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Kirsty Young permanently steps down from Desert Island Discs

By | Published on Monday 8 July 2019

Kirty Young

Kirsty Young has confirmed that she is standing down as presenter of Radio 4’s long-running music programme ‘Desert Island Discs’ after hosting it for more than a decade. She had already announced that she was taking time off from the show last year following a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Lauren Laverne, who stepped in on a temporary basis, will now take over from her as the programme’s new permanent host.

“After twelve incredibly happy and fulfilling years on ‘Desert Island Discs’ I’ve decided to step down permanently”, says 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”.

She continues: “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 [the programme’s creator and original presenter] Roy Plomley for the brilliance of his format, and I wish the programme and Lauren all the very best”.

The BBC’s Director Of Radio & Education, James Purnell, adds: “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. We know how loved she is by listeners and we all wish her well for the future”.

On the programme’s new presenter, he says: “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”.

Laverne is only the fifth presenter to host the show in its more then 75 years on the air. Saying that it was “already my favourite programme”, she adds that presenting it is “an enormous honour”.

Last month, Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis became one of the latest people to choose eight songs that she’d like to be stranded on a desert island with. Listen to that here.