• Deborah Levy is a writer whose novels Swimming Home and Hot Milk were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Last year she published the final instalment of her ‘living autobiography’ trilogy of memoirs, and her earlier work includes plays for the RSC as well as short story collections and poetry.

    Deborah was born in South Africa in 1959, the eldest child of anti-apartheid activists Norman and Philippa Levy. Her father was arrested when she was five and was imprisoned for four years. During this time, Deborah became an almost silent child, but was encouraged by a teacher to write down her thoughts, sparking her love of creative writing. After her father’s release, the family relocated to the UK and first lived above a menswear shop in London. As a teenager Deborah worked as a cinema usher, and a chance encounter with the film-maker Derek Jarman inspired her to change her plans to take a degree in literature, and instead she headed to Dartington College of Arts, where she studied writing for the stage and performance.

    Her first play, Pax, was commissioned in 1984, and was followed by more than a dozen dramas. Deborah then turned to writing novels in the late 1980s and 1990s. Swimming Home was shortlisted for the 2012 Booker Prize, although it initially struggled to find a publisher. Her trilogy of autobiographies, beginning in 2013 with Things I Don't Want to Know, have enjoyed considerable critical acclaim.

    DISC ONE: Nkosi Sikelel I’Afrika by Sol Plaatje
    DISC TWO: Starman by David Bowie
    DISC THREE: Opening by Phillip Glass
    DISC FOUR: Moritat Vom Mackie Messer (German version of Mack the Knife) by Lotte Lenya
    DISC FIVE: Black is the Color of my True Love’s Hair by Nina Simone
    DISC SIX: Soothing by Laura Marling
    DISC SEVEN: Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez
    DISC EIGHT: Because the Night by Patti Smith

    BOOK CHOICE: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C. G. Jung)
    LUXURY ITEM: A silk sheet
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Because the Night by Patti Smith

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Simon Reeve is a broadcaster and writer best known for his TV documentaries which combine travel and adventure with investigations into the challenges faced by the places he visits.

    His journeys have taken him across jungles, deserts, mountains and oceans, and to some of the most dangerous and remote regions of the world. He’s dodged bullets on frontlines, dived with seals and sharks, survived malaria, walked through minefields and tracked lions on foot.

    Simon grew up in Acton in west London. He experienced anxiety and depression as a teenager and left school with few qualifications. He eventually found a job in the post room at the Sunday Times and from there progressed to working with the news teams, filing stories on a range of subjects from organised crime to nuclear smuggling.

    In the late 1990s he wrote one of the first books about Al-Qaeda and its links to Osama Bin Laden. His expertise in this area was quickly called upon after the 9/11 attacks in the USA, and he became a regular guest on American television and radio programmes.

    The current pandemic put Simon’s overseas trips into abeyance and he has turned his attention to the UK, recently making programmes about Cornwall and the Lake District.

    DISC ONE: Eskègizéw Bèrtchi by Alèmayèhu Eshèté
    DISC TWO: Vissi d’arte - from Puccini’s Tosca, performed by Kiri Te Kanawa with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Pritchard
    DISC THREE: It Takes Two by Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
    DISC FOUR: We Will Rock You by Queen
    DISC FIVE: Mr Brightside by The Killers
    DISC SIX: Wiley Flow by Stormzy
    DISC SEVEN: You’re Lovely to Me by Lucky Jim
    DISC EIGHT: Rocket Man by Elton John

    BOOK CHOICE: Moonshine for Beginners and Experts by Damian Brown
    LUXURY ITEM: Bird seed
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Rocket Man by Elton John

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Richard Osman is a broadcaster, TV producer and writer who co-presents the quiz show Pointless on BBC One. His first novel, The Thursday Murder Club, was a publishing phenomenon, selling more than a million copies, and the follow-up became one of the fastest-selling titles since records began.

    Richard grew up in Haywards Heath in West Sussex and his early passion for television led to him devising quiz shows and programme formats from a young age. After graduating from university he worked for a number of production companies where he helped to develop and produce shows including Total Wipeout, Deal or No Deal and 8 out of 10 Cats.

