Desert Island Discs today: Is Kirsty Young returning to BBC Radio 4 show - how to listen?

Cate Blanchett and Steven Spielberg have also appeared on the show in December

Kirsty Young has recalled how having to step away from broadcasting for a few years due to her chronic pain condition caused her to question her own identity, saying “you lose your sense of self”.

The former Desert Island Discs host returned to BBC Radio 4 series on Christmas Day, with the episode set to be repeated on Friday (30 December). She is one of the festive guests on the popular show.

Cate Blanchett, Steven Spielberg and Kirsty Young appeared on the Radio 4 programme throughout December. The three guests shared the eight recordings, the book and luxury item they would take with them if they were cast away on a desert island with presenter Lauren Laverne.

Desert Island Discs marked its 80th birthday over the festive period. Former host Young, who was in the hot seat from 2006 until 2018 before standing down due to ill health, will be the guest on Christmas Day.

Australian actress Blanchett recalled in her episode, growing up in Melbourne and her rise to fame in the 1998 film Elizabeth where she played the Virgin Queen. The 53-year-old actress also speaks about her acting career which has featured two Academy Awards, three Baftas and three Golden Globes, and roles in films such as Carol and Blue Jasmine.

Meanwhile, Spielberg, 75, talked about his childhood mini-movies and his first big break as a director with the 1971 truck chase drama Duel. He also looks at why he has found a young person’s perspective important in E.T., Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The BFG and most recently The Fabelmans.

Kirsty Young will return as a castawayKirsty Young will return as a castaway
Kirsty Young will return as a castaway

Young, who appeared on the Christmas Day episode, recently presented the state funeral of the Queen and parts of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations on the BBC. She shared her feelings about her closing words on the BBC during the monarch’s funeral service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, her career in Scotland and elsewhere before talking about casting away nearly 500 people herself.

The 54-year-old broadcaster said: “It was a slightly discombobulating and thoroughly enjoyable experience. Although making anyone narrow down their favourite discs to just eight is frankly unreasonable. It’ll never catch on.”

The festive episodes of Desert Island Discs will be as follows:

  • Cate Blanchett - 11 December
  • Steven Spielberg - 18 December
  • Kirsty Young - 25 December

How to listen to Desert Island Discs?

The Kirsty Young episode is being repeated on BBC Radio 4 from 9am on 30 December. It can be listened on the radio as well as on the BBC Sounds app.

Young hosted nearly 500 editions of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs between 2006 and 2018 before having to leave the show to undergo treatment for fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. She explained that she originally spent a year seeing different specialists trying to work out what was the nature of her condition until she found a “brilliant” professor of rheumatology who diagnosed her.

She said he also warned her that she had to take her condition “seriously” and reduce the stress in her life alongside the medical treatment if she wanted to get better. “It was said with extreme kindness but it was just a moment of absolute reality and clarity, and I remember I pulled my car over and just had a good old, to use a good Scottish word, a good old greet (cry) and I thought ‘right, well, them’s the facts and you’re really going to have to think about this’,” she said.

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