Lively and diverse conversation with weekly guests
Harriet Walter, Richard Curtis, Suzi Quatro, Declan Murphy
Actor Dame Harriet Walter; writer and director Richard Curtis; singer and songwriter Suzi Quatro and former jockey Declan Murphy join Libby Purves for the final edition of Midweek.
Richard Curtis CBE is a writer, director and campaigner. His films include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary, Mr Bean, Love Actually and The Boat That Rocked. His television comedies include Blackadder and the Vicar of Dibley. He is vice-chair of Comic Relief which he co-founded after visiting Ethiopia during the 1985 famine. He has co-produced the Red Nose Day Live night for the BBC since 1988 and the charity has made over £1 billion for projects in Africa and the UK. Red Nose Day USA is broadcast in May.
Declan Murphy is a former jockey who survived a catastrophic fall at Haydock Park in May 1994. His injuries were so severe that the Racing Post published his obituary. In his memoir, Centaur, he recounts his upbringing in rural Limerick, his life as a leading amateur jockey and riding winners in the Champion Chase and Gold Cup. Eighteen months after falling from Arcot and following his painstaking recovery, he got back in the saddle to ride his final winner Jibereen at Chepstow. Centaur by Declan Murphy with Ami Rao is published by Doubleday.
Dame Harriet Walter is an actor, acclaimed for her work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. She recently played Julius Caesar, Henry IV and Prospero in The Tempest in Phyllida Lloyd's celebrated all-female Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy. She stars in the new film The Sense of an Ending alongside Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling which is based on the Julian Barnes novel. Other roles include the Duchess of Malfi, Hedda Gabler, Cleopatra and Lady Macbeth. Her book, Brutus and Other Heroines - Playing Shakespeare's Roles for Women, is published by Nick Hern Books.
Suzi Quatro is a singer and songwriter. Born in Detroit, she made her debut on stage playing bongos in her father's jazz band, The Art Quatro Trio. Her first hit Can the Can reached number one in May 1973 and she went on to become a regular fixture in the British charts with tracks including 48 Crash, Too Big and Devil Gate Drive. In the late Seventies she turned to acting, appearing in Happy Days and starred in the West End in Annie Get Your Gun in 1986. She is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 2. Suzi is appearing in the Legends Live tour alongside David Essex; the Osmonds and Hot Chocolate.
Alfie Boe, John Agard, Katy Brand, Allan Jenkins
Tenor Alfie Boe, poet John Agard, writer Allan Jenkins, and comedian and writer Katy Brand join Libby Purves.
Alfie Boe is one of our most popular tenors. He is starring as Billy Bigelow in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel alongside Katherine Jenkins at ENO's London Coliseum. He has performed in opera and musical theatre alike, from Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme on Broadway to leading the cast of Les Miserables in the West End. The youngest of nine children, he left school to work as a mechanic before being plucked off the shop-floor to stardom. Carousel is at ENO's London Coliseum.
John Agard is a poet. Winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, his new show Roll Over Atlantic is a reimagining of the voyage of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the 'New World'. Born and educated in Guyana, John came to the UK in 1977. His most famous poems explore identity and belonging and he writes for children as well as adults and is well known for his skill in performing poetry. Roll Over Atlantic is on tour.
Allan Jenkins is the editor of the Observer Food Monthly. In his memoir, Plot 29, he recounts his life growing up in foster care with his brother Christopher. Their foster father introduced them to the joys of growing flowers which triggered Allan's lifelong love of gardening. As the boys grew up, their lives took different paths and Allan began to search for the answers to questions about his past. His book follows the course of a year in which he traces the story of his birth parents and finds solace tending his London allotment. Plot 29 - A Memoir is published by Fourth Estate.
Katy Brand is an award-winning comedian, writer and actor. She is taking part in the Red Nose African Convoy acting as one of the outriders to a convoy of HGVs travelling from Kenya to Uganda to deliver supplies to Comic Relief funded projects. Katy's show I Was a Teenage Christian explores her youthful fascination with evangelical Christianity. The Red Nose African Convoy is broadcast on BBC One. I Was a Teenage Christian is on tour from May.
