Main content

Molly Parkin

The Grande Dame of bohemian living, Molly Parkin, joins Kirsty Young to choose her Desert Island discs.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the doyenne of bohemian living, Molly Parkin.

She left the Welsh valleys to train as a fine artist in London and was a successful painter then teacher before becoming a fashion writer and novelist. She is as well known, though, for her lifestyle as her work. She adopted a hedonistic approach to life - smoking and drinking through the night and picking up numerous lovers along the way.

Now aged 79 she prefers to live alone and says she has found a calmer way of living. "I have been blessed, and made it my business, to surround myself with larger than life characters," she says, "love, on a very profound level comes unexpectedly and brilliantly."

Record: Good Golly Miss Molly
Book: The History of the Colony by Sophie Parkin
Luxury: Her entire outfit including her Andrew Logan brooch

Producer: Leanne Buckle.

Available now

45 minutes

Music Played

  • Bette Midler

    Accentuate the Positive

    Composer: Harold Arlen – music Johnny Mercer

    • from American television programme.
  • Liane Carroll

    Three Sheets to the Wind

    Composer: Liane Carroll

    • Standard Issue.
    • Splash Paint Records.
  • Louis Armstrong

    A Kiss to Build a Dream On

    Composer: Kalmar/Ruby/Oscar Hammerstein 11

    • Midnight Jazz Moods.
    • Temple.
  • Ian Shaw

    Somewhere towards love

    Composer: Ian Shaw

    • Somewhere Towards Love.
    • Splash Paint Records.
  • George Melly

    Rockin' Chair

    Composer: Carmichael

    • The Best of George Melly.
    • Kaz.
  • Michael Jackson

    Billie Jean

    Composer: M Jackson

    • Thriller.
    • EPIC.
  • Sarah Jane Morris

    Never Forget How to Dance

    Composer: Sarah Jane Morris/Martyn Barker/Dominic Miller/John Brown

    • Where It Hurts.
    • Fallen Angel.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Little Richard

      Good Golly Miss Molly

      Composer: Marascalco, Blackwell

      • Little Richard: 22 Classic Cuts.
      • Ace.
  • Book Choice

    • The History of the Colony - Sophie Parkin

  • Luxury Choice

    • Her entire outfit including her Andrew Logan Brooch


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Molly Parkin


Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes



Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?