Our pick of the Best Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 programme on which guests imagine they are shipwrecked on a desert island and choose 8 pieces of music, a book and one luxury that they would like to have with them, explaining their choices as part of more general chat about their lives.

The castaways are also automatically given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and either the Bible or another appropriate religious or philosophical work.

History of Desert Island Discs

The programme was conceived by Roy Plomley who presented the first edition in January 1942 and went on to present a further 1,790 editions stretching over 43 years.

In total, almost 3,000 people have now appeared on the programme. 

Although most of the guests are British, there have been a number of notable international castaways, including Louis Armstrong, Martina Navratilova, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, John McEnroe, Nile Rodgers, Malala Yousafzai and Billy Jean King.

Tom Hanks on Desert Island Discs

Tom Hanks was interviewed on the programme by Kirsty Young in 2016.

Claiming that he is “not an authority on anything – except root beers and typewriters’, Hanks captivated the audience with his charm and deeply-moving stories from his life.

He also talked above his love for his wife of 34 years, the fabulous singer and actress (and Web of the Week supporter!) Rita Wilson.

These are the discs that Tom chose –

Dean Martin & Line Renaud – Relax-Ay-Voo
The Beatles – There’s A Place
Dusty Springfield – Doodlin
Strauss – Also Sprach Zarathustra
Alfred Newman, Ken Darby – How The West Was Won
Tallking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out
Derek and the Dominos – Layla

For his book, Tom chose “A World Lit Only By Fire” by William Manchester and his luxury item was a Hermes 3000 manual typewriter & paper.

Our Choice of Best-Ever Desert Island Discs Castaways

Here is our pick of the best Desert Island Discs –

Alfred Hitchcock (1959) – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009y7js

Louis Armstrong (1968) – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009y1rb

Maya Angelou (1988)- www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009mlht

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webberwww.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00941nd

Colin Firth (2005) – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009359k

Yoko Ono (2007) – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007nc7n

Martina Navratilova (2012) – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01kjjp1

Steve McQueen (2014) – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04hml41

Tom Hanks (2016) – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b079m78n

David Nott (war surgeon)www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07djzyq

David Beckham (2017) – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bz0rz

Malala Yousafzai (2020) www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000s84r

Which are your favourite episodes of Desert Island Discs?

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