By Jon Snow

A weekly podcast from Jon Snow featuring original thinkers, campaigners, creators and performers.

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.


RUTH MADELEY: celebrating the inclusivity of Doctor Who

Ruth Madeley was born in Westhoughton, near Bolton, and studied English and creative writing at university. She always wanted to work in the entertainment industry and thought that her path lay in scriptwriting. She was born with spina bifida and, as an ambulatory wheelchair user, Ruth just didn’t see herself represented on screenHowever, a work experience placement at the BBC led to an unexpected audition. And Ruth fell in love with acting, the moment she joined the set. In 2016, she was BAFTA nominated for her leading role in Don’t Take My Baby, a factual drama about a disabled couple’s fight to keep custody of their newborn daughter. And the stage and television roles that followed, include the Russell T Davies drama Years and Years. Most recently, Ruth is back on our screens in the BBC’s biggest drama, Doctor Who. A show that’s just celebrated its 60th anniversary, with three special shows.In this conversation, Ruth chats to Jon about her unexpected move into acting, the roles and the writers who've had a big impact on her career, and her own role as a spokesperson for inclusivity.Related links:Whizz KidzRuth's documentary for Channel 4: Disability & AbortionJack Thorne's Snowcast interview Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
21/12/2336m 36s

DAN SCHREIBER: exploring the world of the weird with a QI elf

Dan Schreiber was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Sydney, and moved to England at the age of 19.Once here, Dan was hired as a researcher on the BBC panel show QI. And it was a job that Dan was born to do - one that combined his love for facts and comedy.In 2008, Dan launched The Museum of Curiosity on BBC Radio 4 and, after that, came No Such Thing As A Fish - a hugely popular podcast that's clocked up more than 500 episodes and been downloaded 470 million times.Last year, Dan turned his forensic brain to the fringes of history - taking a voyage into the world of the weird with his book The Theory Of Everything Else. He believes that, if you dig deep enough, nearly everyone holds a batshit belief. And he now encourages people to open up, and share their own, in We Can Be Weirdos. A chart-topping new podcast in which Dan speaks to scientists and historians, as well as guests from the world of entertainment.In this fun and freewheeling conversation, he chats to Jon about his unconventional childhood, the mentors who helped shape his career, and the weird stories that get his brain whizzing.Related links:Kary B MullisThe Ghostbuster: Dan Aykroyd and His Close Encounters Dan's forthcoming children's book Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
13/12/2357m 15s

LIZ BONNIN: sharing a passion for the natural world

Liz was born in France, grew up in Ireland, and studied biochemistry and wildlife biology at university.She has since travelled the world studying animal behaviour. And her documentaries include Drowning in Plastic, Galapagos and Should We Close Our Zoos? Liz is also part of Our Changing Planet, a seven-year-project for the BBC, visiting vulnerable habitats - to chart changes and the fight to save our most threatened ecosystems.Her latest BBC series - Liz Bonnin’s Wild Caribbean - returns to the region that shaped her childhood, and inspired Liz to explore the natural world. Along the way, we meet rare dolphins, enormous crocodiles, brightly coloured birds, and giant spiders. As well as the conservationists showing ingenuity and determination in their efforts to protect native species and habitats.In this interview, Liz chats to Jon about how she ended up with her "dream of a job", some of the incredible - and endangered - wildlife she has encountered along the way, and the conservationists whose passion and work help her remain positive.Related links:Liz pictured at the Caroni Swamp & with the Union Island GeckoLiz's websiteCOP28What Planet Are We On? with Liz Bonnin (a podcast series)Secrets Of The Jurassic Dinosaurs (another documentary available on the BBCiPlayer) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
05/12/2351m 46s

WAAD AL-KATEAB: a refugee and filmmaker who dares to dream

Waad Al-Kateab is a BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker. Born in Syria, Waad left home at 18, to study at the university of Aleppo. In 2011, she began shooting video on her phone, while attending pro-democracy protests. Waad went on to document the next five years in Aleppo, capturing life, loss and emergency care in the besieged city - as well as the birth of her first daughter Sama.Waad wanted the world to know what was happening and, when Channel 4 News shared her reports, they were seen by millions. When she finally had to leave Aleppo, Waad began turning hundreds of hours of footage into the 2019 documentary, For Sama.Now based in London, Waad campaigns to raise awareness of the crimes committed under President Assad’s regime - as well as the global refugee crisis. And, in her new film, We Dare To Dream, she turns her lens on five incredible athletes, as they strive for a place on the Refugee Olympic Team.Related links:We Dare To Dream trailerCyrille Tchatchet IIKimia AlizadehThe latest news from the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
28/11/2339m 23s

