• Desert Island Discs
  • BBC Radio Four
  • 1990-01-14
  • Peel interviewed by Sue Lawley and talks through eight records he would take to a desert island. Full transcript appears here.
  • A couple of perhaps surprising classical selections, but says if he could choose one record it would be Teenage Kicks.
  • Book: A Dance To The Music Of Time by Anthony Powell. Luxury: A football, and a wall to kick it against.
  • According to the BBC's database of Desert Island Discs appearances, Peel remains the only castaway to have chosen records by Jimmy Reed, Misty in Roots or the Four Brothers. He remained the only guest to have chosen The Fall until 2007, or the Undertones until 2008. However, since that time Grayson Perry and Frank Skinner have chosen Fall songs, and Bill Bailey, James Nesbitt and Frank Cottrell Boyce have chosen Undertones songs, reflecting the major change in the generational background and assumptions of castaways in recent years.
  • The show was repeated in 2011 for the first time in 21 years.


John Peel's Desert Island Discs-0

John Peel's Desert Island Discs-0

John Peel's Desert Island Discs

Wish List

"Some people have been asked twice: when I do my Radio 4 programmes, I work at the desk next to the Desert Island Discs people and I keep batting my eyelids at them in a hopeful manner, but so far it's got me nowhere." [1]

Peel was only asked to appear on DID once (on occasion he wistfully cited Arthur Askey, the only personality to be on the show four times [2]), but also mentioned records he would choose if given another chance. (He said he would make up for omitting Captain Beefheart [3], but to date no mention has been found of him committing himself to any particular track or tracks.) Please update the list below if others come to light.

Other mentions

It appears John was also a regular listener to the programme, as he comments occasionally on episodes he has heard. Below is a list of these mentions: please add any that come to light.

  • Elvis Costello, musician (1992-02-23). "Elvis Costello said something very wise on Desert Island Discs today: 'Sometimes it seems that music doesn’t have a place in the music industry plans' … I know what he means." [13]
  • John Lee Hooker, blues artist (1995-06-11). [14]
  • Neil Jordan, film director (2000-01-23). John credits him with choosing a record by Dion and the Belmonts, which he subsequently plays. [15]
  • Michael Palin, comedian (1979-11-17). JP criticises him for choosing "a rotten bunch of records." [16]
  • Play as a Pig's Big 78 for Eric Coates' By The Sleepy Lagoon (DID theme music). [17]


  • a) jp-did.mp3
  • b) John Peel (Desert Island Discs) 1990
  • a) 00:39:36
  • b) 00:39:17
  • a) 128 kbps mono, volume corrected
  • b) 320 kbps: recorded from 2011 repeat
  • c) Audio stream