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Mark Austin

Mark is the Washington correspondent for Sky News. He is a multi-award winning broadcast journalist who has spent 35 years reporting and presenting for ITV News and the BBC. In his three decades at ITV News, Austin presented both News at Ten and the Evening News ‪at 6.30pm, often on location from places as far afield as the Antarctic, Iraq, the Israel/Gaza border, Libya, Haiti, Nepal, Mogadishu, Afghanistan and Washington. Along the way, Mark conducted numerous agenda-setting interviews with the likes of Prince William, Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Gordon Brown, Shimon Peres, Tony Blair, Sir Jock Stirrup and Bob Geldof, among many others.

Previously Mark was Senior Correspondent for ITV News, covering major foreign and domestic stories. For fifteen years he was a foreign correspondent based in Africa and Asia and travelling all over the globe.

In 2011 and 2015, ITV News at Ten was named RTS Programme of the Year under Mark’s watch and he won Presenter of the Year at the 2014 and 2015 Royal Television Society for Journalism awards. Mark’s achievements include winning five BAFTA awards; an International Emmy in 2000 for his reporting of the devastating floods in Mozambique, a Golden Nymph in 1999 for covering the war in Kosovo, a Gold Medal at the 1996 Film & Television Festival of New York for his coverage of the Bosnian war and being named TRIC’s Newscaster of the Year in 2010.

Mark started his career in local newspapers before joining BBC News as a reporter, becoming one of the youngest national reporters ever appointed by the BBC.

In 2017, Mark presented several programmes for LBC.

Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia, a documentary he made with his daughter Maddy, tackling the subject of anorexia and how the NHS deals with this and other mental health issues was broadcast on Channel 4 last year.

Mark regularly hosts corporate events and also speaks on mental health issues.

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Richard Arnold

Occupation: Journalist, Presenter (TV/Radio)

Dear Diary: why, oh, why has it taken me this long to meet - TV’s Richard Arnold, national treasure? Jennifer Aniston

You’re my leading man. For today. - ’Barbra Streisand

Sure honey, put your hands where ever you like. Dolly Parton‘ 

Richard Arnold is Harry Styles for women over 45’Woman’s Own

A firmly established favourite on the breakfast TV sofa, popular Good Morning Britain presenter Richard Arnold celebrates 21 years on the small screen this year - seen daily on ITV’s early morning offering in his role as Entertainment Editor.

From Streisand to Gaga, Buble to Tony Bennett, Richard has interviewed many of the world’s biggest stars in recent years, as well as anchoring hours of live TV since he first appeared on BBC2’s youth TV offering The Sunday Show back in 1995.

After two series, he started his long tenure at ITV on GMTV in 1997 before leaving the breakfast station back in 2010. He returned the summer of 2012 by popular demand and following two years on Daybreak is now installed ever weekday with Piers Morgan, Susanna Reid, Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway.

During his long stint at GMTV, he hosted The Richard Arnold Show for two summers, presented ITV’s live tea-time celebrity cook-off Soapstar Superchef alongside Nicki Chapman and three series of Challenge TV’s highest rated original commission to date, quiz show Take It or Leave It from the makers of Deal or No Deal.

TV credits include competing in the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing where the grace and favour of the voting public took him all the way to Wembley. He was also a quarter finalist in the first series of Celebrity Masterchef and has taken part in Celebrity Mastermind where his specialist subject was Dallas, the TV series.

In 2003, Richard co-hosted Living’s daily magazine show Loose Lips with Melinda Messenger clocking up over 160 shows, Psychic Live (20 shows) and the Will On Will and Grace audience with star Eric McCormack. 

Other TV appearances include The Chase, Pointless Celebrities, Countdown, Tipping Point, Stars In Their Eyes, The Paul O’Grady Show, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Celebrity Are You Smarter Than A Ten Year-old, 71 Degrees North, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here NOW! and competing in 2010’s Sports Relief ‘Let’s Dance…’ as Danny Zuko from Grease alongside Kate Garraway as Sandy during which they made that year’s final.

TV cameos ‘as Himself’ include ITV’s Footballers Wives and C4’s acclaimed drama Shameless. ITV’s Rock Rivals, BBC1’s Hustle and alongside Max Beesley in ITV drama Is This Love?

Films include 2011’s crime thriller Blitz with Jason Statham and David Morrissey - and this summer’s highly anticipated Ab Fab: The Movie - both as himself.

During his brief hiatus from morning TV from 2010/11, Richard hosted his own talk show on London’s LBC 97.3, taking him back to his roots in radio which began  the early 90s as a contributor at BBC Radio Scotland, followed by three years at BBC Radio 5 Live alongside Eddie Mair. Richard also hosted his own daily and weekend radio shows on London station Liberty Radio for three years.

Richard writes weekly columns for Hello! (since 2010) and Woman’s Own magazine (since 2007) as well as contributing to The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Express, News of World and no end of magazine credits on matters TV, lifestyle and travel

He is a regular host of many charity events, fashion shows and awards ceremonies. His main corporate client is British Telecom, helping in recent years with their campaigns for Comic and Sport Relief, as well as hosting their Hyde Park Olympic coverage in 2012.

He lives in North London and has recently acquired a cockapoo called Clementine.

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Pam Ayres

Occupation:Broadcaster, Entertainer, Poet

It was November 1975 when Pam Ayres made her first TV appearance on the TV talent show, Opportunity Knocks, the “Britain’s Got Talent” TV show of its day, and this proved to be the start of an incredible career for a unique entertainer.

Over 40 years later, writer, broadcaster, and entertainer Pam Ayres is still one of the biggest selling female comedians in the UK, selling out virtually every theatre that she plays. Pam’s most recent book of poems, “You Made Me Late Again!” was published in 2013, and like all her books, featured in the Sunday Times Bestseller list for several weeks. Pam’s latest book The Last Hedgehog was published in May.

Pam’s autobiography, “The Necessary Aptitude”, was published in 2011, and was the UK’s best-selling female autobiography of that year. Pam is one of the few authors who has had bestsellers in the Sunday Times charts in every decade since the 1970s. Total sales of her books since the mid-1970s are now many millions.

On TV in recent years Pam has appeared on programmes including Paul O’Grady, The One Show, Gardeners’ World, QI, Countdown, Alan Titchmarsh, Springwatch Unsprung, and Celebrity Antiques Road Trip. Pam is currently filming a programme for BBC TV about ‘Women in the Armed Forces’ over the past century, talking about her time in the WRAF in the 1960s.

Pam is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 4, including Just A Minute, Loose Ends, Quote Unquote and Saturday Live, and she has also recorded five series of her own programme, “Ayres on the Air”, with Series 6 due to be recorded in February 2018.

Pam has toured Australia and New Zealand regularly over the past 40 years, and she is one of the few solo comediennes to have performed in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. She has appeared at countless Literary Festivals including Hay, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Henley, Althorp, Dubai, and Gibraltar.

Pam has appeared three times for HM The Queen – at the Silver Jubilee Royal Variety Performance in 1977, at a Royal Gala Charity Reception at St. James Palace in 1996, when Pam, as the only entertainer, performed part of her solo stage show, and finally at Sandringham Women’s Institute in 2004, when the Queen attended a meeting of the local WI in her capacity as President of the local branch of the WI. Subsequently, Pam was honoured to be awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2004.

Pam and her husband live in a village in Gloucestershire, where Pam is a keen gardener, and protector of hedgehogs. She is an active patron of a local Wildlife Rescue Centre, and Cheltenham Animal Shelter.

“From the moment that Pam Ayres walked onto the Stage, she captivated her audience with humour, wit, and a perfect sense of timing. What was unexpected for me, was the sensitivity with which she described things such as the departure of her son for university, and the arrival of her grandson into her family. This session was one of my highlights of Hay Festival this year because I laughed so hard that my stomach ached for hours afterwards, and it is wonderful to witness a true craftswoman practice her art.” Review from Hay Festival, 2015

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Emma Barnett

Emma Barnett is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster.

She is the host of the BBC 5Live morning programme, 5Live Daily with Emma Barnett, which goes out Monday to Thursday 10am-1pm. The Wednesday edition is a politics special, coming live from Westminster. ‘Westminster Wednesdays’ sees Emma interview the great and good of politics - demanding answers to her listeners’ most pressing questions about life in Brexit Britain. Her interviews in the summer of 2017 with the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn made front page news.

On Thursdays Emma’s 5Live prime time programme takes live radio to places it wouldn’t normally go and uncovers news stories that surprise and inform her audience. She also creates a space where high profile guests and listeners alike can have conversations on air they would normally hold in private. Emma’s show also shares breaking news in a unique fashion, allowing her listeners to shape the day’s agenda.

