Spinning Plates with Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Episode 106: Helen Pankhurst
Helen Pankhurst is a writer and a scholar who works for women's rights.
Her grandmother Sylvia and her great grandmother Emmeline were both suffragette leaders, and Helen carries her family name with pride. We talked about how Helen kept her family name of Pankhurst when she married, and about how she and her husband shared both their surnames with their children, in a clever way theat I've not heard before.
I first met Helen when we were involved in a podcast for Care International, where we were lucky enough to talk with women from all around the world, many in crisis, but still finding joy in each other's stories, and sharing many of the same worries and issues, despite living in vastly different circumstances from each other.
We also discussed the parallels being drawn between the direct action of the suffragettes, and the current Just Stop Oil protestors.
We agreed how important it is for every one of us to use our vote 'to keep your piece in the jigsaw' as Helen beautifully put it. She also talked about the current campaign to bring the voting age down in this country, to include 16-18 year olds.
I absolutely love how Helen has brought her children up with her personal motto of 'fun and purpose', and I can really see how that has helped her achieve her goal of leading a decent, fun life with her family around her.
And by the way, all accidentally recorded on Emmeline's birthday!
Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
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112. Episode 112: Helen Skelton51:34Presenter Helen Skelton has been a familiar and much-loved presence on our TV screens since she presented Blue Peter (2008-2013) and then Countryfile.Famous for her can-do attitude to life she still has several Guinness World Records under her belt, she’s run a Namibian ultra-marathon (which is 3 marathons back to back), kayaked the entire length of the Amazon, and made it to the finals of Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins... and Strictly! Helen and her three children now live in Cumbria, near where Helen grew up herself, and they all love the outdoors. I caught up with Helen at her publisher’s office in London on the day her autobiography ‘In My Stride’ was published. It’s a brilliant read and I love how Helen is someone pretty extraordinary but she has such a generous spirit she makes me feel like I might be able to do some of those things, too. Not sure I’m going to test the theory though..!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
111. Bonus Episode: Janet Ellis23:49This is an extra special bonus episode in partnership with the lovely team at Clarks. Thanks to Clarks, I have brought my mum, Janet Ellis, back for this special shoecentric chat! We talked about the excitement of buying your child’s first pair of shoes, and we happily admit that we very much share the sentimental gene, as we have kept all our children’s ‘firsts’. My mum even has them on display as you go down the stairs to her kitchen. My Ma also shares her memory of a Clark’s badge that she got as a child - I think they should bring those back - they are very sweet!!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
110. Episode 110: Dilly Carter01:17:09Dilly Carter is an expert in decluttering who presents the TV show 'Sort Your LIfe Out' alongside Stacey Solomon. Born in Sri Lanka, she was adopted and then brought up in the UK, and is very positive about the cards she was dealt. However, her childhood home was chaotic, with her parents at work all hours, and when Dilly was 11 her mum was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. During her childhood Dilly found peace when she frequently spent time at a neighbour's more ordered home. It was also at this point that she discovered her love of tidying and organising people's houses.Dilly has a 9 year old daughter who also sounds incredibly tidy and organised and she and Dilly operate on a one thing in, one thing out policy in her bedroom, so it never becomes cluttered.Following her recent cancer diagnosis, and a subsequent hysterectomy, Dilly is keen to encourage people with busy working lives like her, to prioritise their health. She is also an ambassador for Adoption UK.As you will hear, Dilly is a very positive person. I was worried she'd be traumatised by visiting my house which is brimming with objects and knick-knacks, but she was very kind about it. She clearly suspects I have too many clothes - but I haven't let her look in my wardrobe yet!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
109. Episode 109: Charlotte Hawkins01:08:21Charlotte Hawkins presents Good Morning Britain where she proudly helps set the news agenda for the day and quizzes the people in power on the TV viewer's behalf. She also has a lifelong love of music and presents a show on Classic FM.Charlotte talked about how she and her husband tried without success to have a baby and were just about to set off down the IVF route when Charlotte unexpectedly became pregnant. She also spoke about how she lost her beloved Dad to motor neurone disease, just a month before her daughter was born, but that her daughter still has a bond with Grandad Frank, who gives her a Christmas present each year, as Charlotte knows exactly what he would have chosen.Charlotte's daughter Ella Rose is now 8 and she also tried out the TV presenter role this summer when she interviewed her idol George Ezra. She did it so well that it made me want to see lots more children putting adults in the hot seat - especially politicians.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
108. Episode 108: Alice Roberts01:21:51Professor Alice Roberts is a TV presenter and biological anthropologist - in her own words, she looks at old bones and tries to construct the person's history from their skeleton, and she loves the link betwwen the living and the dead.Her pink hair hints at her less traditional and more playful side, also illustrated by the amazing story that as a junior doctor she did some of her paediatric ward rounds on rollerblades, much to the children's joy! Alice was offered her first solo TV series just before she had her first baby. She presumed it was bad timing but to her surprise the executive producer suggested she take her her newborn baby with her on the filming, which she did successfully with the help of her husband who came along too.Alice has two children, now aged 10 and 13. She is vice president of Humanists UK. And she speaks out against faith schools, saying how children have a right not to have religion forced on them.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
107. Episode 107: Laura Lee Dockrill01:10:12Laura Lee Dockrill is an author of both adult and children's books. She went to Brit School, she's married to the love of her life, musician Hugo White, and her best friend is Adele.After giving birth to her son Jet, Laura suffered severe postpartum depression which saw her waking up alone in a psychiatric ward on her first Mother's Day. One of her books based on her experience is called What Have I Done?She also has a new children's picture book out next year called Gray. It's about depression and illustrated by Lauren Child.Laura is positive and funny and lovable and it is such a joy to see her recovered and happy while still able to share her experiences, which I know will go on to help the 1 in 1,000 new mothers who also suffer from postpartum psychosis. Trigger warning for references to suicidal thoughtsSpinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
105. Episode 105: Suzi Ruffel01:15:10Suzi Ruffell is a writer and stand up at the top of her game, playing to packed audiences at her comedy gigs and with numerous TV appearances on panel shows. She also has two podcasts - 'Like Minded Friends' with Tom Allen and 'Out' showcasing gay success stories. She uses her personal experiences of being ADHD, of having anxiety and of being the parent of a toddler, in her act. It's important for her to share the joys of family life, she says, because as a gay teenager she thought she might not get to be a mum, as she just didn't see other gay women with children, either in the media or in real life.Suzy told me about how she's changed the way she works since becoming a mum. We also agreed toddler tantrums are quite funny. And Suzi confessed her daughter often tells her she's not funny. I beg to differ!Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones
104. Episode 104: Ruby Hammer MBE01:12:56Ruby Hammer MBE is a make up artist and entrepreneur. I first met Ruby when she made me up for a Christmas cover of Red magazine. I love her hardworking ethics as well as her helpful and gentle honesty.I spoke to Ruby earlier this year and she told me how her family moved to the UK from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during the civil war there. She talked honestly and movingly about her strong connection with her late mum, who had her at the age of 17. She also told me how she believes the layers and layers of love and discipline that you lay down as a parent, show up in your child as they grow up. She also shared how much she treasures her little grandson.Spinning Plates is presented by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, produced by Claire Jones and post-production by Richard Jones