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Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
OBE for Lawley
Sue Lawley
Radio star Lawley was familiar on TV in the 70s and 80s
Sue Lawley - presenter of BBC Radio 4's popular programme Desert Island Discs - is to receive an OBE from the Queen on Tuesday.

Lawley was a BBC One newsreader, a chat show host and has spent 12 years as the presenter of the show which turns guests into castaways and asks them what music, book and luxury they would take.

During her years on the programme she has interviewed Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair, actors Hugh Grant, Nicole Kidman, rock star Eric Clapton and a range of other personalities from soap stars to scientists.

Sue Lawley with Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo chose a solar powered laptop as his Desert Island luxury
The idea of Desert Island Discs - which was begun in 1942 by Roy Plomley - is that guests give psychological insights and personal details almost inadvertently along the way.

On the whole Lawley has been a very successful presenter but her slightly authoritarian air has come in for some criticism.

Plomley's widow criticised her questioning of the then shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown.

Her questioning about his then-unmarried status spawned "I'm not gay" headlines.


Lawley was born in Dudley in the West Midlands and studied modern languages at Bristol University before becoming a journalist at the Western Mail.

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman's Desert Island luxury was sun block
She joined the BBC in 1970 as a researcher in Portsmouth and two years later was one of the main presenters early evening current affairs programme Nationwide.

Famed for her well-groomed image, she once chose an iron and ironing board as her castaway luxuries.

She is also famous for remaining unruffled when lesbian protesters broke into the BBC's Six O'Clock newsroom while she was on air, the night before Section 28 became law.

"We have rather been invaded," she said, as she continued to read the news while the protesters handcuffed themselves to bits of studio equipment.

Lawley presented the Nine O'Clock News from 1981-1982 and the Six O'Clock News between 1983 and 1988.

She has also worked on the BBC's coverage of four general elections and has acted as stand-in for Sir Robin Day on Question Time, and for Terry Wogan on Wogan.

Famously protective of her privacy, she says she hates the thought of being "cannon fodder" for the press.

"I'm sorry, but what's mine is mine - I don't want to be picked over. I hate being vox-popped by newspapers for an instant quote. That's the way I am."

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See also:

30 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Sue Lawley: 30 years behind the mike
03 Aug 00 | UK Politics
Brown stops the gossips
15 Nov 98 | Entertainment
Kidman too fair for a tropical paradise
16 Apr 00 | Talking Politics
Kebabbed: Part 4
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