Desert Island Discs at 75: David Beckham is anniversary show castaway – BBC News

Image copyright Sophie Mutevelian
Image caption Beckham told Kirsty Young music was a big part of his life

Former England captain David Beckham is being cast away for the 75th birthday celebrations of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs this weekend.

More than 3,000 guests have been on the show since it was first broadcast on 29 January 1942.

Presenter Kirsty Young said having “fascinating” Beckham as her castaway for the anniversary show was “the perfect gift”.

Beckham, 41, said music has been a “huge” part of his family’s life.

‘Extraordinary legacy’

He is married to former Spice Girl singer turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham and the couple’s youngest son Cruz, 11, released a Christmas-themed single last month.

It is not yet known if he has picked any of his wife’s hits with the pop group, or any of her solo endeavours.

Beckham said: “I’m delighted to join Desert Island Discs for its 75th anniversary celebrations.

“Music has been a huge part of my – and my family’s – life and it is a real pleasure to highlight that on such an iconic programme.”

What is Desert Island Discs?

  • A famous guest is cast away on a fictional desert island each week
  • They can choose eight songs, a book and a luxury item to take with them
  • They are always given two items – the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible
  • Guests have to choose one record they would save if a storm hit the desert island
  • Four presenters have hosted the show since it started in 1942 – Roy Plomley (who originally devised the programme), Sir Michael Parkinson, Sue Lawley and Kirsty Young, who took over presenting duties in 2006
  • Desert Island Discs has an on-air audience of 2.8 million
  • Its first-ever castaway was actor and comedian Vic Oliver, whose first music selection was pianist Alfred Cortot playing Chopin

Young said of her guest: “His sporting legacy is of course extraordinary. And along with his charisma, cultural impact and humanitarian work, he is a modern man of many parts.

“He’ll be a fascinating guest to welcome on to my little interview island.”

Desert Island Discs’ anniversary will be marked with a three-hour programme on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Saturday, presented by Young, featuring some of the guests from past shows.

They include Cilla Black, talking about her early career singing with The Beatles, and Richard Dimbleby, discussing taking a cutlery set from Hitler’s bunker after being one of the first correspondents to visit it after the dictator’s death.

‘National identity’

Extracts from recently rediscovered episodes that are being added to the show’s online archive will also feature.

Sunday’s show, featuring Beckham, will reintroduce the sound of the sea to the opening and closing of the programme for the first time since the 1960s.

BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra controller Gwyneth Williams said: “A sure way to uncover an elusive British national identity is to listen to this programme week after week.

“The broad range of guests is a measure of contemporary talent and achievement, and the music opens up different eras and prompts emotional memory in all of us.”

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