Desert Island Discs

One of the longest running radio programmes in history (first broadcast in January 1942), Desert Island Discs will shortly be celebrating its 70th year. The format of the programme is that each week a well known person is invited to choose eight pieces of music to take with them to a desert island. The well known person talks about their life and explains why they’ve chosen each piece of music, which is then played. Over the years there have been some brilliant/interesting Desert Island Discs.

Due to copyright reasons it used to be the case that you could only listen to Desert Island Discs as it aired live in the UK. You couldn’t listen to it via the internet if you were outside the UK, and if you were in the UK you couldn’t listen to archive programmes. This was because Roy Plomley, the guy who devised the show and was its presenter during the first 43 years, was employed by the BBC as a freelancer, and as such he owned all copyright to Desert Island Discs. Plomley died in 1985, and since then Desert Island Discs has been presented by Michael Parkinson, Sue Lawley, and now Kirsty Young. In 2008 the BBC reached an agreement with Roy Plomley’s family, that Desert Island Discs would be available to listen to worldwide via the BBC’s web site; and earlier this year it was agreed that the BBC could broadcast archive programmes.

Every Desert Island Discs programme, from 1998 to the present, can now be listened to online. The BBC have said that they will be putting up programmes from before 1998. This probably won’t go back much beyond the 1980s, because back then storing audio was an expensive business and most recordings were just wiped over by the next. If any really old Desert Island Discs do get archived it will be from home recordings. In the meantime you can find what is now available here…

Although Desert Island Discs is BBC-land it is very international with regard to the guests, and most of the shows will be of interest to those who don’t live in the UK.


This entry was posted in Arts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.