Transcripts (35)

George McGavin, entomologist and broadcaster

Desert Island Discs

  • 2.6K views
  • 2 months ago
  • 36:40

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. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley

Claire Horton, charity worker

Desert Island Discs

  • 1.1K views
  • about 2 months ago
  • 36:34

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. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley

Dame Louise Casey, crossbench peer

Desert Island Discs

  • 560 views
  • about 1 month ago
  • 37:10

Baroness Casey of Blackstock is a former civil servant specialising in social welfare, who has worked under five prime ministers. She has taken on some of UK society’s most difficult issues, including homelessness, anti-social behaviour and family breakdown, and has become known for her forthright views. She grew up in Portsmouth and her first job was working on reception at a branch of the Department of Health and Social Security in the late 1980s. At 27 she became the deputy director of the housing and homelessness charity, Shelter. In 1999 she was appointed head of Tony Blair’s new Rough Sleepers Unit, prompting the media to call her the ‘homelessness tsar’. She went on to run the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit at the Home Office where she became known as the ASBO Queen. David Cameron appointed her director general of the Troubled Families Programme in 2011. In 2016 she was awarded a DBE for services to families and vulnerable people. During the first COVID-19 lockdown she led the government’s Everyone In campaign which found emergency accommodation for rough sleepers. Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Paula McGinley

David Mitchell, novelist

Desert Island Discs

  • 550 views
  • 5 months ago
  • 36:59

David Mitchell has published eight novels, two of which – number9dream and Cloud Atlas – have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also translated two books on autism from Japanese, working with his Japanese wife: their son is on the autistic spectrum. While his work also includes writing for the screen and opera libretti, his main occupation has been, as one critic put it, “quietly pottering away at the frontier of fiction” for more than two decades. David is the son of two artists, and grew up near the Malverns, where his father worked in the art department of the Royal Worcester porcelain factory. After studying at the University of Kent, he worked in a bookshop, and moved to Japan in the mid-1990s to teach English. Here he met his wife and put his mind to writing. His first two novels were published while still living in Hiroshima. With each standalone novel, David is also adding to what he calls an uber-novel in which all of his books are part of a larger narrative, with characters flitting from one story to another, transported to a different time and place, but bringing a familiarity and a backstory with them. He now lives in County Cork, Ireland, with his wife and two children. DISC ONE: Sunset by Kate Bush DISC TWO: Requiem Op. 33b, For Mixed Choir A Cappela / Fyrir Blandadan Kór A Capella. Performed by Motet Choir Of The Hallgrím's Church, chorus Master: Hörður Áskelsson DISC THREE: Mercury by Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhli, James McAlister DISC FOUR: Un Dia De Noviembre by Zsofia Boros DISC FIVE: Anima by Milton Nascimento DISC SIX: Stylo by Gorillaz, featuring Bobby Womack and Mos Def DISC SEVEN: In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane DISC EIGHT: Sonata in F minor, K466, composed by Domenico Scarlatti, performed by Yevgeny Sudbin BOOK CHOICE: A book of Chinese characters (Kanji) LUXURY ITEM: A complete archive of Desert Island Discs CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Anima by Milton Nascimento Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor.

Maggie O'Farrell, writer

Desert Island Discs

  • 500 views
  • 29 days ago
  • 35:36

Maggie O’Farrell has written eight novels, a memoir and a children’s book. In 2020 her novel Hamnet won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and was also named Waterstones Book of the Year. Maggie was born in Norther Ireland. Her parents moved around during her childhood, and she grew up in Wales and Scotland. As a young girl, she was very ill and almost died from encephalitis. She says her lifelong love of reading comes from her long stay in hospital followed by an extended convalescence, when she missed a year of school. Her illness also left her with a stammer, which she believes has profoundly affected her relationship with language. She studied English at Cambridge University, and then looked for work as a journalist, writing poetry in her spare time. When she chanced upon a discarded computer, she decided to write a novel. She attended a creative writing course, where her tutors encouraged her to get her first manuscript published. She lives in Scotland with her husband, the writer William Sutcliffe, and their three children. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Sarah Taylor