmes, he has made a name for himself as a cook on the wild side. So perhaps it is not surprising that his first ambition was not to spend his life inside a kitchen but in the great outdoors because, he says, he 'wanted to be David Attenborough'. A stint in the renowned River Cafe in London, however, set him on his way to establishing his own waterside haven for food lovers, his River Cottage in Dorset. From there, he has followed his passion for the environment by campaigning for ethically-produced food, including championing a creature not normally given time on our small screens - the humble supermarket chicken. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Love Reign O'er Me by The Who Book: Moby Dick by Herman Melville Luxury: Full set of Scuba gear.

Kirsty Young's castaway is comedian David Mitchell. Mitchell has won two Bafta awards and, as a sitcom actor, sketch show writer and humorous columnist, has never been in greater demand. But as a child, Mitchell was sure he wasn't funny and it was only when he was at university, he says, that he learnt how to have fun. It is now just the rest of his life that Mitchell needs to address - beginning, he says, by tidying up his flat and then, maybe, even getting a girlfriend. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Rainbow Connection by Jim Henson Book: Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh Luxury: DVDs of sitcoms and DVD player.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Professor Hugh Pennington. Professor Pennington has spent his life trying to understand diseases and how they spread. He has chaired two major enquiries into E. coli, and his influence is felt everywhere from school kitchens to hospital wards. But he concedes that in his own home, efforts to ban the humble tea towel from his kitchen have so far failed. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Sonata in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: The Cabinet Cyclopedia by Dionysius Lardner Luxury: Brass microscope.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the impresario and promoter Harvey Goldsmith. From the Rolling Stones to Pavarotti, and with pretty well every other name in music inbetween, he has been one of the country's top promoters for more than 40 years. His career has given him a unique insight into music history; he was there, after all, when Keith Moon threw his first TV out of a hotel window. Always passionate about what he listened to, he acknowledges that his own instrument is the pocket calculator. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Sing, Sing, Sing (with a Swing) by Benny Goodman Book: The Reader's Digest Complete Do It Yourself Manual Luxury: A piano.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the choreographer, Arlene Phillips. In a career spanning 40 years, she set up the dance group Hot Gossip and has masterminded numerous music videos and West End shows. Already one of the country's leading choreographers, the hit TV show Strictly Come Dancing then turned her into a household name. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Dinah Washington Book: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Luxury: Tweezers.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the actor Martin Shaw. He has been one of Britain's most popular stage and television actors of the past 40 years and has taken on more than 100 different roles. Yet Martin has spent half a lifetime moving out of the shadow of one of his earliest parts: Ray Doyle in The Professionals. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs by George Frideric Handel Book: Post Captain in the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brien Luxury: A synthesiser to make up my own music.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the Labour peer and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Denis Healey. As a politician, he was known for his sharp intellect and biting oratory and now, as he approaches his 92nd birthday, those skills are still very much in evidence. He talks of his regret that his lack of ambition meant that he did not push himself further in politics but, he says, it is better for people to wonder why he wasn't Prime Minister than to wonder why he was. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Cavatina from String Quartet No.13 in B flat Major by Ludwig van Beethoven Book: The Faber book of English verse by John Hayward Luxury: Very big box of chocolates including nougat.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the journalist and broadcaster Piers Morgan. He spent more than a decade as a Fleet Street editor and pioneered a style of journalism that devoured the day-to-day lives of celebrities. Now, he has become something of a celebrity himself, fronting a TV interview programme and sitting as a judge on both America's Got Talent and Britain's Got Talent. He is, according to one friend, 'the ultimate proof that self-confidence and self-belief can become a self-fulfilling prophecy'. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Mambo Italiano by Dean Martin Book: An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan Luxury: My cricket bat.

Kirsty Young's castaway is Caroline, Countess of Cranbrook. Caroline has travelled the world to see how different zoos worked, spent years living in the jungle and, when she returned to Britain, taught herself how to be a farmer. She has become a champion of the countryside and, when a supermarket giant announced plans to open a store on her doorstep, she decided to take them on. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: No. 54 Chorale: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: Food in England by Dorothy Hartley Luxury: Ink and a pen.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the comedian and performer Barry Humphries. For decades he has enjoyed global fame with his grotesque comic creations, the Melbourne housewife Dame Edna Everage and the drunken cultural attache Sir Les Patterson. Off stage, though, his life has been spent immersed in literature, music and the arts, and he says that his time spent on the desert island would allow him to devote himself to painting. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Songs of Sunset: They are not long, the weeping & the laughter by Frederick Delius Book: The Melbourne Street Directory Luxury: My paints.

Kirsty Young invites actor Peter Sallis to choose eight records to take to Radio 4's mythical desert island. As the unassuming Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine and the equally mild-mannered Wallace in Wallace and Gromit, Sallis brings to life a sepia-tinted Britain that barely seems to exist any more. Now aged 88 and with failing eyesight, no-one, he says, is more surprised at his success than himself: "I've been lucky enough to keep going and I realise now, though it's taken me nearly 100 years, that my voice is distinctive. I'm very lucky indeed." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The finale of Symphony No.5 in E flat Major by Jean Sibelius Book: The collected works by P G Wodehouse Luxury: No.7 Meccano outfit.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the comic and actress Whoopi Goldberg. As a child she used to practise the acceptance speeches she was sure she would one day make - little surprise then that she's one of a handful of people to have won an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony and Emmy awards. Favourite track: Lovely Day by Bill Withers Book: Letters to a Young Poet by Raine Maria Rilke Luxury: Wise potato chips

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Sebastian Faulks. He is best known for his novel Birdsong, which told in shocking detail the misery of life in the Flanders trenches. It was published with little fanfare or glossy advertising and failed to win any major awards - but it became a literary phenomenon and a huge best-seller. He was inspired to write it after visiting the battlefields of the Western Front with some veterans of World War I. One old soldier held onto Sebastian's hand and recalled seeing his friend killed next to him and, for the first time for him, Sebastian says, the war emerged from the history books into real, tangible human experience. He concedes that he still struggles to get to grips with much of life. Writers, he says, are often trying to impose a structure on a world that they find generally baffling. Favourite track: Miles by Miles Davis Book: Remembrance of Things Past (Proust) by CK Scott Moncrieff (transl.) Luxury: A wicket, cricket bat, net, an endless supply of balls and a bowling machine that can be set to replicate the style of any bowler

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the scientist Athene Donald. A Cambridge professor and fellow of the Royal Society, she has dedicated much of her life to studying everyday objects like plastic, food or plants. Her enthusiasm is so strong that, at her daughter's eleventh birthday party, she couldn't resist describing the structure of melting ice-cream - it was a rare case of misjudging her audience. By her own admission she is a workaholic - but she also champions the cause of women who want to become scientists and have families too. Her great triumph was to marry a supportive husband and after that, she says, the trick is learning how to cut corners: there are no 'dainty dinner parties' at her home, and she makes sure her clothes are machine washable and easy-iron. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Dies Irae (from Requiem) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: The Lymond Novels by Dorothy Dunnett Luxury: A bat.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the musician Baaba Maal. He's among the best known African artists in the West, performing at events as diverse as the Glastonbury Festival and the Proms. Born in Senegal, music was always part of his life, but was not seen as a possible career option. Yet through his singing he has gained an incredible international profile - he represents the UN's development programme on HIV, is an ambassador for Nelson Mandela's 46664 campaign and champions the right of African communities to be involved in the aid projects which are intended to benefit them. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: So What by Miles Davis Book: Coups de Pilon by David Diop Alternative to Bible: Koran Luxury: Guitar.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Richard Madeley. It's 20 years since he opened the first edition of ITV's This Morning programme with his wife Judy Finnigan and, in the years since, pretty well everyone has sat on their sofa, from Madonna to Tony Blair, from the Clintons to, notoriously, OJ Simpson. Today, Richard Madeley is the epitome of a certain kind of smooth charm. In this frank interview though, he describes how he wasn't always so confident: he used to be so anxious about holding a conversation with his colleagues that he'd make excuses to hide himself away. He was in his 20s when he decided to become, he says, embarrassingly frank. He recognised how both his father and grandfather had deliberately stifled their own emotions and decided that he would be healthier and happier giving voice to them. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald Book: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Suzanna Clarke Luxury: Guitar.

Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs this week is Brian Rix. For many years he brought farce to a large and appreciative audience - dropping his trousers thousands of times for the benefit of television viewers and theatre-goers. He was one of the most successful actor-managers that Britain has produced. But, more than 30 years ago, he called a halt to his first career to devote himself to altering legislation and attitudes towards disability. His eldest child, Shelley, was born with Down's syndrome and her birth prompted him towards his extraordinary second career. As a campaigner and fundraiser he has been described as having done more for people with learning disabilities than possibly anyone else in the country. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Love by Nat King Cole Book: Encyclopædia Britannica Luxury: A proper orthopaedic cushion.

Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs this week is David Walliams. He has seen extraordinary success - as one half of the comedy duo behind Little Britain, as a cross-channel swimmer and more recently on the West End stage and as a novelist. In this frank interview, he describes his life away from the spotlight; how he used to practise comedy routines in his bathroom, the excitement of an early trip out wearing a John Paul Gaultier skirt, the inner drive that propels him and the unhappiness he feels when he has no company except his own. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths Book: Collected Poems by Philip Larkin Alternative to Bible: None - Bible not taken Luxury: A gun.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the scientist Professor Kay Davies. She has dedicated much of her life to finding a cure for the severest form of muscular dystrophy. Before she was 40, she had helped to develop the antenatal test which is now used around the world, then she isolated the gene sequence which could be instrumental in treating the condition. After years spent working on that, human trials for a possible treatment are about to begin. It's quite something for a woman who doesn't have an O-level in biology. Although, even as a child she did possess that critical quality crucial to scientific pioneers: "I loved solving problems," she says, "I was very tenacious and would sit in my room until I had finished the problem. I am a sticker." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Piano Sonata in B Flat by Franz Schubert Book: Untold Stories by Alan Bennett Luxury: A piano.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actor David Suchet. He has won armfuls of awards for his work - most recently an Emmy for his portrayal of Robert Maxwell - but he is best known for the character he has been associated with for 20 years, Hercule Poirot. His approach to his work is meticulous and he says he has to inhabit each role he takes on. In this illuminating interview he recalls how, early in his career, a psychologist showed him how to shed his character at the end of each performance otherwise, he found, the edges between his own life and those of the person he was playing became blurred. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: When I Fall In Love by Nat King Cole Book: Magnum Magnum by Brigitte Lardinois Luxury: His clarinet and an unlimited supply of reeds.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff. He has performed in concert halls the world over under the batons of the finest conductors and, while he made his name as a Lieder singer, he's equally popular for his jazz, spiritual and gospel recordings. Music critics say he is "one of the great singers of our time and one of the most remarkable of any time." That his life has been remarkable is a reference to his disability: he was born suffering the effects of Thalidomide and although his early musical talent was spotted, his inability to play the piano meant he was not allowed to take up a place at a conservatoire. In this candid and moving interview, though, he describes how, with his family's support, he went on to build a highly successful career. Now, living contentedly with his wife and daughter, he says his life is a full and satisfying one. He adds that when he sees how readily people become consumed by envy and resentment, he questions whether that too isn't a kind of disability. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Adagietto from 5th symphony by Gustav Mahler Book: Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela Luxury: Good wine.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Alan Sillitoe. 50 years ago his debut novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning captured the truth and brutality of post war working class life. It was a world he knew intimately - he grew up in the tight, terraced streets of Nottingham and, from a very young age, harboured an ambition to escape. As a child, he read voraciously and knew he wanted to explore the world. During the war he was a navigator in Malaya but, when he returned to Britain, he was shocked to be told he had contracted tuberculosis. As he convalesced in hospital he started writing and, once he had been discharged, his disability pension gave him the security to sustain him while he pursued his career. When Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was published, critics said his was a more authentic voice than D H Lawrence's. But the extraordinary reviews made scant impact on Alan Sillitoe - he says he had developed a healthy scorn for the opinions of critics - but he remains grateful, he says, to the book that brought him security and which has allowed him the freedom to write throughout his life. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Le Ca Ira by Edith Piaf Book: The Air Publication 1234 (RAF Manual) Luxury: A communications receiver (receiving only).

