Rosebud with Gyles Brandreth

Rosebud with Gyles Brandreth

By Gyles Brandreth / Plain Jaine Productions / Keep It Light Media

Legendary British writer, broadcaster, ex-MP and TV star Gyles Brandreth hosts “Rosebud”, in which he talks to famous and fascinating people about their first memories and first experiences. Expect laughter, nostalgia, memorable stories, revelations and, of course, the odd name-drop from Gyles.    We want to hear about your first memories - email us at And you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @therosebudpod   Artwork: Freya Betts. Music: Phil Lepherd. Producer: Harriet Jaine. Rosebud is a 'Plain Jaine' / 'Keep It Light Media' Production   Creator: Gyles Brandreth/Plain Jaine Productions


Merlin Holland: Grandson of Oscar Wilde

21st April is the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, and in celebration of this we're giving you an interview with Merlin Holland, who has an unusual claim to fame. His mother, Thelma Besant, was the late Queen's beauty advisor - her personal makeup artiste - who was present at the Coronation in 1953, as was our guest (then a young boy). Merlin is also the grandson of the great poet, playwright and paragon of late Victorian decadence, Oscar Wilde. Merlin's story, and that of his family, is captivating. His father, Vyvyan Holland, was Wilde's youngest son, but the family were forced to change their name after the scandal of Wilde's trial and imprisonment for gross indecency. Thereafter their life is lived in the shadow of this terrible event. You may not have heard of Merlin Holland, but this episode will introduce you to a fascinating person, whose story is a piece of living history. Thank you to Merlin for bringing this story to life so vividly. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/04/2455m 11s


Gyles's guest this week is Dame Twiggy Lawson, and this episode is recorded live at the Rose Theatre in Kingston, Surrey. Twiggy shot to fame as a 16 year-old, when her headshots - showcasing her newly cropped hair, boyish looks and signature dark eye makeup - were spotted in a London hair salon. Within weeks her face was on the front page of the Express with the headline: "Twiggy: the face of '66". By 1967 she was globally famous, had been on the cover of Vogue in the US and Paris, and was synonymous with the revolutionary aesthetic of the 1960s. Gyles also finds out about Twiggy's illustrious acting career, her relationship with the cult director Ken Russell, her marriages, and her night out with Fred Astaire. Twiggy is an icon. Enjoy this. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Anneka Rice

This week Gyles hears the reminiscences of the presenter, writer and painter Anneka Rice. Rice grew up in Surrey, the daughter of a builder and a frustrated housewife who went back to college and left 11 year-old Anneka to look after her baby sister and do the household chores. Anneka distracted herself by playing games with Action Men and dinky trucks - little did she know that these childhood fantasies would find their way into her adult life, when she donned a jumpsuit and travelled by helicopter in Treasure Hunt, and drove a truck with her name on it in Challenge Anneka. Anneka also tells Gyles about her regrets, why she took a break from the limelight, and about her love of rice pudding. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/04/2459m 58s

Charles Dance

The actor, director, and Game Of Thrones star Charles Dance tells Gyles about his childhood, adolescence and the early years of his career: which are possibly not what you'd expect. Dance was born to working class parents in the Midlands, lost his father when he was only 3, and then moved to Plymouth where he developed a stammer. He didn't train to be an actor until later, and his training was unorthodox - he was taught by two eccentric old men in the midst of rural Devon, where ballet exercises were done by holding onto the towel rail in front of the Aga. Charles also talks to Gyles about the failure of his first marriage, about his first job, and his time in the school choir. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/03/241h 2m

Rupert Everett

Gyles takes Rupert Everett back to his childhood and teenage years, and be warned: not only is this episode hilarious, but it's also slightly more adult than our other shows. And it is genuinely one of the funniest Rosebuds yet. The son of an Army Major, Rupert didn't do any of things his parents expected. He was obsessed with Julie Andrews, loved dressing up in his mother's clothes, and was the 'Mata Hari' of his prep school. This refusal to fit in carried on into adulthood, when, at 16 and a half, he became a doyenne of the gay scene in 1970's Earls Court, and wore diamante earrings and no shoes to drama school. In this frank and funny conversation with Gyles, Rupert also reminisces about some of the megastars he's known, including Orson Welles and Madonna. This episode of Rosebud is electric. Enjoy it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/03/241h 3m