On BBC 5Live she also presented The Hit List, a fast-paced innovative Sunday evening show which counts down the nation’s top 40 news stories, based on their digital reading habits. It has been praised for reflecting the “real people’s news agenda”.

Emma regularly presents BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour – a lifelong dream realised and is the youngest presenter in the programme’s history to do so. As part of her ongoing work for the show, she chairs the Woman’s Hour Power List – rewarding the UK’s top women every year for their achievements and records in-depth features. A stand-out project was her retracing of Sylvia Pankhurst’s footsteps for a special Woman’s Hour series covering the lives of working women in today’s Britain.

She was previously the Sunday drive-time host on LBC, where she cut her radio teeth.

Emma is a columnist for The Sunday Times. Every week, in her aptly named column, Tough Love, she doles out ruthlessly honest advice to Sunday Times Magazine readers, who come to her with their deepest problems – from difficult children to even worse partners.

Emma’s book Period. will be published by HQ in summer 2019 in hardback, eBook and audiobook

Television-wise, Emma has co-hosted The Pledge, a straight-talking weekly debate programme on Sky News. She is currently the co-host of Sunday Morning Live on BBC1.

Previously Emma spent seven years at The Daily Telegraph – where she was the Women’s Editor and a top columnist. During her time at the paper, she created, launched and edited Telegraph Wonder Women – the “go-to site for young women in Britain” according to the British Press Awards. Covering news, politics, work, society, religion and relationships, Emma came up with the idea after feeling exasperated with the way ‘women’s issues’ were being covered by the mainstream media.

Prior to becoming The Telegraph’s Women’s Editor, she was the newspaper’s Digital Media Editor, breaking news about the fast-moving world of technology and media, interviewing Silicon Valley’s biggest hitters and penning a business column. She was named Digital Journalist of the Year twice by the Association of Online Publishers and the Online Media Awards.

Emma is thrilled to have had the opportunity to deliver a TEDx talk, prompting her to explore an issue close to her heart: female ambition. In her thought-provoking talk ‘The Secrets That Snails Can Teach Women About Success’, she explains how women are just as ambitious as men – but regularly end up “losing custody of their ambition, often without even realising it”.

She is a regular documentary maker for Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. Recent docs include: America’s Fan Club – a behind-the-scenes look at the Daughters of the American Revolution – one of the largest women-only groups in the world – who congregate once a year in ballgowns and white gloves in Washington. Emma has also investigated the rise of mindfulness; the march of military women to the front line; and in a highly personal piece – her hypocritical views of female rabbis.

She also enjoys chairing live events – hosting big ticket events such as ‘Telegraph Question Time’ at The Hay Festival; panels at the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World festival and evenings for the prestigious 30 Club. Emma regularly hosts evenings with top celebrities for the children’s rights charity Plan UK.

Emma is a proud long-time volunteer for Smartworks, a charity that helps disadvantaged women get back into the workplace through dressing and preparing them for job interviews. She also loves travelling, eating and cooking (but mainly eating) with her husband. Emma is currently learning how to draw and paint (badly)….

LINKS:

Telegraph columnist http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/emma-barnett/

Hit List http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04nvf37

Twitter handle @emmabarnett - https://twitter.com/Emmabarnett

TED talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKoyexdhA2s&feature=youtu.be

Women on front line http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03c3dx1

Website http://www.emmabarnett.org

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Nicky Campbell

Nicky Campbell has won 6 Sony Gold Radio Awards. He has presented network radio BBC programmes for 30 years now starting off his Radio career as a colleague of among others Kenny Everett, Alan Freeman and John Peel.

He has presented on various Television programmes over the years ranging from 'Top of the Pops' to 'Newsnight' and 'Panorama'. He fronted the BBC1 consumer show 'Watchdog' for 9 years.

Currently he presents ITV's multi-award-winning and ground-breaking 'Long Lost Family' with Davina McCall and the BBC's Sunday morning ethical and religious debate programme ‘The Big Questions’.

Nicky has also presented a series on adoption for ITV, ‘Wanted: A Family of My Own’. He presented a documentary in ITV's Perspectives strand on one of his passions 'Great American Love Songs'. In December 2017 Nicky appeared in ITV’s “All Star Musicals” singing Razzle Dazzle from Chicago.

On Radio he has presented the much awarded Five Live Breakfast show for 14 years with Shelagh Fogarty and now Rachel Burden. He has interviewed every Prime Minister and Chancellor since Margaret Thatcher.

Nicky's charity work is in Animal Conservation and Adoption. He campaigns against the illegal Ivory trade and he is Patron of The British Association of Adoption and Fostering and was himself adopted when three months old. His adoptive mother was a psychiatric social worker and his adoptive father a publisher of maps. In 2004 he wrote Blue-Eyed Son, Story of an Adoption, his account of tracing both his birth parents and his extended families in Ireland.

Nicky is also a professional song writer and composer. In 2009 he wrote the critically acclaimed swing album "Moonlights Back in Style" for Mark Moraghan on the famous Jazz label Linn Records. His second album, We’re Just Passing Through, was co-written with Kate Robbins. In Spring 2017 he wrote and released the single “Sacred Eyes” in support of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Nicky's great loves are his wife Tina, his four daughters Breagha, Lilla, Kirsty and Isla, his dogs Maxwell and Misty, his guitar, his piano and his Ukulele. Nicky was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s 2015 Birthday Honours for services to adoption and fostering.

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Lorraine Candy

Lorraine Candy is luxury content director at The Sunday Times and editor in chief of Style. Previously editor of ELLE UK, she is renowned in the industry for her digital content innovation. She recently spearheaded an iconic redesign of Style and introduced Style Play, a video-only channel in front of the paywall. Lorraine has also written for The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Sunday Times, Good Housekeeping and Suitcase magazine, on topics ranging from parenting and working women, to fashion and travel reviews.

CAREER TIMELINE

1985 - 1987 Reporter, The Cornish Times
1987 – 1990 Reporter, The Wimbledon Times
1990 – 1993 Reporter, The Daily Mirror
1993 – 1995 Woman’s editor, The Sun
1995 – 1997 Assistant editor, Marie Claire
1997 – 1998 Deputy editor, The Times’ Saturday magazine
1998 – 1999 Editor, B Magazine
1999 – 2000 Features editor, The Times
2000 – 2004 Editor in chief, Cosmopolitan
2004 – 2016 Editor in chief, ELLE UK
2017 – Luxury content director, The Sunday Times; editor in chief, Style

AWARDS AND HONOURS

2009 BSME monthly Editor of the Year award
2010 BSME monthly Editor of the Year award
2014 Named among the top 50 most influential people on Twitter by the Press Gazette
2015 PPA Game Changer of the Year award for Natasha Pearlman, ELLE deputy editor
2015 PPA Content Team of the Year award
2015 The Drum Creative Department Live award for ELLE’s #MoreWomen campaign
2017 CEW achiever award

COLUMNS

2009 – 2016 ‘I Don’t Know How I Do It’, a weekly parenting column for The Daily Mail’s Femail section
2017 – Weekly parenting column for The Sunday Times magazine

CAMPAIGNS

2014 Hearst Empowering Women
2015 ELLE #MoreWomen
2017 ¬ Style Leading Women

PUBLIC SPEAKING AND MEDIA APPEARANCES

Major speaking and hosting appearances: speaker at the Mumsnet Workfest conference (2013); host of the ELLE Style Awards (2004-2016); host of the European premiere of A Wrinkle In Time and chair of a panel discussion with Oprah Winfrey (2018); chair of the first Style Leading Women panel discussion on raising female leaders (2017).

Media appearances: regular contributor to Newsnight, Radio Four’s Today programme, Woman’s Hour, This Morning.

PERSONAL LIFE

Lorraine is a mother to four children (Sky, 15; Gracie, 14; Henry, 10 and Mabel, 6) and married to James. Her hobbies include running and swimming; for charity, she has completed triathlons, half-marathons and a swim across Lake Geneva in 2017. She is on the media advisory board of the children’s charity Theirworld and also on the membership council of the Tate art galleries. Whenever she can, she likes to return home to Cornwall with her family.

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Lachlan Goudie

Lachlan Goudie is an artist who exhibits regularly in London and New York. The scope of Lachlan’s work is broad, incorporating portraiture, still life and landscape painting. His canvasses have won numerous awards and in 2013 he was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil painters, in London. Lachlan is the son of the Scottish artist Alexander Goudie. He was born and grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, before studying English at Christ’s College, Cambridge and Fine Art at Camberwell College of Art in London.