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesman, Vince Cable. He studied economics at Cambridge and had a rich career before entering parliament in 1997. Now, he's become something of a media darling; seen by many as one of the few people able to understand - and make credible suggestions about - the current financial crisis. In this personal interview, however, politics is largely set aside and instead Vince describes the home-life that shaped him as he grew up and the rich family life he has enjoyed as an adult. His fiercely ambitious father was an activist for the local Conservative party: he was talented, driven and passionate, but also overbearing and unwilling to hear voices of dissent. Vince dismayed his father by dropping his science degree in favour of economics and later outraged him by marrying his first wife, Olympia, who was from Kenya. Despite his father's view that mixed-race marriages 'didn't work', they were married for more than 13 years and raised their three children together before Olympia's death from cancer. After her death, he says, he envisaged a lonely old-age lay ahead - but an unpromising debate about free trade and agriculture brought him together with his second wife. Now he says he wears both his wedding rings together as a tribute to the two happy marriages he has enjoyed, he continues to go dancing every week with his second wife Rachel, as he did with Olympia and he is, he cheerfully confesses, a romantic. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: La Ci Darem La Mano from Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking Luxury: An Aston Martin car.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the poet Ruth Padel. She is a highly acclaimed writer who is fascinated with the natural world around her. She's said of her poetry: "wildness, and wild animals lie at the heart of what I feel about writing". And perhaps that's no surprise - she is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin. As a child, her hero was Bagheera - the black panther from The Jungle Book. For a time, she confesses, she used to want to be a black panther. Later, she simply wanted to marry one. As an adult she has spent several years travelling across India, Sumatra and parts of Russia tracking tigers and trying to understand their lives. She notes ruefully that while her illustrious ancestor was involved in understanding how different species came into being, her own work was more a matter of documenting their decline. Her interests have been with her since childhood. Back then, she says, "looking at nature properly, knowing the names of the plants, seeing how the petals worked, observing animal behaviour was just there. That was what you did. That was what being a person was." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: E Voi Ridete? - And you're laughing? by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: The Iliad by Homer Luxury: A lot of paper and pencils.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the adventurer and businessman Simon Murray. What many of us would struggle to do over three life-times he has managed in one - as a teenager, nursing a broken heart and determined to prove himself, he joined the French Foreign Legion. Fighting in the Algerian war, he risked his life many times over; combat was at close quarters and was very bloody. Next, he set his sights on business - he ran some of the most well-known companies in South East Asia and was one of Chris Patten's key allies during the handover of Hong Kong. Then, in his 60s and looking for a new challenge, he chanced upon the idea of polar adventure, and went on to become the oldest person to walk unsupported to the South Pole. But after all this, his greatest achievement, he says, is his marriage. Perhaps it's no surprise that his wife of 43 years, Jennifer, is the first woman to have flown a helicopter solo around the world. These days their three children try to curb their enthusiasm for dangerous pursuits. But, Simon snorts, the couple simply say: "we're not listening." This programme contains descriptions that some listeners may find disturbing. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: O Soave Fanciulla (Oh beautiful maiden) by Giacomo Puccini Book: Cautionary Tales by Hilaire Belloc Luxury: Lots of paper, pencil and pencil sharpener.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Baroness Haleh Afshar. An expert in Middle Eastern Affairs, she's a professor of politics and women's studies and Islamic law as well as being a cross-bench peer. She grew up in Iran and France living a life of huge privilege but, inspired by reading Jane Eyre, she decided she needed to learn to stand on her own two feet. She came to Britain as a boarding school pupil when she was 14 and has made her home here. She has been an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime and, coming from a long line of independent-minded women, that's little surprise. Her mother campaigned for women to have the vote while her grandmother refused to wear the veil. Though in her grandmother's case, that was because she thought she was too pretty to be covered up. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Record: Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No.1 Book: Collected poems by Hafiz Alternate to Bible: Koran Luxury: A rose bush.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is James Nesbitt. He is one of our most popular and successful actors and his long list of credits includes Cold Feet, Bloody Sunday, Jekyll and Murphy's Law. In this warm and illuminating interview he recalls his childhood in County Antrim where he grew up in a close-knit, rural community. He was the only boy and the youngest of four children and, when he was told he was 'spoilt', says he always understood that it meant the same as 'loved'. His father was the headmaster of the local primary school and there was an expectation that his children would follow him to become teachers. But James was a keen actor and says it is only now, in his 40s, that he can look back clearly and see he always felt an affinity to being on the stage. The first role he was cast in was as the Artful Dodger in Oliver. It's a character, he jokes, that has stayed with him through many of the roles he has taken on since. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Come Fly With Me by Frank Sinatra Book: Collected writings by James Lawton Luxury: A bottle of chilled Sancerre for every night.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Oscar-winning film producer Michael Deeley. Over the past 40 years he's been involved in some of the most highly acclaimed movies we've seen, including Don't Look Now, The Deer Hunter and The Italian Job. Yet his job is one that's barely understood. Neither the artistic visionary nor the star player the producer, he says, is the person who is the ramrod-figure who causes a film to be made - buying the rights to stories, hiring actors, finding locations and overseeing the production. He fell into it - he'd always thought he'd be a diplomat or a lawyer - but a casual job ended up being a career of many decades standing. He says rather modestly, "I just found I had the knack". [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) by Meat Loaf Book: Decent translation of the Koran Luxury: Two hundred cases of vintage wine.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy. A professor of mathematics at Oxford University and a fellow of New College, he has recently been named as the next Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. He has always been driven to try to demystify and popularise his field. It's clearly a task he takes seriously - his father has recently enrolled on an Open University course in maths and, he admits, when he took his young son to visit the Alhambra in Spain, he challenged him to find the 17 forms of plane symmetry in the palace. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Prelude to Parsifal by Richard Wagner Book: The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse Alternative to Bible: Mahabharata Luxury: My own trumpet.

Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs this week is Michael Eavis. It's more than 30 years since he launched the Glastonbury Festival at his dairy farm in Somerset. Back in 1970, the headline act was Marc Bolan. His fee for appearing was just £500 and party-goers were given all the milk that the farm's herd of Friesians produced. Over the years Michael risked losing his farm in order to fund the festival, faced years when the event was mired in mud and was criticised for booking a hip-hop act to top this year's bill. But, he says, he always felt compelled to keep the Glastonbury Festival going and now it attracts 180,000 people each year and brings millions of pounds into the local economy. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: How Great Thou Art by Elvis Presley Book: Blake by Peter Ackroyd Luxury: A mouth organ with instruction book.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Janet Street-Porter. Born, she says, with 'frilly teeth, big glasses and beige hair' she also came with a healthy measure of ambition, brains and creativity and she used those talents to pioneer a new style of television. In this personal interview, she describes how, as she gets older, she can't bear to look in a mirror and see traces of her mother; how her shyness can make it difficult for her to walk into a room full of strangers and that what she likes best is to be walking in the hills, in the rain and sleet, mulling over ideas for her next project. She may be a pensioner with a good body of work behind her, but, she says, her mind is on the career that lies ahead. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Always on My Mind by Pet Shop Boys Book: Larousse Gastronomique by Hamlyn Luxury: Notebook and Pens.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Conservative politician David Davis. Born just before Christmas in 1948 to a single mother he was brought up in poverty in first York and then London. He says that he learnt early on the importance of not running away from a challenge and his grandfather and step-father taught him how to face up to his own fears. He went on to join the SAS through the territorial army and, during his career at Westminster, has earned the nicknames 'Bone Crusher' and 'Bovver Boy'. Yet he shocked his own party when, in June last summer, he stood down as Shadow Home Secretary and announced he was going to campaign against what he saw as a fundamental assault by the government on our civil liberties. In this personal interview, he describes the anxieties that beset him as he made that decision - and the extent to which his political life changed as a result of it. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Un Bel Di - One Fine Day by Kiri Te Kanawa Book: The complete works by Iain Banks Luxury: A magic wine cellar which never runs out.

Kirsty Young's castaway in Desert Island Discs this week is one of our best-loved children's authors, Allan Ahlberg. He started writing stories for children at his wife Janet's suggestion - she wanted someone to write the words so that she could provide the illustrations. They went on to produce more than three dozen picture books together including The Jolly Postman, Each Peach Pear Plum and Peepo! and their books sold in their millions. In this moving programme, Allan describes the impact of Janet's diagnosis, how she faced up to the knowledge that she was dying and how, after her death, he worked through his grief by compiling another book - a very personal collection about her life and work. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Closing Time by Leonard Cohen Book: Selected Stories by Alice Munro Luxury: A wall to kick a football against.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti. A pithy and incisive speaker, she is rarely out of the media spotlight and has been voted 'one of our most inspiring political figures'. She joined Liberty the day before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and, as the events unfolded on the television screens, it was, she says, impossible to predict just how much they would shape the civil rights debate in the years that followed. For her, it was not just a matter of philosophical or political principle - her son was born soon after the attacks and his birth, she says, influenced her own feelings: "I understood more what it is to be afraid, what it is to really worry about whether your family are going to be blown up on the underground." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone Book: To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee Luxury: A private screening room with movies.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the tenor Ian Bostridge. He is regarded as one of the great Lieder singers of our time and has delighted audiences in opera houses and concert halls the world over. But for him, music wasn't a straightforward career choice. He started out as a historian, and for years led two parallel lives, spending term times at Oxford, writing about witchcraft and magic, while in the holidays he'd throw himself into an operatic production. Eventually, his book on witchcraft was finished just before his debut with the English National Opera. Magic appeals to people in a way that is both mysterious and irrational and so it is, he says, not so different to music. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Last movement of the Piano Sonata No.31 in A flat by Ludwig van Beethoven Book: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Luxury: A solar computer loaded with pictures of my family and friends.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the American composer, singer and song-writer Randy Newman. Colleagues say he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with musical legends Cole Porter and George Gershwin. He first made his name by writing mordant and often satirical pop songs - including A Few Words in Defence of Our Country, Political Science and Short People. For the past 25 years he has been better known for his Hollywood film music - including writing the scores for the first four Disney/Pixar films. He held the unique distinction for being Oscar-nominated 15 times without winning until 2002, when he picked up the award for Best Original Song for If I Didn't Have You from Monsters Inc. His songs are often written from the point of view of unlikeable characters - from slave masters to stalkers - it was a style, he acknowledges, that wasn't universally liked, but he adds: "I wouldn't have it any differently". [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The 3rd movement of String Quartet No.16 in F Major by Ludwig van Beethoven Book: The Divine Comedy (with translation) by Dante Alighieri Luxury: A piano.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Sanjeev Bhaskar. A writer, comic and actor, Sanjeev has brought the British Asian experience into mainstream comedy with his television programmes Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No 42. Despite initial worries from the broadcasters, both attracted a loyal following and great critical acclaim. This represented a turn-around in Sanjeev's fortunes: aged 30, he had been unemployed, single, depressed and living at home. Now he is enjoying great success professionally and is one half of a golden couple of entertainment - he is married to fellow writer and performer Meera Syal. "At times," he says, "it's felt like living someone else's life. But I'm not going to give it back to whoever owns it legitimately." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Waters of March by Susannah McCorkle Book: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams Luxury: A grand piano.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the opera director David McVicar. He is hailed as the opera director of his generation and is in such great demand that he's booked up for the next five years. Opera appealed to him when he was still a boy, offering him a means of escape from his lonely and unhappy childhood in Glasgow. He immersed himself in it so much that now, he says, it's pretty well impossible for him to come to an opera fresh, somewhere it will already be in his memory. He says: "I didn't choose to work in opera - opera chose me. But I think opera made the right choice." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Von Ewiger Liebe by Johannes Brahms Book: Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray Alternative to Bible: Bhagavad Gita Luxury: Well stocked bar & fridge.

Kirsty Young's guest on Desert Island Discs this week is the actress Miriam Margolyes. Her rich career has seen her work with directors such as Martin Scorsese and Baz Luhrmann and she's won awards and acclaim for her film work, her theatre performances and her book readings. She made the leap from the Cambridge Footlights to become one of our most successful and popular character actresses. Yet, despite having one of the most sought after voices in the business, she says she hasn't had the career that she aspired to. She yearned to be taken more seriously and given meatier roles but, she jokes, Joan Plowright always stood in her way. On stage she seems to have the confidence and chutzpah of someone who is beyond embarrassment - but in reality, she says, for most of her life she has simply been a 'frightened little muffin'. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The opening of the Fourth movement of the Trout Quintet by Franz Schubert Book: Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens Luxury: A flush toilet.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Ruthie Henshall. A West End and Broadway star she has performed in many of the most successful productions of the past twenty years, including Miss Saigon, Les Miserables and Chicago. On stage she has left audiences and reviewers breathless at the dazzling brilliance of her performances. But, off-stage, her life has often been defined more by shade than light. In this moving interview she talks openly about the abuse she endured as a child and the depression she suffered as an adult. She speaks too of her grief after the death of her "warm and brilliant" sister Noel last year and of the lasting impact Noel has had on her life. Now, Ruthie's happily married with two young daughters but, of the dark days behind her, she says, "I'd spent so many years entertaining and pretending everything was alright, but no matter where you get to it's never enough: you're always looking for the next thing." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Over the Rainbow by Eva Cassidy Book: The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde Luxury: A jar of Hellman's mayonnaise.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the philosopher Professor A C Grayling. He was a child growing up in Africa when he was first drawn to philosophy because it offered, he says, a licence to study 'the whole horizon of human knowledge and endeavour'. It's a study he has undertaken seriously and practically - he has tried his hand at composing music, writing plays and painting - not because he wanted to master those skills, but to acquire a greater understanding of the talents of musicians, writers and artists. He lives in London with his wife and young daughter and teaches at Birkbeck College, but he remains evangelical about taking philosophy out of the ivory towers and into people's homes - so that it is a practical tool to help people live lives that are engaging and fulfilling. He is motivated, he says, by the knowledge that the human life-span is fewer than a thousand months - and with our time so limited, it is incumbent upon us all to use it thoughtfully and well. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The adagio from the Violin Concerto in D Major by Johannes Brahms Book: The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil Luxury: A good piano.

