Lauren Laverne makes impressive Desert Island Discs debut with first guest Tom Daley

Laverne steps in for Kirsty Young and makes a splash with her interview with the Olympic diver

Lauren Laverne Desert Island Discs, BBC publicity shot, BD

Lauren Laverne makes an impressive Desert Island Discs debut this Sunday 30th September as she steps in to replace Kirsty Young on the Radio 4 interview show.

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Laverne is taking over presenting duties on a temporary basis while Young takes a break for health reasons – and if her opening show is anything to go by, Desert Island Discs is in more than capable hands.

Dedicated listeners may experience a slight jolt hearing Laverne introduce the show. Not that the 6 Music presenter is hard to listen to – she’s as clear as a bell. It’s just that Young’s honeyed Scottish tones have become such a familiar feature of the show since she took over 12 years ago.

Laverne’s interviewing style however is very similar to Young’s – conversational, gently probing, lightly teasing out disclosures from her guests as they reflect on their lives and the songs that mean the most to them.

At just 24 years old, Daley’s life is not a long one – but it’s certainly been eventful.

Sunday’s show elicits some moving moments of candour, with the classic format doing its job well in providing emotional triggers as well as natural breaks. Daley’s songs, highly personal choices, include The Streets’ Dry Your Eyes and Top of the World by The Carpenters.

The athlete is very open with Laverne, speaking about his experiences of being bullied at school following his sporting successes and the death of his father in 2011 from a brain tumour, aged just 40.

The diver also talks about coming out and his love for his husband Dustin Lance Black and baby son Robert Ray.

“It’s not a lifestyle choice,” he says of his sexuality. “Because if it were a lifestyle choice I would choose the easy route of not being different.”

He also says he is looking forward to competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – but reveals that fatherhood has taught him that there are “bigger things than Olympic medals.”

It was an excellent start by Laverne, who is set to present the programme for the rest of the autumn while Young is away.

Next Sunday’s show (7th October) will feature composer Thea Musgrave, who celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year.

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Desert Islands Discs is on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11.15am