Desert Island Discs is a classic UK radio programme which has the format of a biographical interview – and much more interesting than that sounds. Each week, a different celebrity picks 8 favourite pieces of music and recollects their life around them. They’ve just hit a seam of gold with Sue Perkins last week – and now I see the next guest is John McEnroe. Both have been interviewed, interviewed others, been commentators, lived public lives – for decades – and never said a boring sentence (at least on camera).
They speak eloquently, passionately, and thoughtfully on – well, life – and anything any interviewer throws at them.
“You’re a very quotable person, Sue Perkins” says the interviewer.
One of the great pieces of music she picked was new to me and fabulous: Nick Drake “Northern Sky”. She told an amazing story about this – she was going through a terrible time in her life (she actually had physical problems which were making her behaviour go through huge mood swings) – and over and over again, she played this particular track. Later, she saw a photo of Nick Drake walking – and he was walking outside the very flat in which she had had her difficult period of life.
Sue Perkins is full of such reflections and stories. Even the way in which she first met Mel Giedroyc, her comedic partner and great friend. But that’s a story worth hearing the way Sue tells it. You can find it on this programme. Or in her entertaining autobiography “Spectacles”…. but do remember that Sue has one of the most pleasant voices in broadcasting. Thankfully, there is also an audiobook of her reading her own work – so you get both the words and the inflections. (The interviewer on “Desert Island Discs” said it was so funny that she was concerned about reading it on public transport in case she laughed out loud at what she read.).
You can hear the programme on BBC iPlayer for the next 20 odd days, at
(You’ll know you’ve got the right programme selected when you see the photo at the top of this post – it’s taken from that prog.)
Allow one hour to enjoy excellent comedy, commentary on life and company.