    In 2009 Richard became a co-presenter of Pointless alongside Alexander Armstrong. It was not his intention to move in front of the camera, but he was given the job after taking on the role of co-host while the show was being developed.

    In 2020 Richard published his debut novel, the Thursday Murder Club, the story of four friends in a retirement community who band together to solve cold cases. It was an instant hit, selling 45,000 copies in its first three days on sale. Steven Spielberg has bought the film rights.

    Richard lives in London and is writing his third novel featuring his resourceful retirees.

    DISC ONE: Bring Me Sunshine by Morecambe And Wise
    DISC TWO: Metal Mickey by Suede
    DISC THREE: Snooker (Drag Racer) by The Douglas Wood Group
    DISC FOUR: You Can't Stop The Beat by the cast of Hairspray (Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Elijah Kelly, John Travolta and Queen Latifah)
    DISC FIVE: Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple
    DISC SIX: American Boy by Estelle Featuring Kanye West
    DISC SEVEN: Ran by Future Islands
    DISC EIGHT: A Little Respect by Erasure

    BOOK CHOICE: Hercule Poirot: the Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie
    LUXURY ITEM: A pad of paper, a pen and dice
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: DISC FOUR: You Can't Stop The Beat by the cast of Hairspray

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Dame Prue Leith is a broadcaster, writer, former restaurateur and a judge on the television show the Great British Bake Off.

    Prue was born in Cape Town, South Africa, during the era of Apartheid. After leaving school she moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne, but decided that her future lay in food, and took a Cordon Bleu cookery course in London. She set up her own catering business from her bedsit, where space was so tight that she washed lettuces in the bath.

    In 1969 she opened Leith’s, her own fine dining restaurant, in Notting Hill in west London. Leith’s was awarded a Michelin star in the 1980s. She went on to write columns and cookbooks and became a regular broadcaster about food, on shows including the Great British Menu. In 1975 she opened Leith’s School of Food and Wine which trains professional chefs and amateur cooks.

    Prue replaced Mary Berry as a judge on the Great British Bake Off in 2017. She has written eight novels and lives with her husband in Gloucestershire.

    DISC ONE: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles
    DISC TWO: Ugly Duckling by Danny Kaye
    DISC THREE: Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika by Ladysmith Black Mambazo
    DISC FOUR: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (I) composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and performed by Sir Neville Marriner (violin), Academy Of St Martin-in-the-Fields Orchestra and conducted by David Willcocks
    DISC FIVE: 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford
    DISC SIX: Skylark by Aretha Franklin
    DISC SEVEN: Chopin, Nocturne No. 2, op 9 in E flat major, played by Elisabeth Leonskaja
    DISC EIGHT: Big Spender by Shirley MacLaine

    BOOK CHOICE: Ulysses by James Joyce
    LUXURY ITEM: Writing materials
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika by Ladysmith Black Mambazo

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Jack Thorne is a writer who has enjoyed great success with his scripts for the stage, cinema and television, winning five BAFTA awards for his TV work.

    His theatre credits include the international hit play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which has won major awards in London and New York. For television, his recent successes include his adaptation of His Dark Materials, from the books by Philip Pullman, and The Virtues, co-written with Shane Meadows, and starring Stephen Graham.

    Jack was born in Bristol in 1978. His mother was a care worker, and her experiences partly inspired his 2021 TV drama Help, set in a care home during the pandemic.

    As a student at Cambridge University, Jack became involved in student drama, but had to halt his studies for a year when he became seriously ill with cholinergic urticaria, which he describes as an extreme form of ‘prickly heat... which feels like you’re burning from the inside.’ While he enjoys better health now, this experience informed his writing, and he has campaigned for more opportunities and better representation for disabled people, on both sides of the camera. In 2021 he gave the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, in which he argued that TV has failed disabled people.

