Profile

Profile

United Kingdom

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

Episodes

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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Catherine Corless  

Catherine Corless has made headlines around the world for exposing the horrifying story of a mass grave of almost 800 infants at a former institution for unmarried mothers run by nuns. Corless has been described as "Ireland's Erin Brockovich"; an ordinary woman and amateur historian who, in her dogged pursuit of the truth, took on the Catholic Church, the Irish government and members of her own community - and won. The case has shaken Ireland and provoked very difficult questions about how women and children were treated at Catholic institutions in the past. Presenter: Becky Milligan Producer: Ben Crighton.

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Philip Hammond  

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, made a U-turn on his Budget this week. Just seven days after announcing a rise in National Insurance Contributions for some self-employed people, the policy was reversed. It's been portrayed as a huge political setback for the man nicknamed 'spreadsheet Phil' But who is the man behind the headlines? Mark Coles finds out. Producer: China Collins.

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Sergey Kislyak  

Who is Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the heart of a massive global controversy? Sergey Kislyak - Russia's convivial Ambassador to Washington - has been in the eye of a media storm since it emerged that members of the Trump administration had undisclosed meetings with him in the run up to the 2016 US election. Kislyak is a career diplomat, having spent 35 years working for the Soviet and Russian governments. He has previously kept a low profile, favouring lavish dinners over media appearances to get his message across. But the recent controversy over the Trump administration's relationship with Russia has forced him into the spotlight. Mark Coles speaks to people who have worked with him and followed his career to get under his skin and find out where his career might go now that he's become such a controversial figure. Producer: Ben Crighton.

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Cressida Dick  

Cressida Dick - the newly-appointed Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police - is the first woman to lead the force in its 188-year history. Dick's career has been exceptional, but not without controversy. She was gold commander in the control room in the aftermath of the 2005 London bombings and was at the helm when the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police at Stockwell tube station. Her appointment as Commissioner is a comeback of sorts; in 2014 she quit the police to take up a job at the Foreign Office. Producer: Ben Carter.

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Naomie Harris  

From Finsbury Park to Hollywood; Edward Stourton looks at the life and career of the actress who played James Bond's first kick-ass, gun wielding Moneypenny.

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John Bercow  

The Speaker of the House of Commons - John Bercow - stunned MPs this week when he announced he was "strongly opposed" to US President Donald Trump addressing Parliament when he visits Britain. It's already led one Conservative backbencher to table a motion of no confidence in him. John Bercow is no stranger to controversy. His brutal put downs of MPs and ministers in the Commons have often grabbed the headlines. Bullied at school because he was short, he began his political career on the far right - a member of the notorious Monday Club. But over the years, in his own words, his political views have "mellowed" - to the point where many Tories now regard him as a traitor and plot to unseat him. On Profile this week, Mark Coles examines the highs and lows of Speaker Bercow's life and career. Producer Smita Patel Researcher Beth Sagar-Fenton.

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Simon Stevens  

Mark Coles profiles the man who runs NHS England. He oversees a workforce of one and a half million people, a budget of over £100 billion. According to some he's the fourth most powerful person in England. Producers: Beth Sagar-Fenton and Joe Kent.

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Mike Pence  

Becky Milligan profiles the man who could be the next President of America. Mild mannered, disciplined and a seasoned politician, Mike Pence was largely unknown until he was selected by Donald Trump to serve as his Vice-President. PRODUCERS: Beth Sagar Fenton and Joe Kent EDITOR Penny Murphy.

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Arlene Foster  

Arlene Foster had been hoping to celebrate her first twelve months in charge of Northern Ireland this week. Instead, she's found herself forced out of office. It's got little to do with religion, constitution or the almost four THOUSAND people who've lost their lives during political conflict over the decades. The DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister has had to step down in a bitter row over renewable energy subsidies. On Profile, Mark Coles looks back at Arlene Foster's life and career and the reasons behind this week's political upheavals. Producer Smita Patel Researcher Jordan Dunbar.

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Dippy the Diplodocus  

It's the end of an era. Dippy the dinosaur has left the building. Gifted to King Edward VII in 1905, a 70 foot long cast of a fossilised dinosaur skeleton discovered in America has been on display at London's Natural History Museum for more than a century. It's become the country's most recognisable museum exhibit - seen by an estimated 90 million people. Now it's being replaced by the real skeleton of a giant blue whale...Dippy's 292 plaster cast bones setting off instead on a nationwide tour. On Profile this week, Mark Coles examines how Dippy the replica Diplodocus has become a national treasure. Producer Smita Patel Researcher Beth Sagar-Fenton.

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David Davis  

David Davis will be a major figure in the coming year as minister in charge of Brexit. In this week's Profile, Chris Bowlby hears how he was was shaped by a council house upbringing, SAS training, a turbulent political career and a significant love of sugar. Producer: Smita Patel Researchers: Sarah Shebbeare & Serena Tarling Editor: Penny Murphy.

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Raymond Briggs  

On Profile this week we explore the life and career of one of the world's best loved children's illustrators. Over the last half century - much to his horror - Raymond Briggs has become a part of Christmas. Two books about a grumpy Father Christmas have become bestsellers. The film adaptation of his 1978 picture book 'The Snowman' has been shown on TV every Christmas for the past three decades. And now, this Christmas, the BBC is screening 'Ethel And Ernest' - a new film of Briggs' 1998 book about his parents. Mark Coles talks to Raymond Briggs' family and friends to find out what his books are really about. Producer: Smita Patel Researcher Sarah Shebbeare Editor: Richard Knight.

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The White Helmets  

Amid the carnage of civil war there is an organisation in Syria committed to saving lives. They are called Syria Civil Defence but they are better known as 'The White Helmets'. They have over 3000 members in rebel-held areas. When an air attack hits, they rush towards the scene to look for survivors trapped under collapsed buildings. To many, they are heroes. Others suspect a conspiracy and question whether video footage of the White Helmets at work is even real. Mark Coles tells the story of the White Helmets in the week when Aleppo was brought back under Syrian government control. Producers: Alex Burton and Phoebe Keane.

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Arron Banks  

Skinny dipping with Nigel Farage, punching a business partner, and bankrolling Brexit - Edward Stourton tells the story of Arron Banks. What next for the man who spent more than £7 million campaigning for Britain to leave the EU? Producers: Ed Davey and Joe Kent.

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Sharon White  

On Profile this week Mark Coles looks at the life and career of Sharon White. The daughter of immigrant parents who came to Britain from Jamaica in the 1950s, she rose rapidly through the ranks of the civil service to become one of the most powerful women in Whitehall. In March 2015, she became chief executive of the communications regulator, Ofcom. The watchdog is in the news this week for trying to force BT to legally separate from Open Reach which runs the country's broadband network.

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Michel Barnier  

Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK are months away. And - as we keep hearing - there will be no discussion before notification (of the now infamous Article 50). But we do know who will represent the EU in those negotiations: the French politician Michel Barnier, who met his counterpart David Davis this week. Born in the Savoie region in south-east France, Barnier has been a committed Gaullist since he was a teenager. At 27 he made history in France by becoming the youngest MP ever elected. And in 1992 he took great pride in bringing the Winter Olympics to his region. His allies say he is a reasonable, sensitive negotiator. His critics tell us he can be self-important and cold. Everyone agrees he will be fiercely committed to defending the EU's interests in the complex Brexit negotiations ahead. Presenter: Becky Milligan Producers: Smita Patel and Alex Burton.

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