Main content

Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour, journalist and broadcaster, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Kirsty Young's castaway is the journalist and broadcaster Christiane Amanpour. Her career as a reporter was forged in some of the world's most hostile environments from Bosnia to Rwanda and Iraq to Israel. From the early '90s onwards she was so ubiquitous on screen that her peers in the press pack coined the darkly comic phrase "where there's a war, there's Amanpour."

Born to an Iranian father and a British mother, she initially wanted to be a doctor, but the Revolution in Iran in 1979 galvanised her political consciousness and she turned to journalism. Her first major assignment was in Saudi Arabia where she covered the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. She describes her time in Bosnia as a life-changing experience which made her determined to tell the stories of ordinary people caught up in the chaos of conflict.

During her career she has interviewed some of the biggest names on the world stage from Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to Robert Mugabe and Colonel Gaddafi. The winner of 11 Emmy Awards, she now anchors her own nightly television show on CNN although she can be whisked away at a moment's notice to cover major disasters around the globe. She has borne witness to some of history's worst atrocities but what gets her through is her eternal optimism and the courage and dignity of humanity.

Producer: Paula McGinley.

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 7 Oct 2016 09:00

Music Played

  • R.E.M.

    Losing My Religion

    • Out of Time.
    • Warner Bros..
  • Francis Cabrel

    Je T'aimais, Je T'aime, Je T'aimerai

    • L'essentiel 1977-2007.
    • Columbia.
  • David Bowie

    My Death

    • Santa Monica ‘72.
    • Golden Years.
  • Gloria Gaynor

    I Will Survive

    • The Collection.
    • Spectrum.
  • George Frideric Handel

    Water Music Suite in D/G major HWV 349/350, Alla Hornpipe

    Performer: The English Concert. Conductor: Trevor Pinnock.
    • Water Music.
    • Archiv.

    • Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin

      Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves

      • Be Yourself Tonight.
      • BMG.
  • Franz Schubert

    Ave Maria, D 839

    Performer: Vienna Boys' Choir. Performer: Vienna Symphonic Orchestra Project. Performer: Plácido Domingo. Conductor: Helmuth Froschauer.
    • Ave Maria.
    • RCA.
  • Cat Stevens

    Wild World

    • Tea for the Tillerman.
    • Universal.

    The Complete Works of Eugene O'Neill


    A guitar previously owned by Bruce Springsteen


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Christiane Amanpour
Producer Paula McGinley


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?