In addition to painting, Lachlan is also a writer and Arts broadcaster. He regularly contributes to the BBC World Service radio programme, ‘From our own Correspondent’ and has written and presented two documentaries for BBC television – ‘The Art of Witchcraft’ (2013), ‘Stanley Spencer: The colours of the Clyde’ (2014). Lachlan has been a judge on the BBC1 series Big Painting Challenge since it began. ‘The Story of Scottish Art’ was a critically acclaimed landmark series and Lachlan was nominated by the Royal Television Society Scotland for their Onscreen Personality of the year award in 2015. Lachlan’s most recent documentaries “Painting The Holy Land” were broadcast on BBC1 and BBC4 over Easter this year.

Lachlan is currently writing a book on the history of Scottish Art which will be published by Thames and Hudson in 2018. Lachlan’s writing is informed by his experience of working as an artist. Schooled in painting by his father from an early age, Lachlan is a keen proselytiser for the value of technique, craft and tradition in contemporary art. Frequent painting trips abroad, during which he sketches in the open air whilst on the road, allow him to observe, document and celebrate the world around us.

The wonder of Art: its power to colour and change people’s lives fascinates Lachlan. It lies at the heart of his work as an artist, writer and broadcaster. You can follow Lachlan on Twitter @lachlangoudie

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Michael Grade

Michael Grade has a long and distinguished career in broadcasting, encompassing London Weekend Television, the BBC (as Controller of BBC-1) and over nine years as Chief Executive of Channel Four Television. In May 2004, he was appointed Chairman of the BBC, succeeding Gavyn Davies, resigning in November 2006 when his appointment as Executive Chairman of ITV was announced.

He stepped down from ITV at the end of 2009. He is non-executive Chairman of Pinewood and Shepperton Film Studios. He was non-executive chairman of Ocado, the online food retailer, from 2006 until 2013.

Michael has presented many television programmes for the BBC, most recently BBC4’s The Story of Tom Thumb and Goodbye from Television Centre. Documentaries include The World’s Oldest Joke, The Story of Variety, History of the Pantomime Dame, and The Story of Music Hall. He has also hosted BBC4's Don Black: A Life in Song and BBC2's Tim Rice: A Life in Song, the latter broadcast on Christmas Day 2014. He also presented a series reflecting his own view of television for BBC Radio 2, Michael Grade: On the Box. Michael’s series for BBC Radio 2 “Brits in Hollywood” has recently been broadcast

He is a passionate sailor, having sailed the Atlantic 3 times, most recently in December 2014. He was created a life peer in January 2011.

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Andrew Graham-Dixon

Born in London in 1960, Andrew Graham-Dixon is one of the leading art critics and presenters of arts television in the English-speaking world. He has presented many landmark series on art for the BBC, including the acclaimed A History of British Art, Renaissance, Art of Eternity, The Secret of Drawing, The Art of Spain, followed by The Art of Russia, The Art of Germany, The Art of America, The Art of China, The Art of Gothic, The Art of Scandinavia and The Art of France as well as numerous individual documentaries on art and artists. For more than twenty years he has published a weekly column on art, first in the Independent and, more recently, in the Sunday Telegraph.

He co-presented with Giorgio Locatelli one series of Sicily Unpacked and 3 series of Italy Unpacked where they explore the culture and cuisine of Italy together. A two part series Rome Unpacked was broadcast in 2017.

Stealing Van Gogh was broadcast in 2017 and Andrew’s most recent series The Story of the Royal Collection was broadcast earlier this year.

He has a long history of public service in the field of the visual arts, having judged the Turner Prize, the BP National Portrait Prize and the Annual British Animation Awards, among many other prizes. He has served on the Government Art Collection Committee, the Hayward Advisory Committee, and is currently a member of the board of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.

In the course of his career, Andrew has won numerous awards for writing and broadcasting and his achievements have been acclaimed by many of his most distinguished peers.

According to Robert Hughes, former art critic of Time magazine and writer of 'The Shock of the New': “Andrew Graham-Dixon is the most gifted art critic of his generation. Unsparing, witty and probing, with a supple style, a real passion for the concrete body of art and a clear sense of its social environment, he encourages you to think and feel”.

John Russell, long-time art critic of The New York Times, has written that “In fifty years’ experience as a fellow workman in the field, I have never known an art critic in London who responds so well, year in and year out, to the challenge of subjects that cover the whole range of Western art.”

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Russell Grant

Russell’s first television acting role was at the tender age of ten for BBC TV’s very successful Wednesday Play. He was then signed up by Richard Price, Head of LWT Entertainment and was cast in On The Buses, Please Sir!, The Fenn Street Gang, the Doctor series starring both Barry Evans and Robin Nedwell, and roles in programmes starring Hylda Baker and Yootha Joyce. He also played alongside Daniel Massey in The Roads to Freedom, and with Joss Ackland and Barbara Jefford in BBC 2’s Canterbury Tales.

Russell toured in Ivor Novello’s King’s Rhapsody and played Prince Chululongkorn in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. He headed into his first West End show as Slogger Williams in the musical Tom Brown’s Schooldays (Cambridge Theatre). He then took to the stage of the London Palladium with Tommy Steele in Hans Andersen. Roles in Oh What A Lovely War! (Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury) and Oh Camille! (Arts Theatre, London) brought many more opportunities including many pantomime performances.

A great honour was singing songs from Disney’s musical Pinocchio, with Iain Sutherland’s BBC Concert Orchestra for Radio 2’s homage to 60 years of Walt Disney hosted by David Tomlinson at the Royal Albert Hall.

One of Russell’s most treasured moments was to be invited into the Royal Command Variety Performance at the Victoria Palace in front of their Majesties, the Queen and the Queen Mother and HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, where he performed with Angharad Rees in the Marilyn Monroe hit 'I Want To Be Loved By You'.

Playwright Paul Doust offered him the star-role in the London Evening Standard Award-Winning Probably Wanstead (Brighton Festival). Then heading up to the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s HQ in Scarborough,

Russell played a dual role, Floss and Peter, in a new work Soap with top soap stars Sue Twist (Brookside) and Hannah Waterman (Eastenders). Russell took the Narrator’s role in Rocky Horror Music Show (National tour) but it is as the director of the classic Dylan Thomas play Under Milk Wood and his performance as the Narrator that had the audience and critics shooting off superlatives.

In honour of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Russell directed and starred as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A totally original production with Puck as a skinhead, complete with Thames Estuary accent.

Russell’s professional dream came true when given the opportunity to learn how to dance on the BBC’s top-rated series Strictly Come Dancing (2011). Russell was partnered with World Champion Latin dancer, Flavia Cacace. The popular couple won both critics and viewers hearts and were nominated for a BAFTA TV Highlight of the Year when Russell was shot out of a cannon as part of their Jive routine at the Wembley Arena.

Russell picked up the phone one day to hear Andrew Lloyd Webber asking him to star at the London Palladium in The Wizard of Oz. Before playing The Wizard, Russell returned to the West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Stephen Schwartz’s Children of Eden playing the Snake.

Russell’s Teen Angel in the 20th anniversary number one theatre tour of Grease the musical has brought critical acclaim around the country. He left the show to concentrate on partnering Flavia Cacace to win the Strictly Come Dancing People’s Champion Glitterball on BBC 1 and took up residency on Strictly It Takes Two on BBC 2 for the rest of 2012.

For the first time in his career Russell headlined in pantomime at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury in Peter Pan. The show was a big hit, with a record box office advance. During the run he presented Russell Grant’s Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall and Bridgewater Hall, Manchester starring Russell Watson.

He returned to the West End January 28th 2013 when as special guest star in Midnight Tango at the Phoenix Theatre reunites him with Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone, his Strictly Come Dancing partner and friend. Once over a one-night-only appearance in toe-tapping 42nd Street at the London Palladium and then the launch of ‘Zalza’ with Flavia a new dance-fitness DVD which sold literally tens-of-thousands on the world-famous shopping channel, QVC. Russell appeared again with Flavia on Strictly Come Dancing where they won the People's Champion. He also appeared in the 2014 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.

Russell regularly contributes to ITV's This Morning.

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Paul Jackson

Occupation: Broadcaster, TV Executive

From March 2009 to March 2012, Paul Jackson was CEO at Eyeworks UK. He subsequently continues to act as a consultant to the company. He is also now consulting generally in China, particularly with Hunan TV and has been involved in setting up a new network in Mongolia. He continues to executive produce entertainment and factual entertainment shows with Eyeworks UK. Until December 2008 he was ITV’s Director of Entertainment and Comedy, commissioning and overseeing shows such as Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor, Benidorm and Ladies of Letters. Before that he was working as Granada’s Chief Executive Officer in America (where he executive produced Hells Kitchen, Nanny 911 and Celebrity Fit Camp amongst others) and previously he worked in Australia as Chief Executive Officer of Granada Productions.