Kirsty Young's guest on Desert Island Discs this week is Richard Ingrams. Former editor and a founder of the satirical magazine Private Eye, he's one of the godfathers of contemporary British satire. Pseud's Corner, Dear Bill, and Colemanballs all originated with him at the helm. Now editor of The Oldie, he's still taking part in regular ideas meetings at Private Eye and says he wouldn't know what to do if he stopped working. From a privileged and well-connected background he seemed an unlikely outsider, yet he's spent a lifetime pulling the rug from under the feet of the great and the good. It's often proved a risky route, bringing him into conflict with army recruiting sergeants, cabinet ministers and billionaire industrialists alike. One of four boys, his favourite childhood memories are of accompanying his mother on the piano while she played the violin. He met Willie Rushton at school when they worked on the school magazine and at Oxford he met Paul Foot and other Private Eye regulars contributing to more magazines - Parson's Pleasure and Mesopotamia. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Gloria from Mass in B Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: Teach yourself piano tuning Luxury: Grand piano.

Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs this week is the writer Antonia Fraser. Born Antonia Pakenham, the eldest of eight children, it was while growing up in Oxford that she became fascinated with the past and would make daily trips to the town's library to fuel her passion for history. With seven brothers and sisters it was, she says, "something of mine". Her father, Lord Longford, was a classicist and their lives were rich with interesting visitors like John Betjeman, William Beveridge and Isaiah Berlin. Both her parents stood unsuccessfully as Labour candidates. An internationally regarded historian, her best-selling books are credited with bringing the past to life, full of painstakingly researched detail and strong narrative. Her first job was in publishing, working for George Weidenfeld and then marrying the Tory MP Hugh Fraser. She wrote the first of her best selling historical biographies, Mary Queen of Scots in 1969 while the mother of six young children - "the little baby enjoyed the sound of the typewriter". Along with her husband, Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, she has been at the centre of London's literati for well over 30 years. Her writing is still "place of solitude and a solace". [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: 3rd Movement of Piano Concerto No. 23 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: The complete works by Walter Scott Luxury: Strings and strings of false pearls.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is one of the world's leading interior designers, John Stefanidis. Described as brilliant and inimitable, his work has blazed a trail since the late 1960s. The homes he designs for a closely-guarded list of loyal customers include palaces in Saudi Arabia and log cabins in Aspen, Colorado. His clients will sometimes ask him to design four or five houses for them. He's also designed commercial properties - the public areas in the Bank of England as well as suites at Claridges and Rocco Forte's Le Richemond Hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva. He had a cosmopolitan upbringing. The only child of Greek parents he was born in Alexandria but, from the age of eight, he mostly lived with his aunt and uncle in Cairo where he became a frequent visitor to the Cairo Museum. It was growing up among the teeming, richly scented streets and bone dry heat of Egypt that he became enraptured with architecture, artefacts and the transformative power of light. On coming to England for the first time as a teenager he watched 12 plays in 10 days - and says in spite of the cold rooms and dripping walls of his halls at Oxford, he found the rain and green grass exotic. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Vissi d'Arte from Tosca by Giacomo Puccini Book: Odyssey by Homer Luxury: Sketch book with lots of pencils.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the soprano, Dame Felicity Lott. She is one of Britain's best known and best loved singers and has given performances in opera houses the world over under the batons of such notable conductors as Bernard Haitink, Carlos Kleiber and Georg Solti. As a child, she had always loved singing, but was, she says, a shy, gawky girl who didn't have sharp enough elbows to get to the top. She tried her hand at teaching, but found she was so crippled with nerves that she had to abandon the idea. By good fortune she was delivered to a singing teacher who spotted her talent and gave her encouragement. It was exactly what she needed - she has enjoyed a career spanning more than 30 years and over that time has won a large and loyal army of fans. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Moonlight Music - the prelude to the final scene of Capriccio by Richard Strauss Book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo Luxury: Lots of champagne and pistachio nuts.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the cook Antonio Carluccio. He's been hailed as perhaps the best Italian cook in Britain today and the flavours and methods he holds dear are the ones he learnt at his mother's knee, growing up in Northern Italy. The food he ate then was high quality, locally produced and carefully prepared - now, that's every chefs mantra, but when he arrived in Britain in the 1970s it was ground-breaking. Within a few years he'd taken over the Neal Street Restaurant in London's Covent Garden and turned it into an institution and now his highly successful cafes are scattered throughout Britain. For him preparing and cooking food is a sensual act, so perhaps it's no surprise that in his spare time he whittles wood into intricately-patterned walking sticks and tries his hand at clay modelling too. It's all part of a life that, at its best, is a tactile, sensual experience. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Finale to The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns Book: His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman Luxury: White truffles.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week the cartoonist, writer and illustrator Posy Simmonds. Her social observation and sharp wit gained a loyal following in The Guardian where - among their stripped pine, lentils and patchwork - she depicted the lives of prototype woolly liberals Wendy and George Weber. Since then she's gone on to create highly acclaimed children's books and also graphic novels Gemma Bovary and Tamara Drew. Posy says she started drawing as soon as she could pick up a pencil and as a child was making magazines and little comics with titles like How to Turn Yourself Into an Up-to-Date Ted and How to Make Love and Be Loved in Four Easy Lessons. She remembers drawing as the perfect thing to do, because she could sit on her own and talk to herself. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The opening of the prelude from Cello Suite No 1 in G Major by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: Four volumes of the London Telephone Directory Luxury: The Crown Jewels.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the pioneering surgeon Professor Ara Darzi. He was born in Iraq and brought up in Baghdad but he moved to Ireland when he was 17 to study medicine. He came to England to finish his training and, highly talented and ambitious, was made a consultant when he was barely out of his 20s. Since then he's been nick-named 'Robo-doc' for spearheading the use of keyhole surgery in Britain and for introducing robotics to the operating theatre. For the past year he has combined his surgical work with a position in government - he is a health minister and, on the eve of the NHS's 60th birthday, he is charged with reshaping the NHS in England. It is, he says, the greatest challenge he has yet faced. Favourite track: Seven Seconds by Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry Book: Yes, Minister by Jonathan Lynn Luxury: Pencil and paper

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the author Peter Carey. He says he grew up in his homeland "thinking that Australian history was dull and Australian literature was dull" and that he developed a strong passion to make it new and fresh. In this he has surely succeeded - he is one of only two novelists to have been awarded the Booker Prize twice. Yet he came to writing relatively late. The son of a car salesman he started off studying science but he abandoned his university career and ended up, in his 20s, drifting into advertising. It was only then that his literary awakening began. "I announced with great confidence one day, 'I’m going to be a writer',' he says, 'I’m an obsessive fool, I was determined to do it!" Favourite track: The Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah by George Frideric Handel Book: Austerlitz by W G Sebald Luxury: A ‘magic’ pudding and a drink

Kirsty's castaway this week is the comedian and actor, Bill Bailey. Lauded for his hugely inventive stand up, he has carved out a highly successful career with an altogether atypical approach. He's a familiar face on television from his regular appearances on quiz shows Have I Got News for You, QI and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. At school he was a gifted pupil who gave up on his education and a pitch-perfect piano student who flunked his music school entrance. He started drifting as a teenager and gave up on university within days of arrival - he says he was looking for the next challenge, and that turned out to be stand-up comedy. He loved having to think on his feet and found the laughter of strangers intoxicating. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads Book: The collected works by W. Somerset Maugham Luxury: A pack of cards.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Woolf. Throughout his career, he has been at the forefront of shaping our justice system. Following the Strangeways riots in 1990 he issued far-reaching reports on penal reform and his part in authorizing the release of James Bulger's killers attracted huge attention. As Master of the Rolls he made an historic judgement allowing Diane Blood to use her dead husband's sperm to have a child. Lord Woolf's appetite to see justice done was sharpened as a wartime school boy and the only Jew at Fettes College in Edinburgh - he developed an early antipathy towards any perceived unfairness. His school master's contention that being a barrister wasn't the profession for a boy with a stutter only made him more determined to succeed. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Prisoner's Chorus from Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven Book: The Koran Luxury: A happy photograph of the whole family including the latest grandchildren.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the composer Howard Goodall. He's a man of eclectic musical tastes and talents creating choral works, popular TV show themes like Black Adder and The Vicar of Dibley and movie scores and musicals. His enthusiasm and deep-rooted commitment to his life's work has regularly propelled him away from the score and onto our television screens where he's presented award winning documentaries like How Music Works. In January 2007 he was appointed as England's first ever National Ambassador for Singing, leading a £40 million scheme to improve group singing in primary schools. Howard says he hears music in his head all the time - and can't imagine life without it. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The first movement of Introitus from the Durufle Requiem by Maurice Durufle Book: The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank Luxury: Ice-cold vanilla vodka and tonics.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the MP Diane Abbott. She was the first black woman to become a Member of Parliament and, after her election in 1987, she said she would find herself sitting on the green benches of the House of Commons wondering whether she was really entitled to be there. It was not the first British institution she'd cracked - she had already propelled herself through Cambridge and then into the Civil Service. But she has not always sat comfortably inside these great bastions of the establishment; she says Gordon Brown booted her off an influential committee because she asked too many questions; she was a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq and she attracted a good deal of controversy when she decided to send her son to private school. After more than 20 years in the House of Commons, she is, she says, happy for people to judge her on what she has done and what she has stood up for. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Nkosi Sikelel 'Iafrika by Ladysmith Black Mambazo Book: Volumes of architectural and historical surveys of London Luxury: A nice bed with comfortable mattress, sheets & mosquito net.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is one of our most successful singer-songwriters, Annie Lennox. Her extraordinary voice has captivated us for more than a quarter of a century and, as one half of the group Eurythmics and as a solo artist, she's sold tens of millions of records and won fistfuls of awards. As a teenager, her musical ability was her passport out of her home town of Aberdeen. At that point, a career as a flautist beckoned: but, after studying in London, she felt she could never make her mark as a classical musician. It was a chance encounter with aspiring pop-star Dave Stewart that set her on an entirely different path. For much of the 1980s, all her creative energy went into making music. But when her children were born, she says, her priorities shifted. Now she devotes much of her time and energy to supporting different humanitarian causes. She says: "I need to find meaning in my life to make me happy; and that's been an ongoing struggle." [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: I Say A Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin Book: Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle Luxury: Suncream.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Penelope Wilton. Her first love is the theatre and she's been highly acclaimed for her stage work in plays by Ibsen, Shaw, Shakespeare, Beckett - she relishes and shines in the difficult roles. Yet as one of our leading classical actresses she has no qualms about turning her talents to TV and film - Calendar Girls, Shaun of the Dead and Dr Who are among her more recent on screen appearances. In-spite of being one of our best regarded actresses she is intensely private, intent upon disappearing into the lives of her characters. Penelope says that thing about being an actor is that you turn into other people, you have to hide yourself a bit in order to let that other person come out. People should see the character on the stage, not the actor. Penelope grew up the middle of three girls and says that her mother was frail and often ill - she says this taught her to be self contained: "I was always worried that I would hurt her by taking a different view so one was sort of being terribly amenable - well of course that’s not in one's nature, I’m quite sharp and rather argumentative." Favourite track: The 2nd movement of String Quintet in C Major by Franz Schubert Book: An anthology of 20th Century European poetry Luxury: An open-air cinema with a selection of films

