Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs is a long running BBC Radio 4 programme. It was first broadcast on January 29th 1942 and is said by the Guinness Book of Records to be the longest running music programme in the history of radio. Guests are asked to choose the eight pieces of music they would take with them to a desert island, discussion of their choices permitting a review of their life. They also choose one book (excluding the Bible and the works of Shakespeare which are already deemed present on the island) and one luxury item which must be inanimate and have no practical use.

The last five Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom have all been guests on the programme, although only John Major appeared while in office. The first castaway was Vic Oliver, and other guests have included NoŽl Coward, Dame Judi Dench, John Malkovich, Princess Margaret and Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Desert Island Discs was devised by its original presenter, Roy Plomley. After Plomley's death in 1985, it was presented first by Michael Parkinson, and since 1988 by Sue Lawley.

The programme's theme music is Eric Coates' "By the Sleepy Lagoon".

Unlike most Radio 4 programmes, Desert Island Discs cannot be heard on the BBC's Listen Again service (which allows most programmes to be listened to up to a week after transmission via the website) because of unresolved rights issues between the BBC and the owners of the format of the programme.

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