Entertainment & Arts

Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young reveals favourite castaway

Kirsty Young and Sir David Attenborough Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir David first appeared on Desert Island Discs in 1957

Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young has named the "bloody marvellous" Sir David Attenborough as her favourite guest on the BBC Radio 4 show to date.

"If I only ever did one [programme], it would be that one," she told the Radio Times, calling the 90-year-old nature broadcaster "a total, pure highlight".

Young admitted she had fallen "a little bit in love" with Sir David during his fourth appearance on the show in 2012.

First aired in January 1942, the show marks its 75th anniversary on Sunday.

Former England captain David Beckham will be marooned on the show's imaginary desert island in this weekend's edition.

More than 3,000 guests have been on the show since it was first broadcast on 29 January 75 years ago.

What is Desert Island Discs?

  • A famous guest is cast away on a fictional desert island each week
  • They can choose eight songs, a book and a luxury item to take with them
  • They are always given two items - the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible
  • Guests have to choose one record they would save if a storm hit the desert island
  • Four presenters have hosted the show since it started in 1942
  • Desert Island Discs has an on-air audience of 2.8 million
  • Its first-ever castaway was actor and comedian Vic Oliver

Young revealed the show takes pains to put its guests at ease as they name the records they would take with them were they ever to become castaways.

They included ensuring a bottle of vodka was on hand when former Smiths frontman Morrissey appeared on the programme in 2009.

'Morrissey drinks neat vodka'

"We had it on good authority that Morrissey drinks neat vodka, so we made sure we had a bottle," Young revealed.

The broadcaster said she had a shot of vodka poured for her when the singer requested one - though she did not actually drink it.

She also said she wore "an open-neck silk ladies' shirt" when tech billionaire Bill Gates was on the show, as he "always wears an open-neck shirt".

"I try and make my castaway at ease," continued the 48-year-old. "Once people relax, they're more likely to open up."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Morrissey chose a comfy bed as his Desert Island Discs luxury

Research conducted by the Radio Times shows that pop has overtaken classical music as its guests' most chosen genre.

Where 56% of the playlist was classical in 1942, the percentage was only 21% in 2016.

Pop, in contrast, made up 28% of the records chosen by that year's castaways.

Last year, for the first time, the Beatles became the band most chosen by the programme's celebrity guests.

Sir David first appeared on Desert Island Discs in 1957 when it was hosted by Roy Plomley.

The veteran broadcaster went on to be a castaway again in 1979 and 1998 before joining Young in January 2012.

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