CAROL MORLEY: the detective filmmaker shining a light on forgotten women

Carol Morley is an acclaimed filmmaker, whose work includes short film, documentary and drama. She was born in Stockport, and spent her teens enjoying the Manchester music scene, before moving to London - where she studied Fine Art, Film and Video, at Saint Martins College.Her 2000 documentary, The Alcohol Years, showed a fearlessness and an early interest in identity. Carol’s since been described as "part-psychoanalyst, part-detective, part-social historian". And her films involve a lot of passion, research, tenacity and experimentation with form. Her latest release is called Typist, Artist, Pirate, King. It stars Monica Dolan as Audrey Amiss, an artist Carol believes should be widely known. And who she brings vividly to life, in a fictional road trip to Sunderland (accompanied by a psychiatric nurse played by Kelly MacDonald).In this interview, Carol reflects on her childhood, processing the loss of her father to suicide, her path into filmmaking, a brilliant teacher - and a few of her creations, including Dreams of a Life.Related links:Find Carol's other films at Cannon and Morley ProductionsThe amazing undiscovered life of Audrey the artist (Carol's article for the Observer)Her semi-autobiographical novel 7 Miles OutIn The Studio: Carol Morley (BBC World Service)Muriel Box: Britain's most prolific female director Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
14/11/2342m 36s

PROFESSOR MARY BEARD: a don's life and love for Ancient Rome

Classics professor Dame Mary Beard was a bright child, who was bumped up a year at school, went on archaelogical digs as a teen, and studied classics at Newnham College. After completing her PhD, Mary taught at King’s College in London, before returning to Cambridge - where she remained for nearly forty years.During her long academic career, Mary has written many best-selling books. When her 2008 book on Pompeii won the prestigious Wolfson History Prize, she became the star of her own BBC television programme. The first of many documentaries, in which Mary's passion for the past is infectious - and which have helped raise her status to that of national treasure.Mary’s latest series is for BBC Radio 4. Being Roman looks at six intriguing individuals who lived in the heyday of imperial power and it follows hot on the heels of a brand new book Emperor of Rome.In this conversation, Mary reflects on her brilliant career, the skills to be gained from studying classics, and what we can learn about democracy and leaders (past and present).Related links:Meet The Romans with Mary Beard (BBC TV documentary)Mary's other booksMary's TLS column A Don's LifeMarcus Aurelius' MeditationsThe Boudicca statue on Victoria EmbankmentGalen - one of the most famous figures from the ancient world (that you may not know) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
07/11/2342m 18s

AVA GLASS: crime reporter to "new queen of spy fiction"

Ava Glass is the pen name of Christi Daugherty. She was born in Texas and worked as a crime reporter before moving to the UK.A few years after settling in London, Christi was recruited to work in the communications department of the Home Office - tasked with helping the public understand what the intelligence services do, to keep us safe. This wasn’t a straightforward job, given the secretive world Christi found herself in, but it did prove creatively inspiring. And, after selling millions of young adult and crime books as CJ Daugherty, she turned to spy fiction - writing as Ava Glass.Ava’s protagonist is Emma Makepeace, an operative for an off-the-books British intelligence agency called The Vernon Institute. Emma made her debut in February, pursued by Russian assassins in The Chase. And now she’s back, with a brand new mission, working undercover on a luxury yacht.Related links:The latest Ava Glass book: The TraitorAva Glass' websiteThe Guardian interview that crowned Ava "the new queen of spy fiction"The Night School young adult series (writing as CJ Daughterty)MI5 head warns of "epic scale" of Chinese espionage at a meeting of the Five Eyes alliance (BBC) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
31/10/2339m 29s

STEVE GALLANT: finding courage on London Bridge and a purpose in prison

In November 2019, Steve Gallant was serving a life sentence for murder when he confronted the terrorist Usman Khan.Steve had been allowed out on day release, to attend a Learning Together event, near London Bridge. Learning Together was an initiative that brought students and prisoners together - and helped change many lives for the better. But on this dreadful day, two young graduates were fatally stabbed. Saskia Jones, and Steve’s own mentor, Jack Merrit.After his brave actions, Steve was granted a royal pardon. And in August 2021, after 16 years in prison, he was released on parole. When he received the Queen's Gallantry Medal last month, Steve said that his award symbolised change. That you can make great mistakes, but still work hard, and do something useful with your life.After studying diligently in prison, Steve’s now written a book, titled The Road To London Bridge. He's said that he wants to contribute something constructive to a public debate that seems stuck in its approach, to keeping people safe and dealing with those who commit crime.Related links:Steve's websiteOwn MeritJack Merritt & Saskia Jones rememberedLondon Bridge: Facing Terror (Channel 4 documentary) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
23/10/2345m 3s

ZAK OVÉ: shining a light on invisible histories through art

The British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové was born into an artistic family. After studying at St. Martin’s School of Art, he worked as a photographer and as a director of television and music videos. At the age of 40, Zak had an epiphany while filming in Trinidad. Feeling a distance from his subject matter, Zak realised that he wanted to be a “maker” and that sculpture would allow him to express his true voice.Since then, Zak’s sculptures have been exhibited in the British Museum, at Somerset House, and around the world. His latest is a nine-metre-high sculpture, called The Mothership Connection. Part psychedelic totem pole, part space rocket — it’s his largest work to date - and currently stands resplendent in London’s Regent’s Park. This interview was recorded on Monday 9th October, just a few weeks after the death of Zak’s father, the acclaimed film-maker Sir Horace Ové. So we took some time to discuss Horace’s considerable legacy, as well as Zak’s own brilliant career.Related links:Horace Ové's filmsZak's Moko JumbiesThe Invisible Man and the Masque of BlacknessFrieze Sculpture Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
16/10/2341m 6s

