Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Bjorn Ulvaeus to guest edit Today programme

·3-min read

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Bjorn Ulvaeus will be guest editing BBC Radio 4’s Today programme over the Christmas period.

In previous years, the programme has handed over editorial control to public figures such as Prince Harry, Lewis Hamilton and Angelina Jolie and is airing this year during the week between Christmas and New Year.

It has also seen David Hockney, Raheem Sterling, Prue Leith, Melinda Gates, George the Poet, Jarvis Cocker, and Professor Stephen Hawking guest edit.

Owenna Griffiths, editor of the Today programme, said: “For nearly 20 years the guest editors have transformed Christmas on Today, creating some of the most memorable moments in the programme’s rich history along the way.

“This year is no different and I’m enormously grateful these guest editors have given up their time to bring new stories, unexpected perspectives and a little festive cheer to the Today audience.”

Abba Voyage
Bjorn Ulvaeus attending the Abba Voyage digital concert launch in London (Ian West/PA)

During this year’s festive period, Zaghari-Ratcliffe will look at how you hold on to freedom in difficult times for her programme.

The 44-year-old was imprisoned in Iran for six years until her release earlier this year.

In the radio show, she will also feature reporting on Iran and look at the British Government’s efforts to free UK prisoners.

Meanwhile, Ulvaeus and fellow member of ABBA Benny Andersson along with a choir have recorded a new arrangement of a track from ABBA’s 2021 album, Voyage.

Ulvaeus, 77, will also look ahead to Eurovision 2023 and why ABBA means so much to the LGBT+ community.

RUSI Security Lecture
Sir Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ (Yui Mok/PA)

Sir Jeremy Fleming will be the first Director of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to edit as he explores the opportunities and risks of data – from intelligence to competitive sport.

Chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver will use his programme to look for big ideas to improve child health and explore if doing good is good business.

The 47-year-old, who began his career with the series The Naked Chef, will feature some of the politicians he has persuaded to fight for his issues, child obesity and school meals, over two decades.

Kicking off the festive takeover on Boxing Day will be Lord Ian Botham, the former cricketer and chair of Durham County Cricket Club.

Anti-obesity strategy demonstration
Chef Jamie Oliver (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He supports a range of charities through Beefy’s Charity Foundation and will look at advances in the treatment and diagnosis of childhood leukaemia that have come about since he first started charitable fundraising for the cause in 1985.

Meanwhile, Anne-Marie Imafidon, 32, president of the British Science Association and author, will also guest edit.

The computer scientist wants to share new perspectives on science, problem solving and comedy on New Year’s Eve.

She was first interviewed on the Today when she was 11 and taking her GCSEs early.

To look at how we can support young people leaving the care system into employment, Sharon White, chairman of John Lewis, will close the guest edit series.

BBC Radio 4’s Today programme’s guest edits will air from December 26 to January 2, apart from on Sundays.