Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4 programme

Desert Island Discs is a biographical and factual radio programme produced by Bob Symes. It is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom. It was first broadcast on the BBC Home Service on 29 January 1942.[1]

Each week a person (called a "castaway") is asked to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that they would take if they were to be cast away on a desert island (an island that is not lived on by humans). They discuss their lives and the reasons for their choices.

More than 3,000 episodes have been recorded. There aren't that many castaways, though, because a few castaways have appeared more than once. Some programmes had two people as the castaway.[2]

The programme was created by Roy Plomley. After Plomley's death in 1985, the programme was presented by Michael Parkinson. From 1988 to 2006, it was presented by Sue Lawley.[3] Since 2006, the show has been presented by Kirsty Young.[3] She interviewed illustrator Quentin Blake on her first show, broadcast on 1 October 2006.

The light music composition by Eric Coates called "By the Sleepy Lagoon" is the signature tune of the programme.


  1. Midgley, Neil (29 January 2012). "Desert Island Discs: Britain's longest-running radio show". The Telegraph. London.
  2. "Desert Island Discs – Find a castaway". BBC Online. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Desert Island delights". BBC. 29 January 2002. Retrieved 15 November 2007.

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