SARAH SANDS: editing the news and finding hope in hedgehogs

Sarah Sands grew up in Tunbridge Wells and cut her teeth on a local newspaper in Kent, before moving to the diary, on the Evening Standard.She later edited the Standard but not before spending some time at The Telegraph, and re-designing the Sunday edition, with the launch of two new magazines.In 2017, Sarah moved into broadcast journalism, as editor of Today. While at the BBC, she steered Radio 4’s flagship news programme through Brexit, Covid and a General Election.But, after three years of early mornings, Sarah stepped away from the newsroom and wrote The Interior Silence. A book which explores the lessons to be found in monastic living, as an antidote to the stresses of everyday life.She's now followed that book with The Hedgehog Diaries: A Story of Faith, Hope and Bristle. It's a meditation on grief, healing, and the British hedgehog community - in which this prickly mammal becomes a metaphor for hope.Related links:In Search of the Queen of Sheba by Sarah SandsThe Felix ProjectJulian SandsKit Hesketh-Harvey Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
10/10/2336m 31s

MICHAEL MANSFIELD KC: the power in the people

Michael Mansfield became a barrister in 1967 and, since then, he’s worked on some very high-profile cases in the UK. He has overturned miscarriages of justice, fought for civil liberties, and for change.He helped to free the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. He defended the Orgreave miners, fought for the family of Stephen Lawrence. And he represented victims’ families at inquiries into the sinking of the Marchioness, the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, and the fire at Grenfell Tower.Michael has now written a book, called The Power in The People: How We Can Change The World. In it, he revisits some of his most important cases, to demonstrate that, when people get together, they can make lasting and positive change.Michael wants to inspire people. To give them a blueprint for fighting their own battles and to challenge the status quo. Because he believes that: those who stand in the way of change cannot do so forever.Related links:The People's Covid InquiryThe Warwick District People's Climate Change InquiryStéphane Hessel's Indignez-Vous! (Time For Outrage)Michael's Two Heads podcast Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
03/10/2345m 44s

SIR CHRIS BRYANT: why we need to fix Parliament

Sir Chris Bryant was born in Cardiff, and lived in Spain as a child, before returning to the UK. After reading English at Oxford, he studied Theology and was ordained in the Church of England. He then spent time in Latin America, and worked as a curate, before deciding to leave the church and move into politics. Chris was elected MP for Rhondda in 2001 and he’s held this seat for Labour ever since. Along with a variety of frontbench and committee posts, in both government and opposition. For the past two years, Chris has been very busy as Chair of the Standards Committee. But, earlier this month, he returned to the Labour frontbench, as Shadow Minister for Creative Industries and Digital. During his parliamentary career, Chris has earned a reputation as someone unafraid to speak truth to power - as a vocal critic of both News International and Vladamir Putin. But he also enjoys cross-party collaboration and he was given an award, for Civility in Politics, in 2022.Chris is also a big fan of parliamentary process. He will happily nerd out on a point of order and he’s just published a book on the subject, called Code of Conduct: Why We Need to Fix Parliament – and How to Do It. He strongly believes - that when parliamentary standards fall – public trust wears thin.Related links:Chris' website Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
25/09/2340m 29s

STEPHEN DAVIS: investigating the secrets surrounding Flight 149

Stephen Davis is an investigative journalist and author, who has worked around the world, on newspaper stories and documentaries.He’s also a podcaster, whose most recent series investigates the sinking of the passenger ferry Estonia. It is Europe’s worst shipping disaster - since the Titanic - and a gripping tale of tragedy, smuggling, and spies.But this interview will focus on the fate of British Airways Flight 149. This is another story which reads like a film script and which Stephen has been covering for more than 30 years. On the 1st August 1990, nearly 400 passengers and flight crew were caught up in the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. They were taken hostage, used as human shields, and endured months of terror.Many of the hostages hold Saddam Hussein principally responsible for their ordeal. But they also believe that Flight 149 should never have landed in Kuwait. And they are now taking legal action against the British Government and British Airways, for their alleged role in the ordeal.Related links:Stephen's book: The Secret History of Flight 149Episode 1 of The Secret History of Flight 149 podcastLiz Truss' November 2021 statement on the events surrounding Flight 149BBC & PA story on the legal action (including the latest statement from British Airways)The National Archives documents on Flight 149Episode 1 of The Secret History of The EstoniaStephen's Twitter account (@Theeditorspeaks) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
18/09/2339m 13s