He went to Australia from the BBC where he held the role of Controller of Entertainment and Comedy, responsible for five entertainment and comedy departments working across television, radio and online.

In his production career, Paul produced and or directed a raft of entertainment and comedy shows for most UK Broadcasters, including Young Ones, Red Dwarf, Saturday Live, Girls on Top, The Generation Game and Blankety Blank.

He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4's long-running series Britain in a Box.

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Aled Jones

Aled Jones MBE has been a household name since the 1980's.

He will forever be remembered as one of the world's most successful boy sopranos. He made his professional debut as a 12 year old performing the role of the Angel in Handel's Oratorio ‘Jeptha’ on BBC2 and BBC Radio 3. The next 4 years were a whirlwind with TV performances galore (he holds the record for most appearances on the Wogan television show). He was invited to record 3 flagship TV programmes for the BBC from Israel. These programmes were huge hits and the resulting 2 album releases sold over a million copies. At one point both albums were in the top 5 Official UK Album Charts. It was only Bruce Springsteen's album 'Born in the USA' that kept him off the top spot! He performed countless concerts as a boy soprano all over the world including a spot at the Hollywood Bowl and sharing the stage with maestro Leonard Bernstein. Singing the 'Chichester Psalms' with the composer conducting was a huge highlight. Aled had already released 12 albums by the time “Walking in the Air”, the song from the animated film The Snowman, was released. The record reached No. 5 in the UK charts in 1985. He also performed 10 sell-out live 'Snowman' shows that year.

Jones’ recording career was temporarily halted when his voice broke at 16. By this time, he had recorded 16 albums, sold more than six million albums, and sang for Pope John Paul II, the Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales in a private recital, as well as presenting numerous children’s television programmes.

Between the age of 16 and 18 Aled toured Japan with the Vienna Woods Boy’s Choir. Aled's boy voice had gone, so instead he narrated live Humperdinck's opera ‘Hansel and Gretel’, in Japanese! He was mobbed everywhere he went in the country. During this period 12 albums were released selling in excess of 2 million copies.

He went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School before being asked to perform the role of Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’.

Aled was offered presenting roles on BBC Radio Wales (a show he still presents 15 years on) as well as a TV role for the welsh-speaking channel S4C. He was also approached about a presenting role on the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’. In 2002, Songs of Praise asked Aled to sing on the programme. This led to the release of his first, real adult album entitled ‘Aled’ that went to No 1 in the Classical Charts.

The following year Aled was approached by 'Classic FM' radio and offered a two-hour Sunday morning programme which became a hugely popular show.

Aled released another album entitled ‘Higher’, which also topped the classical charts. He followed this up with an album of carols, which sold in excess of 40,0000 copies. Aled was also the subject of the last ever ‘This is Your Life’ on the BBC and was surprised on stage at the Royal Albert Hall during the filming of the ‘Songs of Praise' Big Sing.

In 2004 Aled was a contestant on the second series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, to huge popular acclaim. He made it through to the semi-final of the competition and cites dancing a Samba to the Tom Jones hit 'It's Not Unusual' in Blackpool's famous Tower Ballroom as a real highlight!

Aled was approached to join BBC Radio 2 to present their live flagship Sunday programme ‘Good Morning Sunday’. He also became one of the main presenters of the legendary Radio 2 programme 'Friday Night is Music Night', as well as sitting in for regular daily presenters Sir Terry Wogan, Ken Bruce and Steve Wright. In addition to this Aled was given his own BBC Wales chat show and also became the presenter of BBC Radio 3 Programme ‘The Choir’. Aled has since left BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3 and has returned to Classic FM, where he presents his own Sunday morning' show from 7-10am.

His listening figures on his previous Classic 9-12 show were in excess of 1.1 million making it the most listened to single show on the network. He also stands in for regular weekday presenters John Suchet, Anne-Marie Minhall and Tim Lihoreau on 'Classic FM'.

In 2008 Aled took on the lead role of Caractacus Potts in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ in Cardiff to great acclaim and in 2009 he joined the cast of Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ in the starring role and played in Plymouth and Manchester. Aled returned to 'White Christmas' to star in London's West End at the end of 2014. The show was a sell-out.

Aled has also released two singles with Sir Terry Wogan in aid of the 'Children in Need' appeal. He currently has a total of 31 albums to his name – selling over 7 million copies to date. ‘One Voice’ reached number 1 in the classical chart and reached number 3 in the official UK charts climbing up the charts – which is a rare thing.

Aled has written three books entitled ‘Aled’s Forty Favourite Hymns’ which was published towards the end of 2009 as well as a book on his 'Favourite Christmas Carols'. His autobiography called 'My Story' was re-published in 2013.

Aled has presented ‘Escape to the Country’ and ‘Cash in the Attic’ for the BBC and in 2012 Aled was asked to take on the co-presenting role with Lorraine Kelly on ITV's breakfast show 'Daybreak'.

Aled left Daybreak in 2014 to host his own TV show called 'Weekend' every Saturday and Sunday morning on ITV1, it ran for four years. Aled also co-presented ‘Two Much TV’ on BBC Two as well as a programme called ‘The Day I Met the Queen’ to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

In October 2016 Aled presented ‘Going Back, Giving Back’ on BBC One daytime for three weeks. A second series was broadcast in the summer of 2017. Aled also presented a heartwarming documentary on BBC1 prime-time ‘Jodi's Lovely Letters’.

Aled released 'One Voice', a concept album that saw Aled duet with his younger self. The album reached number one in the Classical Chart where he dominated the top spot for fourteen weeks and reached number three in the Official UK Charts climbing up the charts.

Following the success of 'One Voice', Aled launched the follow up album 'One Voice At Christmas' with a spectacular press launch 18,000ft in the air where he performed the new 'Walking In The Air’.

Aled remains the main presenter of Songs of Praise to this day

Aled continues to tour both the UK and Australia regularly.

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Martyn Lewis

Occupation: Author, Journalist, Presenter, Businessman

Martyn Lewis’s career is an unusual blend of the media, charitable and business worlds. During 32 years as a television journalist he anchored every mainstream national news programme on ITV & BBC (including News At Ten and the Six O'Clock News), and now works extensively in the voluntary sector.

He is currently serving a second term as Chairman of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), and is Chairman of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, President of United Response, Vice-President of Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK, East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH) and Demelza Children’s Hospice. He is also Patron of The Patchwork Foundation, the Do-It Trust, the quarterly broadsheet “Positive News” and Dementia UK. He recently chaired an Inquiry into executive pay in the voluntary sector and its recommendations were welcomed by politicians of all main parties. A long-standing judge of the Lord Mayor of London’s Dragon Awards, he is now its permanent Deputy Chair.

He founded YouthNet, the award-winning charity which, since 1995, has been providing a comprehensive website (thesite.org) helping 16-25 year-olds, and which also created Do-It.org, the national volunteering database instantly linking people who want to volunteer with the right volunteering opportunity. He retired after 20 years as YouthNet’s Chairman in 2015, and remains an adviser to the charity.

He campaigns regularly for more coverage of the achievements of the voluntary sector in the national media, and, more generally, for "solutions-driven journalism". In 2014 he became a Director of IPSO (The Independent Press Standards Organisation which replaced the Press Complaints Commission). He is also a Director of the TS Elite Group and PL Education Ltd, pioneering new techniques for helping pupils to learn.

He continues to chair conferences and debates on a wide range of subjects – the most recent being an acclaimed one-hour interview with FW de Klerk and Sir John Major on world current events at the 10th anniversary dinner of the Global Leadership Foundation. In 2013 he returned to broadcasting to present a weekly interview programme called “Agenda” on “The Wireless”, a new radio station for the over-50s” created by the charity Age UK. In the 2010 and 2015 General Elections in the UK he presented a live closed-circuit interview programme for 1,000 guests at London’s Tate Gallery as the results came in.

He is the author of several books which have recently been republished on Kindle, including Reflections on Success – verbatim interviews with 67 famous people across a wide range of professions analysing their success.

He played himself in brief cameo roles in the TV series “The Vicar of Dibley” and “The Bill” and in the James Bond film “The World is Not Enough”. He appeared on archive footage in the films “The Queen”, “Argo”, “Senna” and “The James Bond Story”.

