After almost 75 years on the radio, ‘Desert Island Discs’ has had more than its fair share of incredible guests choosing the eight records they’d take with them if they were stranded on a desert island.
Now on the eve of the show celebrating three quarters of a century on the airwaves, host Kirsty Young has revealed who her favourite ever guests have been in the 10 years she’s been presenting the show.
“Victoria Wood,” she tells the Radio Times. “That was an absolute thrill. Dustin Hoffman, of course. Zaha Hadid was remarkable. And Bruce Springsteen, what a delight! Steve McQueen’s absolutely enthralling and AC Grayling – well, I mean, what a brain to be allowed to pick for 45 minutes.”
But there was one guest in particular who had a bigger effect on Kirsty than anyone else - so much so that she admits she fell “a little bit in love”.
“Bloody hell,” she gasps. “David Attenborough! Oh my God! I mean, if I only ever did one, it would be that one.
“Honestly, he was a total, pure highlight. Absolutely bloody marvellous.
“The thing about David – you can’t help falling just a little bit in love with him.”
The BBC Radio 4 show was first imagined by Roy Plomley during the bleakest moments of the Second World War, and asks only of its guests that they talk about their interesting lives and pick eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury to take into exile.
It might be pensionable age, but the show is as popular as ever - something Kirsty puts down to the power of pop culture.
“People who wouldn’t even know what Desert Island Discs was ten years ago are attracted to it because James Corden tweets about it to 8.2 million followers," she explains. "Then they’ll think, ‘I like James Corden, so what’s this programme? And what are these 3,000 other editions online?’”