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the cartoonist Mac. He's been the Daily Mail's cartoonist for the past 38 years - and it's his job, he says, to make the "dreary news copy of the daily paper brighter, by putting in a laugh". Since he was a child he was always drawing - inventing strip cartoons in his spare time and sketching figures in the margins of his school books. Yet despite his obvious talent, there was scant nurturing of his ambitions at home. His father told him he'd never make the grade and, instead, he should concentrate on finding a proper job. But Mac says that all the way through, he's been lucky. Whenever he's found himself stuck, he's come across someone who would encourage him to take the next step. Life has, he says, been a series of lucky coincidences. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Adagio from Bruch's Violin Concerto in G Minor by Bruch Book: The collected works by John Steinbeck Luxury: Tenor saxophone.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the radical thinker, writer and broadcaster Tariq Ali. Forty years since the streets of London were filled with demonstrators, Tariq Ali describes how he came to be involved in anti-establishment politics and how, from an early age, he felt drawn towards those people who were the underdogs of society. He was born to privileged, atheist parents in Pakistan, he led his first street protest at 12 and his first strike at 15 He became increasingly political until, after a military coup, his parents were advised to send him out of the country for his own safety and so he came to study at Oxford. He travelled to Vietnam at the height of the war to observe and document the suffering there and also travelled to Bolivia and Palestine. His role as an anti-establishment agitator was cemented when he led two revolutionary marches in London in 1968. Forty years on - and after a successful career as a film-maker and writer - he says it remains important to voice dissenting views and he insists that despite his privilege and status he remains firmly outside the establishment. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Meda Ishq Vi Toon by Pathaney Khan Book: The collected works by Marcel Proust Luxury: A mini DVD player.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Liz Smith. Her story is a triumph of talent and perseverance over circumstance. Her mother died when she was tiny, her father walked out of her life and for many years she was brought up by her grandmother who was in mourning for her only child and her own husband. For Liz, acting and making people laugh was an escape from the often harsh realities of life, but she had to wait until she was 50 for her first real break - a role in Mike Leigh's film Bleak Moments. By that time, she'd raised her two children on her own with very little money and knew that this was her opportunity to prove what she could do. She won critical acclaim and was later awarded a Bafta for her appearance in Alan Bennett's A Private Function and finally, when she was in her 70s, she became a household name through her roles in The Vicar of Dibley and The Royle Family. She's now 86 years old and, although she concedes the characters she plays have a habit of dying on screen, she isn't planning to retire any time soon. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Only The Lonely by Roy Orbison Book: A very large catalogue Luxury: A complete artist's set.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actor and singer Michael Ball. For more than 20 years he's been the West End's leading man - winning stacks of awards, building a hugely successful recording career and attracting a large and loyal army of fans. He was a teenage drop-out, but when a teacher encouraged him to go to drama school he suddenly realised what he wanted to do. Success seemed to come easily to him and he quickly took on leading roles in Les Miserables, Aspects of Love and Phantom of the Opera. But at one point he feared he would have to abandon his career; he was on stage performing in Les Miserables when he suffered his first panic attack. They became so severe that he could barely leave his flat and he hated the thought of anyone looking at him. He shut himself away for nearly a year as he tried to work out what was wrong with him and overcome his anxieties. In Desert Island Discs he describes how he managed to return to the stage - and reveals the role his partner, Cathy McGowan, has played in rebuilding his confidence. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Sailing By by Ronald Binge Book: The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman Luxury: Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough district of New Zealand.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the broadcaster David Dimbleby. When he was born, in 1938, his father Richard was already a national institution. Richard recorded reports from bombers flying over Germany, went to Belsen at the end of the war and, of course, commentated on the funeral of King George VI and subsequent coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In Desert Island Discs, David tells Kirsty how his father had tried to steer him away from journalism. But he believes that it is a job that is addictive and so it was perhaps inevitable that he would become part of the fifth generation of Dimblebys to pursue a career in the media. He is best known for the big state events - he has anchored the BBC's general election coverage since 1979 and commentated during the funerals of both Princess Diana and the Queen Mother - throughout them all, he says, his method is not to think of the audience of millions, but instead to imagine himself sitting on a sofa, next to just one viewer, saying as little as he needs to in order to explain what is happening. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Song that You'd Like by Kate Dimbleby Band Book: Collected essays by Michel de Montaigne Luxury: A collection of drawing books, pencils and varnish.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Professor Sir Martin Evans. He is known as the grandfather of embryonic stem-cell research because of the breakthrough he made more than 25 years ago to first isolate the stem cells of mice and then cultivate them in a laboratory. After that leap forward, he worked alongside his fellow Nobel laureates Oliver Smithies and Mario Capecchi to develop the Knock-Out Mouse - a mouse that has had part of its genetic code disabled so the effect on the animal can be studied. The Knock-Out Mouse has become a scientific tool used the world over - and has vastly increased the amount of knowledge we have about how the human body works. Brought up on the outskirts of London with enthusiastic and encouraging parents, he says that he was always fascinated by science. But, although he was a bright pupil, he was a shy boy and not the kind of student to walk away with glittering prizes. He was within months of retiring when he got the call, last October, that he had been awarded the greatest honour in science - the Nobel Prize - since then life has been busier than ever and now, he says, he is determined to use his status to try to encourage children to study science, so that they too can be enthused at the miracles of the world around us and the worlds within. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Their Sound is Gone Out in All Lands by George Frideric Handel Book: Largest anthology of poetry possible Luxury: A microscope, equipment and a stack of notebooks.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Oleg Gordievsky. He is the highest-ranking KGB officer ever to become a spy for the British. The insights he gave into the Soviet hierarchy and culture over the course of 10 years were so significant that, according to some, he did more than any other individual in the West to hasten the demise of the communist regime. A bright pupil with an aptitude for languages, he joined the KGB's diplomatic corps thinking it would allow him to travel and fulfil his interest in politics. But he was first enchanted by the liberty enjoyed in the West and then so horrified by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that he started to feed information to MI6. He risked his life for a decade, but in 1985 he was recalled to Moscow - his cover had been blown and he realised he had just weeks to live. An incredible escape plan was activated and, after shaking off the KGB surveillance teams that followed him everywhere, he escaped by tram, train and bus to the border with Finland - where British agents bundled him into the boot of a car and carried him to freedom. Now, his life is in Britain - he has married a British woman and his courage has been recognised through the honours system. But he believes his existence is a precarious one - after the death of his friend Alexander Litvinenko last year he has felt increasingly worried about his own safety and believes Britain is no longer the safe haven it once was. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Erbarme Dich by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: Encyclopaedia Britannica Luxury: Good toiletries for my bath.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Dame Beryl Bainbridge. She grew up in Liverpool - in a home filled with acrimony and argument - and started writing when she was still a child. Her only ambition, she says, was to get married and have a 'proper' family, but when her first two children were still young, her marriage broke down and she turned to writing once again. She believes she finds inspiration from the trouble and friction of everyday life and that if her marriage hadn't failed, she would have been too happy to write another word. Now she is one of our most respected authors. She has written 17 novels and countless articles, screenplays and television plays. She's won armfuls of awards too - but, despite being shortlisted five times, she's never won the Booker prize. She doesn't mind not winning, she says, but she would like to be the writer who has had the most nominations. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Can I Forget You? by Richard Tauber Book: The Case Books by John Hunter Luxury: Pens and Paper.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the former diplomat, traveller and writer, Rory Stewart. His life has been part establishment convention, part wild adventure. He went to Eton, Oxford and then joined the Foreign Office, but along the way spent part of his childhood running wild in the jungles of Malaysia. He was based in Kosovo during the Nato campaign and, at the age of 29, turned up in Iraq and volunteered to help in the rebuilding work. He ended up running one of the provinces. He remains fiercely critical of the war and has written a well-received book about his experiences there. The event that has changed his outlook on life was the decision he made to walk 6,000 miles across Asia. It took the best part of two years and throughout the journey he relied on the hospitality of villagers to give him food and shelter. Now he spends most of his time in Kabul where he has set up a charity to support traditional Afghan crafts, but he says his next move is to return to Britain where he wants to understand more about how our society works and attempt, he says, to 'normalise' himself. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Die Forelle by Franz Schubert Book: A parallel text of the Bhagvad Gita Luxury: A ceramic bowl from the village of Istalif in Afghanistan.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Sir Simon Rattle. For the past five years he has been Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic - regarded by many as the finest symphony orchestra in the world. He is only the sixth person to hold the position in 120 years and is the first Briton to take on the challenge. Growing up in Liverpool in the 1960s, while other youngsters were listening to The Beatles, he was transfixed by Mahler and was determined to become a conductor. His talent was prodigious. He won an international conducting competition aged just 19 and so, with plenty of enthusiasm but scant experience, began his career. Initially because of his youth, his approach was collaborative rather than autocratic and it has been a style that brought tremendous results during his 18-year association with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He insists that his approach with the Berlin Philharmonic is about teamwork too - but concedes that it is an orchestra that contains some very strong characters and very big egos. He tells Kirsty how, choosing his Desert Island Discs, he has been drawn towards music that expressed joy and pain in equal measure. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Scherza Infida from Ariodante by George Frideric Handel Book: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Luxury: Italian coffee machine and grinder.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the broadcaster and journalist John Humphrys. For 21 years he has been at the helm of Today, Radio 4's flagship news and current affairs programme. Millions of devoted listeners enjoy his tenacious interviewing style - and it's won him a healthy respect from politicians too. Not all are supporters though; Jonathan Aitken accused him of "poisoning the well of democratic debate" - an attack which he initially thought would cost him his career. Now, his life is dominated not only by the alarm bell - which is set for 3.58am - but by his youngest son, Owen. When John Humphrys describes the joy and warmth the seven-year-old has brought him, he becomes, if only temporarily, lost for words. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Opening of Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar Book: Biggest poetry anthology possible Luxury: A cello.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the businesswoman Karren Brady. She is known as the First Lady of Football - and it's a moniker that is well earned. When she became Managing Director of Birmingham City she was just 23 years old, the club was languishing in the second division and it was in dire financial straits. Fifteen years later, and it is in the Premier League and is one of the few clubs to turn a healthy profit. Along the way Karren has married one of her players, had two children and overcome a life-threatening brain condition. She has always, she says, relied on her enthusiasm, determination and strength of character to see her through. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Luxury: My own pillow.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Victoria Wood. For decades she has been one of our best-loved writers and performers. The television series she's made - including Acorn Antiques, Dinnerladies and Housewife 49 - have won her a devoted following as well as stacks of awards. But, in a moving and open interview, she describes how, as a teenager, she felt she was a misfit - she had few friends, she struggled with her weight and at school she used to steal other people's homework. She joined a youth theatre and it was, she says, the saving of her. She found like-minded people and a sense that she had something to offer. She is very careful about how much of her own life she puts into her work. She doesn't mind saying she cuts her pubic hair with nail-scissors, but rarely discusses her children on the stage. Now she is embarking on her next project. She says she is too anxious to talk about it, except to say it will look at the life of a middle-aged woman whose marriage has foundered. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: What a Fool Believes by The Doobie Brothers Book: A big book by Charles Dickens Luxury: A bumper book of Sudoku with blank pages & pens.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the musician Paul Weller. As the lead singer of The Jam, the founder of The Style Council and a hugely successful solo artist, he is one of the most revered music writers and performers of the past 30 years and is cited as an influence by countless other singers. In a rare interview, he describes the chronic shyness he had to overcome; how he is still gripped by fear before each performance and how, after he had been dumped by his record label, he was unable to write songs and found that even picking up a guitar felt alien to him. His father has been a constant support to him - as his mentor as well as his manager - and has always believed that his son had something special. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Tin Soldier by The Small Faces Book: Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes Luxury: A settee to sit on.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys - the scientist who discovered genetic fingerprinting. It is 25 years since his 'Eureka moment' - when, pulling an X-ray photograph of his assistant's genetic code out of the developing tray, he realised he could trace the links between her and her parents and that her own unique genetic profile had been revealed. Over the following years, he was the first person to settle immigration disputes, paternity issues and crimes based on DNA identification - he even found himself confirming the identity of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who had fled Germany after the end of the Second World War. As a boy he had always been fascinated by science - he'd made himself a miniature dissection kit so he could find out how a bumble-bee worked and later, spurred on by that success, he remembers bringing a dead cat home and dissecting it on the dining room table. He owes, he says, a debt of gratitude to his parents, who benignly tolerated him turning their family home into a science lab. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Opening of Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: Complete books of Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser Luxury: World's Biggest Church Organ.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the cellist Steven Isserlis. It is, perhaps, little surprise that music has been central to his life. He was born into a family that already boasted a pianist, violinist and viola player within its ranks and so, as a child, he was taught the cello because it meant they could play chamber music together. Music was so much a part of their lives, he says, that even the pet dog would howl along an accompaniment as they played. He was seen as a brilliant young cellist but he was determined not to become a jobbing musician, touting for work in different orchestras, and as a result he suffered nearly a decade with precious few musical engagements. It was The Protecting Veil - a composition by John Tavener - that made his name and now he has become one of the world's finest cello virtuosos. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Erbarme Dich - Have Mercy Lord on Me by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: The collected works by Anthony Trollope Luxury: A huge, huge photo album of friends.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the author Armistead Maupin. Regarded as one of the 'great social satirists of his era', he made his name with his Tales of the City novels, chronicling the shifting cultural landscape of San Francisco throughout the 1970s and 80s. He's written about the search for love and acceptance by a diverse cast of characters, but he was also one of the first novelists to portray the devastating impact of the newly emerging threat of HIV/Aids. His iconic status as a gay writer and political activist couldn't be further from his background, growing up in the genteel American South, with a 'neo-fascist, arch-conservative' father. Armistead tells Kirsty about his transition to the other end of the political spectrum, and how his life has become inseparable from his work. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The reprise of Wicked Little Town by Tommy Gnosis Book: The Cole Porter Songbook by Cole Porter Luxury: Vaporiser.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller. She has recently stepped down as Britain's top spy-master - or more correctly, the Director-General of MI5. She took the helm in the months after the attacks of 11th September 2001 in America and steered the service through a time when the nature of the terrorist threat facing Britain changed enormously and new measures were introduced to counteract it. She concedes that MI5 has to rely, in large part, on information that is 'patchy and incomplete' and that ultimately the service will always be judged 'by what we do not know and did not prevent'. In her first ever interview, Dame Eliza talks gives her recollections about the day when Britain was targeted by suicide bombers, describes what lay behind her own departure from the service and reveals how her mother's role during World War II fuelled her own interest in public service. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The opening of String Quintet in C by Franz Schubert Book: The Rattlebag: An Anthology of Poetry by Ted Hughes Luxury: Large supply of pencils and pens.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the author Jung Chang. Jung was born in the years after Mao came to power in China and as a child she took part in the Great Leap Forwards by collecting saucepans and nails and trying to melt them down for steel. She was a teenager during the Cultural Revolution and witnessed her parents being denounced and sent to labour camps. After Mao's death she came to Britain as a student. At the time, she says, she didn't want to think about the past - it used to give her nightmares and so she would pretend she was from Korea. But 10 years after her arrival in Britain, her mother came to visit. She told Jung the stories of her and her grandmother's lives and Jung decided their intimate, family history deserved to have a wider audience. Her book, Wild Swans, has sold more than 12 million copies and won a host of awards. Investigating her own life and those of her mother and grandmother not only brought the suffering of a nation into sharp focus it was also a liberating experience - once the book was finished, she says, the nightmares stopped. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: But Thou Didst Not leave His Soul in Hell by George Frideric Handel Book: First Love by Ivan Turgenev Luxury: Snorkelling gear.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Nicholas Parsons. Actor, quizmaster, cabaret performer, straight man, panel show host and fully-qualified marine mechanical engineer to boot; spanning more than 60 years his professional credits defy classification and flout convention. Yet it's not just the duration of his showbiz career that's exceptional but the fact that he made it on stage at all. From well-to-do parents, his family had a "neurotic dread of the dissolute thespian life" and did their utmost to thwart his budding ambition. Sickly, dyslexic and with an intermittent stutter he wasn't an obvious star in the making, but as he himself puts it - "The joy of performing is that you overcome the insecurity of your nature and are reassured by the reaction of the audience". Nicholas Parsons reflects on his role as the comic straight man over the years, firstly for Arthur Haynes in the 1950s and 1960s, and then as the consummate host of the long-running radio quiz Just a Minute. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Children Will Listen by Barbra Streisand Book: Oxford Anthology of English Poetry by John Wain Luxury: Portable radio with an endless supply of batteries.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Joel Joffe. For many years he was the chairman of Oxfam, before that he set up a hugely successful insurance company and most recently he's been campaigning for terminally ill people to have the right to die. But the career in which he has had the greatest impact is the one he was forced to give up more than 40 years ago - law. In 1963, Joel Joffe was a young defence solicitor, so dismayed by the apartheid system of his native South Africa that he was on the brink of emigrating. Then he was asked to take over the defence of a group of ANC activists including Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Nelson Mandela. The trial gripped the world and was all the more extraordinary because, far from aiming to secure his clients' freedom, Joel Joffe was simply fighting for them not to receive the death penalty. He tells Kirsty how, even in his prison clothes, Nelson Mandela was a figure of calm authority, who guided them through the trial. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Under Milk Wood by Richard Burton Book: A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela Luxury: Wind-up radio.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is an entertainer so central to British popular culture he can be identified by the outline of his glasses alone - Ronnie Corbett. For more than 50 years, from late night reviews to prime-time sit-coms, his comic talents have made us laugh and made us love him; a nattily turned out national treasure with a quick wit and a ready smile. His success is due, of course, to his own ability but also to two enduring and remarkable partnerships. Along with Ronnie Barker, he formed one of the great TV duos of all time whilst his 40-year marriage to his wife Ann saw her abandon her flourishing entertainment career to sustain him through the vicissitudes of fame and family life. Ronnie Corbett looks back over his life and career, from his days in review at Danny La Rue's club to his last ever programme with Ronnie Barker - a moment that brought them both to tears. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Music Maestro Please by Ann Hart Book: Untold Stories by Alan Bennett Luxury: A hammock.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Jill Balcon. She has the voice of an old friend - and it's not surprising, she was a BBC radio announcer during the war and has been acting and performing poetry consistently since. Poetry has always played a central role in her life. She was only 12 years old when she first saw the poet Cecil Day Lewis. He had come to judge a poetry-reading competition at her school and although he was more than 20 years her senior, he was, she says, the most beautiful man she had ever seen. They were married for more than 20 years. Since his death in 1972, she has maintained her own acting career, continued raising their children - the acclaimed cookery writer Tamasin and Oscar-winning actor Daniel - and also worked hard to preserve his legacy. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Romanza: the 3rd movement of Symphony No 5 in D Major by Vaughan Williams Book: The collected works by Thomas Hardy Luxury: A barrel of Guerlain Jicky perfume.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson. He has the task of managing one of the most challenging briefs of government - and the stakes are raised further because, when there is an election, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made it clear that the main battleground will be health. Johnson says that unlike many politicians, he is not a keen strategist who has spent his life plotting his career, instead he has simply 'drifted along', taking whatever challenges fate offered. He has drifted on quite an incredible journey - raised among the deprivation and squalor of London in the 1950s, he was orphaned when he was 12 and brought up by his sister. He left school without an O-level but with ambitions to join the music industry. Instead, after a spell stacking supermarket shelves, he became a postman and by the time he was 20 he was married with three children. He rose through the trade union movement where his astute negotiating skills and political acumen brought him to Tony Blair's attention. According to those who know him best, however, his political ambitions are limited - his children say he would still rather be the lead singer in a band than Prime Minister. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: And Your Bird Can Sing by The Beatles Book: Diaries by Samuel Pepys Luxury: Digital radio.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is George Michael. As a singer and songwriter he has enjoyed massive global success for a quarter of a century. He's sold more than 100 million records, won two Grammy awards and notched up countless number one hits. His ability to write, produce, and perform perfect pop songs is unquestioned. But along with the career highs, there have been lows too: he lost a long wrangle with his record company, was crippled by bereavement and for years questions about his sexuality were a matter of newspaper headlines until he was spectacularly outed a decade ago. In a rare interview, George Michael talks candidly to Kirsty Young about how he regained his emotional and professional confidence - and is now a happier and more peaceful man. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Love is a Losing Game by Amy Winehouse Book: Any book of short stories by Doris Lessing Luxury: DB9 car.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the conductor Vladimir Jurowski. Described as the most active and influential conductor in Britain today, he has been the musical director at Glyndebourne for the past six years, and this autumn takes over as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Vladimir's roots however lie in Russia, where he was one of the last generation to experience the Communist regime. The two-room apartment in Moscow that he shared with his parents, siblings and grandmothers, was always full of music; his father was a conductor. He says he "grew up in the wings of the theatre", and he knew from a very early age that his life too would be dedicated to music. However, he resisted following in his father's footsteps until he was seventeen, when he heard Mahler's music for the first time. After that, he says, there was no turning back. He changed as a person, physically he says, when he picked up the baton, and went on to make his conducting debut at the tender age of 23. He has been constantly in demand around the world ever since, but manages to combine this international career with being a husband and father. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Variations 29 & 30 by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: Complete Works by Aleksandr Pushkin Luxury: A piano.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the publisher Felix Dennis. He blossomed among the flower power generation, finding fame as one of the defendants in the notorious Oz Magazine obscenity trial in 1971. It fired his loathing of the establishment but instead of dropping out he opted in and beat them at their own game. For the past 30 years his talent has been spotting a niche in the magazine market and launching a title to fill it - his success has made him one of the richest men in Britain. For many years his life was one of addiction and excess - but latterly the only thing he feels compelled to do each day is write poetry and he's become one of a very rare breed - a best-selling poet. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: One Too Many Mornings by Bob Dylan Book: The Dictionary of National Biography Luxury: A very long stainless steel shaft to encourage pole-dancing mermaids!