    DISC ONE: Common People (At Glastonbury 1995) by Pulp
    DISC TWO: Blah Blah Café by Jean-Michel Jarre
    DISC THREE: The Red Flag by Billy Bragg
    DISC FOUR: Spasticus Autisticus by John Kelly and the Graeae Theatre Company
    DISC FIVE: Lippy Kids by Elbow
    DISC SIX: 54-46 That’s My Number by Toots and the Maytals
    DISC SEVEN: Skeleton Key by Audrey Nugent
    DISC EIGHT: End credit music from the film E.T. by John Williams

    BOOK CHOICE: Miller Plays: 1 by Arthur Miller
    LUXURY ITEM: TV with Channel 4 archive only
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Skeleton Key by Audrey Nugent

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Helen Macdonald is a writer and naturalist who is best known as the author of H is for Hawk which won the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize and the Costa Book Award, and topped the sales charts. The book chronicles her experiences training a goshawk called Mabel while grieving for her late father.

    Helen’s father was a staff photographer at the Daily Mirror and her mother was a journalist on local newspapers. In 1975, when Helen was five, her parents bought a house in Terkel’s Park, an estate owned by the Theosophical Society. It was here that Helen became a keen bird watcher and developed a love of the natural world, spending her days in fields and meadows where she collected specimens which she brought home to study.

    When she was 12 she helped out at a local falconry centre and trained her first hawk, a kestrel called Amy. After graduating from Cambridge she worked for the National Avian Research Centre in Wales before returning to academia.

    The death of her father in 2007 prompted Helen to buy Mabel and bring her home to live with her. Training Mabel was Helen’s way of dealing with her grief during what she describes as a very dark period of her life. The relationship between her and Mabel became so intense that she says she became more hawk than human.

    Helen continues to write books and essays and present programmes about the natural world. She lives in Suffolk with two parrots she calls the Bugs.

    DISC ONE: Wayfaring Stranger by Rhiannon Giddens With Francesco Turrisi
    DISC TWO: Lully: Le Triomphe de l'Amour: Prélude pour la nuit, composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully, performed by Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons, directed by Skip Sempé
    DISC THREE: Michelangelo by The 23rd Turnoff
    DISC FOUR: Ocean by The Velvet Underground
    DISC FIVE: 'Corelli' Variations, Op. 42, composed by Sergei Rachmaninov, performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)
    DISC SIX: When We Were Wolves by My Latest Novel
    DISC SEVEN: Point of View Point by Cornelius
    DISC EIGHT: Time by Hans Zimmer

    BOOK CHOICE: The Karla Trilogy by John Le Carré
    LUXURY ITEM: Luxury bedding
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: 'Corelli' Variations, Op. 42, composed by Sergei Rachmaninov, performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Neil Gaiman is a writer whose list of titles spans many forms from novels, including American Gods, to children’s stories such as Coraline and the comic book the Sandman.

    Neil grew up in East Grinstead and after finishing school he became a journalist and then wrote short stories and books. One of his early commissions was writing a companion to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. In 1989 he began to write the Sandman series for DC Comics which were illustrated by his friend Dave McKean.

    The Sandman became the first comic ever to receive a literary award - the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story – and is credited with bringing comics from an underground art form into the mainstream. It is currently in production as a television series.

    Neil started writing what became the fantasy novel Good Omens in the 1980s but put it aside to concentrate on the Sandman. When his friend Terry Pratchett suggested they go back to it and finish it together, they turned Neil’s initial 5,000 words into a novel which was adapted for radio in 2014 and became a television series starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen.

    Neil wrote his first children’s book, The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish, in 1997. His next children’s book Coraline, about a little girl adrift in a parallel universe, was initially deemed to be too frightening to publish but is now a family favourite.

    Neil is married to the musician Amanda Palmer and lives in upstate New York.

