Series of profiles of people who are currently making headlines. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturdays at 7pm, repeated on Sundays at 5.40pm.

Series of profiles of people who are currently making headlines. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturdays at 7pm, repeated on Sundays at 5.40pm.
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Series of profiles of people who are currently making headlines. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturdays at 7pm, repeated on Sundays at 5.40pm.




Inga Beale

In 2014, one of the oldest financial institutions in the City of London, Lloyd's, appointed its first ever female chief executive, Inga Beale. Next year, she will step down from the role. A champion for diversity in the workplace, Beale has overseen big cultural and technological changes at the insurance market - some controversial. A drinking ban for Lloyd's employees during working hours made the headlines in 2017, as did a loosening of the famously conservative dress code. She has faced...


Jacob Collier

The vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and YouTube star Jacob Collier has some very famous fans. Music industry titan Quincy Jones described him as an absolute genius and asked to work with him. But Jacob declined his invitation and suggested instead if they could just be friends. He wanted to make his first album on his own terms. The gamble paid off as he went on to win two Grammy awards. And now, at just 23 years old, he is performing his own Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. Presenter: Mark...


Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab has been thrust into the key government role of Brexit secretary following the resignation David Davis. The 44-year-old was tipped for high office from the moment he was elected to the safe Conservative seat of Esher and Walton in 2010. His rise through the ministerial ranks has not been without controversy, with Theresa May accusing him of fuelling gender warfare by describing some feminists as "obnoxious bigots". With just months to go to broker a deal with EU negotiators,...


Serena Williams

Serena Williams has dominated the tennis scene since 1999 with 23 grand slam titles to her name. Last year she added marriage and motherhood to her achievements. In September 2017, Serena Williams nearly died in childbirth. Ten months on she's back on Wimbledon's Centre Court hoping for her 8th title at the All England Club. Becky Milligan speaks to Serena's first tennis coach and hears how tennis has been in her blood since a young age. But this Williams sister doesn't just put on a...


Matteo Salvini

Since Matteo Salvini was sworn in as Italy's Interior Minister his controversial stance on immigration, Roma people and the European Union has made the headlines. The press has dubbed him the European Donald Trump and commentators say he could pose a threat to the existence of the European Union as we know it. This week he was in the news again, for refusing to allow another migrant rescue ship to dock in Italy and for his radical proposals to crack down on migration. But his perfect day...


Dominic Grieve

Labelled 'the rebel who forgot to rebel', who is Dominic Grieve? Some political commentators thought the Conservative MP, and former Attorney General, could inflict a significant parliamentary defeat on the government. He wanted the Commons to have more of a say over the final outcome of Brexit negotiations. But he called off his own rebellion on Wednesday. Grieve was called the modern day grand old Duke of York - accused of marching the troops to the top of the hill, only to march them...


Gareth Southgate

Footballer Gareth Southgate's career has been haunted by a decisive penalty he missed against Germany in the semi-final of Euro '96. Even when he went on honeymoon to Bali a Buddhist monk reminded him of that miss. Now he has a chance to make amends - this time as England manager at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. His path to the top job has not followed the conventional route, being sacked from his only other management role. But commentators say he has the attributes of a great leader....


George Soros

Characterised as both a benevolent philanthropist and as a meddling influence, George Soros has been present at some of the most defining moments in modern history. Soros was born into a Hungarian Jewish family, and later took on a false identity to survive the Nazi occupation in 1944. It was an experience that shaped his life and his outlook and he went on to escape to the West via his knowledge of the international language Esperanto. Beginning his career as a tobacco salesman, Soros...


Mary Lou McDonald

The leader of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald has been a face of the campaign to scrap a ban on abortions. In a referendum, voters in the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban. The campaign also increased the profile of Ms McDonald who took over as the leader of Sinn Féin in February. Her personal story is very different from other leading Sinn Féin politicians. Growing up in a middle class suburb of Dublin - a world away from the tough areas of Northern...



Few Italians had heard of Giuseppe Conte when they found out he would most probably become their new prime minister. President Sergio Mattarella approved his nomination as prime minister after a deadlock which had seen Italy without a government for 11 weeks. The surprise candidate is a law professor in Florence and has no political experience. Even people close to him said he had never mentioned politics. In the first few days of new-found fame he was accused of embellishing his CV, which...