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Andrew Davies. He is the king of television adaptation; Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair, Middlemarch and Tipping the Velvet are just a few of the dramas he has brought to our screens. Until he was 50, he was an English lecturer and wrote in his spare time - it was a sort of mid-life crisis that sent his career soaring. Since then, his signature has been stripping down the classics, sexing them up and serving Austen, Eliot and Dickens to appreciative audiences. The trick is to make sure the stories remain relevant to viewers today - and that, he says, is straightforward because the main motivators remain the same - sex, love, money and power. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Hiawatha Rag by Chris Barber Band Box Book: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Luxury: Endless supply of Mojitos.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the investment banker Nicola Horlick. She has, perhaps, done more than anyone else to shatter the glass ceiling - a mother of six children and now stepmum to another three, her proud boast is that she's never missed a sports day or a school speech day. She says her career is largely an extension of her maternal instinct and she nurtures the companies she's ploughing funds into. With her apparently limitless energy, talent and ambition she seemed to be the one woman who had managed to have it all. Then her eldest daughter, Georgie, was diagnosed with leukaemia. For the next 10 years, until Georgie's death in 1998, Nicola combined nursing her daughter with her highly successful career, while also looking after the rest of her growing family. Now she is launching a new investment company and, with her very personal knowledge of the NHS, says she doesn't rule out a future within the health service. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: A Cenar Teco from the final Act of Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Luxury: A bath.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Thomas Keneally. He had already been nominated for the Booker Prize three times when he published a historical novel that many said should not have been eligible for the contest. It told the story of one man, Oskar Schindler, who risked his life and lost his fortune to save more than a thousand Jews. Schindler's Ark not only won the prize, it has been the best-selling Booker winner ever and went on to be made into the Oscar-winning film Schindler's List. Religion and war have been themes through much of his work and indeed his own life. His father's absence during World War II helped to create a serious-minded child who went on to train for the priesthood. But just weeks before his ordination he quit the church, picked up his pen and started writing. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Herz und Mund und Tat Und Leben- Heart & Mind & Deed & Life by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: Collected Plays by George Bernard Shaw Luxury: Can of Beluga caviar, spoon and tin opener.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the animator Oliver Postgate. As the creator of Noggin the Nog, The Clangers and Bagpuss, Oliver holds a special place in many childhoods. So it may come as something of a surprise that he never thought about how his programmes would be received by children; instead he says he simply focussed on making the stories great - everything else was secondary. For 20 years he toiled in a converted pigsty in Kent, animating the characters Peter Firmin drew, churning out 120 seconds of film a day. He says a respectable average for an animation company now would be two seconds! Oliver's own childhood was a lonely one; ignored by his busy parents and sent to an experimental school he hated. He says that to this day, he has no meaning unless he is doing something, and this is a direct legacy of his desperation to be noticed as a child. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: When the Saints Come Marching In by Pete Fountain Book: Huge book of English Poetry Luxury: A comfortable bed.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actor Simon Russell Beale. Critics are torn over their descriptions of him: to some, he's the greatest stage actor in Britain today. To others, merely the greatest Shakespearean actor of his generation. Whichever it is, when he's cast in a play, it invariably sells out, the audience is spellbound and the reviewers smitten. Yet initially it seemed as if music was his calling; he was a choirboy at St Paul's, won a singing scholarship to Cambridge and went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music. An unorthodox approach to the drama department saw him change direction and he has gone on to win huge acclaim and many awards for his work. Unusually for a modern actor, he has only dabbled lightly in film and television work - he says when faced with the choice between a play and a film he always picks the play. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: First Movement of 4th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven Book: Book on medieval history Luxury: Daily Araucaria crossword.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the environmentalist and human rights campaigner Wangari Maathai. Known these days as 'Africa's Forest Goddess' for her pioneering work fighting soil erosion and poverty across the continent, she's united her passion for the power of nature with a crusade for political justice. Born the third of six children in the central highlands of Kenya, the family home was a traditional mud-walled house with no electricity or running water. From there, her journey has been extraordinary - she won a scholarship to America, became a professor and launched the Greenbelt Movement which has educated and encouraged African women to plant millions of trees. She has campaigned against the erosion of human rights in Kenya and in 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: I Can't Complain by Patti LaBelle Book: The Koran Luxury: A huge basket of fruit.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Ricky Gervais. 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 works of fiction since the turn of the century". As he discusses with Kirsty Young, comedy was the language he grew up with - the youngest of four children, being able to come up with a gag or a smart rejoinder was the linguistic currency of his home. That, he says, is where the 'show-off performer' was born. Now with seven Baftas, two Golden Globes and an Emmy to his name, Ricky Gervais is gratified that his work is recognised and says his aim has always been to bring art into comedy. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Lilywhite by Cat Stevens Book: A coffee table book of art Luxury: Vat of novocaine - a non-addictive pain-killer.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Irish musician Christy Moore. His stature and influence in folk music is unparalleled - Bono, Elvis Costello and Billy Bragg are among those who cite him as a key influence. A passionate performer, he's the archetypal Irish poet and protest singer. In the late 1970s Special Branch raided the launch of his album H Block, his songs have been banned by both London and Dublin courts and, as recently as 2004, he was held by police and questioned about his lyrics and lifestyle. Not all the struggles he's dealt with have been political. By his own admission he wasted years, maybe even decades, boozing and bingeing on drugs. Having cleaned up his act he was then forced to confront the devastating legacy of his father's early death and how it affected him throughout his life. Elements of this programme may offend some listeners. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Taimse Im' Chodladh by Planxty Book: Collection of Popular Songs of England & Scotland by Francis Child Luxury: A set of Uillean pipes.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Yoko Ono. She was already an avant-garde artist in her own right when, in 1968, she started dating one of the most famous men in the world, John Lennon. Then, depending on who you listen to, she either stole him from the nation or helped him to focus on what was important to them both. Now, more than 25 years after John's murder, she discusses how it felt to be so reviled in the press, looks back on their life together and recalls the night of his death. In a remarkably frank interview, she reveals how she still speaks to him - and he still communicates with her. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Beautiful Boy by John Lennon Book: Sai-Yu-Ki Luxury: My life for the next thirty years.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the leading scientist Professor Sir Tom Blundell. His specialism is in molecular biology, which involves studying the tiniest building blocks of life under a microscope, in the hope of finding treatments for diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It is a hugely visual kind of science, and this, he says, is no coincidence - he loves science first and foremost for its beauty. He regularly seeks this beauty beyond the laboratory too; in art, in music and in travelling all over the world. One very special trip was to Africa for his wedding, after which he was somewhat surprised at being asked to pay for his Zimbabwean bride - a fellow academic - in cows. As a working class student at Oxford in the 1960s, he developed a fascination with politics, and at one point this activism threatened to overwhelm his life completely. When forced to choose between science and politics, he says he realised that politics was simply too hard. In recent years, he has finally been able to combine the two, by chairing numerous government science committees, and making key recommendations on issues as diverse as mad cow disease and climate change. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting by Charles Mingus Book: Lessons in Ndebele by J. Pelling Luxury: A combined heat and power micro-unit.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Paul McKenna. He is Britain's best known hypnotist and made his name on prime-time TV. Millions used to watch on Saturday nights as he mesmerised ordinary people into doing extraordinary things. But he has found an even larger audience - and riches to match - through his series of self-help books. With titles like I Can Make You Thin and Change Your Life in Seven Days he taps into the angst-ridden preoccupations of our age with promises of serenity, contentment and control. He is, he says, an example of his own success - having been a geeky, unconfident child who was bullied at school he has now taught himself to abandon those self-doubts. Human beings are like computers, he says, and sometimes need to be reprogrammed so they function better. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Movin' On Up by Primal Scream Book: The Path of the Human Being by Dennis Genpo Merzel Luxury: Collage of photos of family and friends.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Greg Dyke. A top flight TV executive known for being instinctual and populist, his appointment as BBC Director-General was an uncharacteristically bold move for the corporation and an extraordinary moment for a youngster once marked out by his teachers as 'the boy least likely to succeed'. A natural businessman who relishes taking risks, his greatest successes have come from his ability to spot the moment and act quickly. He saved TV-am with Roland Rat, moved the BBC's Nine O'Clock News at a fortnight's notice and thwarted Rupert Murdoch's digital hopes by backing Freeview. But his critics say that it is his passion and instinct that ultimately led to his downfall. He was forced to resign from the BBC after a bitter row that erupted between the corporation and Downing Street about its coverage of the Iraq war. His departure, which followed considerable mud-slinging, ill temper and tragedy, prompted a huge display of loyalty from his staff as thousands gathered on the steps to wish him a tearful goodbye. Since then, he's kept a low profile - but doesn't rule out a return to high office if the right job came along. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan Book: Complete Works by Dylan Thomas Luxury: A guitar with a guide to playing it.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Joanna Lumley. She first found fame as the high-kicking glamour-puss Purdey in the 1970s show The New Avengers, but the role that cemented her in the nation's psyche was Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous. A striking beauty with a cut-glass accent she had, until then, been cast as a certain sort of sexy toff. Yet in AbFab she stole the show as a shallow, free-loading, alcoholic has-been - famous for her towering chignon and withering one-liners. Along with displaying a formidable comic talent, it was a role that toyed cleverly with her public persona, hinting at her own beginnings as a model at the precise moment in the 1960s when London really started to swing. As she contemplates being marooned, she abandons the make-up and glamour of her on-screen life and embraces island living - collecting firewood, eating from shells and preparing her evening fire before the moon rises and she chooses the eight tracks that she would like to hear during a single island day. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Symphony No 7 in A Major by Ludwig van Beethoven Book: A huge atlas Luxury: Video camera + film.

Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs this week is the Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott. His inspirational journey has taken him from the horrors of Nazi-occupied Poland to the highs of Olympic glory. He was nine years old when Germany invaded and at that point, he says, his childhood ended. He spent the next three years in a ghetto while his mother and younger sister were among those rounded up and shot by the Nazis. He was then deported to a series of concentration camps and, when he was eventually liberated from Theresienstadt, he was 15 years old and little more than a skeleton. He joined a group of 700 orphans who were brought to England to form a new life. He went on to become a successful businessman and a champion weightlifter - but his physical strength is matched by an extraordinary emotional fortitude. Not only has he made the most of every opportunity that came his way but he has spent his life campaigning to ensure those who died are properly commemorated. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Nessun Dorma by The Three Tenors Book: The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell Luxury: A bar with two discs for weight training.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the physician, philosopher, novelist and poet Professor Raymond Tallis. His specialism is the care of elderly patients - it's an area that he combines with his philosophical interest in considering what it is that makes humans unique - all part, as he says, of 'unpacking the miracle of everyday life'. He was one of five children brought up in modest circumstances in Liverpool. A bright child, he studied at Oxford and then St Thomas' Hospital although he acknowledges that his father was always disappointed that he had become a doctor - thinking it rather a shabby profession compared to his own preference for mathematics. Throughout much of his working life he rose before dawn in order to squeeze in time for his writing before he started his clinical work and in 2000 he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in recognition of his contribution to medical research. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The first movement of String Quintet in C Major by Franz Schubert Book: Being and Time by Martin Heidegger Luxury: A video of a day in the life of his family.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the stand-up comedian Jo Brand. From the word go she always anticipated she would be heckled about her weight and appearance. While most people would run a mile at the thought of standing in front of a rowdy, aggressive and largely drunk audience, she says that the worst that can happen is humiliation - and she adds that as a woman, she was already equipped to deal with this, because people felt free to comment disparagingly on her appearance in everyday life. Her first career was as a psychiatric nurse - and for several years she would spend the day working in a psychiatric unit before appearing at a comedy club in the evening. Both careers demand an ability to be calm in extreme situations and to display a confidence that is often not felt. Her extreme act meant that for many years she was labelled a man-hating feminist - but she confounded critics by getting married and having two children. Elements of this programme may offend some listeners. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Oh England, My Lionheart by Kate Bush Book: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon Luxury: A church organ.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the broadcaster and journalist Andy Kershaw. His career to date is as distinctive as his delivery - he combines an evangelical enthusiasm for world music with a fascination for reporting from the planet's most unstable places. He says he is happiest when marinated in mosquito repellent and living out of a rucksack - and although he is best known for unearthing unfamiliar tunes and bringing them to a wider audience it is his current affairs reporting that has brought him the greatest acclaim. Rwanda, Burundi and Haiti are among the 81 countries he has visited; his front line dispatches vividly conveying the true horror of conflict. His reporting and his music broadcasts have won him many, many awards and both careers are, he says, the result of his insatiable nosiness. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Hupenyu Hwangu by Bhundu Boys Book: The collected works by Ryszard Kapuscinski Luxury: Lots of toilet roll.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer J P Donleavy. The author of a dozen novels as well as numerous plays and short stories, he remains best known for his first novel, The Ginger Man, which is widely regarded as a modern classic. Born in 1926 and raised in New York, J P Donleavy was the son of Irish immigrant parents. They told him little of Irish culture when he was growing up but, after the war, he moved to Dublin to take up a place at Trinity College. He was already a skilled boxer when he arrived in Ireland and found that street-fighting was almost a form of public entertainment in the city - and one which he excelled in. Despite Trinity's stature, his student life revolved around drinking, partying, writing and painting. He became friends with Brendan Behan and the legendary Irish writer became the first person to read the completed script of The Ginger Man. Although The Ginger Man was banned in Ireland and expurgated in Britain and America it became a word-of-mouth success. But its publication plunged J P Donleavy into a legal battle that took 20 years to resolve. It was a legal struggle, though, that was worth fighting for - for the past 50 years it has never been out of print. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: 2nd movement of Emperor Concerto by Ludwig van Beethoven Book: 1972 Social Registry of New York Luxury: His own long-handled spoon to make dressings.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the journalist Andrew Neil. For 11 years he was editor of The Sunday Times. Under him, the paper broke the story of Israel's nuclear capabilities, revealed the Queen's dismay at the tone of Margaret Thatcher's administration and shone a bright light onto the difficulties of Princess Diana and Prince Charles's marriage. But as well as reporting the news, the paper made headlines too - Andrew Neil steered The Sunday Times through its move to Wapping and the bitter and often violent dispute that followed. Much has been made of his rise to be a figure at the heart of the establishment. A grammar school boy who went on to study at Glasgow University, he threw himself into university life; he edited the student newspaper, was a keen young debater and chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students. It seemed as if he was destined for a life in politics - but he decided he wanted to live a little first and then found that while he revelled in the political debate, the life of an MP was not for him. He is now Editor in Chief at Press Holdings and an established and authoritative political broadcaster. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: First Movement of Violin Concerto in D Major by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Book: Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith Luxury: Wind-up radio.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the artist Grayson Perry. For more than 20 years his work was broadly unknown outside the narrow confines of the art world. But in 2003 he became a household name after a collection of his exquisitely ornate pots won him art's most prestigious award, the Turner Prize. He's described as 'the hottest potter in the world' but newspaper headlines describing his success focused at least as much on his clothes as his art - when he collected the prize he wore a lilac party dress with a bow in his hair. He started dressing in his sister's clothes when he was a child - initially as part of his imaginative games and then for an erotic thrill. In part, women's clothes represented the tender emotions he was too scared to show in his repressive and sometimes frightening family home. Now, they're a way of controlling how people see him, what kind of attention he attracts and, if nothing else, they're a unique selling point. He acknowledges the debt he owes to his profession; only the arts would tolerate, he says, a transvestite potter from Essex. Favourite track: Prophecies by Philip Glass Book: An art book on Gothic and Renaissance altar pieces Luxury: Loads of really good pens and paper

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the screen writer Paul Abbott. He has written some of the most controversial and successful television programmes of the past decade. Shameless, Clocking Off and State of Play all flowed from his pen and have won him bags of awards. But he was driven to write as a response to the chaotic and traumatic childhood he'd suffered. One of eight children, both parents had left the family home by the time he was 11, leaving his older sister to bring them up. They had a near-feral existence, and lived, says Paul, like rats. At 15 he attempted suicide and ended up in a psychiatric ward. After that, without wanting to or really being aware it was happening, he wrote as a way of letting out the rage he felt inside him. He was quickly able to turn this writing into short stories, radio plays and film scripts and to sell them. Now he is credited with making television the 'new National Theatre'. But it's not his greatest achievement - he is proudest of his successful marriage to Saskia, his wife of eighteen years, and of their two children. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Town Called Malice by The Jam Book: Complete Works by Arthur Miller Luxury: Writing pad and pencils.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the singer and songwriter Neil Tennant. He is best known as one half of The Pet Shop Boys which, over the past 20 years, has been one of Britain's most successful and popular bands, noted for combining dance music with witty lyrics and delivering them in a uniquely English style. As a teenager growing up in Newcastle upon Tyne, he felt himself to be an outsider at school, but found friends in an amateur theatre company. Yet he always felt his life would be different to theirs and used to tell them that he would become a celebrated pop star. But Neil was 30 when he finally left his day job as a writer for Smash Hits magazine to pursue the musical interests that had dominated his life since he was a teenager. By that time, he was anxious that he had missed the boat. Now, as well as continuing to release records with The Pet Shop Boys, he has branched out into other forms of composition, writing a live score for the film Battleship Potemkin, a West End musical and being involved in collaborations with Robbie Williams and the Scissor Sisters, among many others. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs].

