300 episodes

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

Desert Island Disc‪s‬ BBC

    • Personal Journals
    • 4.6 • 1K Ratings

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

    Mark Strong, actor

    Mark Strong, actor

    Mark Strong has appeared in more than 60 films, along with numerous TV dramas and plays.

    His career took off after he won a leading role in the landmark 1996 BBC series Our Friends in the North, and since then his screen work includes dramas such as Syriana, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Zero Dark Thirty and The Imitation Game, as well as the fantasy and comic book worlds of Stardust, Kick Ass and Shazam. In 2015 he won the Olivier best actor award for his London stage performance in A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller, in a production that also won him great acclaim in New York.

    Mark was born in London, the only child of an Austrian mother and an Italian father. His father left the family when Mark was a baby and has played no part in his life. Thanks to his mother, Mark is fluent in German, and he spent most of his school holidays with his Austrian grandmother. His mother had two jobs to support them both, and Mark attended state boarding schools in the UK from the age of six. His first taste of performing came in a punk rock band at school, but he began his further education by starting a law degree in Germany, before changing course and returning to the UK to study drama.

    Most recently he has been filming the TV drama Temple, in which he plays a rogue surgeon operating in abandoned tunnels beneath a London underground station.

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Sarah Taylor

    • 34 min
    Claire Horton, charity worker

    Claire Horton, charity worker

    Claire Horton is the former chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and is currently director general of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

    She joined Battersea in 2010 during its landmark 150th year, spearheading a campaign which transformed the animal rescue service into a UK top 10 charity brand. During her years in charge, income and volunteer numbers quadrupled; new facilities were developed and the charity successfully campaigned for changes in animal welfare legislation.

    As a teenager Claire volunteered for a number of organisations including Mencap and the Riding for the Disabled Association. At 18 she joined the police force as a special constable, patrolling the streets of Dudley where she lived.

    Her first position in the charity sector was at the NSPCC and she later worked for the Cats Protection League and the Variety Club of Great Britain. In 2020 she was appointed CBE for her services to animal welfare.

    DISC ONE: Howlin’ For You by The Black Keys
    DISC TWO: Drink, Drink, Drink by Mario Lanza
    DISC THREE: Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
    DISC FOUR: Ghost Town by The Specials
    DISC FIVE: Agnus Dei, Op 11composed by Samuel Barber, conducted by Edward Higginbottom, performed by Choir of New College Oxford
    DISC SIX: Affirmation by Savage Garden
    DISC SEVEN: Heroes by David Bowie
    DISC EIGHT: Benedictus by Karl Jenkins

    BOOK CHOICE: A book by Dick Francis
    LUXURY ITEM: A piano and sheet music
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

    • 36 min
    Sophia Loren

    Sophia Loren

    Sophia Loren is the first performer to win the Best Actress Academy Award for a role in a foreign language film. She won in 1962 for her performance in Vittorio De Sica’s film Two Women in which she played a mother trying to protect her 12-year-old daughter in war-torn Italy. In 1991, she picked up a second Oscar when the Academy presented her with an Honorary Award for her contribution to world cinema.

    Born Sofia Villani Scicolone in a hospital ward for unmarried mothers, she was brought up by a single mother in Pozzuoli near Naples during the war years. After success in her first beauty pageant at the age of 15 and starring in photo romance stories for popular magazines, she first came to wider attention in 1953 when she played the title role in the Italian film Aida.

    She played a pizza seller in De Sica’s The Gold of Naples which is regarded as her breakthrough performance and led to her working on Hollywood movies with a who’s who of co-stars including Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck and Paul Newman. Her most enduring on-screen partnership was with the Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni.

    In 1966 she married the film producer Carlo Ponti and went on to have two children. In her most recent film The Life Ahead, directed by her son Edoardo Ponti, she plays a holocaust survivor and ex-prostitute who cares for the children of local sex workers.

    DISC ONE: I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Ella Fitzgerald
    DISC TWO: Debussy: Suite bergamasque, L.75 - 3. Clair de lune composed by Claude Debussy, performed by Tamás Vásáry
    DISC THREE: Lara Says Goodbye to Yuri by Maurice Jarre
    DISC FOUR: Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) by Frank Sinatra with The Count Basie Orchestra, directed by Quincy Jones
    DISC FIVE: Oggi Sono Io by Mina
    DISC SIX: The Marketplace at Limoges composed by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, performed by Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Ponti
    DISC SEVEN: Io Sì by Laura Pausini
    DISC EIGHT: Caruso by Lucio Dalla

    BOOK CHOICE: Letters from a Young Father by Edoardo Ponti
    LUXURY ITEM: A pizza oven
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Caruso by Lucio Dalla

    Presenter Lauren Laverne
    Producer Paula McGinley

    • 36 min
    Malala Yousafzai, activist

    Malala Yousafzai, activist

    Malala Yousafzai is an activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize when she was 17 - becoming the youngest winner in its history. Today she is known globally for her human rights advocacy and her ongoing campaign to ensure all children have equal access to education.

    She was born in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan where her father Ziauddin was a prominent activist who believed boys and girls should sit side by side in the classroom and co-founded a school which Malala attended. After the Taliban began to establish its presence in the Valley, day-to-day life became synonymous with danger and fear – people were taken from their homes and killed for speaking out against the regime. Education for girls was forbidden and schools were shut down or bombed.

