Best of Today

Best of Today

By BBC Radio 4

Insight, analysis and expert debate as key policy makers are challenged on the latest news stories.

Episodes

Jason Watkins and Clara Francis on sepsis

It was twelve years ago that the actor Jason Watkins and his wife Clara Francis lost their two year old daughter to sepsis. Now, the couple have made a documentary for ITV called "Jason and Clara: in memory of Maudie" - to raise awareness of the dangers of the condition. Today's Martha Kearney spoke to them about why they decided to make the documentary. (IMAGE CREDIT: David M. Bennett / Getty Images)
30/03/23·8m 50s

Public satisfaction with NHS drops to record low

Are you satisfied with the performance of the NHS? Fewer people than ever now answer yes to that question. Just 29% say they are satisfied with the health service in the latest British Social Attitudes Survey - that's the lowest level since the survey began 40 years ago. Today's Nick Robinson spoke to Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, and to Chris Hopson, Chief Strategy Officer of NHS England, about why satisfaction is so low and what NHS bosses plan to do about it. (IMAGE CREDIT: ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (13802777b))
29/03/23·11m 51s

The Today Debate: Policing and us - how can we fix it?

The Today Debate is about taking a subject and pulling it apart with more time than we could ever have during the Today programme in the morning. Today presenter Mishal Husain is joined by an expert panel in the BBC's Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House to look at the future of policing in 'The Today Debate: Policing and us - how can we fix it?' Her guests include Baroness Louise Casey, whose year long review into the Metropolitan Police found the force suffers from "institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia". The Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley. Mina Smallman, whose daughters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were murdered in London in June 2020. Two Met officers were subsequently jailed for sharing images of their bodies in a WhatsApp group. Steve Hartshorn, National Chair for the Police Federation of England and Wales, one of the largest police staff associations in the UK representing more than 130,000 rank and file officers. And Sir Peter Fahy, former Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police.
28/03/23·56m 41s

William Hill hit with biggest gambling penalty

Three gambling firms owned by William Hill are to pay penalties of £19.2m – the biggest ever UK gambling fine. In one case, a customer was allowed to open a new account and spend £23,000 in 20 minutes without any checks. Today's Nick Robinson spoke to the chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Andrew Rhodes, about the company’s failure to protect consumers and evidence of weak anti-money laundering controls. William Hill says it’s now under new ownership and management. (IMAGE CREDIT: REUTERS/Phil Noble)
28/03/23·4m 30s

SNP to announce Nicola Sturgeon's successor

The winner of the contest to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader is to be announced later. The winner will face a vote at Holyrood on Tuesday before also being confirmed as Scotland's new first minister. Regardless of who wins, their in tray is considerable. Today's Mishal Husain spoke to Carolyn Currie, Scotland chair of the Productivity Institute, Jeanne Freeman, former Scottish Health Secretary, and to Professor Lindsay Patterson, Professor of Education policy at the University of Edinburgh, about what the new SNP leader will face. (IMAGE CREDIT: Ken Jack/Getty Images)
27/03/23·11m 51s

Illustrator Charles Mackesy: My Oscar Dream

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse started out as a few comforting drawings for friends, and eventually became a book which sold 8 million copies. It was then then turned into an animated film with a star studded voice cast which won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. Creator Charles Macksey speaks to Today’s Simon Jack about the meteoric rise of the project. (IMAGE CREDIT: ETIENNE LAURENT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (13814888eb))
25/03/23·13m 52s

Governor of the Bank of England on interest rates and rising prices

The Bank of England has raised interest rates again after inflation rose unexpectedly this week. Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, told Today’s Sean Farrington that companies who raised prices risked driving up the cost of living, hurting those that can least afford it. Sean also discusses with Mr Bailey the health of the UK economy and how to guard against a run on the banks in an age of social media and online banking. (Image Credit: EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
24/03/23·22m 27s

