Desert Island Discs named the greatest radio programme of all time

The long-running BBC Radio 4 programme beat out The Archers and Today as a panel of radio experts picked the 30 best programmes ever broadcast

Tom Daley Lauren Laverne Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs has been named the greatest radio show of all time by a panel of industry experts compiled by Radio Times.


The show beat British radio classics such as The Archers, Round the Horne and Hancock’s Half Hour to top spot, with over 40 radio experts picking their favourites from broadcasting history.

Speaking to Radio Times, longtime Desert Island Discs producer Cathy Drysdale attributed the show’s 78-year success to it’s “genius format” that “gets to the heart of people — what moves them and motivates them, what inspires them and enthuses them, who and what they care about”.

Drysdale added that the show has been fortunate to have the likes of Roy Plomley, Michael Parkinson, Sue Lawley, Kirsty Young and now Lauren Laverne sit in the interviewer’s chair: “We have the most amazing presenters.”

Desert Island Discs creator and original presenter Roy Plomley (Getty)
Desert Island Discs creator and original presenter Roy Plomley (Getty)

The Radio Times’ panel of 46 industry experts included Radio 2’s Sara Cox, 6 Music’s Cerys Matthews, the Today programme’s Justin Webb, and 5 Live presenter Adrian Chiles.

Radio 4’s countryside drama The Archers came in at second place in the poll, with radio comedy Round the Horne in third. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Today programme and The News Quiz all featured in the top 1.


The full Top 30 programmes is revealed in the new issue of Radio Times

Radio Times cover: Greatest radio show of all time