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It’s official: this BBC radio show has been named the ‘greatest of all time’

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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The votes are in for the nation’s favourite show…

In our fast paced digital world, it can be easy to overlook the innately soothing power of taking a moment to listen to the radio.

But whether you’re on your commute, in the gym, taking a long walk or simply in the mood to listen to something, when it comes to entertainment, there is nothing quite like the radio.

And now, our favourite radio programme has been revealed, with Desert Island Discs taking the top spot in a poll of the greatest ever radio programmes.

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A love letter to Kirsty Young, the unforgettable voice of Desert Island Discs

The beloved BBC Radio 4 show has been running for over 70 years, and was first broadcast back in 1942. It is currently being hosted by Lauren Laverne, while its usual presenter Kirsty Young is being treated for fibromyalgia.

The show has a brilliantly simple format, in which A-listers are asked to select eight discs, a book and a luxury item to take with them on a desert island. There have been hundreds of guests so far, with celebrities including JK Rowling, Sir David Attenborough and David Beckham all taking their turn to pick their items for a mythical island trip. 

And the items chosen can be surprisingly revealing, with the show moving listeners to tears one minute before making them laugh the next.

jk Rowling

JK Rowling has joined hundreds of guests in taking part in Desert Island Discs

The show beat 29 other programmes to be named the greatest of all time in the poll, which was conducted for the Radio Times by a panel of industry experts.

Speaking to the BBC, the producer of Desert Island Discs, Cathy Drysdale, said it was “wonderful” the show had secured the top spot. It even pipped The Archers, the UK’s longest running radio drama, to the post.

Looking for some further inspiration of shows to listen to? This is the eclectic choice of top five radio programmes:

  1. Desert Island Discs
  2. The Archers
  3. Round the Horne (no longer running live)
  4. Hancock’s Half Hour (no longer running live)
  5. In The Psychiatrist’s Chair (no longer running live)

Happy listening!

Images: Unsplash

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter

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