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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.

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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London, United Kingdom




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.




Cyril Ramaphosa

Becky Milligan looks back at the extraordinary life of South Africa's new president. From humble beginnings, he became a lawyer, established the country's most powerful trade union organisation and was a key player in negotiating the end of apartheid. After losing out at an earlier attempt to become president, he turned to business and rapidly became one of South Africa's richest men - while also attracting controversy over allegations about his role during the Marikana massacre of striking...


Oliver Robbins

He's been called the government's "real Mr Brexit", but is little known outside Whitehall. Mark Coles asks who is Oliver Robbins, the Prime Minister's right hand man for the Brexit negotiations? In the last few months Robbins' role has grown, taking the lead on negotiations with Brussels often without the Brexit Secretary, David Davis. This has led some to question whether a senior civil servant should be given so much power. He had a meteoric rise, becoming Tony Blair's Principal Private...


Sara Khan

This week the Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that Sara Khan will lead the newly created Commission for Countering Extremism - an appointment which was not welcomed with blanket approval, with some sections of the Muslim community calling on her to quit. Sara Khan is the co-founder of Inspire - a counter-extremism and human rights organisation engaging with Muslim women, which has also engaged with the government's Prevent scheme. The counter-extremism programme has proved...


George Weah

The remarkable story of George Weah, footballing legend turned politician, on his journey from the slums of Monrovia to inauguration this week as president of Liberia. Spotted by Arsene Wenger at a young age, Weah became a star striker in the '90s for Paris St Germain, AC Milan and Chelsea. In 1995 he won the Ballon d'Or as the world's best player, the only African ever to win the honour. Back home, Weah became an inspiration to a generation of Liberians. When he retired from football, he...


Jon Lansman

Earlier this week Jon Lansman, founder and leader of left-wing political group Momentum, was elected to the Labour Party's National Executive Committee. A 60-year-old veteran of the hard left, Lansman has been credited with helping get Jeremy Corbyn elected as Labour leader and to successfully rallying thousands of activists behind the Momentum movement. But his critics say he can be a dogmatic, even bullying, leader, quick to crush dissent. On this week's 'Profile', Mark Coles speaks to...


Oprah Winfrey

Following her barn-storming speech about sexual harassment at the Golden Globe awards, Mark Coles charts the rise of talk show host, philanthropist, media proprietor and actress Oprah Winfrey. With calls urging Winfrey to run for President, close friends and former colleagues recount their favourite moments with her on-set and at home. We learn about the woman behind the screen and her remarkable tale of rags to riches, from clothes made out of potato sacks to one of the richest black...


President Hassan Rouhani

It's been a tumultuous week in Iran. Thousands of protestors in more than twenty towns and cities taking to the streets to demand economic and political change. On the programme this week, we update a profile we did of Hassan Rouhani when he first became President of Iran back in 2013. Regarded as more liberal than some of his predecessors - and now in his second term as President - he faces the unenviable task of trying to balance the demands of the Iranian people who want better living...


Denise Coates

A hunch about Online gambling has made Denise Coates from Bet365 Britain's best paid boss. Chris Bowlby discovers how this elusive figure from Stoke masterminded a global betting revolution. We follow her career from the tough world of 1990s betting shops to today's lucrative round the clock business. But why has hardly anyone - even in her home town - ever heard of her? Producer: Smita Patel Editor: Emma Rippon.


Sarah Mullally

Sarah Mullally, appointed this week as the first woman Bishop of London, the third most senior position in the Anglican Church. A former nurse and senior civil servant, she was ordained in 2001. Her surprise appointment followed a brief spell as Bishop of Devon in Crediton. She's expected to attract criticism from more conservative elements of the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical elements of the church. Mark Coles profiles the most senior woman in the Anglican Church. Produced by Helen Grady...


The Winklevoss Brothers

The Winklevoss twins - Cameron and Tyler - became famous for suing Mark Zuckerberg, claiming he stole their idea for Facebook. This week it was announced they'd made a fortune from Bitcoin. They're former Olympic rowers, and also rowed for Oxford in the 2010 Boat Race. Becky Milligan explores their early life, including talking to their Dad, to discover what drives their ambition. Producers: Smita Patel and Beth Sagar-Fenton.


