20 Questions With

20 Questions With

By Matt Stadlen

I’m Matt Stadlen and for 20 years I’ve been talking to and interviewing public figures from around the world. In this series I’ll be interviewing famous names from every walk of life and with a broad range of views, politics and perspectives. Every guest will get 20 questions, and the plan is for you to have a better sense of each of them by the end of their interview.

Episodes

20 Questions With Steven Berkoff

A legend of stage and screen, Steven Berkoff is an actor, director and playwright, known for his roles in Bond, Beverley Hills Cop and Rambo as well as for having given his name to Berkovian theatre. Here he discusses his techniques, why theatre matters and why he's so passionate about his work. 
26/05/2450m 43s

20 Questions With Professor David Howarth

How did the East India Company come about and how did it become the largest corporation in the world? How did the English compare to the Spanish and Dutch as a naval power, and how did they manage to gain a foothold in the Indian subcontinent? What were the obstacles to success, and what motivated the mercantile adventurers who risked their lives on the high seas? How did the British Empire in India emerge from the foundations set by the Company? And at what cost? How should we look back at our highly controversial colonial role on the global stage? Historian and Emeritus Professor David Howarth helps to answer these questions at a time when imperialism is under the spotlight like never before. Drawing on his book Adventurers: The Improbable Rise of the East India Company, he takes us back to the 17th and 18th centuries as the English began to establish themselves as a major world force. And he reveals the influence on his career of his own father, Tom Howarth, who was friends with Field Marshal Montgomery and won the Military Cross for bravery in World War II. What was it like being shown round Rommel's caravan by 'Monty' as a young boy? An unmissable insight into the importance of history, which, as Howarth says, is very far from dead. 
14/05/2444m 39s

20 Questions With World Cup winner Rocky Clark

Rochelle "Rocky" Clark won 137 caps for England, making her the second most capped player in the history of English rugby. She took part in four World Cups, winning one of them, and is an icon of the women's game. Here she reveals what it takes to reach the top, shares her highest bench press, discusses weight and fitness, gives her views on how to bridge the gap between the men's and women's games, reviews how the sport has changed since she began playing, and celebrates the progress made by girls and women in team sports. 
06/05/2433m 42s

20 Questions With Hermione Norris

Star of Cold Feet, Spooks, Luther, Kingdom, Doctor Who and Silent Witness, Hermione Norris takes us behind the scenes of her craft, describes the differences between stage and screen, discusses the need for more female parts, reveals why the role of spy Ros Myers helped her as a new mum, and explains why she enjoys playing bad people. 
17/04/2423m 38s

20 Questions With Tom Walker AKA Jonathan Pie

Tom Walker, whose character Jonathan Pie has become a viral sensation, talks about his comedy, causing offence, whether he shares the politics of Pie, how he made the transition from online to on stage, and how he deals with difficult audience members. 
08/04/2443m 48s

20 Questions With Alexandra Shulman

Alexandra Shulman edited British Vogue for a record 25 years. Here she explains why fashion matters, how she became passionate about clothes, reveals her favourite brands, gives her verdict on her successors, describes the ethical issues she had to navigate in the world of fashion and offers her message to those wanting to experiment with what they wear - including my decision to wear white trainers with a jacket and tie. 
07/04/2429m 1s

20 Questions With Joanne Harris

Author of 20 novels, including Chocolat, Joanne Harris explains her craft, reveals whether she dreams in English or French, gives her verdict on literary prizes and assesses the good and the bad of social media. A rare insight into the inner world of one of Britain's most successful writers. 
03/04/2433m 23s

20 Questions With Agnes Poirier on Paris

Author and journalist Agnes Poirier takes us on a whirlwind tour of historical and contemporary Paris, illuminating some of its cultural and political landmarks and telling the story of its prominence as one of the great capitals of the world. Along the way we encounter the French Revolution, the building, burning and rebuilding of Notre Dame, the significance of the Eiffel Tower, the French resistance, religion and secularism, the rebirth of the city after the Nazi occupation, Coco Chanel, the Banlieue, the Left Bank and its personalities, the Catacombs, culinary tradition and, of course, a reputation for love. 
02/04/2448m 7s

20 Questions With Alan Rusbridger

One of the most important journalists of his generation, Alan Rusbridger edited the Guardian for two decades, helping to break international mega stories that included Snowden, Wikileaks and phone hacking. Now editor of Prospect magazine, here he reflects on the dangers of misinformation and disinformation on social media platforms, not least on Elon Musk's X, the need to counteract alternative facts, such as those promoted by Donald Trump, the importance of impartiality at the BBC, and what he believes is at the core of good journalism. 
29/03/2432m 25s

20 Questions With Guy Deacon

Guy Deacon served in the British Army for over three decades. At the age of 49 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, but in his late fifties and early sixties, having left the military, he drove from the shores of Morocco to Cape Town, taking the western coastal route. On his way he raised awareness about the disease on the African continent and showed the world what can be done in the face of adversity. Here he tells his extraordinary and inspiring story. 
27/03/2428m 39s

20 Questions With John Simpson

Legendary broadcaster and BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson talks about being punched in the stomach by a British Prime Minister, the different approaches as he sees them of Tory and Labour governments to the BBC, questions of bias, the importance of reflecting nuance, his career reporting from 160 countries, surviving 10 near death experiences, his views on the future of the BBC, his take on public service broadcasting, and his passions outside of work.
08/03/2458m 11s

