Kirsty Young steps down as host of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs

Mark Johnson's picture

Scottish journalist and presenter Kirsty Young is stepping down permanently as host of the popular BBC radio show Desert Island Discs.

Temporary stand-in Lauren Laverne will continue to present the show.

“After 12 incredibly happy and fulfilling years on Desert Island Discs I’ve decided to step down permanently”, said Young.

"Having been forced to take some months away from my favourite job because of health problems, I’m happy to say I’m now well on the way to feeling much better. 

“But that enforced absence from the show has altered my perspective on what I should do next and so I’ve decided it’s time to pursue new challenges.

"Having hundreds of Castaways share their triumphs, tragedies, tribulations and tracks with me over the years was a huge privilege and an education. I am so thankful to Roy Plomley for the brilliance of his format, and I wish the programme and Lauren all the very best.”

DID presenter since 2006

Kirsty has been the presenter of the programme since 2006 and in that time has presented 496 episodes of the programme as well as fronting the programme’s 70th and 75th anniversary celebrations. 

Her illustrious castaways have included Zadie Smith, David Beckham, Bruce Springsteen, Victoria Wood, Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Judi Dench, George Michael, Alice Walker, Tom Hanks, WWII pilot Eric Winkle Brown and Sir David Attenborough.

“Kirsty has been a wonderful host of Desert Island Discs for more than a decade and her intuitive interviewing style as well as her warmth and humour has helped bring out incredible life stories and anecdotes from her castaways”, said Director of Radio & Education, James Purnell. 

“We know how loved she is by listeners and we all wish her well for the future.

"Lauren Laverne has been doing a brilliant job at the helm in Kirsty’s absence and I’m delighted she continues to host one of Radio 4’s most popular shows.”

Lauren Laverne will continue to host Desert Island Discs for the foreseeable future as planned.

“Stepping in for Kirsty on Desert Island Discs (which was already my favourite programme) has been an enormous honour”, Laverne said. 

“I wish her the very best in her next chapter.”