The long-loved, iconic Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs, first devised and presented by Roy Plomley in 1942, has since been hosted by many a personality. But the most fascinating aspect of the show isn't so much the interviews (although some have been admittedly extremely enlightening!). It's the choices made by the interviewees which have sometimes been so incongruous, they're worth another highlight. The music and luxury items have been the most eyebrow-raising over the decades – and many a castaway has declined to choose a book at all – so here's our round-up of some of the most intriguing and bizarre selections…


The most unusual luxury items…

1. Film director Alfred Hitchcock (1959)

A continental railway timetable

2. Comedian Les Dawson (1978)

A piece of Georgian furniture

3. Comic actor and writer John Cleese (1997)

A stuffed effigy of Michael Palin

4. Children’s author Michael Morpurgo (2004)

A waterslide

5. Comedian and TV personality Julian Clary (2005)

All-purpose prosthetic arm

6. TV and radio presenter Chris Evans (2005)

Swimming goggles with prescription lenses

Simon Cowell

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7. Music mogul and producer Simon Cowell (2006)

A mirror ‘because I’d miss me’ (!)

8. Children’s author Michael Rosen (2006)

His late son Eddie’s didgeridoo

9. Actor Jane Horrocks (2006)

Endless supply of tissues

10. Children’s author Allan Ahlberg (2008)

A wall to kick a football against


And the most surprising song choices…

1. Comedian Les Dawson (1978)

Pavane pour une infante défunte by Ravel

2. Former Prime Minister John Major (1992)

The Happening by The Supremes

3. Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (2010)

Waka Waka by Shakira

4. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (2013)

Two Little Boys by Rolf Harris

5. Former Prime Minister David Cameron (2014)

Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) by Benny Hill

Sarah Millican

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6. Comedian Sarah Millican (2014)

We All Stand Together by Paul McCartney and The Frog Chorus (also chosen for her wedding!)

7. Footballing legend David Beckham (2017)

Si Tu Vois Ma Mere by Sidney Bechet


What’s your favourite ever episode of Desert Island Discs?