20 Questions With Rory Cellan-Jones

The man who became famous for bringing the latest developments and inventions in tech to BBC audiences is now, arguably, less famous than his rescue dog, Sophie from Romania. Here Rory Cellan-Jones explains this canine phenomenon, describes the impact of Parkinson's on his life, discusses the future of technology and the reach of AI, contemplates what might replace the smartphone, and reveals the tech moment he reported on that made him - and so many of us - go 'Wow'. 
03/03/2434m 38s

20 Questions With Sathnam Sanghera

The author of Empireland and Empireworld, Sathnam Sanghera, explores the impact of British colonialism on Britain and the world, expresses his frustration at the amnesia about the involvement of people of colour in British history, encourages us to understand the past rather than rank it, eschews the culture wars, discusses the Royal Family's involvement in the slave trade, endorses multiculturalism in Britain, evaluates the effects of empire on the UK's contemporary relations with India, reviews Modi's decolonisation programme, explains his passion for journalism, reflects on the hostility he's been subjected to in public and reveals why he's returning to the stage to discuss his work. 
26/02/2439m 16s

20 Questions With 'The Black Farmer'

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, self-styled as 'The Black Farmer', came to Britain from Jamaica as a small boy and grew up in poverty as one of nine siblings. He was often 'very, very, very hungry'. At an early age he became determined to own his own farm. Despite leaving school with no qualifications, after a career in television and then in PR, he realised his dream and now sells produce into supermarkets across the country as well as at his farm shop in Brixton. Here he tells his story, describes his mission to bring about change and how as an outsider he sees opportunity, tackles issues of race and discrimination, gives his verdict on whether the countryside is racist, recounts his experiences of being mistaken for a delivery driver and a chauffeur, explains the importance of having a Guardian Angel, reveals why he's a Tory, argues that the system failed him, maps out the future of farming, heralds the age of AI in work, calls on the National Trust and Church of England to help diversify land ownership and calls out what he sees as an "appalling" lack of diversity in the food and farming industry, highlights the role of consumer power, rejects quotas and champions the audacity of dreaming big.    For the diversity and inclusion policies of the National Trust, Church of England, Aldi, Lidl and other supermarkets, see their websites.
21/02/2442m 44s

20 Questions With John Suchet

ITN newscaster turned Classic FM presenter John Suchet takes us on a passion-fuelled tour of Beethoven's life and music. Is the composer, who began to lose his hearing as a young man, the greatest of them all? What about Mozart or Schubert? Suchet's infectious love of his subject provides a must-listen for any listener to classical music - and for those tempted to try it out. He also takes us behind the scenes of his experiences as a reporter on the front line of some of the most dangerous wars of his generation. 
08/02/241h 2m

20 Questions With Alastair Campbell

Who better to talk to in General Election year than Tony Blair's former Director of Communications and Strategy, the man who helped drive New Labour to power and keep it there. Here he gives his verdicts on Starmer and Sunak, sets out a blueprint for growth, reveals why he became so involved in the fallout from the Brexit referendum, laments the move towards populist parties in Europe and says that even he might get to the point of queasiness about rejoining the EU, and talks about his mental health and how he is at the moment. 
23/01/2453m 7s

20 Questions With Bettany Hughes

Classical historian Bettany Hughes takes us on a revelatory journey through the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. From the Great Pyramid at Giza to the Lighthouse of Alexandria via the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Immerse yourself in the beauty and brutality of a world that lives on in us. 
20/01/2439m 30s

20 Questions With Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor is the Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation. Here he gives his take on the challenges facing the NHS, the shortfalls in funding, the need for capital investment, the under-management of the health service, the choices facing politicians, the problems in social care, huge waiting lists, the cost analyses of prevention and innovation, the economics of an ageing population, junior doctors' pay and staff morale. This is a rare opportunity to learn more about a British institution during an election year. 
16/01/2452m 1s

20 Questions With Liam Byrne MP

Liam Byrne sets out his manifesto for a British wealth-sharing democracy. Linking wealth to freedom, he makes the argument for a fairer society and sets out an optimistic plan for the future. As Labour's outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown, Byrne left a note for his coalition successor explaining that the money had run out. It's a note that has dogged his party ever since and his new book, The Inequality Of Wealth, Why It Matters And How To Fix It, is in part an answer to his critics. Byrne explains why inequality matters and offers practical steps towards tackling it. 
11/01/2439m 39s

20 Questions With Richard Tice

The success or otherwise of Richard Tice, leader of Reform UK, could decide the extent of Keir Starmer's majority at the General Election, or whether he even wins a majority. Determined to punish the Tories, whom he once helped fund, Tice is out to bring down Rishi Sunak's government. In this lively and robust encounter, he explains his motivations and outlines some of his key policies, including on tax, immigration and Net Zero. 
19/12/2359m 23s

20 Questions With Elif Shafak

Multi award-winning British Turkish author Elif Shafak has been translated into 57 languages. Here she speaks about mysticism, technology, story-telling, history, human rights and challenging orthodoxies. 
11/12/2345m 23s

20 Questions With Sir Vince Cable

Sir Vince Cable led the Liberal Democrats twice and was Business Secretary for the entire five years of the Conservative Lib Dem coalition government under David Cameron. Here he makes his predictions for the next General Election, assesses immigration policy, advocates higher taxes, defends the period of austerity when he was in government, analyses Keir Starmer's leadership of the Labour Party, discusses ethics in foreign policy and encourages engagement with China despite accusations that the Chinese regime has committed genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. 
08/12/2336m 6s