An experiment in "open justice" in the family courts

Judgements made in the family courts can affect families forever, including placing children in care or for adoption. After decades of calls for greater scrutiny of the family courts, at the end of January journalists gained access to report proceedings, in a landmark pilot scheme. Three court centres in Leeds, Carlisle and Cardiff allowed accredited journalists to report cases for the first time, providing the families involved remained anonymous. Our Correspondent Sanchia Berg spent several weeks in Leeds Family Court attending hearings. This week Today has featured a series of her reports, highlighting some of the issues that are usually hidden, including a mother's 'remarkable turnaround' to win back her baby. Today presenter Martha Kearney, also spoke to the judge who spearheaded the pilot, Justice Lieven.
10/03/23·30m 54s

Ken Bruce leaves the BBC

BBC Radio 2's Ken Bruce presents his final show on Friday as he leaves the station after 31 years hosting its weekday mid-morning show. His slot is the most listened-to show on British radio, and he will now join rival commercial station Greatest Hits Radio. Bruce was originally due to complete his Radio 2 contract on 24 March, but tweeted last week that the BBC had asked him to host the last edition of his weekday mid-morning show on 3 March instead. Today's Garry Richardson speaks to Ken Bruce about his career at the BBC and quizzes him in a mini Today version of Popmaster. (Photo credit: Pete Dadds/ BBC)
03/03/23·12m 31s

'I'm proud Polish people played a part'

Nick Robinson joins the crowds watching US President Joseph Biden's speech in Warsaw.
22/02/23·9m 9s

Björn from ABBA's Eurovision highlights

Björn Ulvaeus has guest edited BBC Radio 4's Today and his programme included a lot of insights and encounters about Eurovision. Hear him talk to one of the British jurors who in 1974 gave ABBA's Waterloo "nul points" - and doesn't regret it! He also discusses with Erasure's Andy Bell, Radio 1's Adele Roberts and UK Eurovision presenter Rylan Clark the appeal of the contest and ABBA itself to the LGBT+ community. Bjorn also speaks to Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor of Eurovision, about whether it can move to be a fully global competition. (Photo: ABBA triumph at 1974 Eurovision. Credit: BBC)
31/01/23·23m 40s

Sir Jeremy Fleming Guest Edits Today

Today's fourth Christmas guest editor this year is Sir Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ, the UK's largest but probably least known intelligence agency. Hear highlights from his programme which centres on the theme of data and trust, including how we all share our own personal information and how intelligence agencies across the world handle that data. Guests include Avril Haines, the United States director of national intelligence, Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet, and multiple Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie, who discusses the use of data in his sport of sailing.
06/01/23·38m 7s

Dame Sharon White Guest Edits Today

Today’s final Christmas guest editor this year is Dame Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and former head of telecoms regulator Ofcom. She was named as the most powerful black person in the country in the 2023 Power List. One of the key issues for her programme is how society can help more people who have been in care get into employment – and includes a report from the BBC’s Ashley John-Baptiste, who grew up in care. She also speaks to world renown choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne about how to attract a wider audience to ballet, and she interviews England rugby star Maro Itoje about his activism off the field.
02/01/23·1h 14m

Anne-Marie Imafidon Guest Edits Today

Today’s sixth Christmas guest editor is Anne-Marie Imafidon – computer scientist, CEO and co-presenter of Countdown. Hear highlights of her programme, whose central theme is opportunity. She looks at how we work, how we fund science, and how we recognise the achievements of women which have been lost to history, such as Dr Gladys Mae West, whose maths work paved the way for GPS navigation. We also explore two of Anne-Marie’s big passions – Nigerian food and trainers.
31/12/22·1h 4m

Björn Ulvaeus Guest Edits Today

Today's fifth Christmas guest editor is Björn Ulvaeus from ABBA. Hear highlights from his programme, which looks at the impact of Artificial Intelligence and technology on music, the future of democracy and of course Eurovision - the contest which launched Abba's global success nearly 50 years ago. Guests include Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, the historian Noah Yuval Harari, Andy Bell from Erasure, the boss of Eurovision, as well as its UK presenter Rylan Clark, and former culture minister Lord Vaizey.
30/12/22·1h 19m