PROFESSOR ROSE ANNE KENNY: how to live a longer and healthier life

Professor Rose Anne Kenny is an expert in ageing who has over 35 years of clinical and research experience. She’s a Professor of Medical Gerontology at Trinity College, Dublin, and the Director of Mercer's Institute for Successful Ageing, at St. James's Hospital.Rose Anne is also the brains behind TILDA - a groundbreaking research study into ageing in Ireland - which has followed eight and a half thousand adults - aged 50 plus - since 2009.She published a best-selling book last year: Age Proof: The New Science of Living a Longer and Healthier Life. And she’s passionate about sharing what she’s learned, to change our experience of - and attitude towards - ageing. In this conversation, Jon learns more about how diet, exercise, social engagement and attitude can affect our experience of ageing. And this is a conversation for all ages - younger listeners shouldn’t postpone making changes and it's never too late to start.Related links:Jon's documentary for Channel 4: How To Live To 100Professor Sophie Scott's episode on brain healthDeaths of Despair by Anne Case & Angus Deaton Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
11/09/2341m 16s

JESS MCDONALD: the reality of being a detective in The Met

Jess McDonald was one of the first recruits on The Metropolitan Police’s Direct Entry Detective Scheme. Launched in 2017, to address a shortage of detectives, this scheme was not without its critics. Successful applicants had a direct route into a career as a detective, without first undertaking a role in uniform policing. When Jess first pitched an idea for a book, she wanted to bridge the gap between people’s fascination with true crime and the reality of what it is to be a detective. But she ended up leaving the job she loved and writing about the challenges she found - both in The Met and the justice system. Jess believes that transparency can only be bracingly positive. A sentiment that was shared by Baroness Casey, when she conducted a year-long review of The Met, following the murder of Sarah Everard, by a serving officer.Given that Jess worked on cases of domestic abuse, this interview may include content that some may find triggering. But it’s a fascinating insight into the life, and work, of a Met detective.Related links:Jess's book: No Comment: What I Wish I'd Known About Becoming A DetectiveBaroness Casey's ReportDomestic abuse - how to get help Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
01/08/2339m 25s

MATT FORDE: impersonating & interviewing politicians

The Nottingham-born comedian Matt Forde has been fascinated by politics ever since he was 9 years old. Raised by his mum, without much money, Matt experienced life: “at the sharp end of every political decision taken by the government.” He studied politics at university and, after working for a few MPs, he became a regional organiser for the Labour Party. But by 2010, Matt had left party politics behind and, when he moved to London, he began to pursue a career in stand-up. A job at TalkSPORT followed and he also wrote for shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats and The Last Leg.In 2013, Matt launched The Political Party Podcast, which combines topical comedy and a light-hearted interview - with a big political name. He also hosts the award-winning British Scandal podcast, with Alice Levine. And, in 2020, he revived Spitting Image, which is currently enjoying a run in London’s West End.This interview was recorded on Monday 24th July, hot on the heels of three by-elections, and just before Matt headed off to Edinburgh - with a brand new stand-up show, titled Inside No. 10, and three Political Party specials.Related links:Matt's websiteMatt's interview with Tessa Jowell Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
25/07/2348m 40s

MICK LYNCH: strikes, workers' rights & rail nationalisation

Mick Lynch is the General Secretary of Britain's largest specialist transport trade union, the RMT.In May 2022, the RMT announced that its members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of strikes, in a dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. At the time, they said it was the biggest endorsement of industrial action, by railway workers, since privatisation. But the dispute remains unresolved. And 20,000 railway workers will now walk out over three more days, on the 20th, 22nd and the 29th of July. All this is set against a cost of living crisis, and a wave of industrial action that has included teachers, nurses, junior doctors, and university staff. And while the government has just made a pay offer to millions of public sector workers, they are also looking to curb strike disruption with a new bill.In this interview, recorded on Monday 17th July, Mick reflects on a year of industrial action, the campaign to save ticket offices, the Strikes Bill, Labour policy, rail nationalisation and Brexit.Related links:The Rail Delivery Group's response to the latest RMT strike datesThe Department for Transport's dispute handling guide for train operating companies (& rail passenger contracts)Have your say on proposals to change the way ticket offices are staffedThe Strikes Bill and the impact assessment Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
19/07/2342m 1s

CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS: bringing South London to the world

South Londoner Candice Carty-Williams has gone from publishing house marketing executive, to literary sensation - and now, she's taking on TV.Queenie, her 2019 debut, was a best-seller. Critics and readers loved it and Candice won several awards, including book of the year at the Nibbie’s.Fast forward to 2023 and Candice is the creative force behind two big series: Champion, a BBC drama which revolves around two siblings (Bosco and Vita Champion) and celebrates the Black British music which she loves. As well as a much-anticipated dramatisation of Queenie for Channel 4.Candice is both talented and determined. If there's something she wants to change - or do - she goes for it. She will fight her corner, work very hard to prove what she's capable of, and create opportunites for others along the way. She is loving the collaboration of television - working with a team of writers, as well as composers, music producers and other creatives - in her new role as a showrunner. Fortunately, there's always a book waiting to get out (and the next one will feature a person who Candice - and many others - have missed).Related links:Candice's websiteThe trailer for ChampionThe 4thWrite Short Story Prize (which Candice launched) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
17/07/2340m 16s

