Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. 70 years must be a record for a radio series, surely?

Anyway, I caught up with a couple of recent episodes that made me wonder, as I often have done over the years, whether there is some snobbery towards classical music as opposed to modern music.

The premise of the programme is that each week a guest is interviewed and invited to select 8 gramophone records that he or she would like to have available on a desert island, should they ever be ship-wrecked. The assumption is, of course, that a record player will be available on the island… but that’s taking the idea too far. At the end of the programme, the guest selects one of the eight musical items as a ‘must-have’ as well as a book and a luxury item.

Anyway, David Attenborough (during his 4th appearance on the programme) selected the 3rd of Bach’s Goldberg Varaiations, although Kirsty Young, the current presenter, suggested that, at his request, it shouldn’t be a problem to have the whole set.

Compare this with Dr Brian Cox, who appeared a few weeks earlier. He chose Queen Bitch from David Bowie’s album Hunky Dory. He said that he could have picked any track from that album, that it was probably his all-time favourite. But at no time did Kirsty suggest that he might be allowed, in fact, to have the whole album.

Still, it’s all just a good ruse to get a good interview and hear some music that you might not otherwise come across. And that’s why I listen to this programme, even if I’m not particularly interested in the guest. Len Goodman, for instance, the judge from Strictly Come Dancing, a TV show that I’m not at all interested in and so, by association, I thought Len Goodman’s Desert Island Discs would be really tedious. But it was a very pleasant surprise, he’s a very interesting chap – who just happens, now, to be on a TV show that I don’t like!

So, Happy Birthday, Desert Island Discs, 70 years old. And at last, the BBC have made most episodes available for download here.



Danny Baker on Radio 2 Breakfast Show?

As usual, I’ve been listening to Danny Baker on BBC London 94.9 this afternoon. My minor contribution today was to send a photograph of a Channel 4 logo made out of umbrellas.

But the main bombshell was towards the end of the show. Danny announced that for a week in April, he, Amy and Baylen would be presenting the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show for a week, while Chris Evans is on holiday.

Now, I would love that. except, of course, I can’t hear the Radio 2 Breakfast Show while I’m at work. I have to put up with Heart or Magic or Jackie, or worse, Kiss or Capital. In fact, from my point of view, it might be a bad move, since I doubt they’ll also be broadcasting on BBC London in the afternoon as well.

Yes, I’m aware that Vanessa Feltz manages an early morning breakfast show on Radio 2 then skips down the corridor to broadcast a morning phone-in based show on BBC London, but that’s Vanessa.

While I would welcome Danny and the team on Radio 2, I can already feel the wrath of the larger Radio 2 audience who can’t see further than buffoon Danny Baker from many years ago. They’re probably still in shock from when Chris Evans took over the Breakfast Show.

I know, I know: it might all be a big joke. In the same way that Robert Smith of The Cure is going to be a guest on Wednesday. “Not this Wednesday? Oh, OK, we’ll let you know when.”