Direct to the Desert Island Disc Online Archive
At the beginning of March we posted an item about the complete archive of the BBC radio program “Desert Island Discs” (first broadcast was in 1942) was going to be made available online.
A few weeks ago the archive became available online and what you can find and listen to online (free) is truly awesome. We had no problem accessing the archive and listening to the material from the U.S. Guests are from the UK, U.S., and other Countries.
Each week, a person (often a politician, business leader, author, poet, musician, etc.) called a “castaway” is asked what eight recordings would they want to have with them if they were stranded alone on a desert island. The shows are interesting, fun, and informational/educational since the discussion often reveals info about the castaway you might be unaware of.
Yes, we know, the castaway would need technology to listen to the recordings but if you can suspend belief for a bit the musical selections and discussion are what matters.
At the moment the archive has about 530 episodes (approx. 350 hours of material) available to listen online. The programs can also be downloaded to keep (e.g. as podcasts), with more material being added weekly. The FAQ points out that the 500+ episodes are the most recent 500 from the launch date of the archive, March 2011. The program has been on the air since 1942.
Each program has the castaway presenting their eight songs and discussing why they want them. During the presentation/interview many other topics are touched on.
Accessing the Archive
Head to this Desert Island Discs web page and you’ll be able to search or browse for castaways and their selections (that also include books and a luxury items.
There are many ways to browse including by air date, alphabetically, and by occupation of the castaway. You can also search for a castaway or use one of several other fields to get results.
For example, novelist Nick Hornby would bring Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens.
One neat use of hypertext allows you to quickly check and see if other castaways have selected the recording, book, or luxury item.
Finally, here are some of the people who are found in the archive:
- From 2010, Tim Robbins
- From 2005, Colin Firth
- From 1991, Brian Eno
- From 1989, Jack Lemmon
- From 1981, Sir Richard Branson
- From 1965 , Brian Epstein
- John Lennon’s “Imagine” is Found on the List of 24 castaways
- From 1961, Bob Hope
Don’t forget material is added to the archive each week. Go Enjoy!
See Also: About Page That Includes
- The Desert Island Discs FAQ (Useful)
- Lists of Top Music Choices Since the Program Debuted in 1942
- Building the Online Archive