SIR BEN OKRI: the power of art at a time of crisis

The poet and writer Sir Ben Okri was born in Nigeria and spent some of his childhood in London, before moving with his family to Lagos, on the eve of the Nigerian Civil War. This experience had a defining impact on Ben, who has said that he is “crammed full” of the painful things that he witnessed.In 1978, Ben returned to London to study but he really came to write. By 21 he had published his first novel and, at the age of 32, The Famished Road won the Booker Prize.Ben's latest publication is Tiger Work - a collection of poetry, short stories and essays about the climate crisis. He writes with urgency about our "suicidal relationship with the earth’" and believes that we must imagine the end of things, so that we can imagine how we will come through this existential crisis. But he remains an optimist, who believes in the power of art and storytelling to activate our hearts. And that, when our backs are against the wall, human beings can accomplish extraordinary things.Related links:Ben's websiteBen reads Grenfell Tower, June, 2017 on Channel 4 News Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
11/07/2341m 54s

ANITA ANAND: Empire, kick-ass women & learning from history

The voice of broadcaster and writer Anita Anand will be familiar to many. Her career began while she was still at university, in the newsroom of satellite channel Zee. Anita was then snapped up by Radio 5 Live and she has since presented many news and current affairs programmes on the BBC.In 2012, Anita became the host of Any Answers on Radio 4, where she also hosts The Reith Lectures. A few years later, she published her first book: a compelling biography of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, daughter of the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and a goddaughter of Queen Victoria.This book launched a divergent career in history. After the sucess of her debut, Anita wrote Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World's Most Infamous Diamond with William Dalrymple, and then investigated the massacre at the Jalllianwala Bagh in Amritsar and the revenge of Udham Singh in The Patient Assassin.Anita now reaches a huge audience with the Empire podcast, which she co-hosts with William, and which looks at the rise and fall of empires and how they shape the world today. And, though her new book about the kick-ass undercover reporter Olive Malvery may be a little late, it sounds well worth the wait.Related links:Anita's websiteThe Empire episode on Princess Sophia Duleep SinghThe first Empire episode on the Koh-i-Noor Diamond (1/4)The Empire episode on the The Jallianwala Bagh MassacreThe Empire episode on Udham Singh, subject of The Patient Assassin Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
04/07/2337m 54s

JACK THORNE: diverse stories, political engagement and a load of love for Channel 4

The award-winning screenwriter and playwright, Jack Thorne, joins Jon to discuss his work, passions, activism and politics. They discuss Jack's new TV show, Best Interests, (starring Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen) and why it was so tough to write this story. At the age of 42, Jack was diagnosed with autism, something he is still processing. He talks openly about this and how it has affected him and his work. Jack talks about The TV Access Project - which is trying to change accessibility in television. It's something he's passionate about, and spoke about in his 2021 MacTaggart Lecture, when he said that: "TV has failed disabled people".He reflects on this, two years on, and also tells Jon how much his 2017 lecture inspired him.With a new TV series just out, and two plays on in London (The Motive And The Cue at the National and When Winston Went To War With The Wireless at the Donmar) you might think Jack would want a rest. But no, he's working on MORE projects because, in his words: "there are still many stories I want to tell". Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
26/06/2342m 25s

TIM MARSHALL: the politics and power of the new space race

Journalist, broadcaster and best-selling author, Tim Marshall, joins Jon to talk about the power and politics of the new space race.Tim's new book - The Future Of Geography - looks at how the developments in space will change our world forever.The new space race is on, with China, USA and Russia leading the charge and many more vying for pre-eminence. But with eighty countries now in space, in some form or another, are the guidelines and laws outdated? And are the countries - and individuals - who are building new technologies to travel to, and exist in, space doing it for the good of others, or for their own financials gains?Related links:Tim's other booksKonstantin Tsiolkovsky Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
19/06/2336m 42s

REV RICHARD COLES: passion, prayer, power and policing

The Reverend Richard Coles left two major institutions within the same year; The BBC and The Church, but he cannot and will not sit still. Richard joins Jon to discuss his fascinating life and career, the power of prayer and what the future holds for him without a dog collar... Jon and Richard share their love and nostalgia for choral music, as well as looking at religion's place in society in 2023. They also discuss Richard's writing, his upcoming tour and his own brilliant podcast, The Rabbit Hole Detectives. RELATED LINKS:Richard's latest novel, A Death In The ParishHis own podcast, The Rabbit Hole DetectivesAnd the upcoming tour, Borderline National Trinket Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
12/06/2338m 53s

