BBC Radio Four and local BBC radio stations are to celebrate seven decades of the ‘castaway’ series currently hosted by former newsreader Kirsty Young (pictured, right).

The format has little changed since its first outing in 1942 with guests invited to imagine themselves as a castaway on a desert island, and to choose eight pieces of music they’d like to have with them on the island.  The music choice entwines with discussion of their life. They are then asked which book they would take with them and also they choose one luxury, which must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.

To mark 70 years of Desert Island Discs, all of the BBC Nations and BBC Local radio stations throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will invite their listeners to become castaways.

Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young said: “We’re all really excited about it. The idea came about because earlier this year we asked the listeners to choose their top 8 tracks – tracks that really meant something to them. We elicited some fascinating, intimate stories that we didn’t expect. So we think this will be a wonderful way for people all across the nation to celebrate Desert Island Discs’ anniversary by sharing more of those stories with us.”

From Saturday, 19th November, listeners throughout the United Kingdom can go online to name the one record they would save from the waves if they were stranded on Radio 4’s mythical desert island. Listeners will be asked to tell the story behind their choice and give the details of why a particular piece of music reminds them of a particular person, memory, place or event.

Entries from Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs website will be sent to producers across the BBC Nations and BBC local radio stations so they can record the personal stories behind the choices of listeners in their area. The 70th anniversary edition of Desert Island Discs will air on Radio 4 on Sunday, 29th January at 11.15am. Immediately afterwards, at midday, Kirsty will invite listeners to switch to the BBC Nations and BBC Local radio stations in their area to hear the stories and the choices of local people as 45 BBC stations simultaneously broadcast their own edition of Your Desert Island Discs in a unique moment for BBC radio.

To take part, listeners just fill in a web form on the Your Desert Island Discs tab at bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs

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