Main content

Sir Sydney Kentridge

Sir Sydney Kentridge QC is interviewed by Kirsty Young.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Sir Sydney Kentridge QC.

Widely regarded as a leading advocate of the 20th century, he continues to make his mark in the 21st; he recently appeared for the first time in the European Court of Justice and at the end of last year he spent the actual day of his 90th birthday working in the English Supreme Court.

Born in South Africa, he was first called to the bar there at the end of the 1940s and played a leading role in some of the most significant political trials of the apartheid era. 'Understated, controlled, relentlessly rational' - and with devastating cross-examination skills - the verdict of one of his clients - Nelson Mandela.

He himself says "I hope there's only one thing about my professional life of which I've boasted and which I think, as a lawyer, is unique on my part - I have acted as an advocate for three winners of The Nobel Peace Prize. I don't think anyone else has done that."

Producer: Isabel Sargent.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 5 Apr 2013 09:00


Music Played

  • Ella Fitzgerald

    Anything Goes

    • Night And Day: The Cole Porter Songbook.
    • Universal.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

      Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fuhlen (from the Magic Flute)

      Performer: Bryn Terfel with Miah Persson and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras

      • Tutto Mozart.
      • Deutsche Grammophon.
      • 4775885.
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck

    Che Faro Senza Euridice from Orfeo and Euridice

    Performer: Kathleen Ferrier with the Southern Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Fritz Stiedry

    • Gluck: Orfeo Ed Euridice.
    • Decca.
  • James Johnston

    The Dark Eyed Sailor

    • James Johnston Opera and Song.
    • Testament.
  • Flanders and Swann

    Ill Wind

    • At the Drop of Another Hat.
    • Parlophone.
  • Franz Schubert

    Impromptu No 3 in B flat major

    Performer: Alfred Brendel

    • Schubert: Impromptus D.899 & D.935.
    • Philips.
  • Hector Berlioz

    Absence (from Nuits d’Ete)

    Performer: Janet Baker

    • Berlioz: Les Nuits De’Ete.
    • EMI.
  • Lord Beginner

    Cricket Lovely Cricket

    • London is the Place for Me.
    • Honest Jons.
  • Book Choice

    • The Jeeves Omnibus - P G Wodehouse

  • Luxury Choice

    • An endless supply of coffee and a machine to make it with.


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Sydney Kentridge
Producer Isabel Sargent


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?