Val McDermid

Val McDermid tells Gyles her remarkable story. An only child from Kirkcaldy in Fife, the daughter of a welder and a shop assistant, Val became obsessed with books after being read to by her mother as a young child and, when the family moved opposite the town's Central Library, she read every book on the shelves. It was her favourite books - The Chalet School series - that inspired her to become a writer and to apply to Oxford University, despite the fact that she'd only ever been to England once, on a family holiday to Blackpool. Val also tells Gyles about the 3 months she spent in an isolation hospital when she was first born, forever effecting her relationship with her mum; about discovering her sexuality at university; and about her first career as a journalist. Val is now one of the best-selling crime writers in the world, and her latest book 'Past Lying', the latest in the Karen Pirie series, is out now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/03/241h 2m

Elizabeth Day

This week, Gyles talks to Elizabeth Day, host and creator of the hit podcasts How to Fail and Best Friend Therapy, and author of multiple best-selling fiction and non-fiction books, including Magpie, The Party and Friendaholic: Confessions of a Friendship Addict, which is released in paperback in March 2024. Elizabeth tells Gyles about her childhood, spent near Derry in the north of Ireland; her unhappy years at boarding school; her first job as a 12 year-old newspaper columnist; and her experience of living in a tower block near St. Petersburg in Russia. And Gyles and Elizabeth reminisce about the first time they met, when Elizabeth was only 17. This is fascinating, frank, and warm conversation - thanks so much to Elizabeth for her time, energy and wonderful stories. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/03/241h 5m

Dame Jilly Cooper

It's the fifth of the Rosebud Dames, and in this episode Gyles is talking to Dame Jilly Cooper about her life and times. They talk about her childhood, when she was horse mad and wasn't even put off by being bitten by her first pony. They talk about her early days as an office worker, when she got fired from 22 jobs. They talk about leaving the manuscript for Riders on the bus. And they talk about the best ways to write a really good sex scene. This is an intimate chat between old friends: enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/03/2443m 8s

Richard Dawkins

Gyles's guest this week is the renowned evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins. At the end of the episode, Gyles asks Richard how he would like to be remembered: "A scientist, lover of the truth, and motivated by a desire to communicate truth to others". Because of that desire for truth, this episode is unflinching. It involves some challenging subject-matter: for example, both Gyles and Richard share their experiences of abuse at boarding school in the 40s and 50s. They also discuss Richard's childhood, some of which was spent in Kenya and Malawi, and how he started out on his career as a groundbreaking scientist and author. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/02/2458m 25s

VALENTINE'S SPECIAL: Clare Balding and Alice Arnold

It's Valentine's week, and we're celebrating with our first ever Rosebud couple: Clare Balding and Alice Arnold. This is a truly romantic and life-affirming episode. You may have seen Clare and Alice on Celebrity Gogglebox, you'll certainly know Clare from her many appearances anchoring major sporting events, from the Olympics to Crufts, and Alice was for a long time the voice of the news on Radio 4's Today programme. Gyles talks to Clare and Alice about their first memories, but also about how they met, what they love about each other and the secrets to a long and happy marriage. Sit back, relax, and feel the love! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/02/2458m 42s


Well, this episode has got it all: gripping stories, laughter, tears and a lot of singing. Gyles takes Lulu back to memories of her childhood in Glasgow, which was both happy and turbulent, but full of love and music. She remembers her early performances - as a very young girl at a street party for the Queen's coronation, and then as a 5 year-old, standing on a chair so she could reach the mic, in Blackpool. She tells Gyles about making it, about singing so loudly while recording "Shout" that she broke the microphone, and about meeting The Beatles. She talks about working with David Bowie, their close relationship and the lost recordings they made together, and we get an exclusive performance of her version of a David Bowie track. This is a fascinating and very entertaining episode, full of highs and lows. Thank you, Lulu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/02/241h 2m

Dame Esther Rantzen

Dame Esther Rantzen is a tour de force: journalist, TV presenter and campaigner, her vision and dynamism brought about the nationwide helpline for children in distress, Childline. Through her massively popular consumer show That's Life, Esther was also responsible for campaigning for organ donation and introducing compulsory seatbelts for children, at the same time as showcasing viewers' faulty washing machines and laughing at misshapen vegetables. Recently, That's Life's incredible reunion of Sir Nicholas Winton with the children he had rescued from the Holocaust in Prague has been made the subject of the film One Life starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. Gyles and Dame Esther spoke over Zoom, and the interview was recorded in two parts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/02/241h 5m

