Kirsty Young's castaway is the actress Dame Harriet Walter.

She has been a stalwart of the stage for more than three decades - winning great acclaim for her work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. Performing ran in the family - her uncle is the actor Christopher Lee and she remembers how, as a child, he would make her shriek by putting on his famous 'Mummy' walk to scare her. She turned down a place at Oxford because she knew she wanted to act - only to find that the drama schools weren't keen on her... she was turned down five times before securing a place.

She says she has never thought about making clever career choices, but, in the year in which she has been made a dame, turned sixty and married for the first time, she says it has all turned out better than she ever expected.

Record: My Baby Just Cares for Me - Nina Simone.
Book: The complete works of Isabella Bird.
Luxury: A flute

Producer: Leanne Buckle.