20 Questions With Peter Hitchens

The author and often outspoken columnist for the Mail On Sunday gives his verdict on both the Tories and Labour as a General Election approaches, describes his faith, explains his method of debating, reveals the nature of his relationship with his late brother, Christopher Hitchens, and talks about the impact of his childhood.
15/11/2332m 23s

20 Questions With David Baddiel

Jewish comedian, storyteller and public intellectual David Baddiel explains why 'Jews don't count', why human beings have a 'God desire', and what makes him feel joy. 
12/11/2357m 56s

20 Questions With Jim White

Most famous for hosting Deadline Day on Sky Sports in his yellow tie, Jim White is Mr Football. Here the Talk Sport presenter chats about his new book, Deadline Day, that he co-wrote with Kaveh Solhekol. Full of his characteristic enthusiasm, Jim leads us on a journey of his love for the beautiful game, taking us behind the scenes of some of the biggest stories in sport. 
04/11/2352m 34s

20 Questions With Dan Jones

The New York Times bestselling historian, Dan Jones, has brought out his second work of historical fiction, Wolves of Winter, the sequel to the successful Dogs of Essex. Here he takes a deep dive into what it means to be an historian, the joy of writing novels, the Hundred Years War, holidaying with Jonathan Sumption, history on TV, his love of sport, and how he likes to spend his free time. 
17/10/2352m 30s

20 Questions With John Cleese

John Cleese is a comedy legend. Here he discusses causing offence, cancel culture, GB News, not wearing socks, why he lives abroad, old age, losing friends, the importance of silliness, Basil Fawlty, his favourite Python, A Fish Called Wanda, Clockwise, the Tory government, the British press, cricket, Brexit and the incompetence of human beings. 
12/10/2339m 14s

20 Questions With Lord Sumption

Lord Sumption has been described as the "biggest brain in Britain". After a distinguished career as a silk, he moved straight from being a QC to the Supreme Court, skipping the High Court and Court of Appeal. He has just completed the fifth and final book in his history of the Hundred Years' War. Here he explains how he has managed to combine a career in the law with writing history, gives his take on the merits of leaving the European Court of Human Rights, reflects on the lockdowns imposed during the Covid 19 pandemic, discusses the state of the English legal system, outlines the differences between being an advocate and sitting as a judge, addresses his record of speaking out on political issues despite a convention that former judges do not do so, and reveals his passions beyond work. 
10/10/2335m 45s

20 Questions With Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax is on tour - except right now she's in bed. Which is appropriate as she once interviewed very famous people in bed. Here she remembers interviewing Donald Trump, discusses her fascination with neuroscience, speaks candidly about her mental health, reveals that she's never been invited on the Graham Norton show, talks about her difficult upbringing as the daughter of Jewish immigrants from 1930s Vienna, and claims that we are all devils and angels underneath. 
02/10/2324m 17s

20 Questions With Victoria Hislop

Number One bestselling author Victoria Hislop on success, Ian Hislop, celebrity dancing, her love of Greece, the British Museum, her new novel, 'The Figurine', the criminal trade in figurines, cooking, dinner parties, skipping, boxing and tennis.
24/09/2351m 21s

20 Questions With Six-time All Star Chase Utley

Known as the Silver Fox, Chase Utley won the World Series with the Phillies in 2008, cementing his place his baseball history. He is a six-time All Star, a four-time Silver Slugger Award-winner and is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of his generation. Here, during a spell living in London, he explains some of the basics of the game, describes the thrill and the pressure of performing at the highest level, details the physical demands of the sport and reveals some of the perks of fame. After hanging up his bat on his own terms with his boyhood club, the LA Dodgers, Chase is currently championing baseball in Europe and enjoying life in England. This is a rare chance to understand what it takes to be one of the finest athletes on the planet. 
18/09/2354m 5s

20 Questions With World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi

Maggie Alphonsi is one of the leading figures in women's sport. A Women's Rugby World Cup winner with England in 2014, she won 74 caps for her country, scored 28 tries and became known as 'Maggie The Machine' for the relentlessness of her tough tackling. Born with a club foot, she was brought up by a single mother of Nigerian heritage on a north London estate, and used to fight other children, including boys, in a bid to prove herself. Through rugby she was able to express her physicality and she relished the challenges the sport posed. Today she is a role model for others as she helps pioneer a greater female presence in the men's game and champions female participation in rugby and beyond. An MBE, she is one of ITV's Rugby World Cup pundits alongside Sir Clive Woodward and Jonny Wilkinson, and is a Telegraph columnist. Here she tells the remarkable story of her rise to becoming a household name, that includes tackling Owen Farrell and the comedian Jack Whitehall, and discusses her love of a sport that she acknowledges faces serious challenges in the form of concussion and its effects. 
11/09/2355m 8s

20 Questions With Sam Peters

Concussion in rugby has forced the sport into an existential crisis. With household names, including England World Cup winner Steve Thompson, suffering from early onset dementia, one of the great global games is having to face up to searching questions about the way it is - and has been - played. Sam Peters is the journalist who has led an often lonely campaign to bring the risk of brain injuries to the attention of the sport's administrators, coaches, players and the paying public. Here, ahead of the launch of his book, 'Concussed, Sport's Uncomfortable Truth', Peters spells out the huge challenge rugby has in coming to terms with the dangers associated with physical contact. A lover - and former player - of the game himself, he describes the conflict of interest he felt while reporting on a sport enjoyed by millions, and offers his views on how rugby can find a future. 
19/08/2355m 19s