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Guest Edits Today

Today's third guest editor this Christmas is Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was detained for six years in Iran - before being freed and coming home nine months ago. Hear highlights from her programme including the voices of families of current political prisoners in Iran and Nazanin speaking to chef Yotam Ottolenghi about why one of his recipes has a special resonance for her - and about the solidarity that can be found in food and cooking. Nazanin also has an emotional encounter with tennis ace Andy Murray - she tells him how, while in solitary confinement, she was able to watch him win Wimbledon in 2016 and the joy that brought her. With her husband Richard, she also reflects on trying to get back to normal life against the backdrop of the current uprising and arrests in Iran.
28/12/22·1h 12m

Jamie Oliver Guest Edits Today

Today's second guest editor this Christmas is Jamie Oliver, the chef, entrepreneur and campaigner. Hear highlights from his programme in our Best of Today podcast, including interviews with former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and former Conservative Chancellor George Osborne about expanding free lunches in schools and providing a healthy array of options for students. Jamie Oliver has been open about his struggles in school with dyslexia. He says he was told he was taught alongside those with special needs. Jamie wanted to speak to the rapper Loyle Carner, who has ADHD about his struggles at school and what food means to him.
27/12/22·41m 12s

Lord Botham Guest Edits Today

Today's first guest editor this Christmas is Lord Botham, Ian "Beefy" Botham, former England all-rounder, now crossbench peer and UK Trade Envoy to Australia. Hear highlights from his programme in our Best of Today podcast, including an interview with the current England Cricket captain Ben Stokes, about the future of the Test format of the game. It was a chance meeting after a freak injury in 1977 which first put Lord Botham on the path to nearly four decades of fundraising. He reflects on that moment and looks at advances in the treatment of childhood leukaemia, a cause for which he has raised millions of pounds, with the BBC's medical editor Fergus Walsh.
26/12/22·40m 21s

Joanne Harris: My winter walk

The Today programme has asked some well-known faces to talk about the walks they do and why they’re so important to them at this time of year. Author Joanne Harris, best known for her novel Chocolat, describes her favourite walk from Almondbury, near Huddersfield, and up to Castle Hill. (Image credit: Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images)
09/12/22·3m 35s

Hunter Davies: My winter walk

The Today programme has asked some well-known faces to talk about the walks they do and why they’re so important to them as part of a winter walks series. Author Hunter Davies, best known for the only authorised biography of the Beatles, describes his favourite walk along Ryde Sands on the Isle of Wight. (Image Credit: Laura Palmer/BBC)
26/11/22·3m 19s

Jojo Moyes: My winter walk

The Today programme has asked some well-known voices to tell us about their favourite walks at this time of year. Novelist and journalist Jojo Moyes - best known for 'Me Before You' - describes a walk where she is often accompanied by her dogs in Essex, and how it’s helped her when life is challenging. (Image Credit: Jojo Moyes)
22/11/22·4m 20s

Michelle Gallen: My winter walk

The Today programme has asked some well-known faces to talk about the walks they do and why they’re so important to them as part of a winter walks series. Author Michelle Gallen, who wrote 'Big Girl, Small Town' and 'Factory Girls', describes her favourite walk near her childhood home in Castlederg, West Tyrone. (Image Credit: Deci Gallen)
17/11/22·2m 56s

Michael Morpurgo: My winter walk

The Today programme has asked some well-known faces to talk about the walks they do and why they’re so important to them as part of a winter walks series. Author Michael Morpurgo, best known for children's novel War Horse, describes his favourite stroll near his home in Devon.
11/11/22·4m 21s

Gillian Clarke: My winter walk

The Today programme has asked some well-known faces to talk about the walks they do and why they’re so important to them as part of a winter walks series. The poet, who was National Poet of Wales from 2008 to 2016, Gillian Clarke has chosen a path close to her home in Ceredigion.
10/11/22·3m 26s