Donald Glover

You may know him as Childish Gambino, the creator of viral video hit 'This is America' or as the Emmy award winning actor and director of comedy drama Atlanta. Mark Coles profiles Donald Glover, the multi-talented American comedian, record producer, songwriter, rapper and DJ who is forcing the world to confront racism, violence and societies contradictions. Presenter: Mark Coles Producers: Estelle Doyle and Diane Richardson Editor: Emma Rippon.


Gina Haspel

Donald Trump's choice for CIA director, Gina Haspel. Mark Coles profiles the controversial figure whose nomination has forced her out of the shadows to face difficult questions. Gina Haspel describes herself as a typical middle-class American but the testimony of former colleagues reveals a skilled intelligence operative with an empirical mind, a taste for adventure and a talent for infiltrating terrorist cells. At her confirmation hearing this week she was commended as an intelligence...


Sajid Javid

Born in Rochdale to Pakistani parents, the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid had a modest start in life. His father worked as a bus driver before moving to Bristol to open a women's clothes shop - the family of seven squeezing into a two-bed flat above it. Despite these humble beginnings, Javid quickly achieved success, wealth and power. After studying at Exeter University, where he gained a reputation as a committed Thatcherite, he became an investment banker and a multi-millionaire. Javid...


David Lammy

Tottenham MP David Lammy has been leading the parliamentary charge for the Windrush generation as they fight for their residency rights. Mark Coles charts the life and career of one of parliament's most formidable campaigners. Born in North London to Guyanese parents, Lammy grew up in Tottenham but moved to Peterborough aged 11 after winning a council scholarship to the city's cathedral boarding school. He went on to study law in London and at Harvard. Then, after a brief spell as a...


Kendrick Lamar

Mark Coles profiles Pulitzer Prize winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose concepts and ideas are changing hip-hop culture. Lamar won the award for his latest album Damn, which also collected five Grammy awards in January and is praised for lyrics which reveal the complexity of modern African-American life. Growing up in the deprived city of Compton, California, Lamar credits his father with keeping him on the right path and providing the balance that some of his peers were missing. His album...


Karen Pierce

Karen Pierce is the UK's new Permanent Representative at the UN in New York, Britain's most senior ambassadorial post. She only started in the role three weeks ago and has been thrown in at the deep end with the chemical weapons attack in Syria. Friends and colleagues alike are struck by her glamorous and colourful sense of style. This includes high heels, to the dismay of her security detail in places like Afghanistan, who fear her footwear could impede a swift exit. We hear how she...


Daniel Ek

Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of music streaming service Spotify. Mark Coles tracks the life of the shy Swede transforming the music industry. This week 35-year-old Daniel Ek became very, very rich when his company Spotify floated on the New York Stock Exchange - with an initial value of more than $26 billion. It's a long way from his home in a working-class suburb of Stockholm where Daniel's interest in both music and computers was piqued at an early age. He started his first businesses...


Stormy Daniels

Taking on Trump, horse trials and dancing dogs. Presenter Mark Coles explores the life of Stormy Daniels, the award winning adult film actress who's revolutionising the porn industry and has previously considered a career in politics. Presenter Mark Coles Producers: Jordan Dunbar and Diane Richardson.


Nigel Oakes

Nigel Oaks was a pioneer of 'behaviour dynamics', the art of influencing people. He set up a successful company, Strategic Communications Limited, which boasts clients from NATO to the UK government. But now he finds himself caught up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. He was born in 1962 into a world of privilege. Schooled at Eton, his father was a Major in the Irish Guards and once captained the British Ski Team at the Winter Olympics. Once Nigel hit London he began a music career even...


Margarita Simonyan

As RT's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan runs a news network described by US intelligence as "the Kremlin's principal international propaganda outlet". Formerly known as Russia Today, RT risks being stripped of its UK broadcast licence in the wake of the Salisbury spy poisoning. So who is the woman at its helm? Born into an Armenian family in Krasnodar in Southern Russia, Simonyan grew up in poverty, but her academic achievements helped her win a place on a prestigious exchange program...