Desert Island Discs on iTunes

The BBC Radio 4 long running series Desert Island Discs is now available on the iTunes store.

Each episode can be downloaded as a free podcast. I subscribed to the series and a batch of 100 episodes were downloaded to my iTunes Library dating from August of last year back to 1998.  Desert Island Discs began in 1942 so my mind boggles at how many episodes could become available to download as podcasts.

Former presenter Sue Lawley

I listened to an episode from 1998 with Lucy Gannon interviewed by Sue Lawley.

The podcast itself was prefaced by current presenter Kirsty Young advising that the music chosen will be brief due to rights issues.  This is an understatement as some of the excerpts are no more than 10 seconds long (at least for the pop music the classical music does get a longer airing) which loses the very spirit of the programs I feel.  The Radio 4 program itself always shortens the pieces but that I understand as even with just 8 discs chosen they would be long programs indeed if each piece was played in its entirety.

I understand the reasons here too but the musical choices now feels very cursory.

This series might lend itself better to being hosted on a website with a page for each program and links to all the music chosen so at least a listener can explore and listen further any of the musical selections if they are so inclined.  I am aware of the BBC Radio 4 website dedicated to the program but that provides details of the episodes but no musical content at all.

Current presenter Kirsty Young

I still found the podcasts fascinating listening though as the island castaways are from a wide range of backgrounds and skilfully interviewed by current presenter Kirsty Young and previous presenter Sue Lawley.

There are far too many episodes for me to listen too but I am pleased to have access to them whenever I might feel like listening to an episode from this vast archive.

Just glancing at last year I can see episodes from Mary Portas, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Emma Thompson among many others – I must look away, I don’t have the time!