Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young opens up about recording ‘intense’ interviews

Kirsty spoke candidly about how difficult it can be conducting interviews that are often sensitive in nature and how she manages to wind down afterwards.

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The 49-year-old presenter admitted that broadcasting the long-running BBC radio 4 show can be “intense” at times.

Speaking about how she deals with those types of discussions, she said: “I always try to walk in the fresh air afterwards, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.

“Seeing other people going about their business helps to put the whole thing in perspective as recordings can often be a little… shall we say… intense.”

Kirsty, who has presented the show since 2006 after taking over from Sue Lawley, also spoke about how she prepares for her interviews.

She told Radio Times: “I do a lot of swotting at home in my study before recording day – with research notes compiled by the brilliant Desert Island Discs team and lots of source material.

“From soft matter physics to the life and work of our greatest movie directors – these past 11 years have been my education.”

However, it is not just physics and movie directors that fascinate Kirsty as she went on to confess that she enjoys watching Netflix hit The Crown.

Asked what programme she is loving at the moment, the mother-of-two replied: “The Crown. It’s irresistible and people getting their knickers in a knot about ‘accuracy’ are missing the point – it’s a drama, not a documentary.

“It aims incredibly high and delivers. It’s not only brilliantly entertaining but in the tradition of all great drama it helps us understand essential truths about an often opaque institution.”

Kirsty has fronted Desert Island Discus for 11 years and has interviewed stars including Sir David Attenborough, David Beckham and Dame Judi Dench.

But if she could bring back to life one star to appear on the popular BBC radio show she revealed that it would have to be the late David Bowie.

Adding: “I did once meet David Bowie in New York but I would so dearly have loved to have cast him away too.”

Desert Island Discs was first broadcast in 1942 and each week a guest is asked to choose eight songs to take to a fictional desert island with them, as well as a book and a luxury item.

Last year, Kirsty celebrated 75 years of Desert Island Discs by looking back at the best interviews from the BBC programme’s 3,000 guests.

At the time, Kirsty introduced the anniversary show by saying: “We celebrated 75 years casting guests away to that tiny deserted island with just a few treasured recordings, three books and a luxury to keep them company.

“Today we are going to mark the end of such a special milestone by hand-picking a festive selection box of archived goodies from some of the 3,000 guests who have been cast away over the past three-quarters of a century.”

Desert Island Discs continues Friday at 9am on BBC Radio 4.

Read the full interview with Kirsty Young in Radio Times, out now.

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Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of and Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

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