Listening to David Beckham on yesterday's Desert Island Discs, it struck me that the Radio 4  show is a great reminder of what makes a good media interview.

While there has been speculation that a more highbrow castaway should have been chosen to mark the programme's 75th anniversary, I would agree with The Guardian's review which remarks that Beckham did not disappoint. Indeed, he talked honestly about difficult moments in his career and came across as the warm, family man portrayed by the media.

Of course, Beckham would have been well versed for the interview. Castaways are aware that they will be asked probing questions about their career and personal life as well as their choice of luxury item. Yet despite having a good idea of the questions they will face, not all the celebrity guests get it quite right. For example, while Beckham played it safe and asked for his England Caps as his luxury item, David Walliams requested a gun presumably so  he could finish himself off if the solitude became all too much. While listeners may have appreciated an honest answer, a publicist may not have been quite so impressed. 

A key lesson to take way from the show is the importance of sound preparation and an awareness that all media interviews should be treated with caution. In the world of legal journalism, for example, a seemingly innocent remark about fee level or billable hours could result in undesirable headlines. Nevertheless, a press interview is nearly always an excellent way to raise profile amongst a target audience providing the interviewee stays on track and sticks to a few key messages.