Kate Mosse: My winter walk

The Today programme invites some well known faces to speak about their favourite winter walk. Novelist and history writer Kate Mosse describes her walk through Fishbourne Marshes, near Chichester in West Sussex, from the old duck pond round to Bosham and back again. (Image credit: James Watkins/ BBC)
09/11/22·3m 56s

Simon Armitage: My winter walk

The Today programme is inviting some famous faces to speak about their favourite winter walk. Poet Laureate Simon Armitage describes his walks up Pule Hill, the high point above Marsden and an exposed look-out post over Yorkshire, Lancashire and a high corner of Derbyshire. (Image, Simon Armistage, Credit, Emma Gibbs, BBC)
08/11/22·3m 5s

Rory Kinnear: My winter walk

The Today programme is inviting some famous faces to describe their favourite winter walk. Actor Rory Kinnear lovingly tells of walking his son and daughter to school. (Image, Rory Kinnear, Credit, Sarah Jeynes, BBC)
07/11/22·3m 55s

CEO of Ryanair Group, Michael O’Leary

Michael O’Leary has been Chief Executive of Ryanair since 1994, and was appointed CEO of Ryanair Holdings, Europe’s largest airline group, in 2019. He’s been speaking to Today’s business presenter Sean Farrington about his unhappiness with post-Brexit Britain, the impact of inflation on his business, and why we’ve probably seen the last of the €10 flight. (Image, Michael O'Leary; Credit, Getty Images)
11/08/22·34m 50s

Chairman of John Lewis Partnership, Dame Sharon White

Dame Sharon White is the Chairman of John Lewis Partnership. Overseeing a team of 80,000 partners working at branches and offices of supermarket Waitrose and department store John Lewis around the country, White took over the retailer in February 2020. She talks to Today’s business presenter Sean Farrington about the number of people who have left the labour market since covid and the impact she believes it could have on the economy. (Image, Dame Sharon White, Credit, John Lewis Partnership)
09/08/22·38m 14s

Jacky Wright’s Today Programme

Jacky Wright is the Chief Digital Officer and Corporate Vice President at Microsoft US. For her Today guest edit, she asked whether young people are being taught the skills they need for the workplaces and jobs of the future. She grew up in Tottenham, North London, and went back for the programme, asking A level students at a school there what they thought would make them employable. She also used the programme to explore what everyday life was like for the generation of multiracial children born during World War Two. Jacky spoke about the importance of role models with one of her own: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and the first elected female head of state in Africa. And there was also time for her to talk about her love of CSI with the show’s creator Anthony Zuiker.
03/01/22·35m 39s

Mina Smallman’s Today programme

Mina Smallman, guest edited our first Today programme of 2022. Mina is a former Church of England archdeacon and school principal, who began campaigning on violence against women and equity in how victims are seen after two of her daughters were murdered. Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were murdered in a London park in 2020. For her programme Mina invited Mishal Husain to accompany her and her family and friends on a difficult visit back to the place where Nicole and Bibaa died, where a tree was being planted in their memory. Mina also used her programme to highlight the work of Victim Support and chaplains working in prisons, hospitals and rural communities. Photo: PA
01/01/22·32m 41s

Dr Jane Goodall’s Today Programme

Dr Jane Goodall is a primatologist, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a UN Messenger of Peace. She is best known for revolutionising the world's understanding of chimpanzees. She used her Today guest edit to explore some of the ways we can inspire change to protect animals and our environment. She asked the BBC’s Climate Editor, Justin Rowlatt, to look at the links between poverty and climate change. The programme featured reporting from Tanzania where 30 years ago Jane challenged a group of students to take action to protect the wildlife in their towns and villages. Martha Kearney interviewed the Environment Minister Zac Goldsmith on Jane’s behalf, asking him about COP 26 and trophy hunting. There’s music from Notre Dame and Jane reflects on the reaction to her work and image in the 1960s. With Martha Kearney and Mishal Husain.
31/12/21·36m 23s

