BBC’s refusal to reveal details of Desert Island Discs featuring Katherine Ryan prompts speculation after comedian’s shock comments about Russell Brand


The BBC has refused to reveal details of today’s Desert Island Discs featuring comedian Katherine Ryan, who was one of the first to spark concern about Russell Brand‘s predatory behaviour.

The decision to withhold the information, normally given to reporters two days before the Radio 4 show, led to speculation about the content and whether Ms Ryan had asked for it not to be publicised.

Canadian Ms Ryan, 40, is widely credited with being one of the first to highlight the conduct of Brand, 48, who faces multiple allegations of rape and sex assault.

She is alleged to have challenged him while they were co-hosting the TV comedy show Roast Battle in 2018. Brand was reportedly infuriated by her comments, which were made on camera but never broadcast.

He has repeatedly denied all the allegations made against him.

Last night it was unclear whether Ms Ryan was raising the issue in today’s show, recorded on Wednesday, September 6.

Ms Ryan is widely credited as being one of the first to highlight Brand’s conduct

Normally the BBC makes a preview edition available to a select group of journalists on Friday afternoons. They are free to write about any aspect of the programme they see fit, on condition the stories do not appear before Sunday. The only stipulation the BBC makes is that journalists must not identify more than three of the castaway’s song choices.

The same reporters are given a detailed press release in which the BBC highlights what it considers the most newsworthy parts of the show.

On Friday afternoon reporters awaiting the preview were surprised to learn they would not get it. In a message to them, the BBC said: ‘We don’t have a preview available for Sunday’s episode of Desert Island Discs but below is the press info.’

The press release, which was far shorter than usual, simply stated: ‘Lauren Laverne’s castaway is the comedian Katherine Ryan who reflects on her childhood growing up in Sarnia, Canada.

‘She describes her awkward teenage years, how working in a branch of the restaurant chain Hooters taught her how to work a crowd and why she fell back in love with a childhood sweetheart after 20 years apart.’

Her song choices include La Isla Bonita, by Madonna, The Real Slim Shady, by Eminem, and Spice Up Your Life, by the Spice Girls.

The BBC last night declined to answer The Mail on Sunday’s questions about why the programme had not been made available in the normal way.

A Radio 4 spokesman said: ‘On occasion, we don’t make previews available in advance, preferring instead for listeners to hear first-hand the full programme with all its context when broadcast.’

She is alleged to have challenged him while co-hosting the TV show Roast Battle

A source close to the comedian said: ‘Miss Ryan wanted it to go out with a disclaimer that it was recorded last month, which Desert Island Discs agreed to.’ She is a regular on TV’s 8 Out Of Ten Cats, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Mock the Week.

She reunited with her childhood sweetheart Bobby Kootstra when she returned to Canada to film Who Do You Think You Are? They have two children. She also has a daughter from a previous relationship.


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