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.
Richard's latest novel, A Death In The Parish
His own podcast, The Rabbit Hole Detectives
And the upcoming tour, Borderline National Trinket
View all episodes
38. WAAD AL-KATEAB: a refugee and filmmaker who dares to dream39:23Waad 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
37. CAROL MORLEY: the detective filmmaker shining a light on forgotten women42:36Carol 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
36. PROFESSOR MARY BEARD: a don's life and love for Ancient Rome42:18Classics 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)
35. AVA GLASS: crime reporter to "new queen of spy fiction"39:29Ava 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)
34. STEVE GALLANT: finding courage on London Bridge and a purpose in prison45:03In 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)
33. ZAK OVÉ: shining a light on invisible histories through art41:06The 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
32. SARAH SANDS: editing the news and finding hope in hedgehogs36:31Sarah 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
31. MICHAEL MANSFIELD KC: the power in the people45:44Michael 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
30. SIR CHRIS BRYANT: why we need to fix Parliament40:29Sir 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