20 Questions With Mike Procter

As a white boy, Mike Procter grew up in South Africa, a beneficiary of the unfair advantages of Apartheid. When he saw white people doing road works on the way to his hotel from Heathrow during a school cricket trip to England, his eyes were opened to the injustices back home. One of the great fast bowling all-rounders (with a Test bowling average of just 15 and 48 first class centuries), Procter would be stripped of his international career during the years of South Africa's international isolation. Although he helped stage a walk-out in the early 1970s during a domestic game in protest at the Apartheid government refusing to allow two players of colour to tour with the country, he still resented the likes of Peter (now Lord) Hain for their campaign to boycott South African sport. With time, however, he realised Hain, with whom he has been interviewed on stage about their different experiences of the time, was right. Here he tells the story of his extraordinary life in cricket and beyond. 
11/08/2344m 44s

20 Questions With Sir Chris Bryant

As Chair of the Commons Committee on Standards, Labour MP Sir Chris Bryant has been close to the heart of some of the biggest stories in British politics in recent years. In this candid interview, he discusses his role as one of the guardians of Parliamentary standards, the rights and wrongs of lying, his own imperfections, his life as a gay man, being groped on the Parliamentary estate, his former job as a vicar, fearing for his life when he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2019, his new book, 'Code of Conduct', and his passions outside politics. 
10/08/2339m 27s

20 Questions With Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan, newly appointed a Companion of Honour in the King's Birthday Honours List, is one of Britain's leading literary novelists. He won the Booker Prize for Amsterdam in 1998 and became internationally famous for Atonement. Black Dogs, On Chesil Beach, Saturday, The Children Act, Solar, Nutshell, Machines Like Me and his latest book, Lessons, punctuate the publishing landscape of the last 30 years. Here Ian talks intimately about his career as an author, his peripatetic childhood following his military father to Singapore, Libya and elsewhere, how he became an author, the point of the novel, the challenging themes in Lessons, growing older, and what it's like being asked to write or talk publicly about the major political events that unfold around us. This is a rare chance to hear one of the major novelists of recent decades offer insights into himself and his work. 
05/08/231h

20 Questions With Neil Jordan

Neil Jordan is an Oscar and double BAFTA-winning director who has achieved success both with his arthouse work and in Hollywood. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for The Crying Game and his films have been nominated for multiple Oscars and BAFTAs. His movies include Mona Lisa, Interview with the Vampire, Michael Collins and The End of the Affair, and he has directed the TV series The Borgias and Riviera. He is also an acclaimed writer and won the Guardian Fiction Prize for Night in Tunisia. His new novel, The Well of Saint Nobody, is out now. Here Neil discusses his career, the differences between writing novels and making movies, the dying art of independent film-making, working with global stars including Brad Pitt, Liam Neeson, Tom Cruise and Robert De Niro, and he reveals his passions outside of work. 
02/08/2346m 13s

20 Questions With Sir Ben Okri

Knighted in the King's Birthday Honours, Sir Ben Okri is one of Britain's most significant writers. Influenced by his experiences of both his adopted home and his native Nigeria, his novels span contrasting cultures and traditions. Awarded the Booker Prize in 1991 for The Famished Road, Okri has gone on to establish himself as an author of international repute. Here he discusses his childhood, the Nigerian civil war, a period of homelessness in England, his journey into writing, his knighthood, his championship of the environment and his horror at the climate crisis, his passions outside work, and the changing face of the UK. His latest book, Tiger Work, mixes fiction, essay and poetry in its appeal for change in the face of global warming.  
21/07/2344m 5s

20 Questions With David Davis MP

David Davis has led a remarkable career in politics. A Conservative MP for more than a quarter of a century, he was Brexit Secretary under Theresa May before resigning in 2018. Before that he resigned as Shadow Home Secretary and resigned his seat in order to fight a by-election in 2008 to draw attention to his concerns about the erosion of civil liberties under the New Labour government. He ran to become leader of the Tory Party twice, coming fourth in 2001, and second to future Prime Minister David Cameron in 2005. Here he reflects on being brought up in poverty, being a Communist as a boy, joining the Territorial SAS, his defence of our freedoms, the moral case for the death penalty, his problem with drone strikes, why he's pleased he voted for Brexit, why he went into politics, how he spends his free time, what he thinks about Boris Johnson, and why Margaret Thatcher was the most impressive political figure he has met. 
14/07/231h 13m

20 Questions With Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse - not that Kate Moss - is a leading figure in women's literature. She co-founded the Women's Prize for Fiction in 1996 and has gone on to become a bestselling author herself. Her books have sold millions of copies, been translated into 38 languages and been published in more than 40 countries. Labyrinth is her best known work and she has just released The Ghost Ship, the third in a four book series, that can be read as a stand-alone. Here she discusses historical fiction, the untold stories of women, why she set up a prize for female writers, what it's like sharing her name phonetically with a supermodel, caring for her mother-in-law, Granny Rosie, who went viral during the pandemic, the undervaluing of carers in Britain, why miscarriages still aren't talked much about (her mother had miscarriages before she, Kate, was born very prematurely), the love story she shares with her husband, and the joys of being a grandmother. 
07/07/2353m 9s

