Main content

Can you guess who chose the luxury items hidden in this Desert Island Discs sand sculpture?

Since 1942, we’ve been sending castaways to an imaginary desert island armed with just eight records of their choosing, their favourite book and a luxury item. Pianos, guitars, paper, pens and pencils feature regularly, but some castaways decide to go for something a little more unexpected. So far, only one guest has picked a stuffed effigy of Noel Gallagher (Russell Brand, in case you were wondering).

We’ve hidden four luxury items in this video of a Desert Island Discs sand sculpture – can you guess which castaway picked them? Click the arrows below the pictures to reveal the answers…

The Desert Island Discs sand sculpture

We've hidden some luxury items in this time-lapse video. Can you guess who picked them?


Speaking to Sue Lawley in 1992, ‘Crash’ writer J. G. Ballard decided he’d like to learn a new skill: “I’d take my unicycle, which when I was 16 my girlfriend Claire bought me. She knows that my one dream is to ride the unicycle and I’ll have lots of time to practise on the island.” But, what if it gets stuck in the sand? “Well, I won’t try too hard.”

Eyelash curler

Before becoming a Strictly Come Dancing judge, ballerina Darcey Bussell revealed she’d like her eyes to dazzle (even on a desert island). “I’ve really got attached to my eyelash curler. I have to curl my eyelashes every morning”, she told Sue Lawley in 2006.

Mona Lisa

The most famous piece of art in the world has been picked not once, but twice. Cilla Black chose it as her luxury item when she first appeared on the programme in 1964. She was followed, in 1988, by trade unionist and politician Arthur Scargill: “I always regarded this painting, from a distance, as being overrated.” A visit to the Louvre soon changed his mind: “I decided I had to see the painting, if for no other reason, that when people asked I could say ‘yes, I’ve seen it’. And I went and looked at that painting and I suddenly realised what Da Vinci had done, he had painted a masterpiece – probably the greatest painting of all time. I fell in love with it then and I’m still in love with it now.”

Virtual-reality headset

Advertising agency owner Maurice Saatchi had clearly given a lot of thought to his luxury item when he spoke to Sue Lawley in 1995, picking a virtual reality headset powered by solar batteries. “I would be able to step out onto my virtual reality terrace in Sussex, I would be able to turn the headset round 180 degrees and look at the beautiful wall of my house and marvel at the inspired plantsmanship.” He described in detail the walk he would take, followed by a boat ride that finished with him looking up at the blue sky. “I would then be able to take off the virtual reality headset and look up at the sky on my desert island and very happily go to sleep.”

More Desert Island Discs