'Desert Island Discs' comes to BBC iPlayer

Monday, September 28 2009,

The BBC has completed rights negotiations with the relatives of late Desert Island Discs founder Roy Plomley to make the programme available on BBC iPlayer.

Writing on the BBC Internet Blog, controller of Radio 4 Mark Damazer revealed that there has always been "good relations" with the Plomley family.

However, he explained that the radio programme was created in a pre-digital age and so it required careful consideration about how best to bring it online.

After discussions with the family reached a positive conclusion, Damazer said that it is a "grand moment" to get the 67-year-old show on iPlayer. The new arrangement started yesterday for singer Barry Manilow's choices, which are currently available via the on-demand platform.

Damazer announced that an "all-singing, all-dancing" new website is planned for Desert Island Discs, in which users will be able to compare their own choices with past participants and also browse the most popular selections. All programmes will soon be made available in podcast form, as well.

Plomley presented the programme until he passed away in 1985, when Michael Parkinson took over until Sue Lawley's 18-year stint started in 1988. Kirsty Young has fronted the show since 2006.

Discussing the greatest Desert Island Discs moments, Damazar cited: "Princess Margaret with Roy Plomley (a curio), Sue Lawley and Simon Cowell (not a great meeting of minds), Kirsty and Humphrey Lyttelton, Kirsty and Andrew Neil (moving), Kirsty and Yoko Ono, Sue and Isaiah Berlin and many, many more. It's a treat in my week. I rarely miss it and I now have no excuse."

In terms of dream guests for the future, he added: "I still yearn for Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama, Madonna, Arsene Wenger etc, etc. Stay tuned. We're trying."