For those who have never heard it, the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs invites famous or celebrated people of their to day to imagine themselves as desert island castaways . They are able to choose eight pieces of music, a book (in addition to the Bible – or a religious text appropriate to that person’s beliefs – and the Complete Works of Shakespeare) and a luxury item that they would take to an imaginary desert island, where they will be marooned indefinitely. The rules state that the chosen luxury item must not be anything animate or indeed anything that enables the castaway to escape from the island, for instance a radio set, sailing yacht or aeroplane.
Over the programme’s astonishing 80-year history (beginning in 1942), many of the most important names in the theatrical world have been invited to be “castaways”. I have pulled out a selection here for your interest.
To access these you will need to register for a BBC account, which you can do quickly and easily at any of the pages listed below.
Sir John Gielgud
By the way, if you are interested in the people who have appeared on the show, a brave soul is compiling two lists of castaways- 1942-1975, and 1975 onwards. You can see how the project is getting on and browse the names here
I’ll add more to our own theatre list as I have time. Perhaps you might want to add suggestions of your own in the comments below. Add a link if you can for others!