Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.
5 of 300
Classic Desert Island Discs - Elton John
Michael Parkinson's castaway is singer Elton John in a programme first broadcast in 1986.
Classic Desert Island Discs - Ann Leslie
Sue Lawley's castaway is foreign correspondent Ann Leslie in a programme first broadcast in 2004. Ann Leslie died in June 2023, aged 82.
The distinguished foreign correspondent Ann Leslie has witnessed and reported on some of the most significant events of the past 30 years including the fall of the Berlin wall; the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev and Nelson Mandela's final walk to freedom. She has reported on uprisings, massacres and wars, collecting numerous awards as she has done so.
She grew up in India and Pakistan and loved India and its culture. When she was around 10 years old she was sent to a boarding school in England. From school she went to Oxford and from there she joined the Daily Express. She was brought to London and was given her own column at the age of twenty-two. But she resigned, saying she wanted to do proper reporting, and it was David English's support for her that saw her start writing foreign news stories and set the course for her distinguished career.
Classic Desert Island Discs - Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan is best known for reviving the Batman film franchise and for directing the blockbusters Inception and Dunkirk. His films have taken nearly $5 billion at the box office. Born in London in 1970 to an English father and an American mother, he discovered film-making at the age of seven. In what he describes as "a leap of faith", his father lent him his Super 8 camera - and he's not stopped making films since. From youthful experiments, manipulating his action figures and shooting stop motion animations, he progressed to making short films at university where he read English - although he spent more time at University College London's Bloomsbury Theatre, home to the film society, than the lecture theatre.
His first feature film, Following, had enough festival exposure and critical success to secure him his first official budget of $4.5 million to make his next film, Memento. In 2005 he was hailed for reinventing the Caped Crusader in the dark and gritty Batman Begins. He regularly works with the same actors and production team including his long-time producer, his wife, Emma Thomas.
Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Cathy Drysdale.
Shirley Collins, folk singer
Shirley Collins first enjoyed success as one of the leading figures in the British folk revival of the 1960s. She initially performed with her sister, Dolly Collins, and also collaborated with other folk luminaries to create some of the era’s most beloved albums. In the past decade she has made an acclaimed return to the concert stage and the recording studio.
Shirley was born in Sussex in 1935. She can still recall how her grandfather used to sing folk songs to comfort her while they were sheltering during German air raids in the early 1940s.
Alongside her career as a singer, in the 1950s she travelled to the American South with Alan Lomax, where they made field recordings of blues and folk musicians, helping to create a significant archive.
Later in her performing career, Shirley found that she could no longer sing, following a distressing betrayal in her private life. She stepped away from music and was silent for many years, taking on other work, including a stint in a job centre Then, in her 80s, she found her voice again. In 2016 she released her first new album after a gap of almost four decades, and she has since released two more albums.
Shirley lives in Sussex, not far from her childhood home.
DISC ONE: Chiling O Guiry - Concerto Caledonia
DISC TWO: The Birds in the Spring - The Copper Family
DISC THREE: Who Would True Valour See - Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band
DISC FOUR: Dear Father, Pray Build Me a Boat - Sheila Smith
DISC FIVE: 61 Highway Blues - Mississippi Fred McDowell
DISC SIX: Poor Sally Sits a-weeping - Dolly Collins
DISC SEVEN: A Heart Needs A Home - Richard & Linda Thompson
DISC EIGHT: Going Home - Mark Knopfler
BOOK CHOICE: A collection of Brodie detective novels by Kate Atkinson
LUXURY ITEM: A solar powered fridge filled with Italian Ice cream and two lipsticks
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Poor Sally Sits a Weeping
Presenter Lauren Laverne
Producer Sarah Taylor
Toto Wolff, Formula 1 executive
Toto Wolff is CEO and Team Principal of the Mercedes Formula 1 motor racing team. He has led the team to an unprecedented seven consecutive drivers’ championships – six with Lewis Hamilton - and eight consecutive constructors' championships. He is the most successful manager in Formula 1 history, and arguably one of the most successful managers in any sport.
Toto was born Torger Wolff in Vienna. When he was eight his father was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died when Toto was 15. Toto found himself looking after his mother and sister from a young age which he believes contributed to the strength of character he developed as an adult.
Toto's original ambition in motorsport was to be a driver, and he started competing in his late teens. Following the deaths of drivers Ayrton Senna and then Roland Ratzenberger, his sponsor withdrew support, which forced him to give up his dream. He turned his attention to business and made a fortune as an entrepreneur.
In 2009 he bought a stake in the Williams Formula 1 team and four years later bought a 30% stake in the Mercedes team.
Toto is married to the former racing driver Susie Stoddart and they divide their time between the UK and Monaco. Their six-year-old son Jack is already showing an interest in karting.
DISC ONE: Unfinished Sympathy - Massive Attack
DISC TWO: Mama - Genesis
DISC THREE: Money Can’t Buy It - Annie Lennox
DISC FOUR: Iron Sky - Paolo Nutini
DISC FIVE: We Are The Champions – Queen
DISC SIX: Another Day in Paradise - Phil Collins
DISC SEVEN: Fallen - Lauren Wood
DISC EIGHT: The Power of Love - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
BOOK CHOICE: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
LUXURY ITEM: Diving fins and a mask
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Fallen - Lauren Wood
Presenter Lauren Laverne
Producer Paula McGinley