    In 2009 Malala began writing an anonymous blog for BBC Urdu in which she spoke out about what was happening in Swat Valley. This made her a target. In 2012 she was shot by a Taliban gunman as she sat on the school bus. Two girls sitting alongside her were also shot. What Malala calls ‘the incident’ generated headlines around the world. Her injuries were severe and she was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. After a long and painful recovery she settled in Birmingham with her family.

    Now 23, Malala graduated from the University of Oxford last year and continues to campaign globally for girls’ education through the Malala Fund which she co-founded with her father.

    DISC ONE: Rang by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Amjad Sabri
    DISC TWO: Shinwari Lawangeena by Zarsanga
    DISC THREE: Never Say Never by Justin Bieber
    DISC FOUR: Hum Dekhen Ge by Iqbal Bano
    DISC FIVE: All I Ask of You by Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton
    DISC SIX: Kaari Kaari by Qurat Ul Ain Balouch
    DISC SEVEN: Love Always Comes as a Surprise by Peter Asher
    DISC EIGHT: Bibi Sherina by Sardar Ali Takkar

    BOOK CHOICE: Plato: Complete Works
    LUXURY ITEM: Lip balm
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Hum Dekhen Ge by Iqbal Bano

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

    • 36 min
    George McGavin, entomologist and broadcaster

    George McGavin, entomologist and broadcaster

    George McGavin is an entomologist, explorer and broadcaster, who has spread the word about the importance of insects to audiences in their millions.

    Born in Glasgow, he grew up in Edinburgh where he studied zoology at university. Following a PhD in entomology, he went on to teach and research at the University of Oxford. He gave up his post as the assistant curator of the university’s Museum of Natural History after 25 years to follow his dream of becoming a television presenter.

    He has presented documentaries from far-flung locations including Borneo, Guyana and New Guinea. He has made it his life’s work to uncover the mysteries of the largely uncatalogued world of invertebrates which he says makes up close to 80% of life on earth.

    In 2018 he was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer and the following year he turned the camera on himself to present a very personal programme about his diagnosis and treatment.

    DISC ONE: Love Reign O’er Me by The Who
    DISC TWO: The Dark Island by The Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch
    DISC THREE: Cello Concerto in E minor Op. 85, composed by Edward Elgar, performed by Jacqueline du Pré and London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli
    DISC FOUR: Night Lament by Kate Rusby
    DISC FIVE: To Begin at the Beginning read by Richard Burton, from Under Milk Wood
    DISC SIX: Keep Talking by Pink Floyd
    DISC SEVEN: Sola, Perduta, Abbandonata by Maria Callas and Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Tullio Serafin
    DISC EIGHT: The Bog by Einojuhani Rautavaara

    BOOK CHOICE: A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
    LUXURY ITEM: Hot sauce
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Cello Concerto in E minor Op. 85, performed by Jacqueline du Pré and London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir John Barbirolli

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

    • 36 min
    Monica Galetti, chef and restaurateur

    Monica Galetti, chef and restaurateur

    Monica Galetti is a chef, restaurateur and cook book writer, who is also known as a judge on the television series MasterChef: the Professionals.

    Born on the island of Upolu in Western Samoa, she grew up on the family plantation where her earliest food memories are of collecting eggs and mangoes and peeling bananas for special suppers. When she was eight she moved to New Zealand where her mother and stepfather had emigrated a couple of years earlier.

    After studying hospitality management and enjoying success in numerous cooking competitions, she travelled around Europe before settling in London where she found work as a commis chef at the Roux family’s restaurant, Le Gavroche. Under the watchful eye of Michel Roux Jr, she rose through the ranks to become Le Gavroche’s first female sous chef.

    She opened her own restaurant in 2017 where she works alongside her husband David who is head sommelier and co-owner.

    DISC ONE: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley And The Wailers
    DISC TWO: Samoa Matalasi (My Beautiful Samoa) by The Five Stars
    DISC THREE: You Oughta Be in Love by Dave Dobbyn (ft. Ardijah)
    DISC FOUR: Hotel California by The Eagles
    DISC FIVE: La Vie en Rose by Louis Armstrong
    DISC SIX: My Girl by The Temptations
    DISC SEVEN: Purple Rain by Prince
    DISC EIGHT: Feeling Good by Nina Simone

    BOOK CHOICE: The complete Works of Oscar Wilde
    LUXURY ITEM: Scuba diving gear
    CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley And The Wailers

    Presenter: Lauren Laverne
    Producer: Paula McGinley

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
1K Ratings

1K Ratings

Blowfishgreen ,

Wonderful Interview Style Lauren

I’ve been an avid listener of DID over recent years & I’ve listened to many interviews across all decades. I especially love your style of interviewing Lauren because you never assume, never judge & you always ask open powerful questions that, I believe, allow the guest to take us where they want to go - safely. Your speaking voice is so gentle & easy listening. Thank you for being so exceptional in your role!
(Lisa C, Canberra, Australia)

DID convert ,


I agree with the person who said that each interviewer brought their own gifts - I love Lauren’s energy and also her calm way with people. I really enjoy her interviews and I feel she brings the best out in people. I thought her interview with Samantha Morton was empathetic and allowed Samantha to say what she wanted to say and guiding her through some traumatic memories expertly. Thank you Lauren. Keep up the great work!

PodcastBore ,

Keir Starmer - why questions in politics?

Lauren made a point of steering this towards an interview that was not about politics and then asked several political questions. Annoying and unnecessary in an interview that was otherwise good.

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