Desert Island Discs is a BBC radio institution that dates back to the days of the Home Guard – its first broadcast having taken place in January 1942. The format is simple – a well known guest is interviewed and invited to play ten pieces of music and nominate one book and one luxury that they would opt to keep if they were marooned, Robinson Crusoe like, on a desert island. The discs originally referred to shellac 78s, later replaced by 45s, CDs and by rights it could now be called Desert Island Downloads.
Over the last 72 years a host of famous and less famous personalities have discussed their lives and careers and shared their musical taste – it is a formula that just keep on working. Among those guests have been a number of Dad’s Army personalities including Arthur Lowe, John le Mesurier and Clive Dunn.
The BBC has now opened-up the programme archive, creating a fully searchable database of every one of the guests who have been interviewed, and making 500 of those interviews available to download and listen to on iPlayer.
We were delighted to find that interviews with David Croft, John Laurie, Arnold Ridley and Clive Dunn (but only a short clip) are all amongst those available to listen to. Though we can’t understand why Arthur Lowe and John le Mesurier’s interviews are missing.
Although the interviews are now around 40 years old, like Dad’s Army itself, they still bring a smile and make a pleasant way to spend half an hour – highly recommended.