Producer: Annette Wells.
Omid Djalili; Diana Moran; Jack Thorne; Dashni Morad.
Comedian and actor Omid Djalili; playwright Jack Thorne; fitness expert Diana Moran and singer and presenter Dashni Morad join Libby Purves.
Diana Moran is well known as The Green Goddess who, back in the 1980s and clad in emerald green lycra, encouraged television viewers to shape up. Her new book Sod Sitting, Get Moving! urges people in their 60s, 70s and 80s to exercise and eat healthily to help with fitness, strength and suppleness in their later years. The former catwalk model discovered the joy of keeping fit in her 30s as she convalesced from a major operation, devising her own exercise regime to help her recovery. Sod Sitting, Get Moving! By Diana Moran and Muir Gray is published by Green Tree.
Dashni Morad is a television presenter and singer. She is a former Kurdish refugee whose family fled from Iraq and Saddam Hussein's persecution when she was five. The family finally settled in the Netherlands where her broadcasting career blossomed. Dashni set up a charity, Green Kids, which helps children affected by conflict and has established two libraries at refugee camps across Iraqi Kurdistan. She is donating the proceeds of her new single, Love Wins, to Green Kids.
Jack Thorne is an award-winning writer whose work spans theatre, film, television and radio. His new musical Junkyard is inspired by the true story of the Lockleaze playground in Bristol - known as 'The Vench' - which was established over 30 years ago and is still operating today. Jack's father built the Vench as part of an outreach scheme to encourage creativity and inventiveness and to give children a taste of manual labour. Jack's theatre credits include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hope and Let the Right One In and his television work includes National Treasure and This is England. Junkyard is at the Bristol Old Vic and then on tour.
Omid Djalili is an award-winning comedian and actor born in London to Iranian parents. He's currently on a UK tour with Schmuck for a Night in which he tries to make sense of the world around him. He will make his Chichester Festival Theatre debut playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof in July. His stage credits include Oliver! and What the Butler Saw in the West End and films include The Infidel, Shaun the Sheep and Gladiator. Schmuck for a Night is currently on tour. Fiddler on the Roof is at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Producer: Paula McGinley.
David Rodigan; Loudon Wainwright III; Jackie Malton; Hisham Matar
Singer and songwriter Loudon Wainwright III; reggae DJ David Rodigan; former detective Jackie Malton and writer Hisham Matar join Libby Purves.
David 'RamJam' Rodigan MBE is a DJ, famed for his selections of reggae and dancehall music. He has played on stations from Capital 95.8 and Kiss to BBC 1Xtra and Radio 2 and is a regular on the club and festival circuit. A 65-year-old white man from Oxford who speaks in RP, he seems the very antithesis of the music that he loves and represents. In 2012 he won the highest reggae sound system honour by winning the World Clash Re-Set contest in New York. His autobiography, Rodigan: My Life in Reggae is published by Constable.
Hisham Matar is a Libyan writer and the son of Jaballa Matar, a prominent political activist who opposed Colonel Gaddafi's regime. When Hisham was 19 his father was kidnapped while the family were living in exile in Cairo. Hisham would never see his father again. After the fall of Gaddafi in 2011 Hisham was finally able to return to Libya to try to discover what happened to his father. In his memoir, The Return, he recounts his physical and psychological journey to find his father and rediscover his country. The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between, is published by Penguin.
Jackie Malton is a former detective chief inspector in the Metropolitan Police, best known for being the inspiration for the character of DCI Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect drama written by Lynda La Plante. Her police career started in Leicestershire and in the Met she went on to work in the Flying Squad of the 1980s. As an openly gay women in the police force during that time she found herself at odds in a male world but went on to forge a successful career before retiring to become a script consultant and addiction counsellor.
Loudon Wainwright III is a Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter. In his one man show, Surviving Twin, he connects some of his best songs with the writings of his late father Loudon Wainwright Jr, the highly regarded Life Magazine columnist. The show, which has never been performed in the UK, explores issues such as birth, loss, parenthood, pet ownership and mortality and Loudon intersperses a selection of his father's compositions with songs from his own catalogue. Surviving Twin is at the Leicester Square Theatre.