Martyn holds an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Ulster (1994) and is a Freeman of the City of London, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Member of the Garrick Club, the Pattenmakers Livery Company and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He was awarded a CBE for “services to young people and the Hospice movement” in the Prime Minister’s Honours list of 1997 and a knighthood in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list.

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Eddie Mair

Eddie Mair is, by his own account, one of Britain’s most beloved broadcasters.

Born in Dundee, Scotland, he has worked in radio all his adult life. From the foothills of commercial radio in his hometown, through the sunlit uplands of the BBC in Scotland, he has reached the peaks of his profession, with BBC network radio in London. And he’s never afraid to work a metaphor beyond endurance.

In addition he’s appeared on most of the BBC’s TV channels, including ones that are no longer on TV. He witnessed the handover of Hong Kong and once asked Arnold Schwarzenegger a question –though he takes no responsibility for either.

For nearly twenty years he has been at the helm of Radio 4’s PM: a nightly news round-up that means Eddie works for just one hour a day, giving him plenty time to knock together these diaries.

Whether he’s interviewing politicians, getting people to share their personal experiences, or just imparting his favourite zesty chicken recipes, Eddie is never happier than when he is at the microphone. Except when he is at the microphone with a large martini.

In truth, his neediness is an irritation to everyone who knows him and if you buy this book he might get out of their hair.

Eddie’s other work, as a humanitarian and tireless, secret worker for charity is not mentioned here. His diaries, A Good Face For Radio, were published in November 2017.

Praise for Eddie Mair

Voted the UK’s favourite radio voice in a Radio Times poll

‘Broadcasting is all about tone and Eddie Mair, PM's regular host, is its greatest asset’ Miranda Sawyer, Observer

‘There is not, I regret to say, a woman presenter to match the wit, bite, invention and editorial weight of PM’s Eddie Mair. Now I think of it, there’s no man, either’. Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph

‘The BBC likes to talk about journalistic excellence and a tradition of creativity, but really it is an academy for stars. And after Eddie Mair’s careful pinioning and dissection of Boris Johnson on Sunday’s ‘The Andrew Marr Show’, there is a feeling out there that a new one has just graduated’ Leo Benedictus, Guardian

‘I thought Eddie Mair’s interview was one of the most disgusting pieces of journalism I’ve listened to for a very long time. The BBC sank about as low as it could.’ Boris Johnson’s dad, 2013

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Paul Martin

Paul Martin has been the popular presenter of FLOG IT! for over 15 years; indeed the series had its1000th episode in 2016.

Paul was discovered when he was interviewed about his passion for oak furniture by a team from BBC Bristol. This was the extent of his previous television experience! The team was so impressed by his natural confidence in front of the camera that he was signed up immediately to present the BBC daytime antiques show.

Paul owned an antique shop specialising in 17th & 18th century English and Welsh oak furniture until his television commitments meant that he could not give the business enough of his time. He is obsessed with beautiful furniture and is most eloquent when talking about the look, feel and smell of wood.

Paul travels around the UK filming FLOG IT! which means he is in and out of auction houses and meeting craftsmen all the time. He says “I have learned so much. Meeting people in the antiques trade or people who make their living by skills learned over decades is always a treat.”

Paul was educated at Falmouth Grammar School in Cornwall and studied art and woodwork at Falmouth College. He spent two years as a scenic painter on film sets at Pinewood Studios. From the age of 25 he ran a pitch on Portobello Road and participated in various shop-share schemes. Later Paul worked as an antiques props stylist for magazines like Marie Claire and New Woman, and designed antique sets for TV shoots for the Clothes Show and Granada TV.

Paul enjoys drumming and in the early 90’s played in rock bands like `The Quire Boys’ and the ‘Dogs D’Amour’. He still loves to play in local jazz and blues bands.

He has presented two series of the BBC1 prime-time series BRITAIN’S HIDDEN HERITAGE, THE MANOR REBORN also for BBC1, and PAUL MARTIN’S HANDMADE REVOLUTION - a search for Britain’s brightest and best amateur designer-makers - for BBC2. He has also presented A HISTORY OF WALLPAPER for BBC4 and the ITV series I NEVER KNEW THAT ABOUT BRITAIN.

In 2016, he presented STREET AUCTION, a new BBC daytime series; a second series was broadcast in 2017.

Paul lives in Wiltshire with his wife and two young children who feature regularly, together with their smallholding, in the BBC1 daytime series COUNTRYFILE DIARIES.

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Trevor McDonald

Biography

Sir Trevor McDonald OBE was born and educated in Trinidad in the West Indies where his career in the media began, first as a radio reporter, news presenter and sports journalist. On his first major assignment there, he was sent to London (1962) to report on talks at Malborough House which culminated in setting a date for Trinidad's Independence.

Sir Trevor came to London in August 1969 to work as a Producer in the BBC Overseas Regional Service at Bush House in the Aldwych. He went on to produce Current Affairs programmes for the BBC WORLD Service and in that capacity worked on the initiation of a number of shows like THE WORLD TODAY which are still part of the BBC World Service schedule.

In 1973 he joined ITN as a General Reporter. His first major assignment was in Northern Ireland where he covered the Province's 'troubles' for more than a decade. He also reported from Dublin, Rome, Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg on negotiations about the terms of Britain's membership and earliest days of the then Common Market - now the EU.

Covering sport and politics Sir Trevor travelled to Argentina, Australia and the West Indies before becoming Diplomatic Correspondent and Presenter of Channel Four News in 1982. In that capacity he reported from every Continent, covering events and conducting interviews in Egypt, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, India, Pakistan, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, the Soviet Union and Hong Kong. During this time he also worked extensively in the United States reporting on the unfolding events at the United Nations during the Falklands War, from New York and from Washington, as well as covering a number of Presidential and Congressional Campaigns. Sir Trevor reported on Soviet Communist Party Conferences from the time of President Brezhnev and returned to Moscow and to Washington to report on East West Summit meetings, prominently among them... those between Reagan and Gorbachev. His coverage of the ' people power ' Philippine Elections in 1985 won a BAFTA Award for Channel Four News.

When not working abroad, Sir Trevor began his career as an ITN Presenter. He anchored every ITN News programme - from what used to be the News at One, the News at 5.40 and 6.30 to the flagship and award winning News At Ten. And not just from London, but from news locations around the world.

He became Diplomatic Editor in 1982 and in February 1990, after several visits to Southern Africa, went back to Johannesburg to report on Nelson Mandela's release and to do the first British Television interview with the ANC leader for ITN. In November of that same year, just before the start of the first Gulf War, he did the first and still the only British television interview with former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. In the ensuing years at ITN, Sir Trevor conducted the most important television interviews of his time: with Libyan President Colonel Gaddafi, with the former PLO leader Yasser Arafat, with President Bill Clinton, and Secretary of State Colin Powell along with a number of American Presidential candidates and Congressional leaders.

Sir Trevor became the first sole Presenter of News At Ten in 1992 and anchored the Late Evening News until December 2005. By then he had received more awards than any other news broadcaster in Britain. His awards include the Richard Dimbleby Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television from BAFTA, the Royal Television Society Gold Medal for his Outstanding Contribution to Television News (1998), the National Television Award for Outstanding Commitment to Television (2003) presented to him on live television by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the Royal Television Society’s Judges’ Award (2005). He was named Newscaster of the year in 1993, 1997 and 1999 and has regularly topped the polls as the most authoritative and trustworthy news presenter. He has received Honorary Degrees from at least eight Universities

From 1999 to December 2007 Sir Trevor presented ITV's bi weekly flagship Current Affairs programme, Tonight, during which time he interviewed President Bush on two occasions and political figures like Tony Blair, Secretary of State Rice, Hilary Clinton and other senior politicians. In January 2008 Sir Trevor returned to ITV News, for one year, to co-present the re-launched News at Ten. More recently he has presented a number of documentaries for ITV1; including Secret Caribbean, Secret Mediterranean, The Mighty Mississippi, Inside Death Row, Women Behind Bars, The Mafia and Mafia Women, Death Row: The New Arrivals, James Bulger: A Mother’s Story and Martyn Luther King. Sir Trevor McDonald: Return to South Africa will be broadcast in July. In May this year Sir Trevor will be co-presenting Invitation to A Royal Wedding a documentary on ITV1 about Royal weddings over the years. Sir Trevor has done charitable work for the Prince's Trust, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Playing Fields Association, Sight Savers, the Royal National Institute for the Blind, the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Deaf (which became know later as Sound Seekers), Macmillan Cancer Research and the Leukaemia Trust. He serves as Patron, Chairman, President or Vice President in a number of other charitable organisations including National Children's Homes, the Shooting Star Children's Hospice, the Friends of Barnes Hospital and De Paul Trust. He has also helped to promote the work of St John Ambulance, and organisations dealing with awareness of the problems surrounding Sickle Cell, Autism and homelessness among young people. He travelled to many parts of the country to speak in his capacity as Chairman of the Better English Campaign under the last Conservative Government, was co chair of a Nuffield Foundation Inquiry into the Teaching of Foreign Languages in British Schools for which he was honoured by the French and German Governments, has been involved in a number of campaigns to encourage young children to read more widely, and speaks regularly to schools and colleges. He has also held the position of Chancellor of London South Bank University.

