Desert Island Discs

BBC Radio 4 has a program called Desert Island Discs. A famous guest (sports, music, science, etc.) chooses eight music tracks, a book and a luxury to take with them on a desert island. During the interview, we get to know why these are important to them. At the same time, we learn more about their interesting lives.

I’d like to share with you one of the latest episodes, an interview with Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society and a Nobel prize-winning biologist.

Before you listen, become familiar with the following idioms and words which you will be hearing:

  • to cut to the chase => to get to the point. For example, the finance minister can say, “The economic situation is not very good. However, we don’t want to reduce social benefits. Also, we must find a way to lower unemployment blah blah blah. (Five minutes later) Taxes are going to increase.” Or, the finance minister can cut to the chase and simply say, “Taxes are going to increase.”
  • to play hooky => to miss a class, lecture or work without a valid reason. It occasionally happens with my students when the weather is too beautiful and it’s their last week in Malta. I don’t blame them if they play hooky and spend the day at the beach instead!
  • Anglophile => someone who admires England, its people, and its culture. What’s useful about the word is the last part phile. We can use it to create many other words, such as Germanophile (lover of all things German) and Italophile (lover of all things Italian); technophile, when someone is enthusiastic about technology; paedophile, an adult who is sexually attracted to young children.

The program lasts for 40 minutes. If that’s too long for you, it’s ok to listen to it in parts, Ten minutes each time over 4 days is just as useful.

Over to you …

Did you enjoy this program? Did you find it helpful? Is there anything you learnt that you’d like to share?

Tell me what you think. Write in using the comments box below.

4 thoughts on “Desert Island Discs

  1. i can’t recommend………. “play hooky”.
    I skipped school last friday and got a really strong sunburn!

    Thank you for everything Sandro!
    I’ve really enjoyed the time with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Dennis, thanks for your nice words.
      The experience of getting sunburnt while playing hooky will certainly help you remember the expression!
      Greetings from this small island.


    1. Thanks Oscar. Notes of appreciation like yours encourage me to keep this website going. Greetings from Malta in return!


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