desert-islandSince the first broadcast in 1942 of the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs, twelve Old Shirburnians have been castaway and one, Cecil Day-Lewis, has been castaway twice!

The format of the programme involves each guest/castaway choosing eight recordings (usually music), a book and a luxury item to take with them to an imaginary desert island.  The castaways are also given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and either the Bible or another appropriate religious or philosophical work.

The castaways’ music selections reveal that J.S. Bach and Mozart are Shirburnians classical composers of choice.  As for their luxury item, musical instruments were chosen by three of the castaways with four asking for alcohol. Their book choices included works of fact and fiction.  Amongst the authors chosen were Jane Austen, Chekhov, Charles Dickens and Jerome, K. Jerome, although the ever-practical Shirburnians also asked to take a construction manual, Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang and Hornibrook’s The Culture of the Abdomen: A Cure of Obesity and Constipation!

Below is a list of the Old Shirburnians who have appeared on Desert Island Discs, with details of the recordings, book and luxury item they selected to take to their desert island.  You can also follow the link to the castaway’s entry on the Desert Island Discs website where you can listen to their music choices.

Return to the School Archives homepage.

Old Shirburnian castaways (A-Z):

Hugh Bonneville (Harper House 1977-1981)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 28 February 2016.
Presenter: Kirsty Young.
Book: Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.
Luxury item: Lego with instruction booklets.
Selected recordings:
Puccini – O Mio Babbino Caro.
Bernstein – The Great Escape theme.
Peter Sellers – A Hard Day’s Night.
Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls.
Annie Lennox – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
Cass Elliot – Dream a Little Dream of Me [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].
The Four Seasons – December ’63 (Oh What a Night).
Damian Montagu – The Path Towards Tomorrow.

Duncan Carse (Westcott House 1927-1930)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 30 January 1953.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Luxury item: A pin-up picture.
Selected recordings:
Tchaikovsky – Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture.
Bob Hope & Shirley Ross – Thanks for the Memory.
Stanley Holloway & Wolseley Charles – Gunner Joe.
Strauss – Ständchen, Op. 17/2.
Paul Robeson – Go down Moses (from A Child of our Time).
Debussy – Clair de lune (from Suite bergamasque).
Sibelius – Symphony No.2 in D major.
Scriabin – Etude in D sharp minor, Op.8/12.

Christopher Chataway (Harper House 1944-1949)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 24 February 1955.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Luxury item: Underwater breathing apparatus.
Selected recordings:
Peter Lin Hayes – Life Gets Tee-Jus, Don’t it?
Ruggero Leoncavallo – Vesti la giubba (from Pagliacci).
The Crew-Cuts – Sh-Boom.
Sibelius – Symphony No.1 in E minor.
Dolores Gray – You can’t get a man with a gun.
Schubert – Der Erlkönig (The Earl King), D328.
Beethoven – Symphony No.9 in D minor ‘Choral’.

Cecil Day-Lewis (Harper House 1917-1923)
Desert Island Discs broadcast:: 18 July 1960.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Book: The novels of Jane Austen.
Luxury item: Wine.
Selected recordings:
J.S. Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No.6 in B flat major.
Chopin – Waltz in E flat major, Op.18.
Verdi – Offertorio (from Requiem Mass) [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].
Beethoven – String Quartet No.15 in A minor, Op.132.
Mozart – Piano Concerto No.23 in A major.
Elgar – Cello Concerto in E minor.
Handel – Come, my beloved (adaptation of Care selve) (from Atalanta).
John Laurie – The Wife of Usher’s Well.

Cecil Day-Lewis (Harper House 1917-1923)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 26 February 1968.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Book: Short stories by Anton Chekhov.
Luxury item: Bourbon whiskey.
Selected recordings:
J.S. Bach – Harpsichord Concerto No.1 in D minor.
Handel – Oboe Concerto in B Flat major.
Britten – Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings.
Mozart – Piano Concert No.19 in F major [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].
Verdi – Offertorio (from Requiem Mass).
Franck – Piano Quintet in F minor.
Chopin – Nocturne in F sharp major, Op.15/2.
John McCormack – The Old House.

Richard Eyre (Westcott House 1956-1961)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 23 March 1985.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Book: Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang.
Luxury item: Saxophone.
Selected recordings:
Verdi – Sanctus (from Requiem Mass).
Chuck Berry – School Day (Ring, Ring Goes the Bell).
Duke Ellington – In a Sentimental Mood.
J.S. Bach – Cantata No. 202: Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten.
Billy Holiday – I’ll Never be the Same.
Mozart – Fantasia in C minor, K475.
Gene Kelly – Singin’ in the Rain.
Pablo (Pau) Casals – El Cant Dels Ocells [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].

