Sunday, 8 May 2016

Tom Hanks as guest on 'Desert Island Discs'

For a change from my regular film reviews I thought I would share with you an especially interesting BBC radio programme from this morning.

'Desert Island Discs' (which I and others have written about before) has been running since 1942 - and which I started following around 1960. 
The concept is that a celebrity, or someone who has made a positive achievement in a particular field, is interviewed about her/his life, while the chat (current presenter is Kirsty Young) is interspersed with eight tracks of music (or speech or sounds) which the guest 'castaway', marooned on a mythical desert island, would choose to be accompanied by - to last, potentially, for the remainder of that person's life to the exclusion of all else.
In addition, the guest castaway is allowed to choose one book  - the Bible and complete works of Shakespeare are already 'supplied' as they are choices which are considered as being rather too obvious, (though there's no compulsion to accept them). 
There's also the choice of one 'luxury', something that would not be helpful in attempting an escape from the island. A radio (as well as TV, of course) is also not allowed for obvious reasons.

Mr 'Nice-Guy's choices were particularly noteworthy in being largely, or even entirely, unpredictable. The reasons behind his choices were explained each time, in most cases they being evocative of times in his life which he takes pleasure in recalling:-

Dean Martin (with Line Renaud) - 'Relaxez-vous!'

The Beatles - 'There's a Place'

Dusty Springfield - 'Doodlin''

Opening music from '2001 - A Space Odyssey' (Richard Strauss' 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' - Karajan/VPO).

Opening credit music from the film 'How the West Was Won'.

Talking Heads - 'Once in a Lifetime'

LL Cool J - 'I'm Gonna Knock You Out'

Derek and the Dominoes - 'Layla' 

At the end of the programme, the guest is always pressed to nominate just one of his choices if only a single one were to be permitted. T.H. chose the '2001' opening music. 
His chosen book was William Manchester's 'A World Lit Only By Fire' - and his luxury a manual typewriter (specifically a 'Hermes 3000') with a plentiful supply of paper.

The conversations covered his childhood, his father's three marriages, his dislike of loneliness, and, naturally, his film career.

I thought this was one of the more interesting programmes of the series in recent times, and I do always think that the guests' choices of music tracks is at least as illuminating, if not moreso, regarding his or her personality than a lot of what is talked about. 
Jolly good, entertaining stuff!


  1. It sounds like a great program, thoughtful and thought provoking.
    I like Mr. Hanks because I think he is both of those things.

    1. This one was particularly good, Bob, though at one point he did get into his 'loud' mode, which does sometimes sound like hectoring when we, who are familiar with his way of talking, know that he's being jocular. But the programme did confirm him as being a thoroughly decent chap.

  2. I dont really get a chance to listen to it. But if I did I would listen to them all.

    1. I've found it ever so addictive, Sol. In fact over the last five and more decades there can be only a dozen or so which I've purposely missed, invariably because I was so out of tune with the particular guest (all politicians, I think) that I couldn't bear to listen to them jabbering on about themselves. Otherwise the choices of music gives a very interesting, unusual and angular insight into their personalities. If you give D.I.D. a go you may well find yourself hooked too.