General Sir Nick Carter’s Today Programme

General Sir Nick Carter is a retired senior army officer who served as the UK’s Chief of Defence Staff until November this year. He used his Today guest edit to focus on the fallout from the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan. He spoke to former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the man in charge of the country before the Taliban takeover. He also chatted with retired racing legend AP McCoy about what his own retirement might have in store for him. Finally, Sir Nick explored his deep love of whiskey with an international blind tasting.
30/12/21·1h 2m

Raheem Sterling’s Today Programme

The England and Manchester City footballer, Raheem Sterling used his Today programme guest edit to look at the issue of social mobility, after launching his own foundation earlier this year. His programme featured reporting from Jamaica where he was born and North London where he grew up. For his programme he also sat down with England manager, Gareth Southgate, the man he credits for his transition from being a target for a hostile press to a young man now trying to be the role model which so many call on footballers to become. It also featured interviews with his mum Nadine and his sporting hero Usain Bolt. With Amol Rajan and Nick Robinson.
29/12/21·52m 20s

Raheem Sterling and Gareth Southgate in conversation

Today programme guest editor, the England and Manchester City player, Raheem Sterling wanted discuss what he, his team mates and the country had learned following the Euros this summer. For his programme he sat down with England manager, Gareth Southgate, the man he credits for his transition from being a target for a hostile press to a young man now trying to be the role model which so many call on footballers to become. Nick Robinson travelled to St George’s Park to meet them both.
29/12/21·34m 33s

James Rebanks’ Today Programme

James Rebanks is a Cumbrian sheep farmer and bestselling author. He used his Today programme guest edit to focus on the government's changes to farm subsidies and to look at whether urban farms can create healthy and happy communities. He discussed whether the British countryside is diverse enough and asked how it can attract a workforce that better reflects modern Britain. Finally, indoctrinated by his father who took him to his first game at Anfield when he was ten, James Rebanks wanted us to talk about Jurgen Klopp and his why he’s popular not only among Liverpool fans, but beyond. With Nick Robinson and Mishal Husain.
28/12/21·35m 12s

Michael Dobbs’ Today Programme

Lord Dobbs, Michael Dobbs, is a Conservative Peer and author. He has written more than 20 books, but is best known for his political thriller House of Cards. He used his Today Programme guest edit to look at prostate cancer, after his diagnosis earlier this year. It’s a disease which killed his father and brother. His programme also featured a conversation with the Duchess of Cornwall about the importance of reading and a special retelling of the Christmas story from Joseph’s perspective, written and read by Marcus Brigstocke. Featuring Nick Robinson and Justin Webb.
27/12/21·35m 20s

Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin’s Today programme

Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Bishop of Dover, presents the highlights from her guest edit of Today. The South African concept ‘Ubuntu’ or “I am because you are” is at the heart of her programme, reflecting on our common humanity. She hears from students at a pupil referrals unit, the charity Justice Defenders who work to improve access to justice, and also a Uighur child refugee exiled in Turkey. Including Mishal Husain and Martha Kearney. (Image: Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, credit: Jim Drew)
01/01/21·47m 13s

Evan Spiegel’s Today programme

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel presents all the highlights from his guest edit for Today, on the theme of the future of the USA. He looks at what big ideas have shaped modern America and what will continue to define it, including justice reform, how society can make wiser investments and the balance of power between tech companies and government. Including Mishal Husain and Simon Jack. (Image: Evan Spiegel, credit: Snap Inc)
01/01/21·1h 4m

Margaret Atwood’s Today programme

Twice Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood guest edits Today, looking at the theme of change. She interviews climate activist (and 2019 Today guest editor) Greta Thunberg and speaks to The Prince of Wales about campaigning for the environment over several decades. Also, Margaret’s Booker Prize co-winner Bernardine Evaristo speaks to gal-dem founder Liv Little and birdwatcher extraordinaire Mya-Rose Craig, aka Birdgirl. Hosted by Margaret Atwood - including Martha Kearney and Mishal Husain. (Image: Margaret Atwood, credit: Luis Mora)
31/12/20·55m 21s

