She was educated at Parliament Hill School for Girls in London; New College of Speech and Drama and later Middlesex University where she attained a BA in Contemporary Cultural Studies and a PhD in British Film.
She married Barrie Birch in 1984 and they have one son.
Baroness Young is a visiting professor at Birbeck College and is an arts and heritage consultant having founded the Cultural Brokers Arts and Heritage Consultancy.
Her accomplishments include being honoured with an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2001.
She is chair of the arts advisory committee for the British Council and Nitro theatre company. She is also a board member for the South Bank Centre.