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the author Brian Aldiss. He is best known for pioneering, alongside JG Ballard, a new wave of British science fiction writing in the 1960s. He says science fiction is not so much a prediction of the future as a metaphor for the human condition; and for him, at least, writing it offered an escape route and a filter through which to view his own extraordinary upbringing. He grew up in a small Norfolk village in a very devout and austere home. While his father was distant, his mother was still suffering from the grief after her first child, a daughter, was still-born. He was the second child and even when he was very small, remembers feeling a strong sense of his mother's disappointment in him. The army finally offered a way out for him and it was on his return to England that he started writing seriously while also working in a bookshop. One of his early works was a short story describing the sadness felt by a boy who was never able to please his parents, which was turned into a film by Stanley Kubrick. While he remains best known for his science fiction writing - and has won every major award in the field - he has also written novels, poetry and biographies and short stories. Now, he says, he aims not for high sales but to become a better and better writer. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Old Rivers (with the Johnny Mann Singers) by Walter Brennan Book: Biography of John Osborne by John Halpern Luxury: A banjo

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the Polar explorer Ann Daniels. Before she was 30, she hadn't so much as walked with a rucksack and had no experience of navigating with a compass. Then her husband saw a newspaper advert seeking ordinary women to join an all-women relay to the North Pole. Ann was successful and since then she has walked to both Poles, become a Polar guide and now has her sights set on being the first British woman to walk solo to the North Pole - an endeavour she'll attempt for the second time this March. While she is on her expeditions, the life she leaves behind is also far from routine - she is a mother to four children including triplets. She has met some criticism for leaving her children for long periods, but she responds by saying that they are her inspiration - she wants to demonstrate to them how to live life to the full. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics Book: The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard Luxury: A bar of soap

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Edna O'Brien. Described as a 'poet of heartbreak' her lyrical storytelling captures the fragility and pain of the human condition, reflecting the drama of her own life as much as the imagined journeys of her characters. She was born and raised in a small village in County Clare, where the only books in the house were prayer books which sat alongside her father's bloodstock magazines. Her mother thought writing was in essence sinful and tried fiercely to stop her becoming an author. She was living in England when she published her first novel, The Country Girls, in 1960. It was a huge hit and was critically well received - but in Ireland she was decried and her book was burnt in the streets. Although she's lived in London for most of her adult life, she continues to draw on her Irish background for inspiration - she says: "it's in my roots, and when I dream at night it's the place I go". [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Foggy Dew (Sinead O'Connor) by The Chieftains Book: Ulysses by James Joyce Luxury: Vault of a very good white wine

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the musician Lady Natasha Spender. She was born at the end of the First World War and has spent her life immersed in the arts. Gifted with perfect pitch, she studied under Clifford Curzon and enjoyed a highly successful career as a concert pianist. In the months after the end of the Second World War she gave a concert at Belsen to inmates who were recovering in its hospital wing and, a couple of years later, she was chosen to be the soloist in the world's first ever televised concert for the BBC. She was also one half of a cultural 'it' couple - for more than 50 years she was married to the poet Sir Stephen Spender. They had met at a literary lunch he was hosting and became friends after Natasha stayed behind to help him with the washing up. They were friends with many of the greats of the past century, including T S Eliot, Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein. She is now the executor to Sir Stephen's very considerable estate and is writing her own memoirs. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: 1st movement of String Quintet in G Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: Desert Islands: An Anthology by Walter de la Mare Luxury: Her grand piano.

Kirsty Young's first castaway of 2007 is the writer Anthony Horowitz. He's a prolific author. His first novel was published when he was 23 and, as well as a series of children's books featuring the 'super spy' Alex Rider, he's also penned a slew of television crime programmes including Murder Most Horrid, Midsomer Murders and Foyle's Law. He first turned to writing when he was at boarding school; he was desperately unhappy and it offered some form of escape. His childhood was peopled by Dickensian figures - although he was brought up in lavish surroundings, his parents were distant and he was brought up by a string of nannies, while he so hated his domineering grandmother that he literally danced on her grave after her death. Perhaps it is unsurprising that his books often deal with the fragility of childhood and the robustness of children. A father now himself, he says he envies his own children their confidence and happiness. He says that he doesn't consider his work great, or even important - but he does like to think it agreeable and surprising. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: She's Always A Woman by Billy Joel Book: A large French dictionary Luxury: Fountain pen, ink and paper

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the broadcaster Gloria Hunniford. She's one of our most popular interviewers and presenters and for 40 years has been a warm, but always incisive, figure on our radio and television airwaves. She grew up in Northern Ireland and first of all thought her career lay in singing - as a young girl she would spend several evenings each week singing in local church halls. Although she moved in to broadcasting, those early years lay the foundation for the success and gave her a confidence performing in front of a crowd and a genuine interest in people and their lives. She was among the vanguard of women who tried to have it all - to combine motherhood with a fulfilling career. Her eldest daughter, Caron Keating, followed her into the profession and shared Gloria's ready warmth and wit. But Caron was just 41 when she died from breast cancer and Gloria's moving account of her experiences has now touched tens of thousands of people. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Miss You Nights by Cliff Richard Book: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Luxury: Family photographs

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the playwright Sir Arnold Wesker. He's a prolific writer and has penned more than 40 plays as well as books of poetry, short stories, children's tales and most recently a novel. But he first came to prominence in the late 1950s as one of the group of Angry Young Men; dramatists who made their art out of the stuff of everyday life. He was the son of Jewish communists and was brought up in the East End of London in the 1930s. He remembers being taken on marches and demonstrations and says that memories of Cable Street, when Oswald Mosley was prevented from marching his blackshirts through predominantly Jewish areas of London, weighed heavily in his home. His background strongly informed his writing and his first five plays were all staged at the Royal Court Theatre. He says that even today, he must write something each day as a way of justifying his existence - even if it is only his daily diary entry. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The end of Gurrelieder by Arnold Schoenberg Book: Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust Luxury: Supplies of pen and paper

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Britain's most successful contemporary composer, Karl Jenkins. He is most famous for developing a style that fuses his classical background with his interest in jazz and world music and his albums top the charts around the world. He was brought up in a small Welsh village and, after his mother died, lived with his father, grandmother and widowed aunt. His father taught him the piano when he was a child and in his teens he gravitated towards the oboe and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music. His first musical career was as a jazz musician - he won first prize at the Montreux Jazz Festival and played venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall and Ronnie Scott's. In the 1980s, he gave up life on the road and started writing advertising music and jingles. More awards followed, but he felt cramped by the nature of the work and wanted to write music that was more expansive. A track which he'd written for a minute long commercial went on to become the corner-stone of his most well-known work, The Adiemus Project. He's said that it was only then that he realised his niche lay in composing work that was grounded in his classical upbringing but also benefited from his interest in jazz and world music. And, while critics have on occasion sneered at his work, he has collected countless gold and platinum discs and a worldwide audience. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: The Final trio from the third Act of Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss Book: The Michelin Guide to France by Michelin Luxury: A piano

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the music impresario Raymond Gubbay. For 40 years he has brought popular classics and opera to the masses. His name has become synonymous with glittering evenings based on classical favourites with concerts often topped off with lasers, fireworks and light displays. He's worked with everyone from Pavarotti to Ray Charles and, while snooty critics dismiss it as 'middle-brow music for Middle England', it attracts audiences in their droves; two million people have now attended his 'Classical Spectacular' evenings. It's a long way from his early days, when he toured the country with a small troupe of singers and a pianist. Then, venues would pay him 84 guineas to put on a Viennese evening or a Gilbert and Sullivan night and he had to pay the musicians and cover the cost of transport and hotels before he earned a penny. He says he gives people what they want, "tunes they can hum" and more often than not, he gets it right. But in 2004, for once, he misjudged his audience: he wanted to open a third opera house in London offering cheaper seats to a wider audience, but even before the curtain rose for the first time he knew they weren't selling enough tickets to stay open. He says it's been the biggest disappointment of his career, but he doesn't rule out another attempt to bring opera to the West End. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Final movement of Emperor piano concerto by Ludwig van Beethoven Book: Unabridged Collins/Robert/ English /French dictionary Luxury: An espresso coffee machine with coffee

Kirsty Young's castaway on Desert Island Discs this week is the comedy performer and writer Matt Lucas. As one half of the team that created the hit TV show Little Britain, he's been responsible for dreaming up such characters as Vicky Pollard, the Asbo teenager who swapped her baby for a Westlife CD and Dafydd, the Welsh homosexual who is adamant he's "the only gay in the village". When he was six years old his hair fell out and as a result he acquired a certain local notoriety - from then on it simply never occurred to him that he wouldn't go on to become famous. Just five years ago he was struggling to have his work commissioned and thought of abandoning his career in comedy. Today, he's one of the most popular and recognisable entertainers in Britain. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: These are the Days of Our Lives by Queen Book: The Deeper Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams Luxury: Favourite London restaurant

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the author Stephen King. He's written more than 40 novels, won 23 major awards and sold hundreds of millions of books worldwide. He is best known for his tales of small-town America corrupted by the supernatural and macabre; with novels such as The Shining, Misery, Salem's Lot and Carrie making him a household name. His first success came with Carrie - at the time he was scraping a living as a teacher, living with his young family in a trailer and writing short stories to supplement his income. He threw the first draft of Carrie in the bin and it was his wife Tabitha who fished it out and urged him to finish it. But with success came drug and alcohol abuse - and again it was his wife who intervened and encouraged him to stop. He nearly gave up writing after a road accident in 1999 which nearly killed him. But, to the delight of his legions of fans, he took up his pen again and the stories keep on coming. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Desolation Row by Bob Dylan Book: Collected poetry by W H Auden Luxury: Water hammock

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the former head of the Metropolitan Police, Lord Stevens. Although he was to become known as 'the policeman's policeman', it was not his first career choice - as a child he wanted to be a pilot but was told that his eyesight was not good enough for him to make it his career. His first beat, more than forty years ago, was on Tottenham Court Road in London. He soon moved over to CID and earned the nickname 'Swifty Stevens' for his impressive arrest record. When he took over at the Met in 2000, it had just been branded 'institutionally racist' and the morale and reputation of the force was at rock bottom. He's credited with turning it around and regaining public confidence. Even in his retirement, he's continuing to head two major investigations - one into the circumstances around the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and the second into football bungs. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Reach for the Sky by Central Band of the R.A.F. Book: Reach for the Sky: The Story of Douglas Bader by Paul Brickhill Luxury: Cellar of champagne

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the veteran jazz musician and radio presenter Humphrey Lyttelton. To Radio 4 listeners, he's best known as Chairman Humph who has spent more than 30 years picking his bewildered way through the innuendo and mayhem of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. But his first love is jazz - as a child, he was always fascinated by music and when he was a teenager it was Louis Armstrong who inspired him to take up the trumpet. Fittingly, Armstrong went on to hail Humph as 'Britain's top trumpetman'. Now aged 85, Humph is still recording and touring with his band and says that he finds he's kept awake at night by new ideas for music they can play together. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: That's My Home by Louis Armstrong Book: Collected works by James Thurber Luxury: A keyboard

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the chef Heston Blumenthal. He is one of only three chefs working in Britain today to be awarded three Michelin stars and last year his restaurant, The Fat Duck, was named the best in the world by a panel of 5,000 food experts. His speedy rise to the top of his profession is little short of extraordinary. He has only ever spent a week in a professional kitchen and taught himself classical French cookery. He became fascinated by the science of cooking and has become the Willy Wonka of modern cuisine - dishes he's created include mango and douglas fir puree, salmon poached with liquorice and, most famously, snail porridge. But he acknowledges his success has been largely due too to his wife's support and now wants to change the balance of his life towards spending more time with his young family. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Love has Finally Come at Last by Bobby Womack Book: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee Luxury: Japanese knives

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the children's campaigner Camila Batmanghelidjh. Camila Batmanghelidjh has devoted her life to the kind of children most people would cross the street to avoid - youngsters who are often violent, don't go to school and who are unfamiliar with a stable family life. More than a decade ago she took over a run of disused railway arches in South London to set up a centre offering food, advice, education and counselling. Now her outreach projects serve more than 11,000 children each year and, such is her success, she's feted by celebrities and courted by politicians. The product of a wealthy Iranian family herself, she decided early on that her vocation lay in working with children and that this was a task she could not combine with motherhood. Last week she was named Woman of the Year in recognition of her ground-breaking work. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Redemption Song by Bob Marley Book: Being and Nothingness by Jean Paul Sartre Luxury: A yoyo

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the journalist Robert Fisk. He is one of our most distinguished foreign correspondents and has spent his life covering conflicts around the world - the past 30 years immersed in the life and politics of the Middle East. He formed his ambition at a young age - he saw Hitchcock's film Foreign Correspondent when he was just 12 years old and was determined to join their ranks. War, too, was a strong influence - his father had fought on the Western Front and was haunted by his experiences. He insisted that young Robert should learn about the war and his first foreign holiday was a tour of the Somme. He has become used to living in a war zone - he has escaped a kidnap attempt, survived an attack by Afghan refugees and risked his life to secure interviews of which other journalists dream. Perhaps his greatest scoop was securing a series of face-to-face interviews with Osama Bin Laden. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber Book: Le Mort D'Arthur by Thomas Mallory Luxury: A violin

