Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the broadcaster and comedian Ruby Wax. Her brass neck and immunity to embarrassment led to her pioneering a new brand of journalism which saw celebrities, film stars and even royalty open their hearts - and their sock drawers - to her. She rifled through Madonna's handbag and, with Ruby's encouragement, Imelda Marcos entertained the audience with a rendition of Feelings.
Ruby grew up in Illinois, the only child of Jewish refugees who had fled Austria in 1939. Her childhood was unhappy - and, by the time she was 18, she says she was so unconfident she feared she would never find a job without her parents' help. But she left America and came to Britain where, eventually, she was to find a place at the Royal Shakespeare Company. There, her friend and contemporary Alan Rickman persuaded her that her future lay in writing rather than acting. Her career has spanned more than 20 years but she says that while she has been enjoying the success that came her way, she has also suffered from depression and an anxiety that she should not pass on to her own children the insecurities she suffered from herself.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
Favourite track: A Day in the Life by The Beatles
Book: The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
Luxury: A huge bed
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