    DISC ONE: Rock 'n' Roll Suicide by David Bowie
    DISC TWO: Love Unrequited (The Nightmare Song) composed by Gilbert & Sullivan, performed by
    The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, John Reed (baritone) and The New Symphony Orchestra Of London, conducted by Isidore Godfrey
    DISC THREE: Soho (Needless to Say) by Al Stewart
    DISC FOUR: The Ballad Of Sweeney Todd: "Attend The Tale Of Sweeney Todd", composed by Stephen Sondheim and performed by Len Cariou and the original Broadway Cast of Sweeney Todd- 1979
    DISC FIVE: Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed
    DISC SIX: Tear in Your Hand by Tori Amos
    DISC SEVEN: Bees in Trees by Michael Nyman
    DISC EIGHT: Holding Your Hand by Thea Gilmore

    BOOK CHOICE: The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
    LUXURY ITEM: A Victorian accounts ledger, a fountain pen and an unlimited supply of ink
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Bees in Trees by Michael Nyman

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

  • Carl Hester is a dressage rider who has competed in six Olympic Games, winning a team gold at London 2012.

    Carl grew up on Sark in the Channel Islands, where cars are banned and horses are part of the island’s daily life. He learned to ride on a donkey before progressing to horses. After leaving school, his first job was at an equine therapy centre in Hampshire.

    A key moment in his early career was an invitation from Dr Wilfried Bechtolsheimer, a leading figure in dressage, to join his yard. In 1992 Carl became the youngest ever British rider to compete at an Olympic Games. As well as a gold in London in 2012, he and the team won silver in Rio in 2016, and earlier this year a bronze medal in Tokyo, where he was the oldest member of Team GB.

    Carl has also enjoyed great success as a trainer of horses, including Valegro, once described as the ‘Lionel Messi of the dressage world.’ He has also mentored the rider Charlotte Dujardin, currently Britain’s most successful female Olympian along with the cyclist Laura Kenny.

    He lives near Newent in Gloucestershire and says he hopes to compete at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

    DISC ONE: Castles by Freya Ridings
    DISC TWO: Fleurs Du Mal by Sarah Brightman
    DISC THREE: Brand New Key by Melanie
    DISC FOUR: Some Girls by Racey
    DISC FIVE: Slave to Love by Bryan Ferry
    DISC SIX: Barcelona by Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé
    DISC SEVEN: The Windmills of Your Mind by Noel Harrison
    DISC EIGHT: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes

    BOOK CHOICE: The Centenary Book of Sark: a history and description of the artist William A Toplis by Chris Andrews, Fiona Kelly and Amy McKee
    LUXURY ITEM: Carl’s own pillow
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Dame Jo da Silva is a structural engineer and disaster relief specialist. Her humanitarian work has taken her from Sri Lanka in the wake of the Tsunami to Pakistan and Haiti to help with their post-earthquake recovery.

    Jo was born in Washington DC where her father was a diplomat. As a child she enjoyed making things including buildings for her brother’s train set. After graduating from Cambridge University she joined design and engineering firm Arup where her first assignment involved working with Lord Norman Foster on a design for bus shelters.

    She went on to work on the Ondaatje Wing at the National Portrait Gallery and Hong Kong’s International Airport on the island of Chek Lap Kok.

    In 1994 she went to Tanzania where she worked in the refugee camps which had sprung up after the genocide in Rwanda. She devised a road system which transformed the delivery of food, water and medical supplies. After this experience she decided to devote her energies to crisis and disaster projects and in 2007 she founded Arup International Development, a not-for-profit business which designs buildings and infrastructure to help vulnerable and displaced people around the world.

    In 2021 she received a Damehood in the New Year’s Honours list for her contribution to humanitarian relief.

