Cannabis Campaign: Tune in for a desert island spliff
Sunday 24 May 1998
The notional shores of Radio 4's famous desert island are, by now, surely plumed with smoke from the roll-ups of celebrity castaways. In the 56 years since Desert Island Discs was first broadcast, at least six guests have opted for the drug, or considered it, as their luxury item.
This month yet another joined the rebellious ranks. Eschewing the choice of a piano, currently number one in popularity, the psychologist Susan Blackmore asked for a supply of cannabis. Her request did not ruffle interviewer Sue Lawley, who seamlessly drew the programme to its accustomed close.
Later, a spokeswoman for the programme explained its policy on soft drugs: "It is the castaway's own island, you see, so they can make up the rules."
It was not always so. When Norman Mailer asked to take an endless supply of the drug with him, Roy Plomley, the programme's creator, gently refused. Use of an illegal substance was not to be condoned by the BBC. In 1982, the actress Pamela Stephenson's revelations about her LSD experiences were completely excised. Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, former editor of the Sunday Telegraph, caused a stir when he asked Ms Lawley for mild hallucinogens in 1992. However, by 1996, writer Hanif Kureishi's choice of marijuana seeds went almost unremarked.
The American lyricist Fran Landesman was not so lucky. Her request for a supply of the drug last year provoked a stream of complaints.
While the campaigning IoS must support those who have chosen, and will continue to choose, cannabis as their imagined solace, it would be churlish for the newspaper not to take its hat off to Desmond Tutu, who selected rum-and-raisin ice-cream, or to Arthur Scargill, who ordered the "Mona Lisa", and finally, with reservations, to composer Richard Rodney Bennett, for his domesticated choice of a circular knitting needle.
Life & Style blogs
Reader dilemma: 'Our son is 34 with an IQ of 85, and spends all his time in his room. What will happen to him when we're no longer here?'
Why it matters 26 million people have changed their Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag
What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
The age of inactivity: How laziness is killing us
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...
£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...
£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This logistics firm are looking...