David Mitchell

Gyles invites the brilliant comedian, actor and writer David Mitchell to look back at his early memories. This chat starts with David's childhood, and then broadens out into a wide-ranging discussion about history, the worst professional experiences Gyles and David have ever had and school dinners, via a heated debate about whether being a hairdresser is as stressful as being a chef and a bombshell about King Arthur. We'd love to hear what you think - please email us at Enjoy the show and enjoy the memories. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/01/241h 5m

Rob Brydon

This week, Rob Brydon looks back on his childhood and adolescence in South Wales. From riding around on bikes pretending to be Starsky and Hutch, to his first electrifying stage kiss in the school play, to being rejected by Rada, bumping into Harold Pinter, and his friendship with Ronnie Corbett, this is an evocative, funny and fascinating interview peppered with impressions, famous names and great stories. It's slightly longer than our usual episodes, simply because Rob and Gyles were enjoying each other's company so much! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/01/241h 10m

Geri Halliwell-Horner

Geri Halliwell-Horner is a woman of many guises. She's been Ginger Spice, a hugely successful recording artiste and member of the world's biggest girl band. She's been a UN Goodwill Ambassador who met Nelson Mandela. She's been a heartthrob - who famously kissed Prince Charles when she first met him at The Royal Variety Performance. She is now a writer - her Rosie Frost series of novels for young adults have been bestsellers. In this frank and far-reaching conversation, Gyles finds out more about what makes Geri tick. From her childhood - when she performed to get her father's attention, to the devastating news that her father had died, to the years with the Spice Girls, to her present-day happiness as a wife, mother and writer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/01/2456m 44s

Sir Michael Palin

For our first episode of 2024 we have a very special guest: Sir Michael Palin. From his childhood in 1950s Sheffield, to getting drunk at boarding school, discovering his talent for writing and performing at Oxford University, meeting his wife Helen on holiday at 16 and of course the formation of Monty Python - Michael Palin has had a long and fascinating life. This is a an entertaining, fascinating and sometimes moving conversation, we hope you enjoy it! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/01/241h 10m

Rosebud New Year Medley: SPECIAL EDITION featuring Anneka Rice, Lorraine Kelly, Joe Wicks and previewing next week's episode with Sir Michael Palin

Another medley episode for you, this time with a new year's focus. We've got new year's reminiscences from Lorraine Kelly, Anneka Rice and Joe Wicks, and Gyles tells a new year's eve story about a fateful family trip to Glasgow when he was a child. We end with a sneak preview of our next episode featuring the great Sir Michael Palin. See you next Friday, in 2024! Thanks so much for listening to Rosebud this year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/12/2316m 46s

Rosebud Festive Medley - featuring Sir Michael Palin, David Mitchell, Dame Sheila Hancock, Rob Brydon and more...

This episode is a collection of Christmas stories and memories from lots of our Rosebud guests, friends and listeners. It's like a Christmas stocking: full of treats and surprises. Next week we'll do the same, but the theme will be new year. We'll be back with a full-length interview show on January 5th 2024, with Sir Michael Palin. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/12/2325m 1s


Our Rosebud Christmas Special is with Rowan Williams, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012. Rowan begins by talking to Rowan telling Gyles about his childhood as a bright and doted upon only child who became increasingly drawn towards the church. He talks about his happy schooldays, his close friendships, and his inspirational teachers. And later in the podcast Rowan and Gyles talk about the message of healing at the heart of Christmas, and what it's like to be Archbishop of Canterbury. Next week and the week after we'll have two fun shows: we've made you some Christmas and new year medleys with messages from lots of our Rosebud guests. But until then, merry Christmas from us to you! We love getting your messages, so please email us at with your first memories or comments. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/12/231h 1m

Patricia Owtram - war hero and centenarian

In this second of the special Rosebud Christmas Cracker episodes, Gyles talks to Patricia Owtram: the first Rosebud centenarian. Pat tells Gyles about her fascinating and long life: from her childhood in 1920s Lancashire where she was taught to speak German by the family's Austrian cook, to her schooldays and her war years. Pat did critical work as part of the Y Service, listening in on the goings-on of the German fleet. She also tells Gyles about meeting George VI and about her later career as a journalist and TV producer. This conversation gives a fascinating glimpse of life as it was at the start of the 20th century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/12/2353m 35s

