29th December 2015, London
For the twelfth year BBC Radio 4’s Today will be handing over the editorship to public figures over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The final five completing this years the line-up are: Olympic gold medal winning cyclist and winner of the Tour de France Sir Bradley Wiggins, one of Britain’s most internationally acclaimed architects David Adjaye OBE, crossbencher and former Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Baroness Jane Campbell of Surbiton and Baron John Browne of Madingley, former chief executive of the energy company BP and Executive Chairman of L1 Energy.
Rohan Silva, entrepreneur and former advisor to David Cameron, will be taking on the newly created role of business editor across the week. Michael Sheen and Miriam González Durántez have already been announced.
Jamie Angus, Editor Today Programme said:
“Our guest editors are a great Christmas tradition and have provided some of the best moments in the rich history of Today. As one of Britain’s most successful and recognisable sportsmen it’s fantastic to have Bradley leading out the programme and to hear his take on the impact of sport on British culture.”
Cyclist, Sir Bradley Wiggins – 29 December
In his programme, to be broadcast on Tuesday 29th of December, Sir Bradley will look back on the incredible summer in 2012 that changed his life, earning him a knighthood and becoming BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He meets the kids inspired to start cycle racing by his victories – but also those for whom the Olympic legacy failed to make an impact. He goes behind the scenes at Match of the Day to speak to Gary Lineker about how he reinvented himself after retiring from the sport that made him an icon. Sir Bradley will also indulge his love of a sharp suit when he talks to Paul Smith and Mark Powell – British designers with clients like George Clooney, David Bowie and Paul Weller – about whether there is still a place for tailoring in a dressed-down world.
In 2012, a year full of British sporting success, it was arguably track and road cyclist Bradley Wiggins who was the most prominent. He became the first Briton to win the Tour de France having worn the yellow jersey for 13 consecutive stages. All the more remarkable given he broke his collarbone during the previous year’s Tour and only began focussing on road cycling after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hot on the heels of this triumph, Wiggins then became the first cyclist to win Olympic gold on both the track and the road – victory in the London 2012 time trial adding to his previous tally of three Olympic track golds and six Track World Championships golds. He also broke the world record for ‘the hour’ when he returned to the London Olympic velodrome track earlier this year.
Sir David Brailsford, his former boss at British Cycling and Team Sky, says Wiggins’ versatility makes him the greatest British cyclist of all time. He is currently preparing to return to the Olympic stage in Rio in 2016, where another medal would make him Britain’s greatest ever Olympian.
Sir Bradley Wiggins said:
“I sometimes wonder what it’s like to be a journalist. So when Radio 4 told me they were a bit short staffed over Christmas due to spending cut backs and whatnot, and could I help on their Today programme, I said, ok, why not?
“I don’t know anything about politics or economic policy. But I’ve listened to a lot of people having a good old moan over the years. You meet interesting characters when you’re out on a bike. I told them I’d do this show if I could shine the spotlight on stuff that interests me. Like did London 2012 do any good? Where is the next generation of Bradley Wiggins going to come from? What actually happens to you when you retire? And why should anyone bother to vote for politicians?
“I haven’t got any experience in asking questions. But I often wonder about the world and know it’s important to listen to what people say. Hope you enjoy the show”.
Architect, David Adjaye OBE – 31 December
On New Year’s Eve the guest editor will be the architect David Adjaye. After setting up his practice in 1994 he became associated with the success of the ‘Young British Artists’ based in East London at the time. Now one of Britain’s most internationally acclaimed architects, he has landmark buildings in Oslo, Moscow and Beirut. 2016 will see the opening of his most high-profile project yet: the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. In London his signature achievement is the Whitechapel Idea Store, which re-imagined the local library. The Sugar Hill housing project in Harlem, New York, which opened this year, continues this commitment to the public sphere and contains affordable housing, a nursery, and a children’s art museum. He regularly collaborates with artists and has designed homes for Jake Chapman and Chris Ofili – as well as the actor Ewan McGregor. His programme will look at how the new Smithsonian museum fits into a momentous time in US race relations as Barack Obama enters the final year of his presidency and the Black Lives Matter campaign becomes a genuine political force. It will also examine whether Uber’s claims for redesigning city life stand up to scrutiny.
