Desert Island Discs Archive

Realising the digital potential of this iconic radio brand’s archive


Known for our digital archive expertise, audio craftsmanship and meticulous research skills, BBC Radio 4 asked Loftus to help fulfil the online potential of the Desert Island Discs archive.

Our dedicated team took responsibility for the sourcing, treatment, repackaging and publishing of over 1,800 full or partial episodes of this iconic programme all the way back to Margaret Lockwood in 1951 (the earliest recording that has so far come to light). Most of the archive was sourced within the BBC, but in some cases our team had to go further afield to work with episodes held only by the British Library or by listeners. In some cases only the speech had been archived, and for these programmes our team reconstructed whole episodes with the music lovingly restored. Some music choices even had to be shipped in from as far away as Australia (Jessye Norman’s choice of Could Love Forever sung by Isla Blair and Derek Jacobi).

The result is over 1800 beautifully packaged episodes available via a bespoke Desert Island Discs Castaway archive as well as podcasts via iTunes which continue to generate millions of downloads.


Project Manager: Jon Calver | Producers: Edwina Pitman, Sophie Powling, Michael Umney, Rob Shiret, Madeleine Brolly, Scott Cawley, Sam Cotton | Audio Editors: Alick Hale-Monro, Kate Lamble, Alison McKenzie, Hannah Marshall, Kim Normanton, Brian Thompson


Over 1 million downloads in first 4 weeks

"The maxim ‘hire good people and you get good work’ seems to have stood the test once again. It is good to be working with Loftus on this stuff."

BBC Commissioner