Main content

Doug Allan

Kirsty Young talks to wildlife cameraman Doug Allan.

Doug Allan is Kirsty's castaway this week.
He's spent thirty-five years capturing unique footage of animals in some of the most remote and least hospitable places on earth. If you've watched fuzzy little polar bear cubs frolic in the frozen wilderness or slick killer whales eerily circling their prey, the spellbinding footage is his. David Attenborough, a long- time collaborator describes his work, simply, as "extraordinary".

A trained biologist he first made a living diving into the icy rivers of Scotland searching among the mussel-beds for pearls; a useful early lesson in patience and coping with the cold. His subsequent dedication to a working life in the wilderness has bagged him a slew of Baftas and Emmys but there's also been an emotional toll - he's coped with periods of depression and is twice divorced.

He says, "Big animals are my passion. I particularly love working with large mammals because they're intelligent and you can develop a relationship with them"

And he's at his happiest at -18 degrees centigrade!

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 25 Jul 2014 09:00

Music Played

  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Bruce Springsteen

      Thunder Road

      • Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits.
      • Columbia.
  • Spike Milligan

    Bazonka

    • Muses with Milligan adapted from the BBc2 TV.
    • Decca.
  • Frank Sinatra & Celeste Holm

    Who Wants to be a Millionaire

    • High Society.
    • Capitol.
  • Mark Knopfler

    The Wild Theme

    • Local Hero.
    • Vertigo.
  • Paul Simon

    American tune

    • Paul Simon Greatest Hits.
    • CBS.
  • Eric Clapton

    Wonderful tonight

    • The Best Of Eric Clapton.
    • Reprise.
  • Gerry Rafferty

    Baker Street

    • 25 Years of Rock 'N' Roll 1978.
    • Connoisseur.
  • R.E.M.

    Find the River

    • R.E.M. - Automatic for The People.
    • Warner.
  • Book Choice

    • 1 volume of Encyclopaedia Britannica

  • Luxury Choice

    • Guitar

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Doug Allan
Producer Sarah Taylor

Broadcasts

Featured in...

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes

Articles

Articles

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?

Podcast