Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.

Categories: Society & Culture

Listen to the last episode:

Sir Malcolm Walker is the chairman and co-founder of the frozen food supermarket chain Iceland. He was brought up in Grange Moor, West Yorkshire. He was just 14 when his father died, and he helped his mother run a smallholding, driving a tractor and ploughing fields. His business instinct kicked in during his teenage years, when he promoted Saturday night dances by booking bands into local church halls. After receiving rejections from Marks & Spencer and Littlewoods, he became a trainee manager at Woolworths, and recalls that he started at the very bottom, sweeping the floors for many months before gradually winning promotions and moving round the country. In 1970, he and Peter Hinchcliffe, a colleague from Woolworths, opened a shop in Oswestry, selling loose frozen food from chest freezers. The business soon began to take off, Malcolm and Peter were both fired by Woolworths, and Malcolm went on to build a company which now has more than 1000 stores in the UK and Ireland. Along the way, boardroom battles led to his departure in the early 2000s, but he later returned and Iceland is now back in family ownership. Alongside his business pursuits, Malcolm has been a fundraiser for dementia charities, after his wife was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. She died in 2021 after more than 50 years of marriage. He was knighted in 2017, has three children, one of whom also works in the family business, and he married for the second time in August last year. DISC ONE: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26: II. Adagio, composed by Max Bruch, performed by Itzhak Perlman (violin) and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink DISC TWO: Goodbye by Josef Locke DISC THREE: Only You by The Platters DISC FOUR: Silence is Golden by The Tremeloes DISC FIVE: Memory composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and performed by Elaine Paige DISC SIX: All I Ask of You composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and performed by Steve Barton and Sarah Brightman DISC SEVEN: La bohème, SC 67 / Act I composed by Giacomo Puccini and performed by Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) and Mirella Freni (soprano) with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Herbert von Karajan DISC EIGHT: Quando me’n vo (“Musetta’s Waltz”) from La Bohème composed by Giacomo Puccini and performed by Natalie Walker BOOK CHOICE: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe LUXURY ITEM: A cast iron cooking pot CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Quando me’n vo (“Musetta’s Waltz”) from La Bohème composed by Giacomo Puccini and performed by Natalie Walker Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor

Previous episodes

  • 681 - Sir Malcolm Walker, retailer 
    Sun, 05 Feb 2023
  • 680 - Kirsty Young, broadcaster 
    Sun, 22 Jan 2023
  • 679 - Steven Spielberg, director 
    Sun, 15 Jan 2023
  • 678 - Cate Blanchett, actor 
    Sun, 08 Jan 2023
  • 677 - Edward Enninful, editor 
    Sun, 01 Jan 2023
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