DAVID HAREWOOD: acting, storytelling & eloquent activism

David Harewood is an actor, director, author and activist. He was born in Birmingham, trained at RADA, and made a name for himself on the stage, with big roles that included Othello and Martin Luther King.Most recently, he played the right-wing commentator William Buckley Jr. in Best Of Enemies. A fantastic production that is currently screening in cinemas, thanks to National Theatre Live.His diverse screen work includes film, documentaries, and the hit thriller Homeland, which saw David relocate to America for a decade.David often shines a light on issues and subjects that he cares about, through his roles and documentary subjects. And he spoke about racism and a psychotic breakdown with great honesty in his 2021 memoir Maybe I Don’t Belong Here. All of which is covered in this wide-ranging and candid conversation.Related links:David's websiteDavid Harewood: Psychosis and Me (BBC)Get On Up: The Triumph Of Black America (BBC)1000 Years A Slave (Channel 5) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
06/06/2346m 44s

DAME JOAN BAKEWELL: life at 90 and the joy of being freelance

Dame Joan Bakewell is a broadcaster, journalist, author and Labour Party peer. Her broadcasting career spans six decades and she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Royal Television Society in 2016, and a BAFTA fellowship in 2019.At the age of 90, she is still presenting TV programmes (most recently Landscape Artist Of The Year), sitting in the House Of Lords and is the President of Birkbeck College, London.Joan has written for various national newspapers including The Guardian and The Independent, and has also published many books. Her latest - The Ticking Of Two Clocks - is about her recent experience of downsizing her home.She has been very open about her recent cancer diagnosis, and talks to Jon about how that has affected her outlook on life. Whilst reflecting on her incredible career and achievements, she also looks to the future, and discusses politics, peers and what pleasures are still to come.Related links:Joan's websiteHouse Of Lords website Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
30/05/2332m 51s

PROFESSOR HANNAH FRY: understanding algorithms and A.I.

Hannah is a Professor of Mathematics at University College London. She is an expert in algorithms, who studies the patterns in human behaviour – particularly in an urban setting. Hannah is also a brilliant communicator, who shares her passion for maths - in books, podcasts, radio, television, and public talks. Her hit shows include The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry, on Radio 4. While recent TV series, for the BBC and Bloomberg, have looked at technology and its implications for the future. Hannah’s 2018 book, Hello World, explored the vast array of algorithms on which we increasingly rely.  As technology evolves at a rapid rate, she believes that we should stop seeing machines as objective masters and start treating them as we would any other source of power. Because, in the age of the algorithm, humans have never been more important. Related links: Hannah's website The Future with Hannah Fry (Bloomberg) The Secret Genius of Modern Life (BBC) Try ChatGPT Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
22/05/2346m 5s

PHIL WANG: how to be from two worlds at once

The comedian and writer Phil Wang was born in Stoke-on-Trent and spent his childhood in Malaysian Borneo, before moving to Bath at the age of 16. Phil successfully combined engineering with comedy at Cambridge University. He won the Chortle Student Comedy Award in his second year, a Comedy Central Award the following year, and became President of Footlights in his final year.By this point, Phil knew that he wanted to pursue a comedy career. And he’s enjoyed great success ever since, with solo shows and his sketch trio Daphne.Phil often talks about race in his comedy. It’s a subject he finds interesting and which he explored in greater depth, in his funny and thoughtful book, Sidesplitter: How To Be From Two Worlds At Once.In this conversation, Phil chats about his hometown of Kota Kinabalu, moving to England, covering race and cultural differences in his comedy, cancel culture and his new show Wang In There, Baby!Relevant links:Phil's book: SidesplitterPhil's YouTube channelPhilly Philly Wang Wang on NetflixWangsplaining on Radio 4Phil's sketch trio Daphne on Radio 4 Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
15/05/2336m 36s

ADJOA ANDOH: from Bridgerton's Lady Danbury to Richard III

When not playing Lady Danbury, in the huge Netflix series Bridgerton, Adjoa is a renowned stage actor. Celebrated for her performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, and The Globe. Where, in 2019, she played Richard II, in the UK's first all-women-of-colour production.Adjoa has now turned her attention to Shakespeare’s Richard III. She directs and takes the lead role, inviting the audience to think about what happens to a person - and their sense of self - when bad intentions are ascribed to them, based solely on their appearance.She passionately believes in the power of storytelling. For Adjoa, theatre and drama can be transformational - helping to shape our perspectives and, she hopes, make us feel empathy...even for someone with a reputation like Shakespeare's Richard III.Related links:Richard II (recorded at The Globe Theatre in 2019)Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton StoryIsland Queen: A novel about Dorothy Kirwan Thomas  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
11/05/2338m 59s

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: passing the baton to a new generation

Alastair Campbell started out in journalism and became Political Editor of the Mirror, before entering the political fray and helping return Labour to power, with a landslide victory in 1997. He remains a prolific writer who’s found his voice - and lots of listeners - as a podcaster. Disagreeing agreeably with co-host Rory Stewart, on The Rest Is Politics.His latest book is titled But What Can I Do? A question he finds more urgent than ever, in a political landscape, dominated by post-truth, polarisation and populism. This conversation was recorded on the 25th April, shortly after Alastair had returned from Belfast and events marking 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement. A good time for him and Jon to reflect on New Labour’s legacy and a little disagreement of their own.Related links:Jon interviews Alastair on Channel 4 News in June 2003The Rest Is PoliticsThe Revenge of Power by Moisés Naím Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
01/05/2346m 25s

