National British Institutions – the Anniversaries

Sherlock Holmes in The Strand Magazine

Have you been gripped by the latest series of Sherlock?

By all accounts this British drama seems to have taken the world by storm and airs in countries all over the globe.

This year sees the 125th anniversary of the creation of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was reputedly taken by surprise when a series of 12 short stories in The Strand Magazine established Sherlock Holmes as a star in the reading public’s firmament. Published together as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1892, they were soon followed by a second anthology, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Apparently, Conan Doyle found inspiration in one of his teachers at Edinburgh medical school, Dr Joseph Bell, who impressed with his powers of observation and deduction.

And on the 29th of this month, we see another significant anniversary for popular culture: Desert Island Discs celebrates 75 years on air with its first broadcast coming from a bomb-damaged studio in Maida Vale. The distinctive sound of ‘The Sleepy Lagoon’ fills the airwaves and listeners to the BBC Forces Programme hear Roy Plomley ask comedian and musician Vic Oliver, ‘If you were to be cast away alone on a desert island, which eight gramophone records would you choose to have with you?’ And so began a national institution.

In 1951, after a five-year break, the choice of a luxury was introduced and then a book and nothing much has changed since, except the presenters. After Roy Plomley’s death in 1985, Michael Parkinson took over for two years, then Sue Lawley stayed for 18 and Kirsty Young has been in the chair since October 2006. Well over 3,000 castaways from all walks of life have told the listening public about their lives and given away all sorts of secrets they may never have divulged without the influence of their special music and the interviewer’s gentle prompting.

Dairy Diary 2017These anniversary anecdotes are taken from the 2017 Dairy Diary. As well as listing the popular wedding anniversary gifts, it also features milestones from years gone by.

If you’ve missed out on your copy of the Dairy Diary, don’t worry, there’s still time to buy at





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