Desert Island Discs’ theatrical outings

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.

Cameron Mackintosh

Jude Kelly

Dr Jonathan Miller

Trevor Nunn

Tallaluah Bankhead

Adrian Noble

Dame Joan Plowright

Patrick Stewart

Sir John Mills

Jonathan Pryce

Sinead Cusack

Sir John Gielgud

Sir Ralph Richardson

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!


Missed Olivier-nominated THE PHLEBOTOMIST? Now you can listen to it!

Ella Road’s brilliant future-looking play THE PHLEBOTOMIST was a big hit this year at Hampstead after a sell-out season last year.

If you weren’t able to get along to this four-star Olivier-nominated play, then all is not lost! BBC Radio3 have recorded (and broadcast) a sound adaptation of the play with this year’s main stage cast headed by the brilliant Jade Anouka, and directed by its stage director Sam Yates. There is a link to the radio version below, which runs 90 minutes. (*Please note that access to this broadcast recording may not be available outside the UK – but give it a try anyway!)

PLEASE NOTE THIS RECORDING IS ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL TUESDAY 16th JULY at 9.00pm GMT


Read my four-star review of the stage version of THE PHLEBOTOMIST here

Read my interview with writer Ella Road here

Listen to the radio adaptation of Ella Road’s brilliant play here