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Sue Lawley gives up Discs

Sue Lawley, broadcaster and journalist, is to give up presenting Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Sue has been with the programme since 1987 and is only the third person to occupy the presenter’s chair in its 64-year history.

Sue said: “I told Mark Damazer a couple of weeks ago that I would like to give up the programme. “I’ve had more than 18 very happy years and have talked to some extraordinary people as they revealed themselves through their choice of music. “It is one of the best jobs in broadcasting. But it has dominated my professional life and I feel the time has come to concentrate on other aspects of broadcasting and maybe a bit of business too.”

Desert Island Discs is one of Radio 4’s great programmes. It was devised in 1942 by Roy Plomley, who presented the programme until his death in 1985. Michael Parkinson succeeded him and Sue Lawley took over in 1987.

With Sue in the chair, the deceptively simple format where ‘castaways’ choose the eight records they would take to a desert island has led to many unexpected insights into people’s lives.

Sue has attracted some of the biggest names in politics, the arts, literature, science and sport. The most recent audience research (RAJAR Quarter 4 2005) shows the highest audience figures since 1999.

Mark Damazer, Controller Radio 4, said: “I tried hard to persuade Sue to change her mind but to no avail. She started her career as a journalist and is still a journalist at heart.

“She also has an enormous interest in people. Put these two attributes together and you end up with fascinating and entertaining interviews that are now the hallmark of Desert Island Discs. She will be a tough act to follow.”

Sue Lawley’s last programme will be Sunday 27 August 2006.

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