    DISC ONE: Sound And Vision (Remastered) by David Bowie
    DISC TWO: Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622:2 Adagio, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by Jack Brymer (clarinet), Allegri Quartet (string quartet), London Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Colin Davis
    DISC THREE: All The World is Green by Tom Waits
    DISC FOUR: Weird Fishes / Arpeggi by Radiohead
    DISC FIVE: Shudder / King Of Snake by Underworld
    DISC SIX: Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell
    DISC SEVEN: Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan
    DISC EIGHT: Crying Shame by Jack Johnson

    BOOK CHOICE: ‘The Boardman Tasker Omnibus’ by Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker
    LUXURY ITEM: A charpoi (traditional Indian rope bed)
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: All The World is Green by Tom Waits

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Joanne Harris is a writer who is best known for her novel Chocolat, which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.

    The daughter of an English father and French mother, Joanne was born in Barnsley and her first few years were spent living above her grandparents’ sweet shop. Her parents were both teachers, and her first language was French. She went on to read modern and medieval languages at Cambridge University and taught French for 15 years, writing fiction in her spare time.

    Her first two novels were not successful and initially Chocolat looked set to follow suit: some publishers thought it was too indulgent to appeal readers in any great number, but the story’s combination of food and magic won many fans and it became a word of mouth hit.

    Since then, Joanne has written 18 more novels, along with novellas, short stories, the libretti for two short operas, several screenplays and three cookbooks. Her books are now published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards.

    Joanne lives in Yorkshire and works from a shed in her back garden.

    DISC ONE: I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash
    DISC TWO: Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis by Georges Brassens
    DISC THREE: At Seventeen by Janis Ian
    DISC FOUR: Here Comes the Flood by Peter Gabriel
    DISC FIVE: Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits
    DISC SIX: Letting You Go by Philip Quast
    DISC SEVEN: When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease by Roy Harper
    DISC EIGHT: Little Plastic Castle by Ani DiFranco

    BOOK CHOICE: The Collected Works of Victor Hugo
    LUXURY ITEM: Joanne’s own shed
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Peter Schmeichel is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the modern game. In 1999, he captained Manchester United in one of the most astonishing comebacks in football, as United won the Champions League with two goals in added time, completing a much-coveted Treble, along with the Premiership and the FA Cup. As well as winning numerous trophies during his years at Manchester United, he has played a record 129 times for Denmark, his national team. He was part of the Danish side who were surprise winners of the European Championships in 1992: Denmark were underdogs and only joined the tournament at the last minute, when Yugoslavia were forced to withdraw. During the 1990s, he was arguably the most recognised Dane in the world.

    He began his football career in Denmark before fulfilling his childhood dream and signing for Manchester United in 1991. His father was a professional musician, who insisted on piano and guitar lessons for the young Peter. Goalkeeping was not his choice: as young boy, he was told to play in goal by a teacher who was thought he might be too wild for the other youngsters on the pitch.

    Since retiring from the competitive game, Peter lives in Denmark but spends time travelling to see Manchester United play and he also follows his son, Kasper, who plays for Leicester City and Denmark.

    DISC ONE: We Are The Champions by Queen
    DISC TWO: Hymn To Freedom by Oscar Peterson
    DISC THREE: Rosanna by Toto
    DISC FOUR: Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits
    DISC FIVE: Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
    DISC SIX: Angels by Robbie Williams
    DISC SEVEN: In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
    DISC EIGHT: The Girl Is Mine by Michael Jackson With Paul McCartney

    BOOK CHOICE: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
    LUXURY ITEM: Peter’s guitar
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Girl Is Mine by Michael Jackson With Paul McCartney

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Michael Sandel is a political philosopher and professor of government theory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has also presented the BBC Radio 4 series The Public Philosopher and The Global Philosopher, in which he examines the thinking behind a current controversy.

    His books have tackled the idea of meritocracy and the moral limits of markets, and he has been described as a “philosopher with the global profile of a rock star.”

    Michael grew up in Minnesota until the age of 13 when his family relocated to Los Angeles. As a boy he was fascinated by politics and he invited Ronald Reagan, who was then governor of California, to take part in a debate at his school.

    During his university studies he took an internship at the Houston Chronicle and covered the Watergate scandal, sitting in on the Supreme court deliberations and subsequent impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill. Later, while he was studying as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University he was, as he puts it, “seduced by philosophy”.