20 Questions With historian Charlotte Lydia Riley

The British Empire and its legacy have increasingly been close to the heart of public discourse, capturing the academic and popular imagination. What are the enduring impacts of Empire on Britain? How has decolonisation changed demographics? What is the relationship between British imperialism and racism? How have British attitudes to Empire changed? What do statues and their tearing down represent? What does the Commonwealth mean to Brits? Historian Charlotte Lydia Riley attempts to answer these questions and more in Episode 43 of 20 Questions as she prepares for the launch of her book, Imperial Island: A History of Empire in Modern Britain.
26/06/2349m 7s

20 Questions With Knepp’s Isabella Tree

Isabella Tree is an award-winning author and travel writer who, together with her conservationist husband Charlie Burrell, has pioneered a rewilding project in West Sussex and turned an old family farm back into an environment from another era. Among the Longhorn Cattle, Exmoor Ponies and Tamworth Pigs that roam the landscape are Beavers, dozens of pairs of Nightingales, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Peregrine Falcons, Turtle Doves and Storks. In fact, the first pair of Storks to nest in a British chimney since 1416 made their home in Isabella's house. In this podcast she explains what rewilding is, discusses its scalability and its role in the UK's future, engages with criticism, discusses how to eat meat sustainably and reveals plans for a cafe on site to nourish walkers, campers and glampers. Isabella’s The Book Of Wilding is out now. 
23/06/2343m 10s

20 Questions With James Comey

James Comey was the director of the FBI between 2013 and 2017, when he was fired by Donald Trump. He is perhaps most famous for his decision to go public with his re-opening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails just days before the 2016 Presidential election. Here he reflects on that decision, says that Trump reminded him of a 'mob boss' and that the former President is a "really bad person, so bad that it's very, very difficult for people to conceptualise". Comey also discusses the United States' use of water-boarding on detainees, recalls his prosecution of the Gambino crime family, and gives his views on US law enforcement. His debut novel, Central Park West, is out now. 
19/06/2343m 21s

20 Questions With Mike Brearley

Mike Brearley is considered England's greatest ever cricket captain with 18 wins and just four defeats. He masterminded the almost unimaginable turnaround in what became known as Botham's Ashes in 1981, creating legend in the process. With a first class degree in classics at Cambridge, he went on to become a psychoanalyst and here he talks about the psychology of cricket, explains his understanding of the subconscious, reveals how he got the best out of Sir Ian Botham, offers his prediction for this summer's first Bazball Ashes, and reflects on how he came to condemn Apartheid South Africa. Brearley is one of world cricket's most fascinating personalities and in this in-depth interview he gives a rare insight into how he thinks and acts. 
17/06/2355m 12s

20 Questions With Niki Segnit

Niki Segnit, the multi award-winning author of The Flavour Thesaurus, which has sold 250,000 copies, has brought out the sequel, The Flavour Thesaurus, More Flavours. In this episode of 20 Questions, Niki takes us on a mesmerising tour of the myriad flavours she experiments with in her new book. She mixes up the mostly plant-based ingredients to create exciting and mouth-watering combinations. How do chocolate and aubergine go together? Or papaya and lime? Why are seeds important and what can you do with spices? How might you use miso and what's the story behind tofu? Whether you enjoy cooking or simply love food, Niki's passion for her subject might just inspire you to try new things. 
15/05/2346m 23s

20 Questions With Jonathan Agnew

Jonathan Agnew, known to cricket lovers around the world as Aggers, leads the BBC's Test Match Special coverage. As BBC Radio's cricket correspondent, he covers all the big stories involving the sport, and his voice is familiar to many millions. Here he talks about his own playing days, bowling to Sir Viv Richards, injuring people with his fast bowling, his move into journalism and commentary, and his famous 'leg-over' moment with the legendary Brian Johnston when the two couldn't stop laughing live on air. He addresses the issue of racism in the game, discusses the importance of impartiality as a BBC journalist, explains why he gave up his Twitter account, and goes into bat for Test matches. In his view, Tests are facing a breaking point, and he believes that administrators and players are 'lazy' in their preference for the T20 brand over the oldest form of the international game. He doesn't hold back. 
09/05/2356m 9s

20 Questions With Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar played 50 Tests for England, he took 167 Test wickets, helped his country become the number one side in the world, became the first English spinner to take five wickets in an innings at the WACA ground in Perth, rescued an Ashes Test with the bat, hit Muttiah Muralitharan for six, got Sachin Tendulkar out for his first Test wicket and became a fans' favourite. Here he explains his art with the ball, reveals how he coped in high pressure situations, talks about mental health, gives his views on racism in cricket and society, and shares the advice the late, great Shane Warne gave him. 
07/05/2344m 45s

20 Questions With Jon Culshaw

Jon Culshaw is one of Britain's best loved impressionists. Here he explains his art and impersonates Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak, Sir Keir Starmer, Angela Rayner, Sir John Major, Sir Tony Blair, George Bush, George W Bush, Russell Crowe, Les Dawson, Frank Bruno, Chris Eubank, Sir Michael Caine, Ann Widdecombe, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jordan Peterson, actor Brian Cox and Professor Brian Cox.
27/04/2332m 30s