Sue Gray

First Secretary of State, Damian Green, is under mounting pressure this week due to allegations of improper behaviour, and claims that pornography was found on a computer in his office back in 2008 - allegations he staunchly denies. Sue Gray, Head of Propriety and Ethics at the Cabinet Office, is leading the inquiry into whether he broke any rules. Gray has been described as "the most powerful person you've never heard of". Mark Coles finds out more about the woman who joined the civil...



At the Lord Mayors banquet a couple of weeks ago the Prime Minister Theresa May didn't mince her words when she waded into the alleged Russian interference in western countries accusing them of sowing disinformation she declared "We know what you are doing and you will not succeed." This week on Profile we look at the man accused of funding the St Petersburg troll factory which has produced so much pro-Russian material online. Yevgeny Prigozhin has moved from jail to restaurateur and close...


Emmerson Mnangagwa

After the Zimbabwean army moved against Robert Mugabe this week, one man has been hotly tipped to succeed him. The former Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, portrays himself to the west as a free-market enthusiast who could change the fortunes of Zimbabwe. But 'The Crocodile', as Mnangagwa is nicknamed, has been at Mugabe's side since the independence struggle, and is associated with some of the regime's most notorious actions. Presenter: Edward Stourton Producers: Kate Lamble and Beth...


Priti Patel

Priti Patel was forced to resign as International Development Secretary this week after holding extra curricular holiday meetings in Israel. Luke Jones profiles this passionate Leave campaigner, the ambitious daughter of Indian newsagents, who wants to follow in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher. Presenter: Luke Jones Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton Producer: Siobhan O'Connell.


Eniola Aluko

The Football Association's chairman, Greg Clarke, said this week that the FA had "lost the trust of the public" over its handling of discrimination claims against former England women's manager Mark Sampson. Mark Coles profiles England and Chelsea Ladies player - and whistleblower - Eniola Aluko, who made the claims. Producer: Beth Sagar-Fenton Researcher: Nick Raikes.


Martin Selmayr

As the EU commission meets to discuss the progress of Brexit negotiations, Mark Coles profiles the man some say really runs Europe, Martin Selmayr - right hand man to the President of the European Commission. Just what impact is the passionate European having on the process of Britain leaving the EU? And does he deserve his reputation as the 'Monster at the Berlaymont'?


Baroness Trumpington

Edward Stourton profiles former minister, and mistress of the deadpan one-liner, Baroness Trumpington, who this week announced she will retire from the House of Lords at the age of 95. He talks to Ian Hislop, Viscount Astor, friends and family about her extraordinary life, which took her from riches, through the Wall Street Crash, code-breaking at Bletchley Park, into politics and finally to unexpected celebrity status after giving a two finger salute to a fellow peer. One of few...


Mariano Rajoy

It's Barcelona versus Madrid...and we're not talking football. Spain is facing its biggest political crisis for years....the autonomous region of Catalonia considering breaking away from the rest of the country. Mark Coles profiles Spain's right wing Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, as he goes head to head with the Catalan President to try to stop it happening. The programme examines his Galician roots and his grandfather's role in wresting power from the Spanish state back in the 1930s. We...


Gavin Williamson

This week the Chief Whip will deliver a major speech at the Tory party conference, just before the Prime Minister takes the stage. But who is Gavin Williamson? Mark Coles looks at the life and career of the Yorkshire man who knows about pottery, loves hedgehogs and keeps an eight legged pet on his desk in parliament. And some say, has his sights set on higher political office.


Antonio Guterres

On Profile this week, we look at the life and career of the world's top diplomat - the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. When he opened the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, the 68 year old former Portuguese Prime Minister warned the world was in danger, "in pieces" and needed putting back together again. So, who is he and how does he plan to go about it ? Mark Coles talks to childhood friends, political colleagues past and present - even Portugal's President - who help...


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