‘Desert Island Discs’ is coming to the West End for its first ever live shows

‘Desert Island Discs’ has been delighting Radio 4 listeners since 1942, and can lay a strong claim to being the single most successful light entertainment programme in history, having made it through over 80 years with very little changes to its format.

In case you’ve not embraced the wonder of Radio 4 yet, the basic deal is that each week’s guest – or ‘castaway’
 – will talk host Lauren Laverne through their life and career, plus eight songs and a luxury item that they can take to their hypothetical exile to a hypothetical desert island. To be honest, forget the island thing, it’s just a cosy interview broken up by some songs, and it works a treat.

The intimate nature of the show is such that it’s not recorded in front of a studio audience and has never been taken on the road in any form… until now. A trip of live ‘Desert Island Discs’ dates have been lined up at the London Palladium next month to belatedly mark its eightieth birthday.

Hosted by Laverne, the shows will feature a look back at the history of ‘Desert Island Discs’, but crucially two castaways a piece. Whereas the actual programme has a tendency to alternate juicy celebrities with dull business people with soul-crushingly basic taste in music, this is very much all killer no filler: show one (March 25) will feature Katherine Ryan and Sue Perkins, show two (Mar 26) is Lemn Sissay and Dara Ó Briain and show three (Mar 27) is Russell T Davies and Ellie Simmonds.

There are also more guests to be announced, apparently, so who knows how many castaways are going to end up on this island, but it sounds like we can expect a fairly substantial evening out of a celebration of what is ultimately a fairly short show. The Palladium shows won’t be broadcast as actual episodes, but all the guests have already done it so there shouldn’t be a diplomatic incident – whether they’re allowed to change their selection of songs is TBC.

‘Desert Island Discs: The Live Show’ is at the London Palladium, Mar 25-27. Buy tickets here.

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