The ‘greatest radio shows of all time’ have been named

What's your favourite?

Desert Island Discs has been named as the ‘greatest radio show of all time’ in a new poll.

The poll by Radio Times saw the long-running Radio Four show come out on top, beloved among listeners for having celebrities and public figures name their eight favourite songs. The show has been running since 1942 and still proves popular today as it continues with new host Lauren Laverne.

Longtime Desert Island Discs producer Cathy Drysdale said that the show’s success was down to tis “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”.


The top 30 in the poll was compiled by 46 industry experts (42 of which had a professional connection to the BBC). Other shows that ranked but failed to make the top five included Wake Up To Wogan, John Peel and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The top five ‘greatest radio programmes of all time’ are:

  1. Desert Island Discs
  2. The Archers – the UK’s longest running radio drama.
  3. Radio comedy Round The Horne (1965-8)
  4. Hancock’s Half Hour (1954-9)
  5. In The Psychiatrist’s Chair (1982-2001)

Lauren Laverne

Last year saw Kirsty Young temporarily step down as host of Desert Island Discs due to illness, with Lauren Laverne stepping in.

“Casting away some of the world’s most fascinating people is a wonderful job – however, I’m having to take some time away from Desert Island Discs as I’m suffering from a form of fibromyalgia,” Young said in a statement.

“I wish Lauren all the very best, I know she will be great. And I very much look forward to getting back to good health and back to work.”