20 Questions With

20 Questions With

By Matt Stadlen

I’m Matt Stadlen and for almost 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 big range of views, politics and perspectives. Every guest will get 20 questions, and I hope that you’ll have a better sense of each of them by the end of their interview.


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.
21/03/23·35m 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. 
20/03/23·30m 12s

20 Questions With 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. 
18/03/23·1h 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? 
22/02/23·46m 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. 
18/02/23·42m 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? 
13/02/23·1h 0m

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. 
07/02/23·38m 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. 
27/01/23·30m 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. 
25/01/23·42m 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. 
22/01/23·48m 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. 
19/01/23·45m 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).
17/01/23·57m 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. 
16/01/23·54m 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.
13/01/23·30m 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. 
06/01/23·58m 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.  
29/12/22·40m 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. 
23/12/22·43m 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. 
22/12/22·32m 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. 
13/12/22·41m 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.
12/12/22·19m 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. 
09/12/22·25m 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. 
20/11/22·36m 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. 
16/11/22·35m 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. 
11/11/22·44m 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. 
10/11/22·46m 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, 
08/11/22·53m 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. 
06/11/22·29m 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. 
03/11/22·51m 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. 
01/11/22·41m 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. 
24/10/22·29m 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.
20/10/22·38m 54s
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