20 Questions With Simon Sebag-Montefiore

Simon Sebag-Montefiore is a bestselling and prize-winning writer of history and fiction. The descendent of a famous Jewish family and friends with King Charles, he is married to Santa Montefiore, herself a bestselling author. Here Sebag-Montefiore discusses his new book, 'The World, A Family History', and offers his insights into the future of America, India, China and Britain, as well as looking back at some of the great historical characters, whose stories he tells with such relish. He gives his verdict on Charles III, reveals the process of his working life as a writer, and shares his passion for the past.
22/04/2349m 1s

20 Questions With Martin Wolf CBE

Martin Wolf, whose parents both escaped the Nazis, is one of the most respected economists in the world. Having formerly worked at the World Bank, he is a multi award-winning journalist and the Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times. Here he gives his take on the rise of China and India, the challenge to the United States, the cost of living crisis in Britain, the economic effects of Brexit and the lessons to be learned from the debacle of the Liz Truss government. 
21/04/2339m 11s

20 Questions With Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik is one of America's foremost writers. He's worked at The New Yorker for nearly four decades and won three National Magazine Awards as well as a George Polk Award. Here he discusses his 10th book, The Real Work, in which he investigates the art of mastery, and offers precious insights into his own craft of writing. 
20/04/2348m 32s

20 Questions With The Astronomer Royal

Martin Rees - or Baron Rees of Ludlow - is one of the most distinguished scientists of his generation anywhere in the world. A former President of the Royal Society (2005-10) and Master of Trinity College Cambridge (2004-12), Martin is the 15th Astronomer Royal since the role was created in 1675.  If you ever wonder whether there might be life out there somewhere; how a black hole the size of an atom can contain the mass of a large mountain; what happened before the Big Bang; whether we live in a multiverse; whether astronauts are a waste of money; how we can fix the looming problem of space 'pollution'; what the significance of exoplanets is, or what the future of human beings on Mars might look like, this podcast is for you.
06/04/2354m 18s

20 Questions With Tracey Crouch MP

Why did the Conservative MP give up a dream job as Sports Minister? Why is she a Tory? Would she ever switch to Labour? What are her reflections on the issue of loneliness, something that can affect us all? What are her views on the crisis of small boats crossing the Channel? How did her experience of having cancer affect her outlook? What are her passions? Does she listen to her husband's BBC radio show? And is she friends with politicians across the aisle? Tracey Crouch is respected on both sides of the House of Commons. Here she shares her story.  If you're in the UK and are affected by any of the things discussed in this podcast, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day on 116 123.
21/03/2335m 32s

20 Questions With Rosie Holt

Get a glimpse of the woman behind the brilliant satirist, Rosie Holt, who has a habit of going viral while pretending to be someone she isn't. What does she really think of the Tory government? How did she become an internet sensation? What was her childhood like? What sort of life does she lead outside work? And Rosie also explains why she thinks satire is important and reveals whether the MP she plays in her Twitter videos will survive a Labour government. 
20/03/2330m 12s

20 Questions With Professor Paul Cartledge

Want to know more about democracy in ancient Athens? About Sparta? Thebes? Socrates's trial? Homer's Iliad and Odyssey? Plato? Pericles? Aspasia? The Athenian diet of the fifth and fourth centuries BC? The Battle of Thermopylae? Xerxes and the Persian invasion of Greece? The percentage of English words that derive from ancient Greek and Latin? Why Classics matters? The legacy of the great playwrights, Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus and Aristophanes? You won't find a more passionate expert on the ancient world than Paul Cartledge, Emeritus Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge University and senior research fellow at Clare College. 
18/03/231h 4m

20 Questions With James Wong

James Wong is a botanist and presenter. Utterly passionate about plants, in this episode of 20 Questions With, James offers us the key to a wonderful world of stunning structures and beautiful flowers. He takes us to Singapore and Ecuador and explains the gardens of the future and of the past. Reeling us in with his enthusiasm, he reveals things about plants, their history and their functions, that you probably never knew. Why didn't you like your greens when you were growing up? Why are stop signs red? And why are English gardens backward looking? 
22/02/2346m 36s

20 Questions With Anthony Horowitz

Best-selling author, and screenwriter, Anthony Horowitz talks about writing James Bond novels, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Foyle's War, the Alex Rider series, the Hawthorne books, working with his wife, his shifting political identity, the effects of social media, his unhappy childhood, proving his father wrong, why he wears a baseball cap, and his secret skills. 
18/02/2342m 16s

20 Questions With Anthea Turner

A household name for the TV shows she has presented, Anthea Turner opens up about her career and life in this deeply personal interview. What was it like being the focus of the paparazzi? Is she at peace with not having children of her own? How have her friendships helped her through challenging times? Is she religious? What would she cook at a dinner party? And what makes her happy? 
13/02/231h

20 Questions With Clare Mackintosh

Clare Mackintosh is a best-selling, award-winning crime writer, famous for 'I Let You Go' and the novels that have followed. Once a senior police officer, she reveals the sadness she felt - and still feels - at leaving her former career behind, discusses the success she's had as a writer and describes how having been a policewoman has influenced her writing. She talks about her empathy for offenders, her desire to change the world, what it was like to be a woman in the police, and her frustration at corrupt officers. In this very personal interview, Clare takes us behind the scenes in her life and offers insights into how she has reached the top in her new job. 
07/02/2338m 10s

