Wednesday 04 Dec 2013
BBC Radio 4 is inviting listeners to cast themselves away to the network's mythical island and name their eight Desert Island Discs.
Anyone who has ever imagined themselves on a desert island and tried to select their favourite eight tracks will have faced the dilemma about whose music to take – The Stones or The Beatles; Presley or Dylan; Mozart or Bach; Madonna or Michael Jackson. Now they can do it for real and submit their Desert Island Discs to the Radio 4 website.
Your Desert Island Discs asks listeners to name the music they would take with them if they were cast away. The long-running Radio 4 programme invites guests to choose the music which has special significance for them. Now Desert Island Discs fans can see how difficult it is for themselves and they can also name the one disc they would save if the tropical waves threatened to carry away their selection.
Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young said: "Every castaway is unique, but the one thing they all say to me is how difficult it is to choose their eight discs. Now the nation has a chance to share in the agony and ecstasy of making their very own selection."
The public can submit its Desert Island Discs at the Desert Island Discs pages of the Radio 4 website from today. People can nominate their favourite pieces of music until 2pm on Friday 3 June. Kirsty Young will present a special 90-minute programme called Your Desert Island Discs on 11 June at 9am on Radio 4 where she will reveal some of the selections made by the public and compare them with castaways' favourites.
The most popular piece of music selected over the years by programme guests has been Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D Minor which has been chosen by 97 Castaways, including Martin Sheen and Paulo Coelho.
Anyone in need of inspiration can see what previous castaways have taken on the website which details the selections of more than 2,850 castaways. And it does not necessarily have to be music. Some people, such as Dame Judi Dench, Noel Coward and Princess Grace of Monaco, have taken a spoken word recording; Ann Widdecombe chose the sound of a hippo; and Matthew Pinsent chose cricket commentary.
As part of this Desert Island Discs celebration, Kirsty Young will host a special edition of BBC Radio 2's Friday Night Is Music Night, entitled Desert Island Music Night. The programme will be broadcast on Radio 2 at 8pm on Friday 27 May. The gala evening will showcase interviews with former castaways and their favourite pieces of music.
This initiative is not a vote. It is a bit of fun and a chance for the public to participate in the Desert Island game. We will be revealing preferences and favourites but it is not competition.
The Desert Island Discs website has details of every choice made by every castaway since the programme began in 1942 and there are more than 500 editions of the programme available to listen to on demand or to download.
The top eight Desert Island Discs, as chosen by castaways on the programme:
1. Beethoven – Symphony No. 9 in D minor Choral
2. Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor
3. Schubert – String Quintet in C major
4. Beethoven Symphony No. 6 in F Major Pastoral
5. Elgar – Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in D Major Land Of Hope and Glory
6. Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat Major Emperor
7. Elgar – Enigma Variations Nimrod
8. Beethoven – Symphony No. 7 in A major
The top eight artists, as chosen by castaways on the programme:
1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
2. Ludwig van Beethoven
3. Johann Sebastian Bach
4. Franz Schubert
5. Giuseppe Verdi
6. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
7. Sir Edward Elgar
8. Giacomo Puccini
The top eight non-classical Desert Island Discs chosen by castaways on the programme:
1. Edith Piaf – Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
2. Frank Sinatra – My Way
3. Noel Coward – Mad Dogs And Englishmen
4. Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose
5. Flanagan and Allen – Underneath The Arches
6. Judy Garland – Over The Rainbow
7. Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World
8. John Lennon – Imagine
Desert Island Discs was invented in 1942 by Roy Plomley. Roy presented the programme until his death in 1985. Michael Parkinson presented the programme from 1985 to 1988 and Sue Lawley from 1988 to 2006. Kirsty Young has presented the programme since 2006.
Former castaways include: Tony Adams, Paddy Ashdown, Tony Blair, Noel Coward, John Cleese, Steve Davis, Marlene Dietrich, The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Colin Firth, Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Hawking, PD James, Paul McCartney, John Major, Bill Morris, Princess Margaret and Gene Wilder.