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Simon Murray

Kirsty Young's castaway is businessman and explorer Simon Murray.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the adventurer and businessman Simon Murray. What many of us would struggle to do over three life-times he has managed in one - as a teenager, nursing a broken heart and determined to prove himself, he joined the French Foreign Legion. Fighting in the Algerian war, he risked his life many times over; combat was at close quarters and was very bloody.

Next, he set his sights on business - he ran some of the most well-known companies in South East Asia and was one of Chris Patten's key allies during the handover of Hong Kong. Then, in his 60s and looking for a new challenge, he chanced upon the idea of polar adventure, and went on to become the oldest person to walk unsupported to the South Pole. But after all this, his greatest achievement, he says, is his marriage. Perhaps it's no surprise that his wife of 43 years, Jennifer, is the first woman to have flown a helicopter solo around the world. These days their three children try to curb their enthusiasm for dangerous pursuits. But, Simon snorts, the couple simply say: "we're not listening."

This programme contains descriptions that some listeners may find disturbing.

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

Favourite track: O Soave Fanciulla (Oh beautiful maiden) by Giacomo Puccini
Book: Cautionary Tales by Hilaire Belloc
Luxury: Lots of paper, pencil and pencil sharpener.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 9 Jan 2009 09:00

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Annie Lennox


    • Diva.
    • RCA.
  • Luciano Pavarotti

    A Vucchella (A Sweet Mouth)

    • Pavarotti at Carnegie Hall.
    • Decca.
  • Members of the French Foreign Legion


    • Chants de La Legion Etrangere.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor - 2nd movement

    Soloist: Idil Biret Orchestra: Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Robert Stankovsky

    • Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2.
    • Naxos.
  • Neil Diamond

    Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed so Good)

    • 20 Golden Hits.
    • MCA.
  • Pietro Mascagni

    Intermezzo (from Cavalleria rusticana)

    Soloist: Cavalleria Rusticana Conductor: Riccardo Muti

    • Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana.
    • EMI.
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers

    Three Little Birds

    • Bob Marley & the Wailers.
    • Tuff Gong.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Giacomo Puccini

      O soave fanciulla (from La Bohème)

      Soloist: Maria Callas and Giuseppe di Stefano Orchestra: The Orchestra of La Scala, Milan Conductor: Antonino Votto

      • La Boheme.
      • EMI.
  • Book Choice

    • Cautionary Tales - Hilaire Belloc

  • Luxury Choice

    • Lots of paper, pencil and pencil sharpener


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Simon Murray


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