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Baroness Jane Campbell to be a castaway on Desert Island Discs

Emma Emma | 14:31 UK time, Friday, 3 August 2012

Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton

Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton

Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton, seasoned disability campaigner and crossbench peer in the House of Lords, is the guest on this Sunday's Desert Island Discs.

The show, where Kirsty Young interviews a "castaway" one-to-one and asks them to make 8 personal record choices, has been part of the BBC radio landscape since 1942 and is a prestigious invite indeed.

Jane was asked to appear on the show late last year but unfortunately was ill in hospital at the time. However, when she recovered and made contact with the programme again this summer, they were still keen to have her, something which came as a surprise to the self-depricating Baroness.

"I'm a Bit of a fan of Desert Island Discs. The people sound so interesting and have done great things like compose music. I wondered why they wanted me. All I've done is disability rights, like lots of other people.

"But I'm shocked that I ever passed an O level. I'm convinced that sooner or later people will realise that I'm a fluke!"

Although she describes herself as "an open book", Jane says she was daunted by the experience to begin with and that she found selecting her favourite disks pretty difficult.

"I love music and didn't know whether to choose songs that reminded me of situations and people or pieces I really loved. In the End, I tended to choose tracks which remind me of the big moments in my life. Surprisingly they [Desert Island Disks] don't steer you at all, which is quite brave."

The baroness was impressed by the team's willingness to make the necessary reasonable adjustments for her disability; the programme was recorded in her home rather than in the studio.

"It was so good of them to make the effort to come out here because recording in someone's house is unpredictable. I'd just been ill for about five months and I didn't think that I could make it up to a studio and be comfortable there to do a long interview. I have breathing issues and the equipment I need is at home ."

When asked why she thought the programme had invited her on now, the 52-year-old, who was born with the difficult condition spinal muscular atrophy, said: "I hope it isn't because they think I'm going to drop dead. I am past my sell-by date and I sometimes feel like I'm living a Bit on borrowed time but I am still alive and I have done some pretty remarkable things and been part of some pretty remarkable projects and campaigns."

Jane plans to listen to the show, "under the quilt with a pillow over my ears".

Other disabled castaways have included fellow Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Blind Labour MP David Blunkett and disabled punk star Ian Dury.

Desert Island Disks with Baroness Campbell of Surbiton will be on BBC Radio 4 this Sunday at 11.15 noon, repeated next Friday at 9.00 AM.

1500 episodes of Desert Island Discs can be listened to and downloaded from the programme's website.


  • Comment number 1.

    A truly inspirational programme featuring an amazing woman who has championed the cause of disabled persons for so many years. One may not always agree with her stance on euthanasia (I do as a matter of fact), but she is the supreme example of someone who has achieved so much in her life in spite of her own limitations. One of the most enjoyable editions of this programme for a very long time.

  • Comment number 2.

    Can anyone tell me, how the disabled are to move from Stratford Station to "The Most Accessible Games ever"? After the trains, and before the Park....a gaping hole in locog plans..a 15 min WALK ! Perhaps Baroness Campbell might have the ear of Lord Coe and Locog, to point this out, before the Parlalympics? Being left behind in a stream of people is not recognizing the needs of the disabled!

  • Comment number 3.

    It is simply brilliant and so right that Desert Island Discs persisted with including Jane Campbell as a guest on their venerable series as she simply one heck of a Disabled Star.


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