20 Questions With Jess Phillips MP

Jess Phillips is known for holding power to account, her high impact speeches in the House of Commons and for her passionate championing of women in the face of widespread abuse and violence. Here she explains why she's in politics, talks about her ambition and liking attention, reveals how her husband keeps her grounded, speaks of her friendships with Tories, explains what needs to be done to protect women in Britain, tells us what Keir Starmer is really like, offers her take on Labour's chances at the next General Election and gives her verdict on who would be more fun on a night out - the Labour shadow front bench or the Conservative cabinet. 
27/01/2330m 17s

20 Questions With James Holland

Would the Allies have won the war without Winston Churchill? Would America have joined in without Pearl Harbour? How closely did Nazi Germany and Japan coordinate? How significant was the campaign in North Africa? Which was more traumatic for Britain, World War I or World War II? Why does history matter? In this episode of 20 Questions, historian, presenter and podcaster James Holland gives his answers and shares his passions. 
25/01/2342m 55s

20 Questions With Peter Reid

Peter Reid is a legend of English football. Famous for failing to catch Diego Maradona as the Argentine master scored one of the greatest goals of all time in the infamous World Cup quarterfinal of 1986, he wasn't a bad player himself. He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1985, the same year he won the league and European Cup Winner's Cup with Everton. He would go on to manage clubs including Manchester City, Sunderland and Leeds and become a well known pundit, too. Here he talks of the dreams he has about trying to catch Maradona, being teased by his grandson, playing against George Best, Bobby Moore, Peter Osgood and Billy Bremner, how he got the best out of players as a player and coach, growing up in poverty in Liverpool, his values, why he backs Labour rather than the Tories, his views on austerity, his passions outside football and his love of life. 
22/01/2348m 31s

20 Questions With Adil Ray

Adil Ray is famous for lots of things: for interviewing politicians robustly on Good Morning Britain, playing Mr Khan in his BBC One sitcom, Citizen Khan, and for presenting the game show, Lingo. Here he takes us behind the scenes of his work, explains how he deals with hate on Twitter, recalls the racism he experienced growing up as a British Muslim in Birmingham, and is forced to choose between his twin passions of Aston Villa and cricket. He explains why he feels so strongly about issues such as the Channel crossings, discrimination and mental health, and talks about the impact of his childhood on his trust in relationships. 
19/01/2345m 28s

20 Questions With Richard Herring

Richard Herring is a comedian, podcaster, interviewer and writer. Once part of the comedy double act, Lee and Herring, with Stewart Lee, he's long since established himself as a solo act, although he's maybe best known for his interviews with comedians and other stars in his Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. Here he talks about what makes a good podcast, how he finds his material, the blog he's written every day since 2002, his obsession with sex, his experience of testicular cancer, the importance of family, the power of the audience, being taught by his father, who was headmaster of his state school, and breaking into comedy at Oxford.  (This episode includes a brief reference to suicide. If you need someone to talk to, you can call Samaritans on 116 123).
17/01/2357m 15s

20 Questions With Dr Rachel Clarke

Rachel Clarke is a palliative care doctor, writer and campaigner. Here she describes her experiences of a National Health Service (and social care system) in crisis, the low morale of staff and the suffering of patients. She criticises what she sees as years of Tory underinvestment in the NHS and accuses the government of ignoring the realities of her and her colleagues. Dr Clarke talks powerfully about the challenges she and many others faced during the height of the Covid pandemic, and reflects on the use of lockdowns. She also speaks movingly of what it's like to care for and treat people nearing the end of their life, extols the power of music, and explains why she doesn't fear her own death. 
16/01/2354m 50s

20 Questions With Dr Guy Leschziner

Ever wondered what sleep is? What its role is? What's going on when we're dreaming? What explains sleep-walking? Curious to learn more about pain and its relationship with our bodies? Want to know more about our senses? Dr Guy Leschziner is a consultant neurologist and clinical lead for the Sleep Disorders Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London. Here he shares some his understanding of sleep, pain and how our minds work, and gives his verdict on the crisis in the NHS.
13/01/2330m 51s

20 Questions With Iain Dale

Iain Dale is an LBC presenter, podcast host, writer and editor. In this deeply personal interview he takes us behind the scenes of his radio show, shares what it was like coming out to his parents at 40, explains why he voted for Brexit and that he hasn't changed his mind, describes the importance of empathy as a phone-in host, talks about being friends with people who have different views to himself and reveals whether he's still a Tory. He also discusses crying on air, his stint as a hospital porter in Germany and his idyllic childhood in rural Essex. 
06/01/2358m 4s

20 Questions With Robin Ince

Robin Ince is a comedian and writer who stars with Professor Brian Cox on The Infinite Monkey Cage on the BBC. Here, Robin explains his curiosity in the world around him, talks about what he understands to be the meaning of life, discusses his love of books, explains how he goes about making radio and appearing on stage in front of audiences large and small, and reveals why he wants to make people happy.  
29/12/2240m 2s

20 Questions With Sir Simon Schama

Sir Simon Schama is one of Britain's most famous historians. He is both a heavyweight academic and a teller of history who can communicate to millions on BBC television with his energetic and engaging style. Born into the rubble of the closing stages of the Second World War, Schama has himself lived through the struggle for freedom that gripped the second half of the 20th century. As battles that once seemed won now resurface, his new series, 'The History of Now', is a deeply personal account of the challenges that continue to face humanity. In this episode of 20 Questions With, Schama offers us precious insights into the importance of history, how he does what he does, and his perspective on where we're at as a world. 
23/12/2243m 22s