DR RACHEL CLARKE: palliative care in the NHS & Ukraine

Dr Rachel Clarke is a palliative care doctor, and best-selling author. Who spent a decade, working as a journalist, before deciding to change careers. She took her science A-Levels, studied in the evening and started at medical school, just before her 30th birthday. When the time came to specialise, Rachel chose palliative care because she was drawn to the challenge of helping patients approach the end of life. And she's now balancing a busy NHS career, with new charity called Hospice Ukraine, which she founded after visiting the country in October 2022. Rachel has witnessed the impact of funding cuts from the perspective of both doctor and journalist. And she and Jon met on Thursday 13th April, as junior doctors entered a third day of strike action, with the dispute showing no sign of being resolved. Related links:Hospice Ukraine Launch EventRachel's websiteRachel on TwitterDame Cicely Saunders (who founded the first modern hospice) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
24/04/2340m 33s

RICHARD CURTIS: laughter - and our money - as vehicles for change

Richard Curtis is an award-winning writer and director, who spends a great deal of his time trying to change the world. He's best-known for his work with Comic Relief but Richard campaigns on many issues. In 2020 he launched Make My Money Matter to raise awareness that our money is a major contributor - but also a solution - to the climate crisis. The decision-makers need to step up, yes. But the individual has power too. And, with that in mind, Richard has launched a new short film (starring Rose Leslie and, that other Jon Snow, Kit Harrington) to help raise awareness of the hidden relationship between oil companies and high street banks. His message: help break them up. In this conversation, Richard reflects on the influence of his upbringing and the visit to Ethiopia that gave him a profound sense of the simultaneity of human suffering. As well as his own education in the climate crisis, and the UN's Global Goals, which have led to a shift in his work.After decades of fundraising and campaigning, Richard thinks his time is now better spent addressing poverty and climate change (sorry, there's not good news re. Blackadder either). Fortunately, for all of us, he remains an active optimist, who wants to continue inspiring the next generation of campaigners and creators.To watch Richard's short film just head to where you’ll also find information, campaign research and you can contact the Big Five UK high street banks - and ask them to stop financing fossil fuel expansion, in just two clicks. Related links:The UN's Global Goals (The SDGs)Bronwyn King's TED Talk: You may be accidentally investing in cigarette companies Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
18/04/2342m 14s

BARONESS DOREEN LAWRENCE: a 30th anniversary pledge for Stephen

Doreen was born in Clarendon, in Jamaica, and moved to London in 1962. She worked as a bank clerk before marrying and settling happily into family life. But on the 22nd April 1993 her eldest child Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack. Though five suspects were quickly identified to police, it took nearly twenty years for only two men to be sentenced for murder.A year after these convictions, Doreen took her seat in the House of Lords, and she continues to hold those in power to account and to advocate for marginalised voices in the UK. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Stephen’s death and Doreen is inviting everyone to make a pledge on Saturday 22nd April. To commit to taking one positive action, in Stephen’s name. Through sharing Stephen’s story, she wants to celebrate the extraordinary things that can be achieved by ordinary people and to inspire young people to realise their potential.#stephenlawrencedaypledgeRelated links:Stephen Lawrence Day FoundationDoreen's autobiography: And Still I Rise Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
13/04/2334m 39s

BRIAN COX: Succession & saying goodbye to Logan Roy

As fans around the world follow the fourth and final season of Succession, we seized the chance to spend time with the brilliant actor Brian Cox. This award-winning series has captured the public imagination with its witty and scathing take on dysfunctional one percenters. The news from creator Jesse Armstrong that Succession was ending upset many but, while Brian loved his time on the show, he found some of the attention overwhelming. He's ready to leave Logan Roy behind and turn his talents to a new film set in a distillery in the Scottish Highlands and a play about Johann Sebastian Bach.During this conversation, Brian reflects on his childhood in Dundee and the recent loss of his beloved sister Betty; social mobility and the wealth divide today; understanding (and leaving behind) a character like Logan Roy, and the perils of entitlement.Related links:Brian's autobiography Putting The Rabbit In The HatBrian's documentary How The Other Half LiveBrian's new play (directed by Trevor Nunn) The Score Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
03/04/2332m 27s

MIKAELA LOACH: active hope in the climate crisis

When she was 16, Mikaela Loach decided to go vegan, boycott fast fashion and start a blog. She learned more about the climate crisis, became involved in the movement, and began to communicate her passion to others.Mikaela’s Instagram following grew and, in 2020, she featured in the Woman’s Hour Power List, in recognition for her work, bringing environmental issues to young audiences.She has now written, It’s Not That Radical, a book for anyone who’s felt anxiety or powerlessness in the face of the climate crisis. Mikaela wants to compel her reader to act and to understand more about racial justice - a principle she believes has been left out of the conversation for too long.She and Jon met on the day the IPCC released a major report, an eight-year long undertaking from the world’s most authoritative scientific body on climate change. That report summarised that there is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. Related links: The IPCC Report Mikaela's Instagram Mikaela's podcast Drilled podcast (as recommended by Mikaela) Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
27/03/2344m 45s

