Kirsty Young

BBC’s Kirsty Young leaves Desert Island Discs permanently amid battle with fibromyalgia

She told fans she's "feeling much better"

The BBC has confirmed that Kirsty Young is permanently stepping down from hit Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs.

The broadcaster, 50, left the programme last year and announced she has chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.

She was replaced temporarily by DJ Lauren Laverne and originally planned to take just a few months off, but a statement from Kirsty released today (July 5) revealed she would not be returning.

Kirsty Young
Kirsty announced her fibromyalgia diagnosis last year (Credit: Terry Scott/ Flynet – SplashNews/

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Kirsty told fans, in a statement relayed by the Beeb’s press office: “After 12 incredibly happy and fulfilling years on Desert Island Discs I’ve decided to step down permanently.

“Having been forced to take some months away from my favourite job because of health problems, I’m happy to say I’m now well on the way to feeling much better.

“But that enforced absence from the show has altered my perspective on what I should do next and so I’ve decided it’s time to pursue new challenges.

“Having hundreds of Castaways share their triumphs, tragedies, tribulations and tracks with me over the years was a huge privilege and an education.

“I am so thankful to Roy Plomley for the brilliance of his format, and I wish the programme and Lauren all the very best.”

Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome or FMS, is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, according to the NHS.

People with FMS can also experience increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness and headaches.

Kirsty took over Desert Island Discs from presenter Susan Lawley in 2006.

Kirsty Young
Kirsty presented 496 episodes of Desert Island Discs (Credit:

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During her 13 years at the helm she hosted 496 episodes and met castaways including former footballer David Beckham, acting legend Dame Judi Dench, late pop star George Michael and national treasure Sir David Attenborough.

The BBC’s Director of Radio and Education, James Purnell, called her “a wonderful host” with an “intuitive interviewing style” and wished Kirsty well for the future.

The BBC said Lauren Laverne will remain the programme’s host “for the foreseeable future”.

Lauren admitted that presenting the show had been “an enormous honour”, adding: “I wish her the very best in her next chapter.”

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