    Justice, the course he devised at Harvard, is one of the most popular in the university’s history – thousands of students apply to attend in person and tens of millions watch his classes online.

    DISC ONE: Feeling Good by Nina Simone
    DISC TWO: Only a Pawn in Their Game by Bob Dylan
    DISC THREE: Battle Hymn of the Republic by Odetta
    DISC FOUR: Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday
    DISC FIVE: Alexander Hamilton by Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton
    DISC SIX: Anthem by Leonard Cohen
    DISC SEVEN: The Stars Will Sing To You by Kiku Adatto
    DISC EIGHT: America the Beautiful by Ray Charles

    BOOK CHOICE: The Collected Dialogues of Plato
    LUXURY ITEM: Binoculars
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: The Stars Will Sing To You by Kiku Adatto

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Deborah Meaden is a businesswoman and entrepreneur. She’s been one of the investment ‘Dragons’ in the BBC TV series since 2006.

    Destined to be a successful entrepreneur, Deborah Meaden launched her first business straight out of college at nineteen years old, importing artisan Italian glass and ceramic homeware goods to the UK.

    After running various franchise businesses, she joined her family company, Weststar Holidays and eventually became Managing Director. A few years later, when her parents wanted to retire, she bought them out of the business and later sold the company making her a multi-millionaire.

    Deborah is now a full time investor with a wide ranging portfolio. For the last fifteen years, she has been one of the investment Dragons on BBC TV’s Dragon’s Den. Even though she has many millions in the bank, she has no plans to step back from business. “Why would I stop doing something that I love?”

    She lives in Somerset with her husband, Paul.

    DISC ONE: Ride a White Swan by T. Rex
    DISC TWO: The Bottle by Gil Scott-Heron / Brian Jackson
    DISC THREE: Mercy Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye
    DISC FOUR: Don't Push It Don't Force It by Leon Haywood
    DISC FIVE: Money's Too Tight To Mention by The Valentine Brothers
    DISC SIX: El Condor Pasa by Simon And Garfunkel
    DISC SEVEN: Suite: The Planets – Jupiter composed by Gustav Holst, performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent
    DISC EIGHT: Be Thankful For What You've Got by William De Vaughn

    BOOK CHOICE: A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
    LUXURY ITEM: A sketch book and pencil
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Be Thankful For What You've Got by William De Vaughn

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Sarah Taylor

  • The mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly has sung at the most prestigious venues around the world, including the Royal Opera House, London and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as Glyndebourne, Vienna and Bayreuth. In 2009 she was a soloist at the Last Night of the BBC Proms, singing Rule Britannia dressed as Admiral Nelson, and she has also made a name for herself taking on male or so-called “trouser roles” in opera, including Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar).

    As a child, she was an outstanding pianist with a passion for classical music and jazz. After studying piano and voice at the Royal College of Music, she decided to become a singer. She was a member of the BBC Singers for five years, before taking the leap and seeking work as a soloist.

    She took a break from public performance in 2019 to have treatment for breast cancer, but has now resumed her career.

    She was made a DBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours and last year she became an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, recognising her outstanding services to music.

    DISC ONE: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
    DISC TWO: Handel: L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed il Moderato, Part III: As steals the morn. Performed by Mark Padmore (tenor), Lucy Crowe (soprano) and The English Concert, conducted by Andrew Manze
    DISC THREE: Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
    DISC FOUR: Blue In Green by Miles Davis
    DISC FIVE: Embroidery in Childhood (Act III, scene 1) Composed and conducted by Benjamin Britten. Performed by Claire Watson (soprano) and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
    DISC SIX: Schubert Winterreise : Das Wirtshaus, performed by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) and Gerald Moore (piano)
    DISC SEVEN: Wagner - Der Ring : Keilberth, Bayreuth live, 1955. Act 3 Die Walküre, Denn einer nur freie die Braut. Performed by Hans Hotter (bass-baritone) and Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
    DISC EIGHT: Symphony Number 3 in D minor Mahler 3 : Mov’t 6, Ruhevoll- Empfunden (what love tells me) Performed by Vienna Philharmonic and conducted by Claudio Abaddo

