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Publisher's Summary

For 70 years now Desert Island Discs has managed that rare feat - to be both enduring and relevant. By casting away the biggest names of the day in science, business, politics, showbiz, sport, and the arts, it presents a cross-sectional snapshot of the times in which we live. As the decades have passed, the programme has kept pace; never frozen in time yet always, somehow, comfortingly the same.
BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs celebrates its 70 birthday in 2012. Since the programme’s deviser, Roy Plomley, interviewed comedian Vic Oliver in January 1942, nearly 3,000 distinguished people from all walks of life have been stranded on the mythical island, accompanied by only eight records, one book, and a luxury. Here the story of one of BBC Radio 4’s favourite programmes is chronicled through a special selection of castaways.
Roy Plomley, inventor of the programme as well as its presenter for over 40 years, quizzes the young Cliff Richard about "these rather frenzied movements" the 1960s pop sensation makes on the stage. Robert Maxwell tells Plomley’s successor, Michael Parkinson, that "I will have left the world a slightly better place by having lived in it." Diana Mosley assures Sue Lawley that Adolf Hitler was "extraordinarily fascinating" and had mesmeric blue eyes. And Johnny Vegas tugs Kirsty Young’s heart-strings with his account of a childhood so impoverished that family pets were fair game: "My dad had always claimed that rabbits were livestock, but we’d never eaten one before."
Desert Island Discs is much more than a radio programme. It is a unique and enduringly popular take on our lives and times - and this book tells in rich detail the colourful and absorbing story of an extraordinary institution.
Please note: There was an issue with repeated audio in this title, this has now been fixed.
©2012 Sean Magee and the BBC (P)2012 Random House AudioGo, by arrangement with the BBC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By georgina on 06-21-13

Desert Island Discs

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

There was not enough of the actual programme, in fact nothing at all!!!

What will your next listen be?

Just a minute

Would you be willing to try another one of Juliette Stevenson and Alex Jennings ’s performances?

yes , not their fault

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Desert Island Discs?

All of it

Any additional comments?

Perhaps I misunderstood what I was getting, but I expected a selection of the best excerpts from the past, instead what I got was a very boring history of how the programme was invented and then interminable lists read out of the records the guests had chosen! A bit like someone reading Wisden to you!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful


By Adisha on 12-23-12

One to Castaway?

"What a great subject for an audio book!" thought I as I downloaded this title to my audible player. This title had the potential to be really great. However, as with other reviewers, I was somewhat taken aback by the poor quality of the editing with noticeable repetitions of sections.



That said, the historical context and voice characterisations were cleverly executed by the narrators but the impressions did not always hit the mark. Had impressionists (e.g. Jon Culshaw, Jan Ravens) been employed for the more famous Castaway interviews, I probably would've given this a higher rating!



Overall: A good attempt but plenty of room for improvement.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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