GARY YOUNGE: Stevenage to South Africa & Obama's Camelot (without a castle)

This week's guest is the award-winning journalist and sociology professor Gary Younge. From Mandela’s election campaign, to Obama’s presidency, Gary’s had a ringside seat, for some of the biggest stories of the last 30 years. And his latest book - Dispatches from the Diaspora - is a career-spanning collection of articles about race, racism, and Black life. In this conversation, Gary reflects on growing up in Stevenage, with a mother who gave him a sense of his own possibility. The translation education that gave him a love of language and the opportunities, and first steps, that helped launch his career.Related links:Gary Younge's websiteGary's writing in The Guardian Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
21/03/2343m 25s

ARMANDO IANNUCCI: satire, Lineker & the BBC

This week's guest is the witty and politically astute writer and director Armando Iannucci. After a week dominated by headlines about the government's immigration policy, Gary Lineker, the BBC and impartiality, he and Jon talk about the broadcasting and political landscape. As well as The Thick of It, Armando's mock epic poem about the pandemic, and what he's working on next.Related links:Armando's poem PandemoniumChild Poverty Action Group(and for anyone who actually missed it) Gary Lineker's tweet Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
14/03/2345m 1s

THE STATE OF US: a preview of Jon's audiobook

This week's Snowcast has a preview of Jon's new book, The State Of Us, which shares a few of the things he's learned about politics, humanity and the world. The first chapter takes Jon back to North Kensington in June 2017, watching a tragedy unfold in real time. The seeds of this book were sown while he stared up at Grenfell Tower and learned more about failures, and inequality, in the richest borough of Britain.The State Of Us is out now in hardback and as a Penguin audiobook. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
07/03/2329m 18s

ROBERT HARRIS: stranger than fiction politics

Robert Harris started out in journalism, became political editor of The Observer, and had a ringside seat for the rise of New Labour. But, after striking gold with Fatherland, Robert launched a second career as a novelist and never looked back.Robert’s latest best-seller - Act Of Oblivion - is set in a country that’s divided after the English Civil War. It’s a fictionalised account of the greatest manhunt of the 17th century. And the pursuit - across continents - of the men responsible for the execution of King Charles I.Robert describes it as a “curiously contemporary novel”. And the past often calls to him when it has some relevance to the present day. Because - while he may not miss writing a column - Robert remains very much a political animal. And in this conversation, he reflects on two successful careers, and the political characters and rhetoric of the present day. Related links:Act Of OblivionRobert's other books Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
28/02/2338m 55s

MUNYA CHAWAWA: Stormzy, sketches & selling out the O2

Munya Chawawa is a British-Zimbabwean satirist, who rose to fame with his DIY video sketches. He and Jon first met in 2017 - when Munya snuck into the ITN building - to interview him about Stormzy’s debut album. That memorable encounter became Munya’s first ever viral video. And he’s since amassed millions of followers, with his witty takes on politics, culture and the royal family.As Munya prepares for his first ever comedy tour, he talks to Jon about his childhood, career vision board, and his plans to sell out the 02 in the next five years.Related links:Munya's websiteMunya's InstagramRace Around BritainHow To Survive A Dictator with Munya ChawawaPrince Andrew: The Musical Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
21/02/2339m 59s

PROFESSOR SOPHIE SCOTT: brain health hacks & mind-blowing facts

Sophie Scott is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL and an award-winning lecturer, whose TED talk, Why We Laugh, has been watched over 5 million times. Her new book, The Brain, features ten enjoyable essays which cover how brains have evolved over time, their composition and chemistry, and how they interact with the world around us.Sophie loves brains and hers is full of mind-blowing facts about, what she calls, “one of the most miraculous structures in the known universe.”If you listen to this interview, you’ll be doing your own brain a favour, as Sophie shares some brain hacks that might help keep your mind sharp. There's some good news for evening crammers and a bit of motivation for those disinclined to exercise.Related links:Sophie's book: The Brain: 10 Things You Should KnowSophie's podcast: The NeuromanticsSophie's TED Talk: Why We Laugh Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
14/02/2334m 50s

JON RONSON: culture wars, conspiracy theories & post-truth news

Our first guest on Snowcast is Jon Ronson. A brilliant writer, who made his name interviewing people on the fringes of society. Extremists, conspiracy theorists, those who’ve been publicly shamed and - more recently - individuals whose stories are intertwined with the culture wars of the present day.Jon describes himself as a humanist journalist. He’s curious, empathetic and, at his happiest, when immersed in stories that help him understand the world.He’s now based in upstate New York. But this conversation was recorded in London, in November 2022. Hot on the heels of the US Midterm elections and Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover. Related links:Things Fell Apart (Jon's series for the BBC)Jon Ronson's websiteJon Ronson's books Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
07/02/2345m 14s

Introducing Snowcast

Welcome to Snowcast - a new weekly podcast from the journalist Jon Snow - launching Tuesday 7th February. Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
27/01/231m 36s
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