    BOOK CHOICE: The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter
    LUXURY ITEM: A grand piano with a tuning kit
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Wagner - Der Ring : Keilberth, Bayreuth live, 1955. Act 3 Die Walküre, Denn einer nur freie die Braut. Performed by Hans Hotter (bass-baritone) and Bayreuth Festival Orchestra

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Tom Ilube is an entrepreneur, known for his successful start-up companies, and a philanthropist. He recently took up the post of chairman of the Rugby Football Union.

    He was born in 1963 to a Nigerian father and a British mother, and grew up first in London, and then in Uganda, a stay cut short by the rise to power of Idi Amin. He began his teenage years back in the UK, enjoying rugby and ice-skating, before moving with his family to Nigeria, where he also attended university, studying Applied Physics and launching his first business selling flared trousers to fellow students.

    He returned to London looking for work in information technology. After many unsuccessful job applications, British Airways gave him a break, and he later worked for the London Stock Exchange and Goldman Sachs. In 1996, he founded his first company and has since been involved with several other start-ups – “thinking up ideas, raising venture capital, building companies, selling them and doing it all again,” he says. He is also involved with philanthropic projects in education, including founding a school for high-achieving but disadvantaged girls in Ghana with a focus on maths and science.

    In 2017 he topped the Powerlist, the annual list of the 100 most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage in Britain, and was appointed a CBE in 2018. He is married to Caron and has two grown-up children.

    DISC ONE: Doctor Who by BBC Radiophonic Workshop
    DISC TWO: Sweet Mother by Prince Nico Mbarga And Rocafil Jazz International
    DISC THREE: The Boys Are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy
    DISC FOUR: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by Ladysmith Black Mambazo
    DISC FIVE: That's The Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson
    DISC SIX: Family Business by Kanye West
    DISC SEVEN: Mr Bojangles by Sammy Davis Jr
    DISC EIGHT: A Change is Gonna Come by Ayanna Witter-Johnson

    BOOK CHOICE: The Wormwood Trilogy by Tade Thompson
    LUXURY ITEM: A solar-powered puzzle generator, designed by Tom.
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Mr Bojangles by Sammy Davis Jr

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

  • Tracey Ullman was the first woman to be offered her own television sketch show – both in Britain and America – and has starred in film and television dramas alongside Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Hugh Grant. The Emmy-winning Tracey Ullman Show ran for four seasons in the US and provided the launch pad for the Simpsons.

    Tracey was born in Slough and as a child she would impersonate people and put on shows for the amusement of her mother after the death of her father. At 12 she won a scholarship to the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London and worked in repertory theatre and the West End in London before her television career took off. She was one of the stars of the BBC’s primetime sketch show Three of a Kind alongside David Copperfield and a young Lenny Henry.

    In 1985 she moved to Los Angeles with her husband, the producer Allan McKeown, where her uncanny impressions of Americans from all walks of life won her acclaim and awards in equal measure.

    After the death of her husband Tracey returned to the UK in 2016 and was soon back on our screens in a new sketch series, Tracey Ullman’s Show, which showcased her enduring talent for sending up the powerful and the famous, including Dame Judi Dench, Angela Merkel and Theresa May.

    DISC ONE: American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    DISC TWO: You Won't See Me by The Beatles
    DISC THREE: Nichols and May At Work by Mike Nichols And Elaine May
    DISC FOUR: That's The Way Of The World by Earth, Wind & Fire
    DISC FIVE: Everyday I Write the Book by Elvis Costello And The Attractions
    DISC SIX: They Don’t Know by Kirsty MacColl
    DISC SEVEN: You and I by Stevie Wonder
    DISC EIGHT: This Is the Sea by The Waterboys

    BOOK CHOICE: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: You and I by Stevie Wonder

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, is a former judge who served as the first female president of the Supreme Court. In 2019 she announced the court’s judgement that the prorogation of Parliament was ‘unlawful, void and of no effect’. The twinkling spider brooch she wore that day caused a sensation and set social media aflame. She was the first woman and the youngest person to be appointed to the Law Commission and in 2004 became the UK’s first woman law lord.

