Former host Kirsty Young to appear on Christmas Day Desert Island Discs as castaway

Cate Blanchett, Steven Spielberg and Kirsty Young are to appear on Desert Island Discs in a series of festive specials.

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

The three guests will share 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 over the Christmas period as the BBC Radio 4 show marks its 80th birthday.

Australian actress Blanchett will recall, in her episode, growing up in Melbourne and her rise to fame in the 1998 film Elizabeth where she played the Virgin Queen.

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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, talks 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.

The Christmas Day castaway will be Young who hosted Desert Island Discs from 2006 until 2018 when ill health forced her to step down.

The former Crimewatch host recently presented the state funeral of the Queen and parts of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations on the BBC.

Young shares 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”

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Festive Desert Island Discs, on Radio 4 on Sundays, will see Blanchett on December 11, Spielberg on December 18 and Young on December 25.

Further festive highlights from across BBC Radio will be announced on Monday.