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the actress Jane Horrocks. She specialises in unconventional, complex roles - from the eccentric secretary Bubble in the cult sit-com Absolutely Fabulous to a bulimic teenager in Mike Leigh's film Life is Sweet. But the role that brought her the greatest public recognition and critical acclaim was Little Voice. Written especially for her, it told the story of a cripplingly shy girl who only finds liberation and expression when she takes on the voices of musical legends. Jane Horrocks's ability to sing like Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe, among others, was so convincing that the film's credits had to make it clear she had sung every note and not been dubbed by the originals. The film had parallels with Jane's own life - as a shy school-girl, she too had discovered her facility for copying voices and would entertain family and friends with her portrayals of Shirley Bassey and Julie Andrews. She says that as soon as she found her gift she used it to win friends - and knew she had discovered her niche in life. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: I Miss You by Björk Book: Jamie's Dinners by Jamie Oliver Luxury: The Essential Family Cookbook

Kirsty Young's first castaway is one of our most popular illustrators, Quentin Blake. His work is immediately recognisable and is full of energy, anarchy and joy. An award-winning author in his own right, he is best known for his long collaboration with the author Roald Dahl. In the same way that it is impossible to think of Alice in Wonderland without imagining Tenniel's solemn drawings, when one imagines Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach it is invariably Quentin Blake's pictures that spring to mind. As a child growing up in the London suburbs he was self-contained, quiet and serious. Family friends remember that he didn't say much - but that he always loved drawing. His cartoons were first published in Punch when he was 16, making him one of its youngest ever contributors, but after graduating from Cambridge and training as a teacher, he decided his future lay not in one-off sketches for magazines, but in book illustration. He was named the first ever Children's Laureate in 1999 and in 2005 was awarded the CBE. He lives in London and continues to work towards the establishment of a museum celebrating the history and techniques of illustration. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: String Quartet No 2 - Intimate Letters by Janácek Book: Collected Works by Charles Dickens Luxury: Arches watercolour paper

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the actress Joan Plowright. Dame Joan Plowright is an actress who has been at the forefront of her profession since she first appeared at the Royal Court Theatre in London half a century ago. In those days she was identified with the new wave, appearing in plays by writers such as Arnold Wesker and John Osborne. She went on to make her name in more established roles - winning Actress Of The Year for her performance as Shaw's 'St Joan'. Through her marriage to Laurence Olivier, she became closely associated with his work at Chichester, and the foundation of the National Theatre. After his death, she added a career on screen to her theatre work. She was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Enchanted April and her latest film, Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont will be released later this year. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Piano Sonata in C Major- 1st Movement by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust Luxury: A piano

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the critic and columnist A A Gill. His witty, first-person articles have earned him a whole host of awards and a loyal following. But his life as a successful writer was preceded by more than a decade that was spent living in squalid squats, taking drugs and existing in an alcoholic haze. It was the unplanned intervention of a GP that made him face up to his alcoholism and seek treatment. It's now 21 years since he last had a drink and he has been given, he says, the chance to start again and live a second life. He abandoned his early hopes of becoming an artist, for a while he ran cookery courses in his own home and, at the same time, he started writing. Despite suffering from dyslexia so severe that he has to dictate all his columns to copytakers he found his voice immediately - as soon as he began writing his articles, he says, he felt he had come home. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Love Song from Sanders of the River by Paul Robeson Book: Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor by Mervyn Peake Luxury: My children's pillows

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the television star Simon Cowell. Simon Cowell is one of our most successful pop music moguls. He is the mastermind behind more than 100 number one songs in Britain and abroad and Westlife, whom he signed, holds the record for having seven consecutive number one songs in the UK. A lot of his early successes were gimmicky hits - singing wrestlers, the Power Rangers and Teletubbies - but it was first Robson and Jerome and then Westlife who brought him credibility. His tenacity and his ability to spot a seller were already legendary within the music world when he devised a format for a television show that would bring new talent to the fore. Pop Idol, American Idol and now The X Factor launched the careers of Will Young and Gareth Gates among others. They've made Simon Cowell a celebrity too. His shows play to the aspirations of the young, who believe fame and fortune can be theirs. But when their ambitions exceed their talent, he's there to tell them. He's reduced many contestants to tears and been threatened by others but, he says, he's only being cruel to be kind. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin Book: Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins Luxury: A mirror

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the author and children's poet Michael Rosen. Since his first book, Mind Your Own Business, was published more than than 30 years ago, he has been credited with revolutionising the way children's poems are written and performed. Words and language have always formed an important part of his life. The son of two teachers, he was born into a London, Jewish family, and brought up in a home full of literature, conversation and debate. His poems often rely on snatches of dialogue and memories from his own childhood and relate his experiences with his own children. His greatest commercial success has been his hugely popular re-telling of the American folk tale We're All Going on a Bear Hunt. More recently he's published a series of memories aimed at adults rather than children. In particular, these attend to the central tragedy of his life, the sudden death of his second son Eddie, when he was 18 years old. His death became a public matter because Eddie had featured so often in Michael's early work and was a well-known character to millions of children. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Black, Brown and White by Big Bill Broonzy Book: The Complete Poems by Carl Sandburg Luxury: A didgeridoo belonging to his late son Eddie.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is a playwright whose work has chronicled Britain's changing political landscape over the past 30 years. David Edgar was brought up in a leafy suburb of Birmingham, but was radicalised during the 1960s and has never looked back. In 1976, he examined the right-wing National Front movement in Destiny, a play for the RSC. It was his first award-winning play and the work of which to date he is the most proud. His interest in theatre goes back to his childhood; his parents both had theatrical connections and his father even turned a garden shed into an elaborate theatre. It was here that as a boy he was to star in plays in which he cast himself in the leading role. Despite the shift of politics to the centre ground, he remains committed to the left-wing cause and to exploring the difference between utopia and reality. He also writes for TV and radio, and his plays are regularly performed on the international as well as the British stage. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Cum Sancto Spiritu - With the Holy Ghost by Johann Sebastian Bach Book: An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan Luxury: A piano

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the psychoanalyst Dr Hanna Segal. Hanna Segal is one of the most distinguished psychoanalysts of our time. She was born in Poland at the end of the First World War and after a sometimes difficult childhood her family moved to Switzerland and then France to flee the Nazis. They ended up on a Polish troop ship that brought them to Britain just in time, as she says, for the Blitz. As a teenager she was passionate about aesthetics and politics but did not know how how to combine her passions in a career - once she discovered the work of Sigmund Freud she knew her calling lay in psychoanalysis. Her mentor was Melanie Klein and she wrote what has become a standard text about her work. Dr Segal has written too about psychoanalysis and aesthetics and our response to the threat posed by nuclear weapons. She has held the post of Freud Professor at University College London and is a past president of the British Psychoanalytical Society. Now aged 87, she continues to work overseeing student analysts and giving seminars. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: 2nd movement of String Quartet in C Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust Luxury: A snorkel and Polaroids

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the writer Ian Rankin. Ian Rankin is an award-winning writer of crime fiction and the creator of the Scottish detective John Rebus who has featured in 17 novels to date. Born in Fife, Rankin came from a working-class background in a coal-mining town where he says he spent most of his childhood trying to "look like he fitted in". In his bedroom he would live out a fantasy life, writing poems, stories and creating strip-cartoons. He admits there are many parallels between himself and Rebus - they lived at the same Edinburgh address, both are fond of a drink and now they even share the same taste in music, though unlike Rebus, Rankin has never smoked. However all that is about to change; Rebus has reached the age of retirement in the police force and Rankin's next novel will be the last in the series. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Solid Air by John Martyn Book: A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell Luxury: Pinball machine (traditional American one)

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the gardener and broadcaster, Monty Don. Three years ago Monty Don became the nation's most high-profile gardener when he took over from Alan Titchmarsh as the lead presenter of Gardener's World. Entirely self-taught, he has been gardening since he was a child - but it was not until he was in his late thirties that he found he could make his great passion become his vocation. His first career ended disastrously; he and his wife Sarah set up a jewellery business together and during the 1980s they prospered; they had shops and offices in Knightsbridge and counted singers and film stars among their clients. But when the slump came they lost everything - the business, their jobs and their home. onty suffered years of depression that left him barely able to function. It was by chance that he was offered some stints presenting gardening slots on television. He never looked back - he says there hasn't been a day since when he's not been working and he's become a successful gardening columnist, broadcaster and author. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: A Hard Day's Night by The Beatles Book: Collected Poems of Henry Vaughan Luxury: Hendrickje Bathing by Rembrandt

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the chief executive of BP, John Browne. His father had also worked for the company and through visits to Iran as a boy, he witnessed spectacular oil-well blow-outs which gave him a fascination for the business. He joined BP after leaving university, starting at the sharp end as a petroleum engineer in Alaska in the 1970s. For 20 years, he travelled the world, working his way up the ladder before permanently settling in London. Almost 10 years ago, he said that oil companies must take seriously the threat of global warming and take measures to tackle the issue. He was knighted in 1998, and created a life peer in 2001 as Lord Browne of Madingley. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: An extract from the end of Act 1 of Cosi Fan Tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Book: Other Men's Flowers: An Anthology of Poetry by Lord Wavell Luxury: A lifetime's supply of great cigars

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the Nobel prize-winning physicist Sir Peter Mansfield. His work in magnetic resonance imaging more than 30 years ago led to the development of the MRI scanner, which has revolutionised the diagnosis of illness today. He was born in London before the Second World War and as a boy, remembers the first Doodlebug attack on the capital. Watching the flying bombs gave him an interest in rocket propulsion which was to lead to a life-long career in science. The son of a gas-fitter, he left school without O levels at the age of 15. His school careers' officer had laughed at his ambition to be a scientist and fixed him up with a job as a printer. He put himself through night school, and went on to graduate with a first class degree in physics. The first MRI scan was performed using him as the guinea-pig and with next-of-kin on hand because of the risks involved. His pioneering research was carried out at the University of Nottingham where he became Emeritus Professor of Physics. In 2003 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine at the age of 70. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Vltava Suite from Smetana's Má Vast by Bedrich Smetana Book: Family photograph albums Luxury: Helicopter

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the retail legend George Davies. In the 1980s he changed the shape of our high streets with his chain Next. In the 1990s he made supermarket clothes fashionable with his George range for Asda and in 2001 he launched his Per Una collection in Marks and Spencer - it's credited with helping the store find renewed financial success. He was brought up in Liverpool and showed early promise as a footballer - he was talent-spotted by the legendary Bill Shankly, but wasn't good enough to play at the highest level. Then he nearly became a dentist but, after dropping out of university, found a job with Littlewoods as stock controller in charge of children's ankle socks. From the day he started he says he never looked back - he knew his future lay in retail. His trick is knowing his market, and he does that by carefully studying the details of how his clothes sell. Each week he analyses sales figures for every garment, in every store up and down the country - the result, he says, is that he not only knows what women like, he knows what they think. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: You'll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and the Pacemakers Book: A book about learning to paint Luxury: A Cannondale Bike

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the satirist Armando Iannucci. He has lampooned news journalism with his creations On the Hour and The Day Today and plumbed the shallows of the chat show circuit through the vain and insecure Alan Partridge. His most recent work has been more biting: his Westminster satire The Thick of It dissects the relationship between politicians, their spin-doctors and the media they want to control. Decisions are made on the hoof, in haste and in response to media pressure - there's not a politician, civil servant or journalist who isn't compromised in the process. A highly academic child at a Jesuit school, in his teens he harboured ambitions to become a Catholic priest. His parents thought he might become a doctor or lawyer, but after getting a first-class degree from Oxford, and spending three years writing a thesis about religious language with reference to Milton, he concentrated on comedy instead. He joined the BBC and ended up producing the radio comedy programmes he had listened to as a child. He is currently involved in developing new comedy for the BBC and is this year's Visiting Professor of Broadcast Media at Oxford University. This programme includes language which may offend some listeners. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Opening of Mahler's 9th Symphony by Gustav Mahler Book: Complete Short Stories by H G Wells Luxury: Virtual sherry trifle

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition. He was elected last December, beating his rival David Davis by more than 70,000 votes. Educated at Eton and Oxford, should he become Prime Minister, he would be the first Conservative Old Etonian to do so since Sir Alec Douglas-Home in 1963. He grew up in West Berkshire, the son of a stockbroker father and a mother who was a magistrate. After graduating with a First in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, he joined the Conservative Research Department in 1988, where he witnessed the downfall of Margaret Thatcher. He became special adviser to the former chancellor Norman Lamont and was at his side on Black Wednesday. His own political career took off in 2001 when he was elected MP for Witney. From the beginning he was tipped for high office and in 2004 he joined Michael Howard's shadow cabinet. He divides his time between homes in London and an Oxfordshire village, where he has won first prize for his home-grown tomatoes. [Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs] Favourite track: Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan Book: The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Luxury: A crate of Scottish whisky

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the Director General of the CBI, Sir Digby Jones. He was born and grew up in the West Midlands at a time where 'the Austin' car plant formed the 'centre of the universe'. His father ran the local grocer's shop until the arrival of the supermarkets in the 1960s, giving Digby his first taste of business. After winning a scholarship to public school, he joined the Royal Navy to pay his way