    Lady Hale was born in Yorkshire and read law at the University of Cambridge where she graduated top of her class. She spent almost 20 years in academia and also practised as a barrister. Later at the Law commission she led the work on what became the 1989 Children Act.

    Lady Hale retired as a judge in January 2020.

    DISC ONE: Messiah - Part 1: O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings To Zion, composed by Georg Friedrich Händel, performed by Kathleen Ferrier and The London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir Adrian Boult
    DISC TWO: Love Me Do by The Beatles
    DISC THREE: Move Him Into The Sun. Composed and conducted by Benjamin Britten. Performed by Peter Pears (tenor) and Galina Vishnevskaya (soprano) with the Bach Choir and the London Symphony Orchestra
    DISC FOUR: Part 1 Nos 4 & 5: Gloria in excelsis Deo – Et in terra pax. Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by The Monteverdi Choir and The English Baroque Soloists and conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner
    DISC FIVE: The Marriage of Figaro), K. 492 Sull'Aria. Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by sopranos Charlotte Margiono and Barbara Bonney, Netherlands Opera Chorus and the Concertgebouw Orchestra
    DISC SIX: Hand in Hand by Glória (Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Choir)
    DISC SEVEN: Parry: I Was Glad, composed by Hubert Parry, performed by Westminster Abbey Choir, Simon Preston (organ) and conducted by William McKinney
    DISC EIGHT: Dies Irae. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, performed by Swedish Radio Choir and the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Claudio Abbado

    BOOK CHOICE: A Desert Island survival manual
    LUXURY ITEM: A solar-powered computer with sudoku puzzles and a writing application
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Part 1 Nos 4 & 5: Gloria in excelsis Deo – Et in terra pax, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by The Monteverdi Choir and The English Baroque Soloists, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

  • Michael Holding is a cricket commentator and former West Indies bowler. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers in the history of international cricket. In July 2020 when rain stopped play during the television coverage of a Test Match, he gave an unscripted four minute monologue on institutional racism in sport and society in the wake of the death of George Floyd. His spontaneous eloquence won him widespread acclaim, including a Royal Television Society award.

    Michael was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1954 and grew up playing Catchy Shubby, an informal and fast-moving form of cricket, in scrubland behind his parents' home. He made his debut for Jamaica aged 18. Two years later he played in his first Test match for the West Indies and went on to become part of a team that would make sporting history – not losing a single series for 15 years. Michael earned the nickname ‘Whispering Death’ for his long quiet run-up and extremely fast deliveries, and many cricket experts believe he bowled the greatest over in Test history – to the English batsman Geoffrey Boycott in 1981 in Barbados.

    He retired from international cricket in 1987 and became a well-respected and straight-talking commentator on the game: he has said this is his last year in the commentary box and he plans to return to his home in the Cayman Islands.

    DISC ONE: Don't Make Me Over by Dionne Warwick
    DISC TWO: War by Bob Marley And The Wailers
    DISC THREE: Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba
    DISC FOUR: Color Him Father by The Winstons
    DISC FIVE: What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye
    DISC SIX: Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins
    DISC SEVEN: That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick Featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight And Stevie Wonder
    DISC EIGHT: Who the Cap Fit by Bob Marley And The Wailers

    BOOK CHOICE: Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela
    LUXURY ITEM: A football
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick Featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight And Stevie Wonder

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Katy Hickman
    Photo BBC / Amanda Benson

  • Sue Lawley talks to the Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who died at the age of 80 on 24 August 2021. The programme was first broadcast in 2001.