Paul Merson was one of English football’s brightest stars in the 1990s. He was capped for England 21 times and scored 99 goals for Arsenal before transferring to Middlesborough for the then highest fee ever paid by a first division team. But throughout his career, Paul waged a very public battle with addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling, as depicted in his new memoir Hooked. He talks to Richard Coles and Nikki Bedi.
Jamie Laing grew up in Oxfordshire and Knightsbridge, attending prestigious public schools and moving in exclusive social circles. Despite never having had a “proper job”, Jamie has found fame in Made in Chelsea, made it to the final of Strictly Come Dancing, launched a successful confectionary brand and describes his journey in his new memoir I Can Explain.
Sue Tilley was once Lucian Freud’s favoured life model and his painting of her have broken auction house records - one sold for £35 million in 2015 and another belongs to Roman Abramovich after it was snapped up for a cool £17 million. But how did a long-time manager at a central London JobCentre light up the art world? And have the millions changed Sue’s perception of her own body and life?
The chance return of a box of family artefacts led listener Corinna Edwards-Colledge to trace the extraordinary history of her father Paul and uncle Roy. They were both involved the Surrealist art scene of the 50s and 60s, with her uncle living in Farley House with Roland Penrose and Lee Miller. She reveals how recovering their paintings and poetry has changed her understanding of them.
And we hear the Inheritance Tracks of comedian Tez Ilyas.
Producer: Laura Northedge
Editor: Richard Hooper
Annie Nightingale joins Nikki Bedi and Suzy Klein to talk about her 50 years in broadcasting, including being the first female DJ on Radio 1 and how her love of new music has led to her being the station's longest-serving broadcaster. Annie also explains why she owes a debt to The Beatles.
Ranger Jonathan Ford explains how his love of birds took him to live in Papa Westray, one of the smallest islands in Orkney.
Chef Poppy O’Toole lost her job and was inspired by her siblings to make PoppyCooks TikTok videos. She swiftly got 1.8 million followers and will talk about her new career path.
Neil Oliver shares his Inheritance Tracks: La Mer by Charles Trenet and Martha by Tom Waits.
Adam Andrusier was once an obsessive collector of autographs and his drive to collect signatures inspired Zadie Smith to write a story based loosely on his life. Adam’s obsession eventually turned into a profession, with roots going back to his father’s collecting habits.
Hey Hi Hello: Five Decades of Pop Culture from Britain's broadcasting DJ pioneer Annie Nightingale is out now in paperback.
Poppy Cooks: The Food You Need by Poppy O'Toole is out on the 16th September.
The Story of the World in 100 Moments by Neil Oliver is published on the 16th of September.
Two Hitlers and a Marilyn by Adam Andrusier is out now.
Producer: Claire Bartleet
Editor: Richard Hooper
Mo Gilligan, host of his own Bafta winning Friday night TV show, judge on the Masked singer, a comedian with sell out tours behind him, but only 5 years ago he was working the shop floor in retail, he joins us to talk about his journey into primetime.
Gavanndra Hodge's childhood was chaotic as both her parents had addiction problems, then tragedy struck and her little sister died. She reflects on loss and trauma.
Simon Amstell is a writer, director and stand up comedian who first came to prominence on Popworld then later on Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He’s since directed and written films and done stand up tours.
Saturday Live listener Yvonne Hausman wrote to us about her father, a London cabbie who in the 1960s and 70s garnered a reputation in Lincoln, Nebraska for giving his customers a slap up meal on a Friday night!
We have the Inheritance Tracks of writer Ann Cleeves, and your thank you.
Producer: Corinna Jones
Nikki Bedi and Richard Coles are joined by Bananarama – Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward - who tell us about surviving forty years in the music industry with hits including Venus, Robert De Niro’s Waiting and Cool Summer.
James Ketchell has circum-navigated the world by gyrocopter, as well as single-handedly rowing the Atlantic, climbing Everest, and cycling across the world.
Listener Mary Monro on retracing her father’s footsteps across China and the route he took after escaping from a Japanese prisoner of war camp in 1941.
Shanaze Reade is a five-time world champion cyclist in BMX and the team sprint - and a two time Olympian. She is taking part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins on Channel 4 in which 12 recruits are tested to the limit on a remote Scottish island.
And the Inheritance Tracks of author Lynda La Plante, who chooses The Great Pretender by The Platters and Nessun Dorma sung by Luciano Pavarotti.
Producer: Annette Wells
Actress and author Celia Imrie joins Nikki Bedi and Richard Coles to discuss her debut non-fiction novel, set against the backdrop of the sinking of the Titanic. Celia explains her family connections to the legendary ship and talks about her love of travel and career highlights.
Listener Nick Wharton got in touch about his adventures in climbing, and being reunited with his estranged father.
Tom Chapman is an award-winning barber who experienced a personal tragedy that led him to create The Lions Barber Collective, a charity which aims to support mental health by offering a safe space for people to talk. Tom's also just written his debut children’s book.
Singer Frankie Bridge shares her Inheritance Tracks: I Heard it Through the Grapevine sung by Marvin Gaye and Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin.
Restaurant critic, MasterChef guest judge and writer Grace Dent talks about the comfort food that she enjoys when not working, and how it’s inspired her new podcast. Grace also reflects on realising her childhood ambitions and her love of the Lake District.
Orphans of the Storm by Celia Imrie is out now.
How Hard Can It Be by Nick Wharton is out now.
The Mighty Lions & the Big Match by Tom Chapman is out now.
GROW: Motherhood, mental health & me by Frankie Bridge is out now.
New episodes of Comfort Eating with Grace Dent are released every Tuesday.
Producer: Claire Bartleet
Editor: Eleanor Garland