Lewis Hamilton’s Today programme

Record-breaking Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton guest edits Today, looking at black British history, the environment, and the power of sport. Lewis speaks to historian Professor David Olusoga about the Black Lives Matter movement and black British historical figures who deserve more attention. We also hear from conservationist Dame Jane Goodall on animal extinction, and find out how motor racing is trying to become more environmentally friendly. Presented by Nick Robinson and Justin Webb. (Image: Lewis Hamilton)
30/12/20·50m 3s

Sir Jeremy Farrar’s Today programme

Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of the health research foundation Wellcome Trust, guest edits Today along the theme of uncertainty and clarity in complex times. Sir Jeremy speaks to Dr Anthony Fauci about mixing politics and science, and we hear from Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, on leading in uncertain times. Author Elif Shafak gives a more literary take on uncertainty, and England cricketers Sir Andrew Strauss and Nat Sciver discuss how elite sport has adapted in 2020. Also, a special performance from the Wellcome Voices choir. With Nick Robinson and Simon Jack. (Image: Sir Jeremy Farrar, credit: Dave Guttridge, Francis Crick Institute)
28/12/20·50m 10s

Prue Leith's Today programme

Highlights from Prue Leith's guest edit, presented by Prue herself. Including... a discussion of the issue of assisted dying and how hospitals are trying to improve their food. Also - two cherries on top of an already lovely cake - Prue having a singing lesson... and Olympic diver Tom Daley discussing craft and the new swimming trunks he has crocheted! Also featuring Justin Webb and Mishal Husain. Enjoy. (Image: Prue Leith Credit: Clive Holmes Agency)
24/12/20·36m 23s

Today guest edits: George the Poet

All the highlights from podcaster and spoken word artist George the Poet's guest edited programme, including a reflection of identity in Uganda, DJ Target on the development of grime music, Ziggy Marley on legalising marijuana, economist Mariana Mazzucato on how society thinks about value, and are video games good for your brain? Presented by Martha Kearney and Sarah Smith, and additional sound design by Benbrick. (Image: George the Poet, credit: BBC)
31/12/19·1h 4m

Today guest edits: Greta Thunberg

All the highlights from climate activist Greta Thunberg's guest edited programme, including Mishal Husain interviewing her father Svante Thunberg and Greta speaking to Sir David Attenborough for the first time. Also, outgoing Bank of England chief Mark Carney on how the financial sector can tackle climate change, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja on reducing the music industry’s carbon blueprint, and Shell’s Maarten Wetselaar on big energy’s environmental impact. Presented by Mishal Husain and Sarah Smith. (Image: Greta Thunberg, credit: BBC)
30/12/19·1h 9m

Today guest edits: Charles Moore

All the highlights from Margaret Thatcher biographer and former Telegraph editor Charles Moore's guest edited programme. It includes US Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook on violent protests in the country, Charles' nephew Felix on being autistic and transgender, former Conservative leader Lord Michael Howard on why the judiciary needs to change, and Charles sets out the case against the BBC's funding model. Presented by Justin Webb and Nick Robinson. (Image: Charles Moore, credit: The Telegraph)
28/12/19·1h 1m

Today guest edits: Baroness Hale

All the highlights from Supreme Court President Baroness Hale's guest edited programme, including Baroness Hale in conversation with US Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clive Coleman going on a tour of the Supreme Court, a report on coercive control, a discussion about justice in opera with Sir Simon Keenlyside and Ian Bostridge and a Vogue editor on what your jewellery says about you. Presented by Nick Robinson and Justin Webb. (Image: Baroness Hale. Credit: BBC)
27/12/19·1h 13m

Today guest edits: Grayson Perry

All the highlights from artist Grayson Perry's guest edited programme, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams on faith and political myths, how tinnitus affects singer-songwriter KT Tunstall's life and work, political satire with Guardian columnist Marina Hyde, and if there's a link between sexual fantasies and how you vote with Joe Twyman from Deltapoll. Presented by Justin Webb and Nick Robinson. (Image: Grayson Perry, credit: BBC)
26/12/19·45m 37s
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