Kirsty Young has made the decision to step down permanently as host of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

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

Kirsty has been the presenter of Desert Island Discs since 2006 and in that time has presented 496 episodes 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.

“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.” – Kirsty Young

David Beckham was just one of Kirsty’s star guests.

“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.” – Director of Radio & Education, James Purnell

Lauren Laverne has been acting as stand-in presenter during Young’s absence, a role she will continue in ‘for the foreseeable future’ the Beeb note.

Desert Island Discs began in January 1942. The format was originally hosted by Roy Plomley until 1985 when Michael Parkinson briefly held the reigns. From 1988 to 2006 Sue Lawley oversaw proceedings.

“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.” Stepping in for Kirsty on Desert Island Discs (which was already my favourite programme) has been an enormous honour. I wish her the very best in her next chapter.” – Lauren Laverne

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