Peer and human rights campaigner, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton – 1 January
Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, crossbencher and former Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, will take over the programme on New Year’s Day. Born with spinal muscular atrophy she was expected to die in infancy. Now 56, she was made a peer in 2007 after spending her adult life campaigning for equality for disabled people. She was one of the leading voices behind the Disability Discrimination Act, which has just had its 20th anniversary. She once organised a blockade of Westminster Bridge by wheelchair users in a bid to get London buses adapted. Lady Campbell will look at Lords reform, inviting a new SNP MP to the Upper House to find out whether working peers can justify their existence. She also goes head-to-head with Times columnist Matthew Parris on the right to die.
Businessman, Lord Browne – 2 January
Finally Lord Browne of Madingley will be rounding off our week of guest editors. He was CEO of BP from 1995-2007, transforming it into one of the world’s largest companies. A former president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, he is also fellow of the Royal Society and a foreign member of the US Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds degrees from Cambridge and Stanford universities, was knighted in 1998, and made a life peer in 2001.He will be using his guest edit to look at how to nurture British engineering talent and the future of the Tate Galleries, the UKs most popular visitor attraction, where he is Chairman of the Trustees. He will also take a look at inclusion in the workplace by reflecting back on his own experience of coming out when he was Chief Executive of a big company and talking to other business leaders who’ve faced similar experiences.
Entrepreneur, Rohan Silva – 28 December to 2 January
Also joining the team for the week is Rohan Silva, co-founder of Second Home, a social enterprise that creates new cultural venues and creative workplaces for entrepreneurs. He was previously a senior policy adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron. He will be guest editing the business slots across the week.
Notes for Editors
The guest editors will be live in the studios and take responsibility for around half of the programme’s output, with the support of Today producers and reporters to bring their ideas to air. The usual day and night editors are on hand to make sure that the material is newsworthy and meets the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines.
Actor, Michael Sheen – 28 December
Beginning the guest editor take over on Monday 28 December is actor/director and UNICEF Ambassador Michael Sheen. He is best known for his acclaimed portrayal of Tony Blair in three films written by Peter Morgan: The Deal, The Queen and The Special Relationship. A long-established theatre actor, Sheen appeared on the London stage most recently as Hamlet at the Young Vic in 2011. He has also played Kenneth Williams, David Frost and Brian Clough on screen. In 2013 he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role as gynaecologist William Masters in TV’s The Masters of Sex. Sheen was raised in Port Talbot, which also bred two previous generations of acting greats: Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins. The young Sheen was an accomplished footballer and turned down an offer of a place in the Arsenal youth squad. Instead, he joined the National Youth Theatre of Wales and trained at RADA. Sheen will use his programme to tell the story of refugees from Syria from the perspective of a teenage girl and he is interested in getting views on foreign aid from across the political spectrum. He will also be reporting on Christmas in Port Talbot and looking at the boundaries of neuroscience.
Lawyer, Miriam González Durántez – 30 December
On the 30 December is lawyer Miriam González Durántez. She first came into the public eye in the UK as the wife of former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. In 2013 she launched the Inspiring Women campaign, which organises events in which women talk to girls about their life choices. The project has reached 85% of state schools in the UK. Participants include journalists like Fiona Bruce, physicist Dame Athene Donald, and swimmer Rebecca Adlington. The 47-year-old says there is a ‘residual sexism’ that is holding girls back. Her guest edit will focus on how women and men can find a balance between the competing priorities of work and family life; she will be interviewing women and men from across politics and the professions about gender stereotypes. She has described herself as a ‘tigress’ when it comes to her children and refused family photo shoots during election campaigns. She will also be in discussion with chef and healthy eating advocate Jamie Oliver and Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain about the challenges of encouraging children to eat a healthy diet.
Previous guest editors have included Sir Lenny Henry, Michael Palin, Prof Stephen Hawking, PD James, Sebastian Coe, John Bercow MP, Sir Tim Berners Lee, Bono, Yoko Ono, Lady Manningham-Buller, David Hockney, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker, Tracey Emin, Sir Richard Branson, and Melinda Gates.