Thursday, 3 November 2011

Desert Island Discs

One of my favourite wireless programmes is Desert Island Discs which, like most of my radio listening, is now done via podcasts... My iPod Shuffle being a vehicle for producing my own personalised and remixed Radio 4 (with the odd programme from Radios 1, 3, 4 extra, 5 live and Scotland thrown in for a bit of variety).

But back to DID... in the days before my Shuffle it was a programme that I only caught now and again but now I listen every week - and have also downloaded many of the archived episodes which are now available. It is one of those great Radio 4 institutions which has the ability to surprise and delight on a regular basis whether you know of the guest or not. 

(If you're not aware of it, the format of the programme is simple; the guest picks eight records which mean something to them and which they would like to have if abandoned on a Desert Island. These are shared throughout the programme during which the guest is interviewed and tells us something of their life story. Castaways on the island are given the Bible (or Qu'ran, Torah or other scripture as appropriate) and the complete works of Shakespeare, a book and a luxury of their choice.)

Sometimes you learn new things about the Castaway you thought you knew a lot about and sometimes you're introduced to a unknown person whose life is of particular interest. This week it was the latter, the guest was Lord Victor Adebowale, whom I must confess I knew nothing of. He's a former chief executive of Centrepoint and now heads up Turning Point, a Social Care enterprise in London.

One of the records he picked was The Tourists' version of I Only Want To Be With You. Although a big fan of Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics, I hadn't come across this version of one of my favourite songs of all time. Whilst I'm not convinced this is a great version (how can anyone, even the fabulous La Lennox, beat Dusty?), I do love the video:

DID is repeated tomorrow morning at 9am on Radio 4 and is also available as a podcast here.



Stephen Chapman said...

DID is one of my favourite programmes too. I've been listening to the archive via podcast. Great stuff.

Surprised you had not heard the Tourists version. Me and Dave have had a conversation on Twitter! :-)

Raybeard said...

Now we're all 'coming out'!
I've been an avid D.I.D. listener since 1960 AT LEAST, finding it compulsively fascinating. Can remember people like Bing Crosby, Arthur Askey, Les Dawson, Paul McCartney, Lauren Bacall, Ian McKellan, Diana Rigg, Pam Ayres and many, many more. Such a shame we can't hear these pre-2000 programmes on the website. I know we can read a list of their eight chosen discs but it's only part of the story when we don't know the reasons for their choices.
I've actually thought for some time about doing a blog on D.I.D., giving my own choices + book + luxury, and inviting others to post theirs, but I wasn't sure the idea would get enough momentum behind it. But now that I know, might give it a try sometime.

As for the song (never mind the video), although I always like to hear different versions of a well-known piece, it's difficult to hear this one without thinking that it's only second best to Dusty's 'definitive' version.