Dame Sarah Connolly is one of the world’s leading mezzo-sopranos. She is well known for roles ranging from Caesar in Handel’s Giulio Cesare to Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. She has sung in many of the world’s great opera houses, won masses of awards for her work, and was awarded a DBE in 2017. She talks about the “balls of steel” she developed in her childhood, what she has learnt from playing men and what it’s like when a pandemic collides with cancer.
Guy Spier is a Zurich-based investor whose Aquamarine Fund has achieved market-beating returns. He studied at Oxford with David Cameron and then at Harvard Business School and started his fund after a disastrous stint at a company that wrecked his reputation and made him unemployable. He's the author of a bestselling book, The Education of a Value Investor and a regular commentator in the media. He talks about greed, shame - and what really matters.
Phil Jones worked on a children's play bus, at a refuge for teenage runaways and as a gardener before training as a journalist. He has worked on The Jeremy Vine Show (and its predecessor The Jimmy Young Show) for 30 years. He thought Covid was just like flu, but when he woke up with it, on the first day of lockdown, he found out it wasn't. In this podcast, he talks about his brush with mortality, how public broadcasting can help the culture wars and why he's changed his mind about Brexit.
Adam Hamdy planned to become a lawyer. Instead, he worked as a strategy consultant and as a tech entrepreneur before breaking into Hollywood as a screenwriter and becoming a bestselling author of thrillers. But he knows about struggle. The son of an Egyptian father who worked as a waiter in the UK, he was once so hard up that he had to burn his own furniture. In this podcast, he talks about an accidental career, dramatic changes in direction and his attempts to help us find a vaccine.
10. Jackie Kay, poet, playwright, novelist and Makar (Scottish poet laureate) on poetry in dark times
Jackie Kay is a multi-award-winning poet, playwright and writer of memoir and fiction. She's an MBE and a CBE, Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and Chancellor of the University of Salford. But she's also the Makar, or national poet for Scotland. Every baby born in Scotland gets a poem by her in their baby basket. Through lockdown, she has brought the role to a global stage with her Makar to Makar series online. In this moving and deeply personal conversation, she talks about her own emotional struggles during the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and how poetry can help all of us.
Nikki Kanani has been picked twice by Pulse as the UK's "top up and coming GP". In 2017, she was awarded an MBE. In 2018, she was was the first woman to be appointed Medical Director of Primary Care in NHS England. And she's not yet 40! In this podcast, she talks about switching medicine to Zoom, Black Lives Matter and what it was like to take part in those Downing Street press conferences.
Suzanne Moore is known as an astute and fearless commentator on politics, society and life. She has written for publications ranging from The Mail on Sunday to Marxism Today and has been a columnist at The Guardian for more than 25 years. In this podcast, she talks about culture wars, clicktivism, the future of journalism - and what she hasn't missed.
Ann Gallagher trained as a nurse during the Troubles in Belfast before studying philosophy and moving into academia. In this podcast, she talks about the joy of nursing, the heroism of care workers during Covid, the creativity of academics and how an art exhibition in Stockholm inspired a new vision for the future of care.
Matthew Syed was the UK No 1 table tennis player and an Olympian before becoming an award-winning journalist, keynote speaker and bestselling author of Bounce, Black Box Thinking and Rebel Ideas. In this podcast, he talks about the power of diverse thinking, what immigrants can teach us and how we can adapt to the harsh realities of work after Covid.
Julia Samuel is one of the UK's leading psychotherapists and the bestselling author of Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving and This Too Shall Pass: Stories of Change, Crisis and Hopeful Beginnings. In this wide-ranging conversation, she talks about how to cope with losing a job, how to keep hope alive during a pandemic, the joy of kickboxing - and what to do about the "shitty committee".