Sir Trevor was awarded the OBE in 1992 and was awarded a Knighthood in 1999.

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Jonathan Meades

Occupation:  Writer, filmmaker

 

"Jonathan Meades has been compared favourably to Rabelais and flatteringly to Swift. The truth is that he outstrips both in the gaudiness of his imagination." Henry Hitchings, TLS,

"For the last thirty years Britain's most consistently surprising and informative writer on the built environment." Owen Hatherley, LRB

 

Meades  was born in Salisbury and educated there and in the west of England. He subsequently went to RADA. When he left, the Principal, Hugh Crutwell, told him: "You'll be a very successful character actor - when you're middle aged." Expecting to be resting for a couple of decades he began writing. Many years later Crutwell said "I was right - what I didn't know was that the character would be called Jonathan Meades."

 

His books include three works of fiction –

FILTHY ENGLISH,  "Dense with the imagery of evisceration...A marvellously potent vision." Nicholas Shakespeare, The Times

"A highly original imagination...it is also undeniably horrible." Robert Nye, The Guardian

"Reaches into parts of society more sensitive black comedians might well retch away from." Valentine Cunningham, The Observer

 

POMPEY  "If Meades was a racehorse you'd be calling for a steward's enquiry. There's something in his feed which definitely gives him the lot." Iain Sinclair, Kaleidoscope.

"Disgusting and brilliant" Paul Spike, Vogue

"Any page comes crammed with more freewheeling invention than ,amy writers acheive in a lifetime." Tom Shone, Sunday Times

"There is more invention in a single page of Pompey than many British writers manage in fifty." Richard Preston, Daily Telegraph

 

THE FOWLER FAMILY BUSINESS " A brilliant novel...Meades is a genius at provoking  horrid laughter." Mark Sanderson  Evening Standard

"This comedy is not so much black as draped in sackcloth and ashes." Bel Mooney, The Times

 

His non fiction includes

 PETER KNOWS WHAT DICK LIKES

"The pieces selected here prove his gift for reaching sideways out of aesthetics and bringing in the sociology and the politics as well, with no care for who gets offended." Clive James

 

 INCEST AND MORRIS DANCING.  

 

MUSEUM WITHOUT WALLS which comprises  essays, scripts and squibs on urbanistic, topographical and architectural subjects. It was chosen as a book of the year by thirteen writers, among them:

Nigel Jones in the Sunday Telegraph: "Meades is a national treasure - original, quirky, fearless and often quite right."

 Anthony Quinn in Metro "Sceptical, forthright, unbiddable and seriously droll."

In the RIBA Journal Douglas Murphy described Meades as "One of the best writers on architecture this island has produced."

Jonathan Glancey in Architectural Review praised his "Highly charged rants underpinned by a dazzling display of wordplay."

Rowan Moore wrote in the Observer that "The idea is not just to describe actual places, but to invent, to create out of observed reality imagined realms that did not previously exist."

In the Guardian Andy Beckett wrote:"The sentences zigzag between the lordly and the thuggish, between high culture and low, between grand assertion and intricate description."  

AN ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF MYSELF  

Winner of Best Memoir in the Spear's Book Awards 2014  'Nothing wilfully invented. Memory invents unbidden.' The 1950s were not grey. In Jonathan Meades’s detailed, petit-point memoir they are luridly polychromatic. They were peopled by embittered grotesques, bogus majors, vicious spinsters, reckless bohos, pompous boors, suicides. Death went dogging everywhere. Salisbury, where he was brought up, had two industries: God and the Cold War, both of which provided a cast of adults for the child to scrutinise – desiccated God-botherers on the one hand, gung-ho chemical warriors on the other. The title is grossly inaccurate.

This book is, rather, a portrait of a disappeared provincial England, a time and place unpeeled with gruesome relish. Buy it here. Read extracts here and here. What the reviewers said:

'I loved this book. Meades is a very great prose stylist, with a dandy's delight in the sound and feel of words, and we are lucky to have him.' Ian Thomson, Spectator

'Pathologically observant, his memoir is quite the most brilliant, bracing but hairshirtless social history of mid-20th century provincial England that I have yet and, likely, will ever read.' Caroline Jackson, Country Life

'The richness of the vocabulary is as pleasurable as his honesty is bald... what can appear as isolated jottings in the end come together in a pointillist canvas to form by far the best picture of the 1950s I have read.' George Walden, The Times 

'A symphonic poem about post-war England and Englishness...a masterpiece.' Roger Lewis, Financial Times

 'Sulphurously opinionated... a dazzling confection of grown-up sophistication and schoolboy intensity of feeling.' Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph

 

'Meades has an endless curiosity about people and what becomes of them; his writing gives the everyday world of 1950s Britain a full colour, respiring immediacy... It's a true literary achievement.' Simon Heffer, Literary Review.

 

His most recent book is The Plagiarist In The Kitchen, (Unbound 2017)

 

'This year's best cookbook.'  Rowley Leigh, Financial Times

 

'Hilariously Grumpy ' David Hare, Guardian

 

'The final joke, of course, is that Meades has made a cookbook that is itself a work of literary art. Chapeau.'  Steven Poole, Guardian

 

'Meades is just the right sort of elitist; one who despairs of cant and therefore of fashion, but who is wise enough to leave the door to his mind ajar. The Plagiarist in the Kitchen is the anti-cookbook of the year. ' Alex Massie CapX

 

Since the mid 80s he has written and performed in some sixty television shows on predominantly topographical subjects such as self-built shacks, the utopian avoidance of right angles, the lure of vertigo, the deleterious effects of garden cities, the buildings occasioned by beer, Birmingham’s appeal, megastructures, Worcestershire, the everyday surrealism of Belgium: certain of these are available on The Jonathan Meades Collection DVD.

 

Magnetic North (2008) - a journey from Flanders to Helsinki - was described by Robert Hanks in the Independent as having ‘a sweep, an intellectual confidence and a sense of mischief you won’t find anywhere else on TV. Meades is an artist of television.’

 

The 2009 series Off Kilter was described by Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph as ‘a masterpiece’.

 

He has been described by Will Buckley in The Observer as ‘by furlongs the most erudite broadcaster of the age’ and by Time Out as ‘a heavily sedated Sir Geoffrey Howe.’

 

Meades On France (BBC4, 2012) comprised three shows on: French nationalism; France's debt to the USA; the francophone imperium.

 

Clive James wrote in the Daily Telegraph that "It became evident that this would be a landmark series from the moment Meades began to speak...Quite the most attractively written commentary I have heard on television in years."

 

Tom Sutcliffe in the Independent described Meades as "One of the few really distinctive stylists we have left on television."

Leo Robson in the FT described it as "A remarkable piece of television." He also chose MUSEUM WITHOUT WALLS as a book of the year in the New Statesman.

 

Paul Lay, editor of History Today, wrote in the Literary Review that " Meades's documentaries have for years been the best history programmes on television...a marriage of Borges, Betjeman and Bronowski."

 

His most recent films are The Joy of Essex,  Bunkers Brutalism and Bloodymindedness and Benbuilding, on the architecture of Mussolini, the third part of a trio that includes Jerry Building (1994) and Joe Building (2004), on the architecture of Hitler and Stalin.

 

He has just completed a film for BBC4 Jargon:

Matrix Hubbing Performative Pain Badgers and is about to start shooting  a film about Spanish architecture during Franco's regime.

 

His photographs have been published in postcard form as Pidgin Snaps and  his 'art' or treyfs and artknacks have been exhibited at the Londonewcastle Space in a show entitled Ape Forgets Medication.  He recently exhibited at the 108 Gallery in Harrogate and a further exhibition is planned for Rise Gallery in Croydon

 

 

Website: jonathanmeades.co.uk

See also meadesshrine.blogspot.com

AUTHOR BIOG

 

Jonathan Meades is a writer, journalist, essayist, film-maker. He is the author of Filthy English, Peter Knows What Dick Like, Pompey, The Fowler Family Business, Incest and Morris Dancing, Museum Without Walls, An Encyclopaedia of Myself. From 1986-2001 he wrote a weekly column approximately about restaurants in The Times.