Adjoa Andoh

It's Rosebud Christmas Cracker Week, and we're giving you two special extra episodes before our Christmas Special this Friday. This first Christmas Cracker is with the acclaimed British actress Adjoa Andoh, who stars as Lady Danbury in Netflix's Bridgerton, alongside many appearances at the RSC, National Theatre and in shows such as Doctor Who and Casualty. Adjoa tells Gyles about the challenges she faced growing up as "the only black girl in the Cotswolds", and how this informed her recent portrayal of Richard III - a performance which Gyles found inspiring. She talks about her teens as a blue-haired punk rocker, her first love, and her discovery of theatre and how it led her to a career as an actor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/12/2347m 38s

Joe Wicks

Joe Wicks, the man who inspired the UK to leap off their sofas and start exercising and eating healthily, joins Gyles for this episode. Joe talks about his childhood growing up with a father who was struggling with addiction, and a mum with OCD. He talks about his early love for PE and how that developed into a career. Joe is so impressive that Gyles even asks him for advice about his own wellness regime! Joe's book, Feel Good in 15 is out now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/12/2353m 53s

Anton Du Beke

In this episode Gyles talks to Strictly Come Dancing judge and ballroom dancer extraordinaire, Anton Du Beke. Anton shares stories of his childhood as the son of immigrant parents who had to work two jobs each to make ends meet, and tells Gyles about the driving ambition that led him to become a champion on the dancefloor, despite being a late starter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/12/2346m 22s

Dame Sheila Hancock

Gyles talks to his friend Dame Sheila Hancock, one of Britain's most distinguished living actresses. Now 90 years old, Dame Sheila looks back at her remarkable life - from a childhood spent living above pubs, to her war time experiences, and then to her career on stage, TV and in film, and more recent times - how she's coped with widowhood by being busy and curious. This is a wide-ranging, fascinating, frequently funny and sometimes moving conversation. Enjoy! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/11/231h 7m

AJ Odudu

Gyles meets the host of ITV1's Big Brother, AJ Odudu. AJ tells Gyles about her childhood growing in Blackburn, Lancashire in a "bubble of love" with her 7 brothers and sisters, about her amazing parents and their arranged marriage, about her early ambitions to become a TV presenter, about playing "pass the polo" at the Waves Leisure Centre with her friends, and ends by describing the best day of her life. Thank you AJ for sharing your infectious warmth and positivity with the Rosebud podcast! Also in this episode, Gyles speaks to David Belchamber, Judi Dench's childhood next-door neighbour, who told Judi they should call each other 'darling' when they were only 6. Don't miss it. We want to hear from you - email Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/11/2359m 52s

Sir Ben Okri

Gyles talks to the poet, novellist and activist Sir Ben Okri. Born and raised in Nigeria - with a 4 year interlude in Peckham - Ben moved to London for good in his 20s. There, he build upon his success as a writer, and won The Booker Prize with his novel The Famished Road in 1991, when he was just 32 years old. Sir Ben and Gyles talk about Ben's early years in Peckham, his return to Nigeria aged 6, and his formative experiences during the civil war. They talk about Ben's early career working in a paint factory in Lagos, and how he realised that his true calling was writing. Sir Ben's latest book, Tiger Work, poems, stories and essays about climate change, was published in 2023. Ben was knighted in the 2023 Birthday Honours. Please get in touch with us: we're at and on Twitter and Instagram @therosebudpod. We're keen to hear your Christmas and new year memories - let us know if you have any you'd like to share. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/11/231h 6m

Dame Joanna Lumley

Dame Joanna Lumley and Gyles have known each other for over 50 years - and this is a chance to hear them reminisce about her incredibly rich, varied and star-studded life and career. Joanna spent her childhood in India, Hong Kong and then at boarding school in Kent and went on to become a model in swinging London in the 60s and then an actress on film, TV and stage. She is, of course, best known for her portrayal of the drink-addled, chain-smoking Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous. But she is much more than that - as her amazing performance at the very end of this podcast shows. We recommend that you listen up to the end... This episode was recorded in front of an audience at The Orange Tree theatre in Richmond, so it's another Rosebud on the Road. Enjoy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/11/231h 14m

Lorraine Kelly

Lorraine Kelly is a journalist, writer, interviewer and broadcaster who has been a mainstay of ITV's morning TV landscape for over 30 years. Since working together on TVam in the 80s, she and Gyles are old friends and this is a chance to hear them talk and laugh about Lorraine's early years in the Gorbals, her amazing grandma who told tall tales and wore her best hat to put out the bins, her schooldays, her break into journalism and some standout memories from her career. Lorraine's novel The Island Swimmer is out in February 2024. We want to hear your first memories - email Plus we're looking for memories of Christmas and new year for our festive shows. We're on Twitter and Instagram @therosebudpod. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27/10/2356m 37s