20 Questions With Marina Purkiss

Marina Purkiss started taking an interest in politics in 2016 around the time of the Brexit referendum, since when she has created a media platform for herself through her campaigning on Twitter. Not a fan of the Tory government, she is relentless in her attempts to hold those in power to account. Here she tells the story of her journey to national prominence, her views on Sir Keir Starmer and Jeremy Clarkson, how she'll be voting at the next General Election and why she won't appear on GB News. 
22/12/2232m 0s

20 Questions With Juliet Stevenson

Juliet Stevenson is one of Britain's greatest actors on stage and screen. Here she talks about love, acting chemistry, working with directors, personal development, grief, hard work and what life is like behind the scenes. 
13/12/2241m 11s

20 Questions With Magician David Williamson

David Williamson is a sleight-of-hand artist, magician and circus master. Here he explains what magic means to him, how the circus works in the age of health and safety, and what life's like behind the scenes at Circus 1903.
12/12/2219m 34s

20 Questions With Philip Lymbery

Philip Lymbery is the global CEO of Compassion in World Farming. He has dedicated his life to improving the lives of billions of animals and birds. Here he explains why he cares about animal welfare, how he goes about achieving large scale change, and why it's so important that we all play our part in helping to preserve the planet for ourselves and those we share it with. 
09/12/2225m 50s

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is a British-Nigerian activist, political commentator, author and lawyer. A champion of racial and gender equality, she regularly speaks truth to power on TV and has written the book, This Is Why I Resist. Here, she explains white privilege, spells out how much progress is yet to be made in Britain and America, gives her view on the British monarchy, describes her own royal background, and reveals the Shola behind the television personality. 
20/11/2236m 0s

20 Questions With Nazir Afzal

Now Chancellor of Manchester University, Nazir Afzal was the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West England. In charge of 100,000 prosecutions a year, he became known for prosecuting those who committed sexual violence against women and children. It was he who reopened the Rochdale child sexual abuse case. In this episode of 20 Questions, he talks about his career as a prosecutor, racism, how to combat misogyny, the broken judicial system, his views of this Tory government and his skills as a DJ. Contains graphic content. 
16/11/2235m 36s

20 Questions With Christina Lamb

Multi award-winning and recently crowned Foreign Correspondent of the Year Christina Lamb talks about her experiences of covering wars from Afghanistan to Ukraine, championing the lives of women in extreme adversity, her time covering homelessness in the UK and calls out injustices across the world. 
11/11/2244m 1s

20 Questions With Martin O’Neill

Martin O'Neill is one of the great characters in football. He won the European Cup twice with Nottingham Forest as a player, captained Northern Ireland in a World Cup and brought success to Wycombe Wanderers, Leicester City, Celtic, Aston Villa and the Republic of Ireland as a manager. A much loved pundit, too, here he talks about what it's like playing and managing in the game, his highs and lows, his management style, George Best, Bobby Moore, Arsène Wenger, Eric Cantona, Sir Alex Ferguson, the importance of family, growing up in The Troubles, hard work and his perfect day. 
10/11/2246m 20s

20 Questions With Danny Finkelstein

Danny Finkelstein, the Conservative peer and Times columnist, talks about the process behind his column, his political journey, why he's still a Tory, the debate about austerity, Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman, what he thinks of Keir Starmer, the next General Election, his views on environmental protestors, his love of football, being a Director of Chelsea, the World Cup in Qatar and what makes him happy, 
08/11/2253m 58s

20 Questions With Deborah Meaden

The businesswoman and Dragons' Den star talks to me about what it's like behind the scenes on the BBC One show, how she made her way in business, why she cares about the environment, what she makes of fame, success, failure, childhood, politics and her perfect day. 
06/11/2229m 14s

20 Questions With Peter Hain

Peter Hain, a veteran of the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and now a Labour peer, talks to me about what New Labour got right and wrong and how it contributed to Brexit. He discusses his friendship with Nelson Mandela, his own role in the anti-Apartheid struggle, climate change activism, Keir Starmer's leadership, his love of Wales, his new novel about poaching and corruption in South Africa, and what makes for a perfect Peter Hain evening. 
03/11/2251m 27s

20 Questions With Sir Ian Rankin

Crime writer Sir Ian Rankin is one of the best-selling authors in the UK. Internationally famous for his Rebus books, he talks to me about the latest, A Heart Full Of Headstones, how he writes, his childhood, his mental health, his passions, his advice for aspiring writers and his top tips for a happy marriage. 
01/11/2241m 30s

20 Questions With Femi

Femi is a political campaigner who made his name while opposing Brexit. In this episode we talk Brexit, the British voting system, Keir Starmer, Nigel Farage, racism, social media, social life, how he makes a living, and what the man behind the activist is really like. 
24/10/2229m 9s

20 Questions With Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson left school at 15 but went on to be a Secretary of State in five departments in the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown: Work and Pensions, Trade, Education, Health and the Home Office. Many think he'd have made a brilliant Prime Minister, but instead he left politics and has become a multiple award-winning author, writing memoirs and now novels. In other lives he was a budding pop star, a postman and a trade unionist. In the first episode of 20 Questions, Johnson talks to me about his life, Labour, Keir Starmer, The Beatles, writing, how he unwinds and why he doesn't hate Tories.
20/10/2238m 54s
-
-
Heart UK
Mute/Un-mute