He has written and performed in many television films, among them Jerry Building, Joe Building,  Ben Building, Magnetic North, Off Kilter, The Joy of Essex, Father To The Man and Meades Eats, a three part series about what the English really consume.

Unbound published Pidgin Snaps, a boxette of a hundred of his photos in postcard form. In the spring of 2016 his exhibition Ape Forgets Medication comprised thirty artknacks and treyfs. In 2017 he published The Plagiarist In The Kitchen - the only cookbook he will ever write.

 

All of his telly work can be found at:

http://meadesshrine.blogspot.co.uk/p/shrine.html

Other stuff is at:

jonathanmeades.co.uk

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Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman is an award-winning journalist, author and television presenter.

Beginning his career covering The Troubles in Northern Ireland for three years, he then spent 8 years reporting from around the world for the BBC, before becoming anchorman of the BBC’s nightly news analysis programme Newsnight in 1989, a post he held for 25 years. He has been chairman of University Challenge since 1994.

In May 2015 and June 2017, he anchored Channel 4's Election Night coverage. He is the author of numerous documentaries and documentary series – including the history of the British Empire, on the poet Wilfred Owen, on Victorian art, on Churchill’s funeral and on the effect of the First World War on Great Britain.

In the last two years, he has presented 3 current affairs documentaries for BBC1 Paxman on Brussels: Who Really Rules Us?; Paxman on Trump v Clinton: Divided America, and Trump’s First 100 Days and a 4-part film series for Channel 4 about British rivers in 2016 and 2017. Jeremy presented Have I Got News For You for the first time in April this year.

His 2014 one-man show PAXO at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was a critically acclaimed sell-out.

Jeremy Paxman was born in Yorkshire in 1950, educated at Malvern College in Worcestershire and received his degree (in English) from St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He is an honorary fellow there, and a Fellow by Special Election at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He holds honorary doctorates from Leeds, Bradford, Exeter, Northumberland, and the Open University.

He is the author of ten books, including The English - Portrait of a People; The Political Animal; On Royalty; The Victorians; Empire - What Ruling the World Did to the British. Great Britain’s Great War was published in October 2013. His memoirs A Life in Questions appeared in October 2016.

He is a contributing editor at the Financial Times.

His charitable interests include homelessness, mental health and education.

In his spare time, he goes fly-fishing and is the editor of Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life (the book is mainly about the first two topics.)

He has a dog called Derek from Battersea Dogs’ Home and makes good rhubarb jam which he has trouble getting to set properly.

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Tim Rice

Occupation: Author, Broadcaster, Writer

Tim Rice's first new show for ten years, From Here To Eternity, with music by newcomer Stuart Brayson, co-produced with Lee Menzies, directed by Tamara Harvey, and with book by Bill Oakes, opens in the West End at the Shaftesbury Theatre in October 2013.

Tim Rice was born in 1944. He began songwriting in 1965 in which year the first song he wrote, ‘That’s My Story’ (tune as well as words) was recorded by a rock group called The Nightshift whose career never recovered.

That same year he met fellow budding songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber whose musical ambitions were in theatre rather than rock or pop. They teamed up and wrote four musicals together from 1965 to 1978. The first, The Likes of Us (1965-66), was performed for the first time in 2005 and became available on CD a mere 40 years after its creation. The other three, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968), Jesus Christ Superstar (1969-71) and Evita (1976-78) were more immediate successes.

Feeling certain that they could never top this lot, the pair went their separate ways in the early eighties, whereupon ALW immediately topped that lot with Cats. TR then wrote Blondel (1983), a mediaeval romp, with Stephen Oliver, which ran for a year in London. This was followed in 1986 by Chess, in collaboration with ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. Chess had a healthy run in the West End but flopped on Broadway in 1988, the New York Times bloke (since replaced) being particularly forceful in his disapproval. There have been countless productions worldwide since then, with wide variations in quality and indeed storyline. A notable recent production was in concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2008 starring Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal and Marti Pellow. In 1989 Tim translated the famous French musical Starmania (by Michel Berger and Luc Plamondon) into English, which merely resulted in a hit album – in France.

In the 1990s he worked primarily and happily with the Disney empire, contributing lyrics to the movies Aladdin (music Alan Menken) and The Lion King (music Elton John and Hans Zimmer) and to the stage shows Beauty and the Beast and King David (both Alan Menken), The Lion King and Aida (both Sir Elton). Between Disney commitments he wrote the words for Sir Cliff Richard’s theatrical blockbuster Heathcliff (music John Farrar), which toured the UK in 1995-96. For Dreamworks, he and Sir Elton joined forces yet again to write the score for the 2000 animated film The Road to El Dorado.

In early 2011 Tim contributed four new lyrics to music by his old partner Andrew Lloyd Webber for Andrew's new production of The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. The show ran there for over year and then moved on to Toronto.

He has won a variety of awards, mainly for the wrong things, or for simply turning up. These include a Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, three Oscars, four Tonys, five or six Grammys and 13 Ivor Novellos.

Tim broadcasts regularly for the BBC and independent radio and television networks, most recently BBC Radio 2's TIM RICE'S AMERICAN PIE, a series exploring the music and musicians of each American state

He is a former president of the Marylebone Cricket Club and was chairman of the UK charitable Foundation for Sport and the Arts for the entire 21 years of its existence (1991-2012). Tim lives in London, Cornwall and on the motorway between the two, has three children, his own cricket team and a knighthood. The first volume of his autobiography, Oh What a Circus, was published in September 1999. If his publishers ask, he is currently working on part 2, due out five years ago.

For further info (as if the above wasn’t enough) please go to www.timrice.co.uk

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Stuart Rose

Stuart Rose has spent all his career in retail joining Marks & Spencer plc in 1971. He left to join the Burton Group in 1989, becoming a director in 1993. Following the Group’s demerger in 1997 he became Chief Executive of Argos plc during the bid by GUS. In 1998 he became Chief Executive of Booker plc which was merged with the Iceland Group in 2000. He then became Chief Executive of Arcadia Group plc in November 2000 and left in December 2002 following its sale to Sir Philip Green. He was named Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer plc in May 2004 and became Chairman in 2008, standing down in January 2011. He was Chairman of The British Fashion Council from 2004 – 2008, Chairman of Business in the Community from 2008 – 2010 and a Non-Executive Director of Land Securities from 2003-2013. He is Chairman of Ocado, Fat Face, Oasis Healthcare Group and a Non-Executive Director of Woolworths (South Africa). He is also Chairman of The Healing Foundation, a medical charity.

Stuart was knighted in 2008 for services to the retail industry and corporate social responsibility and made a life peer, Baron Rose of Monewden in September 2014.

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John Sergeant

Occupation: Author, Broadcaster, Journalist

John Sergeant is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster, as well as a much talked-about contestant on STRICTLY COME DANCING, a regular contributor to the BBC's ONE SHOW, the first host of the comedy panel game ARGUMENTAL on the Dave Channel, and presenter of the ITV series JOHN SERGEANT'S TOURIST TRAIL and the BBC’s series on the history of the Indian Railways TRACKS OF EMPIRE. John was the voice of ITV’s popular GRIMEFIGHTER series, presented a mock documentary for BBC2 JOHN SERGEANT MEETS RAB C NESBITT, and an ITV documentary on Father Christmas, THE SANTA FILES. In 2011 John presented a programme in which he flew a Spitfire, BRITAIN'S FLYING PAST, and also a documentary on the only Vulcan bomber still airborne in the BBC's BRITAIN’S HIDDEN HERITAGE.

In 2012, John presented the BBC2 series BRITAIN'S FIRST PHOTO ALBUM, based on the photographs of Francis Frith, the great Victorian photographer. More recent documentaries, for ITV, include SERGEANT ON SPIKE, a celebrating the genius of Spike Milligan, and a profile of the new royal borough of Greenwich ROYAL GREENWICH. He also presented 3 documentaries for BBC2’s BRITAIN’S FLYING PAST about the Spitfire, the Sea King helicopter and the Lancaster Bomber. He narrated ITV's BOMBER BOYS documentary about the WW2 bombing campaign and was invited to read a poem at the ceremony to unveil the Bomber Command memorial in London. John was also one of the few BBC commentators on the Jubilee River Pageant not to be criticised.

In 2014, he presented BARGING THROUGH BRITAIN for ITV, a series about Britain's canals. He is currently filming the second series.