Anne, Lady Glenconner: Lady-in-Waiting

This week's episode is different, and special. Gyles is talking to Anne, Lady Glenconner at a live event at The Barnes Book Fest. A socialite, aristocrat and best-selling author, Lady Glenconner was the best friend and Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret for many years. She has also had a fascinating and dramatic life of her own, as wife to Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner. Together they developed the Caribbean island of Mustique and turned it into a destination for the rich and famous. This show features fascinating reminiscences from a rich and long life spent among remarkable people - many of them royal. Anne's latest book Whatever Next, is about her turbulent marriage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/10/2359m 7s

Jay Blades

Jay Blades tells his remarkable story - from Hackney council estate to MBE. Having been told he'd amount to 'nothing' by the careers advisor, suffering racism at the hands of school bullies and the police, Jay has gone on to become host of one of the UK's most popular TV shows: The Repair Shop. He talks to Gyles about his childhood memories, the tough times he's been through, and how he's kept his positive attitude. Jay's new book Life Lessons is out now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon, former First Minister of Scotland, is arguably one of the most successful British politicians of her generation. But how did it all begin? And what will life be like once she steps away from the limelight? Gyles discusses all this and more with her in this fascinating conversation, which includes Nicola's reflections on meeting Queen Elizabeth II and what happened when she met a superfan... in the bath. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/10/231h 5m

Miriam Margolyes

Gyles's guest is the BAFTA-winning actress, best-selling writer, national treasure and force of nature Miriam Margolyes. Gyles and Miriam meet in Miriam's London flat, and chat about her first memories, her childhood, her love of white haired ladies, her passion for Charles Dickens and her delight in farting. As you might expect, this is slightly ruder than our usual shows, but there's no swearing - just some sexual references. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/09/2355m 2s

Rory Stewart

Gyles talks to the best-selling writer, Rest Is Politics host, charity leader, ex MP and adventurer Rory Stewart. This is a fascinating and honest conversation - you'll find out about Rory's unusual childhood ambitions, his relationships with his parents, his unsuccessful early attempts at romance and the delivery of his son on the bathroom floor - and many other things. Rory Stewart's book, Politics on the Edge, is published by Jonathan Cape and is out now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/09/2359m 30s

Ken Bruce

It doesn't get much better than this - Ken Bruce: one of the best-loved radio DJs of all time, host of Popmaster, dad of six, and all round legend. Gyles and Ken talk about Ken's school days and what it was like being given "the belt" on a regular basis, his marriages, and his move to Greatest Hits Radio. Ken's show is on Greatest Hits every day from 10am til 1pm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/09/231h 7m

Alison Hammond

Gyles Brandreth talks to fellow star of This Morning and host of Bake Off Alison Hammond. They discuss her childhood roots in Birmingham, her incredible talent for rounders, and whether Gyles is a breast or a leg man; all while sitting on Alison's double bed. Expect laughter, warmth and Gyles attempting to do a Brummy accent. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/09/2350m 39s

Dame Judi Dench

In this first ever episode of Rosebud, Gyles talks to someone very special: the legendary actress Dame Judi Dench. They chat about her happy childhood in York, her experiences growing up during WWII, her early forays into acting and her marriage to Michael Williams. She ends by impressing Gyles, as she recites a Shakespeare sonnet by heart.  Join us again next week when Gyles will be snuggling up with Alison Hammond. To get in touch with Gyles and tell him about your first memories, email: A 'Keep It Light Media' Production Sales, advertising, and general enquiries: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/09/2350m 57s

'Rosebud' with Gyles Brandreth - COMING SOON

Legendary British writer, broadcaster, ex-MP and TV star Gyles Brandreth launches his new podcast “Rosebud” on September 1st – St Giles’s Day. In this new series, Gyles will talk to famous and fascinating people about their first memories and first experiences. Expect laughter, fascinating stories, revelations and, of course, the odd name-drop from Gyles.  Rosebud is a long-form interview series which takes guests back to first principles: to their very first memories and experiences. How much have these formative moments shaped them? Are they anything like they were back then? And what’s their advice for future generations? New episodes will launch weekly on Fridays. Gyles is available for media appearances, contact the producer, Harriet Jaine: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/08/234m 47s
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