Miranda Carter talks to Tom about the history of the world’s longest-running interview show, Desert Island Discs, from its early scripted days on the BBC Forces Programme in the 1940s, in the hands of its creator, Roy Plomley, to the more probing and revealing styles of Sue Lawley and Kirsty Young. They also consider some of its more memorable guests, including Marlene Dietrich, Tony Blair, Enoch Powell, Hugh Grant and Margaret Thatcher.

Read Miranda Carter's piece on Desert Island Discs here.

Some of the programme’s guests have also contributed to the London Review of Books. They include, in chronological order: Stephen Spender (1962 and 1989), Alan Bennett (1967, sadly not available, though you can see what his records, book and luxury would have been), Anthony Powell (1976), Paul Theroux (1976), Patricia Highsmith (1979), Clive James (1980 and 2000), A.J. Ayer (1984), Germaine Greer (1988), Salman Rushdie (1988), Mary Warnock (1988), Seamus Heaney (1990), E.P. Thompson (1991), Oliver Sacks (1994), Eric Hobsbawm (1995), George Steiner (1996), Gordon Brown (1996), Julian Barnes (1996), Frank Kermode (1997), Stephen Frears (2004), Betsy Blair (2005), Mary Midgley (2005), Tariq Ali (2008), Mary Beard (2010), Ahdaf Soueif (2012), Colm Tóibín (2016) and Anne Enright (2020).

Music by Kieran Brunt / Produced by Anthony Wilks

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