John appeared in a three-part series based on a sailing trip along the Scottish sea lochs. He took part in the TV version of JUST A MINUTE and was the host for the return of a new series of YES PRIME MINISTER.

A guest on a wide range of radio and TV programmes, including HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU, ROOM 101, QI, QUESTION TIME, and ANY QUESTIONS, John is also a frequent after dinner speaker and host of awards ceremonies. He spent six years touring his one-man show "An Evening with John Sergeant".

John has written two books which made it to the best seller lists: his memoirs, GIVE ME TEN SECONDS and an account of the last part of Baroness Thatcher’s career, “MAGGIE: HER FATAL LEGACY.

John’s first BBC television appearance was in 1966 a few months after graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford where he studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He took part in Alan Bennett’s comedy series, ON THE MARGIN which won a Royal Television Society award for Comedy of the Year. John then became a journalist, training on the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo before joining the BBC staff in 1970. He reported from 25 countries and he covered a number of conflicts, including the Vietnam War and the troubles in Northern Ireland, before settling down at Westminster. He was chief political correspondent of the BBC for 12 years. His most famous broadcast was with Margaret Thatcher outside the British Embassy in Paris in 1990 when she heard the devastating result of the leadership contest with Michael Heseltine which would lead to her resignation as prime minister two days later. After thirty years with the corporation, he moved to ITV where he was political editor of ITN from 2000 to 2003. Since then he has worked as a freelance, taking on a variety of roles, including becoming president of the Johnson Society of Lichfield.

John has been married for over 40 years and lives with his wife, Mary, in Ealing. They have two grown up sons, both of whom work in television.

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Alastair Stewart

Occupation: Journalist, Presenter (ITV News)

Alastair Stewart presents a range of news and current affairs programmes on the ITV network including “THE ITV EVENING NEWS” , "THE ITV LUNCHTIME NEWS" and "NEWS AT TEN". In April 2010, he moderated the first ever live TV debate between the Party Leaders, ahead of the General Election.

His career started in 1976 with ITV's Southern Television, in Southampton. He was a reporter, industrial correspondent, presenter and documentary maker. He recorded one of the last interviews with Lord Mountbatten, and even spent six weeks in Ford Open prison to make a half hour documentary.

Alastair joined ITN as an industrial Correspondent in 1980 and had his first taste of newscasting one year later.

He originally joined New at Ten in May 1989 from ITN’s News at 5.40, which he presented from September 1986. Before that, he spent three years as a presenter and reporter with ITN’s CHANNEL FOUR NEWS. He also presented ITN’s “THE PARLIAMENT PROGRAMME” for Channel Four. He is one of the very few people who has, at one time or another, presented all of ITN’s main news programmes.

In 1990 he was appointed ITN's Washington Correspondent, an assignment abruptly interrupted by the first Gulf War. He was sent to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, to anchor ITN’s coverage. He presented News at Ten, live from Saudi Arabia, for two months. At the end of February 1991, Alastair was the first British television reporter to broadcast, live, from the liberated Kuwait City. He presented News at Ten from Kuwait for a week before returning to the UK.

Alastair subsequently presented Scottish TV’s special coverage of the gulf War Service of Thanksgiving, attended by HM the Queen, for the ITV network.

Away from 1TN, in 1994, he presented ALASTAIR STEWART’S SUNDAY for BBC Radio 5 before moving to host ALASTAIR STEWART’S SUNDAY PROGRAMME for GMTV which he presented until July 2001. From 1993 until 2009, he presented ITV London's “LONDON TONIGHT”.

He returned to ITV News as an anchor on the ITV NEWS CHANNEL for the 2003 Iraq War, the channel’s Local Government Elections coverage and a special programme on the European Single Currency. He went on to present his own news and interview strand "LIVE WITH ALASTAIR" for which he won the Royal Television Society's Presenter of the Year Award in 2005.

ITN’s network coverage of the 1992 Budget saw the ninth year of Alastair’s involvement in the presentation of this special programme for ITV. It was his fifth year anchoring the programme having taken the role from Sir Alastair Burnet. Since his return to ITV News, he has been a regular presenter of Budget programmes.

Alastair anchored the 2010 General Election for ITV having co-anchored the 1987 General Election with Sir Alastair Burnet, the 1992 General Election with Jon Snow; and the 1997 and 2005 General Elections with Jonathon Dimbleby.

He has presented many of ITN’s other special programmes on the ITV network including the State Openings of Parliament, numerous by-elections, State Visits and for the Royal Weddings of the Prince and Princess of Wales and Duke and Duchess of York. Alastair provided live coverage of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as the details of the tragedy unfolded. A two minute news-flash became an unscripted, one hour special programme.

He also anchored, with Sandy Gall, ITN’s award winning coverage on the night of the bombing of the PanAm jet over Lockerbie; he also presented ITV’s network coverage of the Memorial Service for the victims. He anchored the ITV Network coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II and of the resignation of Tony Blair. In July 2006, at the out-break of the Israeli-Lebanon conflict, he presented all three ITV News network bulletins, for five days, from Beirut.

He jointly presented “CITIES AT WAR” and LEGACY OF WAR” with the late Walter Cronkite for ITV and America’s Public Service Broadcasting network.

Alastair Stewart studied economics, politics and sociology at Bristol University and was Deputy President of the National Union of Students, 1974-76.

In the charity world and voluntary sector, Alastair is Vice President of both ACTION FOR CHILDREN and HOMESTART. He is also a Patron of the LORD MAYOR TRELOAR COLLEGE for disabled students; the disablism charity SCOPE; the mental health charity SANE; the medical research charity, HOPE; the CRIMESTOPPERS TRUST; KIDS4KIDS; the brain tumour SAMANTHA DICKSON RESEARCH TRUST; JUST A DROP; the LOOMBA TRUST; and MOMO HELPS, Mo Mowlam's charitable trust; he is a vice Patron of THE ZITO TRUST and THE MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION and an Ambassador for INVESTORS IN PEOPLE, CRISIS – the homeless charity - and CARE INTERNATIONAL.

Alastair is a Governor of Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. He is a former Trustee of the Royal Air Force Museum. In 1998, he was the subject of “THIS IS YOUR LIFE”. In 2002, he won “THE FACE OF LONDON” award from THE ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY and, in 2005, was the THE ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY’S “PRESENTER OF THE YEAR”.

In 2006, he was awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his work in broadcasting and for charity. In 2008, he was made an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the University of Bristol. In 2010, he was made an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) by the University of Plymouth.

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Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux's documentaries follow his attempts to get to know the people at the heart of some of the world's - and especially America's - most controversial and fascinating lifestyles.

In a career spanning nearly two decades he has interrogated the engrained criminals at San Quentin prison; lived with the extreme believers of the Westboro Baptist Church; gambled with the high-rollers at a Las Vegas mega-casino, and stalked game with trophy hunters on South Africa's wild animal farms.

Louis started out as a correspondent on Michael Moore's TV Nation before being signed up by the BBC to make his own series, Weird Weekends, about unusual American subcultures. In 2000 he began a series of specials about intriguing British public figures, including one featuring disc jockey Sir Jimmy Savile and another which saw him live with the disgraced Tory minister Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine as they were falsely accused of rape and subjected to a media siege.

In 2011, he spent more than a month in Miami for a two-part series about the inmates at one of America's most violent jails.

In 2012, Louis revisited his 1997 documentary about the world of male performers in Twilight of the Porn Stars. He also visited one of the best schools in America for autism in Extreme Love: Autism and travelled to Phoenix, Arizona, the US capital of dementia care Extreme Love: Dementia.

In March 2015, the BBC broadcast Louis' LA Stories where he immersed himself in the world of Ohio's State Psychiatric Hospitals in a two-part documentary; in the third, he travelled to a hospital in San Francisco to meet transgender children. Louis returned to BBC2 in spring 2016 with 2 films based in the UK, "Drinking to Oblivion" and "A Different Brain", taking an immersive look at alcohol addiction and brain injury. In 2017, BBC2 broadcast his trilogy “Dark States”.

Louis' feature-length documentary "My Scientology Movie" was released in the UK in Autumn 2016 and was the highest-grossing theatrical release documentary that year.

In September 2016, Louis undertook a sell-out tour of Australia, "Louis Live on Stage".

Louis is currently filming his next documentaries for the BBC both here and in the US.

Louis’s programmes have won numerous accolades including two Baftas and an RTS award and are shown all over the world. He also writes for print publications. His 2005 travel book about some of his adventures, THE CALL OF THE WEIRD has just been re-published with some additional material. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

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