Producer: Paula McGinley.
Patti Boulaye, Charlie Condou, Tracy Tynan and David Toole.
Singer Patti Boulaye; dancer David Toole; actor Charlie Condou and costume designer Tracy Tynan join Libby Purves.
David Toole is an actor and dancer who played a starring role in the 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony. Born without the use of his legs, he turned his back on a job with the post office to study at the Laban Centre of Movement and Dance and follow his dream of becoming a dancer. He is performing with Stopgap Dance Company in The Enormous Room, a new touring piece about grief and the relationship between a father and daughter. The Enormous Room is at Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells before heading off on tour.
Patti Boulaye OBE is a singer and actor. Her autobiography, The Faith of a Child, charts her life growing up in Nigeria during the Biafran War to her West End debut in the musical Hair. In her new show, Billie and Me, she considers the parallels between Billie Holiday's troubled life and her own - at times difficult - experiences. The production starts its UK tour at the Pheasantry in London. The Faith of a Child - The Autobiography is published by Bipada Academy Ltd.
Tracy Tynan is a costume designer and writer. The daughter of theatre critic Kenneth Tynan and actor and writer Elaine Dundy, she recounts her story of growing up amid the wreckage of her parents' disintegrating marriage. The couple were at the epicentre of a glamorous show business world - their social circle included Laurence Olivier, Orson Wells and Tennessee Williams. But the bohemian, hard drinking environment came at a cost and Tracy - who describes her life then as being "in a movie with lots of crazy people" - writes candidly about a childhood where the drama happened offstage. Wear and Tear: The Threads of My Life by Tracy Tynan is published by Duckworth.
Charlie Condou is an actor best known for his role as midwife Marcus Dent in the British soap opera Coronation Street. He stars in a touring production of The Crucible playing the witch hunter Reverend Hale. In recent years Charlie has written extensively about his experiences co-parenting - he and his partner care for their children with a friend who is also the children's mother. The Crucible starts its tour at the Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch.
Producer: Paula McGinley.
Patrick Stewart; Shappi Khorsandi; Oscar Duke; Mischa Pearson.
Actor Sir Patrick Stewart; comedian and writer Shappi Khorsandi; medic Oscar Duke and charity worker Mischa Pearson join Libby Purves.
Mischa Pearson set up the Teapot Project in Ipswich, Suffolk. The charity collects good food from restaurants and supermarkets that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it to the local homeless through charities, youth hostels and churches. As a teenager Mischa was homeless for two years and spent time living in hostels before finding employment in the catering business. Around 4,000 people a month benefit from meals provided by the Teapot Project and there are plans to open a new café with an adjacent food boutique offering ''pay as you feel' produce in the heart of the town.
Sir Patrick Stewart is an actor. He plays Professor Charles Xavier in Logan, the latest in the American superhero series of X-Men films. Patrick has appeared on Broadway and West End stages in productions ranging from A Life in the Theatre, The Master Builder, and The Tempest. He recently joined forces with his X-Men co-star Sir Ian McKellen in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land. Perhaps best known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, his screen appearances include Dune, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, ConspiracyTheory, Extras I, Claudius, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Logan is on general release from March 1st.
Dr Oscar Duke is currently training to be a GP. He presents Born Too White on BBC Two which explores the discrimination and persecution of people with albinism in East Africa. Born with the genetic condition of Albinism himself, Oscar discovers that there have been 170 attacks on people with albinism in Tanzania in the last 10 years and 70 of these attacks were fatal. Many are killed for their body parts which are believed to have magical powers. Born Too White is broadcast on BBC Two.
Shappi Khorsandi is a comedian and writer. She is currently touring her show, Oh My Country! From Morris Dancing to Morrissey in which she celebrates the 40th anniversary of her arrival in Britain from Iran. She describes the show as reclaiming her patriotism by sending a love letter to her adopted land. She also appears on television in Live At The Apollo, Have I Got News for You and Q.I. Her latest novel, Nina Is Not OK, is out in paperback. Oh My Country! From Morris Dancing to Morrissey tours the UK until June.
Producer: Paula McGinley.