AirToob Lightning
(Original post: August 10th, 2009)

For me, one of life's little gems is a BBC Radio 4 programme, Desert Island Discs. Still running today, it was first broadcast on 29 January 1942 and is surely the longest-running music programme in the history of radio.

Its simple format, in the hands of an expert and 'sympathique' presenter, delivers 43 minutes of fascinating conversation with a really interesting guest, together with eight musical selections, a choice of book and a single luxury to be taken to the hypothetical island. The last guest I listened to (Nicky Haslam) had, among other things, been a real cowboy on his own ranch, the man in charge of layout on Vogue magazine, a good friend of Bryan Ferry, and an acquaintance of Cole Porter. I learnt from him that Maria Callas (one of his favourite singers) got her inspiration to become an opera singer from listening to Deanna Durbin singing "Springtime Will Be A Little Late This Year" by Frank Loesser.

This list of past episodes is a treasure trove of interesting stuff on people and their choices, and makes me wish that I could have listened to every one of them. Until recently, some pesky "rights issues" meant that although you could hear the episodes on-line they could only be listened to live - you couldn't listen to them after transmission on iPlayer. Now it seems that you can. Also, if you can receive digital TV broadcasts in or from the UK, these digital stations include radio as well as TV and you can set up a timed recording as for any other programme.

If you are awake on a Sunday morning at 11:15 (local British time), go here if you would like to listen to a true radio gem. For other times of transmission, to listen on iPlayer or to check on upcoming programmes, go here.

["By A Sleepy Lagoon" (Eric Coates) - the Desert Island Discs theme music]
[Radio 4 home page]
[Listen to Radio 4 Live]