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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is Dr David Starkey. Dr David Starkey forsook the ivory towers of academia to popularise history as a constitutional commentator in the press and as a broadcaster and writer. His approach to history is a personal one; he explains events through the lens of individual hopes, flaws and lusts and says historical influence can be seen in terms of who are "the movers and shakers and the bottom wipers" in the royal court. Their equivalent can be seen in government today, he says, through the unelected advisers who take their seat on the Downing Street sofa.

Born into a working class, Quaker family in Kendal, David's formidable drive owes much to his mother's love and ambitions for her only child. David's feeling that history should not be the preserve of academics, but belongs to the public, set him on a path to a TV career, via Cambridge, the LSE, and his infamous performances on Radio 4's The Moral Maze which earned him the title of 'the rudest man in Brit