Profile

Profile

United Kingdom

An insight into the character of an influential figure making news headlines

Episodes

Taylor Swift  

Becky Milligan profiles the pop superstar, Taylor Swift who has recently won a case against an ex-DJ over her claim that she was sexually assaulted when he groped her during a pre-concert photo opportunity in 2013. Taylor Swift is a multi award winning, platinum selling American singer-songwriter. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, before moving to Nashville, Tennessee at age 14 to pursue a career in country music. There, she was signed by an independent record label. Her second album released in 2008 when she was just 19 years of age, became the best-selling album of 2009 in the United States. The album won four Grammy Awards, cementing Taylor Swift's success which continues to go from strength to strength. Produced by Nina Robinson and Beth Sagar-Fenton.

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Moeen Ali  

This summer, Moeen Ali has broken several cricketing records. He's become the first player ever to score more than 250 runs and take 25 wickets in a four match Test Series Mark Coles profiles the spin-bowler and batsman - who grew up in the Midlands, started playing the sport at a young age, and who has inspired today's England fans to chant about his facial hair. Producers: Nina Robinson and Hannah Sander.

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Lady Brenda Hale  

Lady Brenda Hale has been announced as the new president of the UK Supreme Court - the first woman to hold the post. Lady Hale has a long track record as a female pioneer in the legal profession and has been critical of the lack of diversity within the judicial system. Born in Yorkshire, she was an outstanding student, passing the 11 plus exam a year early. She took a different route into the judiciary, having pursued a career as a legal academic first, rather than spend years working as a barrister. After becoming a part time judge while working for the Law Commission - the body which promotes law reform - she then went quickly through the ranks sitting in the Court of Appeal and then the House of Lords. She became the first female justice at the Supreme Court and then its first female deputy president - and will take on role of President in October. Mark Coles talks to friends, family and colleagues about about her distinguished career - and early love for Cliff Richard. Producer: Jordan Dunbar.

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Chris Evans  

Mark Coles profiles the broadcaster Chris Evans, who this week made headlines after his 2.2 million pound salary was revealed in the BBC's Annual Report.

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Rob Goldstone  

Mark Coles profiles Rob Goldstone, the man at the centre of the Donald Trump junior/Russia saga. This week it emerged that Rob Goldstone fixed a meeting between Donald Trump junior and a Russian lawyer. Goldstone had reportedly sent an email to Trump junior before the meeting saying that the Russian lawyer could offer damaging information about Hillary Clinton - and that the material was part of a Russian government attempt to boost his father's presidential campaign. So how did this tabloid journalist turned music PR from Manchester gain access to the inner circle of the Trump family and the Russians? Producers: Smita Patel and Kate Lamble.

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman  

The Gulf region is in crisis this weekend after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt condemned Qatar's response to a series of demands they've made. Qatar's four Arab neighbours broke links with the Gulf emirate a month ago accusing it of supporting terrorism. On this week's Profile, Mark Coles looks at one of the key players in the dispute....Saudi Arabia's new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Producer Smita Patel Researcher Kate Lamble Editor Richard Vadon.

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Sir Martin Moore-Bick  

Mark Coles profiles Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the retired judge leading the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire Sir Martin was born in Wales and educated at Cambridge. His career has spanned nearly five decades after being called to the Bar in 1969. As a lawyer, he specialised in commercial law which involved dealing with disputes relating to maritime and land transport of goods. He was a judge for more than twenty years in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2016. Producers: Smita Patel and Jordan Dunbar.

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Emmanuel Macron  

Emmanuel Macron has become France's youngest-ever President at the age of 39. He created a new political movement out of nothing and defeated the populist Marine Le Pen of the Front National. But who is the former banker and civil servant and how did he rise so far so fast? The BBC's Paris Correspondent Lucy Williamson speaks to his old friends, his biographer, his voice coach and his political colleagues to find out how this son of two provincial doctors - who once dreamed of being a novelist or actor - has made it to the top of French politics.

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Leo Varadkar  

Mark Coles looks at the life of Leo Varadkar, head of Fine Gail, the country's governing centre right party and the newly appointed Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland. Varadkar has made history in Irish politics. The country's first openly gay leader and at 38, its youngest ever. He's the son of an Indian GP and Irish nurse, who followed in family footsteps to become a doctor. Aged just eight, he expressed his desire to become health minister, a position he would come to hold in his early political career. Interviews include: his oldest friend Andy Garvey, close friend Nollaig Crowley, former teacher John Rafter, Noel Whelan, a political columnist with the Irish Times & the Irish politician Paschal Donohoe. Producer Smita Patel Researcher Sarah Shebbeare Editor Penny Murphy.

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Arlene Foster  

Arlene Foster's Democratic Unionist Party now holds the balance of power, after elections this week. Some people have suggested that all the parties lost - but across the Irish Sea one party definitely won. Only with their votes can the Conservatives get things through the House of Commons. Which makes Arlene Foster possibly the most powerful woman in Britain. Mark Coles takes an updated look at the former first minister of Northern Ireland. Producer Smita Patel Editor Richard Vadon Researcher Jordan Dunbar.

