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Christopher Ondaatje

Sue Lawley's castaway is businessman, explorer and philanthropist Christopher Ondaatje.

Christopher Ondaatje was born in the British colony of Ceylon and educated at Blundell's School in Tiverton, Devon. He moved to Canada and in 1964 was a member of the Canadian Olympic Bobsled team. He is a retired businessman with a taste for adventure, philanthropy and cricket (he is a patron of Somerset County Cricket Club). He is a member of the exclusive club of Labour's 'million plus' donors and his philanthropy does not stop there - he has also given over a million pounds to the Royal Geographical Society and the National Portrait Gallery, who named a wing of the gallery after him.

Married with three children and 12 grandchildren, Mr Ondaatje is now based in London when he is not travelling the world. His lust for adventure has fuelled several books - most famously Journey to the Source of the Nile.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Einleitung / Introduction by Richard Strauss
Book: Anthology of Poetry by Robert Service
Luxury: The Blue Nude by Justin Deranyagala

Available now

45 minutes

Music Played

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  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Richard Strauss

      Einleitung / Introduction

      Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic

      • Der Rosenkavalier.
      • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Kathleen Ferrier

    Blow the Wind Southerly

    • The World of Kathleen Ferrier.
    • Decca.
  • Learn to Croon

  • Bessie Smith

    Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

    • After You've Gone.
    • Catfish.
  • Gordon Lightfoot

    The Canadian Railroad trilogy

    • The Way I Feel.
    • BGO Records.
  • Joséphine Baker

    J'ai Deux Amours

    • Twenty Four Hits - 1926-1944.
    • ASV.
  • Louis Armstrong

    Weary Blues

    • The Hot Fives and Hot Sevens - Vol 11.
    • Columbia.
  • Richard Strauss

    Marie Theres'! Hab' mir's gelobt (Act 3 Trio) (from Der Rosenkavalier)

    Soloist: Agnes Baltsa, Anna Tomowa-Sintow & Janet Terry

    • Der Rosenkavalier.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Book Choice

    • Anthology of Poetry - Robert Service

  • Luxury Choice

    • The Blue Nude by Justin Deranyagala


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Christopher Ondaatje


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