BBC Radio 4’s Today programme announces Christmas Guest Editor line up including Ellie Goulding

And presenter James May

PHOTO Top (L-R): Andrew Malkinson, Ellie Goulding, Dame Emma Walmsley and Hanif Kureishi. Bottom (L-R): James May, Professor Jason Arday and Dr Nicky Fox

The Today programme will welcome seven guest editors who will take over the programme during the festive period


BBC Radio 4

For the past 20 years, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme has handed over the editorial reins to high-profile public figures during the week between Christmas and New Year. This year, seven Guest Editors, including musician Ellie Goulding and presenter James May, will work on the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs programme during the festive period.

This year’s line-up includes:

Andrew Malkinson – cleared this year after being wrongfully convicted and jailed for 17 years
Ellie Goulding - musician, activist and philanthropist
Dame Emma Walmsley - CEO global biopharma company, GSK
Hanif Kureishi – Author and screenwriter
James May – Grand Tour and former Top Gear presenter
Professor Jason Arday – sociologist, writer and fundraiser
Dr Nicky Fox – Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
They will each guest edit BBC Radio 4’s Today programme between Saturday 23 December and Monday 1 January. Each programme will include an interview with the Guest Editor.

Beginning the Guest Editor take over on 23 December is NASA’s Head of Science, Dr Nicky Fox, who will look at science education and the influence of outer space on music.

A year ago, author and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi sustained life changing injuries after a fall in Rome. Since then he has documented his experiences in a blog. His programme on Boxing Day, exactly a year to the day since his accident, will see Hanif will explore the impact his injuries have had on his family and how they have changed the way he now writes.

Grand Tour and former Top Gear presenter James May will take the helm on 27 December. His programme will look at the future for autonomous cars and whether hobbies can improve your health and wellbeing. James will speak to Amol Rajan and Nick Robinson on The Today Podcast ahead of his guest edit in an episode dropping on BBC Sounds on Thursday 23 November.

On 28 December, musician, activist and philanthropist Ellie Goulding will use her programme to look at climate and nature stories. She will also examine the work being done to make the music industry more sustainable.

Andrew Malkinson was the victim of a major miscarriage of justice, serving 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, despite his continued insistence on his innocence and the existence of DNA evidence to support his claim. Andrew appeared on Today earlier this summer in a powerful interview about his experience. On 29 December, his programme will look at the psychological impacts of wrongful detention, the barriers to education in prison and how his passion for science and astronomy brought him strength and resilience whilst incarcerated.

On 30 December, Professor Jason Arday, who this year was named as one of the youngest people ever appointed to a Professorship at Cambridge University, will look the stigma and shame associated with low literacy in adults. Jason was diagnosed with global development delay and autism aged three, learned to speak aged 11 and to read and write aged 18. His programme will also look at 90s culture.

Closing the Guest Editor series will be Dame Emma Walmsley, CEO of global biopharma company, GSK. Her programme on the first day of the new year will take an optimistic look ahead at how people, business and society can become healthier in the UK.

Each editor will have the support of Today producers and reporters to bring their ideas to air and to make sure they adhere to BBC editorial guidelines.

In the run up to Christmas, Today will also broadcast items from the guest edit archive. Throughout December the programme will showcase some of the most surprising items suggested by Today guest editors over the last two decades, including recordings from Jarvis Cocker and PD James’ programmes.

Owenna Griffiths, Editor of the Today programme, says: "Over the past twenty years, the guest editors on Today have become a highlight of the Christmas period. This year is no exception. I'm enormously grateful to all these guest editors who will give up their time to bring new stories, different perspectives and a little festive cheer to the Today audience."

The Today programme has welcomed various Guest Editors over the years, including Prince Harry, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Lord Botham, Greta Thunberg, Angelina Jolie, Raheem Stirling, Prue Leith, Benjamin Zephaniah, Melinda Gates, George the Poet, Jarvis Cocker, Lewis Hamilton and Professor Stephen Hawking.

Transmission details

Saturday 23 December – Monday 1 January (no programme on Christmas Day and Sundays)

Monday to Friday 6-9am; Saturday 7-9am

Source BBC Radio 4

November 24, 2023 4:00am ET by BBC Radio 4  

, ,

  Shortlink to this content:


Latest Press Releases