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Cornelia Parker  

Mark Coles profiles sculptor and installation artist Cornelia Parker, this year's official election artist. Parker's work has involved spectacular acts of destruction, from flattening brass band instruments, to dismantling old barns and blowing up sheds. As Parker roams the country observing the election campaign, Coles speaks to her friends and peers about how she went from a childhood spent in rural Cheshire where she struggled to fit in, to Turner Prize-nominated artist.

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David Lynch  

Mark Coles profiles the director David Lynch, whose classic TV series Twin Peaks has just returned to the screen after 25 years. Obsessed with drawing and painting from an early age, Lynch's mother didn't even allow him colouring books in case they halted his artistic development. Despite dropping out of art school, Lynch first made his name with surreal short films before directing the cult hit Eraserhead. There was further success with The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet before Twin Peaks brought his work to a mainstream TV audience. Alongside his film work, Lynch has also produced paintings, photographs of abandoned factories, musical collaborations, and even designed nightclubs. A continual stream of creative output fuelled by Transcendental Meditation.

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Robert Mueller  

Mark Coles profiles Robert Mueller who's just been appointed as special counsel to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the US election. Mueller retired as director of the FBI four years ago, but now finds himself centre stage again. The squared-jawed Princeton graduate was decorated for bravery during the Vietnam War before training as a lawyer. Dissatisfied with private practice, he found a government job as assistant US attorney in San Francisco - a move which marked the beginning of a steady climb to the top of law enforcement in America. Robert Mueller became FBI director one week before the 2001 World Trade Center attacks and over the next twelve years transformed the organisation, moving thousands of staff from criminal investigations into counter terrorism and security. Yet surprisingly little is known about him personally.

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Kelvin MacKenzie  

Former editor and columnist of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie is to leave the paper after comparing Everton footballer Ross Barkley to a gorilla. It's not the first time MacKenzie has attracted controversy. In 1989, under his editorship, The Sun published a story claiming that Liverpool fans urinated on police, pick-pocketed the dead and prevented policemen giving the kiss of life to some of the victims at Hillsborough. It proved to be, as the paper later admitted, the "most terrible blunder" in The Sun's history and one for which Kelvin Mackenzie would be personally blamed. There have been allegations of bullying in the workplace and humiliating colleagues. But, as Becky Milligan hears, he's also considered to be a brilliant editor with an instinct for knowing exactly what his readers want. So is there a softer, more sensitive side to the abrasive newspaper man?

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Jean-Claude Juncker  

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has been called 'the chief Eurocrat' by the British press and accused of looking to bully Britain during the Brexit negotiations. But what do we know about the man Theresa May has promised to be 'a bloody difficult woman' to? One of the longest serving democratically elected leaders in the world, Juncker was Prime Minister of Luxembourg for eighteen years. A workaholic, with a famously informal greeting style that sometimes involves affectionately slapping world leaders, Juncker has developed a political reputation as a negotiator, skilled at finding compromises between two sides. But in his spare time, he's a pinball wizard.

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Aretha Franklin  

Aretha Franklin has won hearts - and 18 Grammy awards - with her astonishing voice. But this week a bust up with another iconic singer revealed her spikier side. Always a sensation on stage, there have been struggles off it. Mark Coles talks to people who grew up with and have worked with the Queen of Soul.

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Sam Warburton  

Welsh rugby union star Sam Warburton has been given perhaps the game's most prestigious role - captain of the British & Irish Lions - for a second time. Mark Coles talks to those who know him, as he prepares to lead the team against the mighty All Blacks.

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Rex Tillerson  

On Profile this week, we look at the life and career of new US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. He flew to Moscow this week to urge Russia to abandon its support for Syria's President Assad following the chemical weapons on a town in northern Syria earlier this month. It seems he came away empty handed, with Donald Trump warning that relations between Russia and the US were now at "an all-time low". So who is Rex Tillerson ? Mark Coles gets to grips with Tillerson's past : his formative years in the Scouts, his time as a drummer at university, the four decades spent at oil and gas giant ExxonMobil where he ended up as CEO and his controversial business ties with Russia which now hang over his new role as America's top diplomat.

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Gibraltar  

Becky Milligan profiles Gibraltar, the tiny British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of the Iberian coast which made headlines this week. First, Spain raised its 300-year-old claim on the territory in draft guidelines for Brexit negotiations. Then Michael Howard, a former Conservative Party leader, appeared to suggest Britain would go to war to keep it. So what is the story of 'the rock'? Producer: Smita Patel.

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Eric Monkman  

University Challenge contestant Eric Monkman has become a social media sensation thanks to his intense delivery and incredible general knowledge, with "Monkmania" sweeping the nation. But just how did he come to know so much? And do we - in an age when we're supposedly sick of experts - need a hero like Monkman? Mark Coles finds out.

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