Jeremy Irons (Abbey House 1962-1966)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 2 November 1986.
Presenter: Michael Parkinson.
Book: A construction manual.
Luxury item: Camera and film.
Selected recordings:
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right.
Theatre Workshop Cast – They Didn’t Believe Me (from Oh What a Lovely War).
Schwartz – All for the Best.
Kate & Anna McGarrigle – First Born.
Mark Knopfler – Irish Boy [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].
London Voices – On Earth As It Is In Heaven.
Carly Simon – Menemsha.
Hess/Brown – Demewer But Dangerous (from The Swan Down Gloves).

John Le Mesurier (Lyon House 1926-1930)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 17 February 1973.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Book: Samuel Pepys’ diary.
Luxury item: Small distillery.
Selected recordings:
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – Take the A Train.
Bill Evans Trio – Spring is Here.
Peter Sellers – Setting Fire to the Policeman.
Judy Garland – Come Rain or Come Shine.
Bob Burns & Alan Clare Trio – Easy Living.
Annie Ross – What’s New?
Fred Astaire – After You, Who?
J.S. Bach – Concerto for Two Violins in D minor [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].

Robert McCrum (Abbey House 1966-1971)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 5 March 2000.
Presenter: Sue Lawley.
Book: Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat.
Luxury item: St John’s Wort.
Selected recordings:
Britten – Elegy (from Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings).
Bill Haley & His Comets – Rock Around the Clock.
Beethoven – Piano Sonata No.17 in D minor, Op.31/2 ‘Tempest’ – 3rd movement.
George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue.
Bob Dylan – Tangled up in Blue.
The Lightning Seeds – Change.
Shakespeare – Fear No More the Heat O’ the Sun (from Cymbeline).
J.S. Bach – Suite for Solo Cello No.3 in C major – 1st movement [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].

John Pardoe (Harper House 1948-1953)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 10 April 1976.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Book: Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy.
Luxury item: Piano.
Selected recordings:
Holst – In the Bleak Midwinter, sung by King’s College Chapel Choir.
J.S. Bach – Christmas Oratorio – Frohe, Hirten, elit.
Mahler – Symphony No.1 in D major.
Crowd in Padstow – Padstow May Day Song.
Charles Causley – The Seasons of North Cornwall.
Handel – Since by man came death (from Messiah).
Beethoven – Symphony No.9 in D minor ‘Choral’ [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].
Mozart – The Magic Flute.

Jon Pertwee (Abbeylands 1933-1934)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 12 October 1964.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Book: F.A. Hornibrook, The Culture of the Abdomen: A Cure of Obesity and Constipation.
Luxury item: Guitar.
Selected recordings:
Ray Charles – Georgia on my mind [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].
Mozart – Venite inginocchiatevi (from The Marriage of Figaro).
Choir of the Russian Church of the Metropolitan of Paris – Multos Annos (Russian Orthodox Liturgy).
Lonnie Donegan – Love is Strange.
Rafael Romero & R. Montoya Jarrito – Cuatro Saetas.
John Lee Hooker – Dimples.
Mozart – Der Hölle Rache (from The Magic Flute).
Miriam Makeba – Suliram (Indonesian Lullaby).

David Sheppard (Lyon House 1942-1947)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 27 September 1965.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Book: Volume of reproductions of works by Dutch painters.
Luxury item: Writing materials.
Selected recordings:
Schubert – An Silvia (Who is Sylvia?), D891.
Mozart – Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor.
Lord Beginner & the Calypso Rhythm Kings – Cricket, Lovely Cricket.
J.S. Bach – St Matthew Passion – Mache dich, mein Herze [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].
Giorgio Tozzi – Some Enchanted Evening (from South Pacific).
Pat Dodd – I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.
Herman’s Hermits – I’m Into Something Good.
Valerie Mountain – Gentle Christ (from A Man Dies).

Alec Waugh (School House 1911-1915)
Desert Island Discs broadcast: 6 September 1975.
Presenter: Roy Plomley.
Book: Francis Palgrave, The Golden Treasury.
Luxury item: Wine.
Selected recordings:
Basil Hallam – Gilbert the Filbert.
Billy Cotton & Kathy Kay – Let the Great Big World Keep Turning.
Sibelius – Valse Triste.
Clinton Baddeley – Romance [CASTAWAY’S FAVOURITE].
Noel Coward & Gertrude Lawrence – Private Lives  (excerpt Act 1).
Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson – These Foolish Things.
Ethel Merman – I Get a Kick Out of You.
Judy Garland – Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones.

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