Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

Society & Culture, Personal Journals

Chart Positions

Personal Journals 34

Desert Island Discs was created by Roy Plomley in 1942, and the format is simple: a guest is invited by Kirsty Young to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island


Dame Claire Bertschinger

March 23rd, 2014

Episode 412 of 566 episodes

Kirsty Young's castaway is the nurse & humanitarian Dame Claire Bertschinger. She's worked for The Red Cross in over a dozen countries including Sudan, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Liberia amid the sort of raw human suffering that most of us find - even on the TV - almost unbearable to witness. It was through Michael Buerk's landmark news reports of the Ethiopian famine 30 years ago that she first grabbed our attention. We saw her as a young nurse surrounded by thousands of starving people and forced, daily, to make the truly terrible decision of choosing who to feed. Throughout the years she's won numerous plaudits and awards: her Florence Nightingale Medal is given "to honour those "who've distinguished themselves in times of war by exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled." She says, "I don't live just to eat and sleep and get money to have a nice house ... I have to create value - I have to do something in life." Producer: Cathy Drysdale.