Broadcasting Group

Broadcasting Group Committee


Roger Bolton began his broadcasting career in 1967 when he joined the BBC as a trainee. He stayed with the Corporation for twenty years and edited the Panorama, Nationwide and Tonight programmes, eventually becoming Deputy Head of Current Affairs. In 1983 he was made Head of Network Production in Manchester overseeing series such as Brass Tacks and In Search of the Trojan Wars. In 1986 he joined Thames Television as Editor of This Week and was responsible for the Death on the Rock documentary. His book Death on the Rock and Other Stories is published by W H Allen and Optomen.

As Controller of Factual Programmes at Thames Television he was responsible for a number of award-winning series, including The Kennedys (with PBS) and The Longest Hatred – A History of Anti-Semitism. For such work he was awarded the RTS Cyril Bennett Award for outstanding contribution to television programming. When Thames lost its franchise in 1992 he formed Roger Bolton Productions specialising in television programmes on religion and current affairs. The company produced BBC One’s Heart of the Matter from 1994 to 1997 and series such as “The Devil – An Unauthorised Biography” for the BBC. In 2000 they won the Andrew Cross Award and the Christian Broadcasting Council’s award for their BBC Two documentary Converting Convicts on the impact of religious conversions in Reading and Brixton jails.

Roger Bolton is now Chief Executive of Flame TV which he formed with Barbara Altounyan in 2001 making a wide variety of television programmes for terrestrial and digital channels. As a presenter he fronted Channel 4’s Right to Reply series for 6 years and has presented BBC Radio 4’s flagship religious news and current affairs programme Sunday since 1998. He is also known to Radio 4 audiences as the presenter of Feedback.

Siân Busby has worked in theatre, film and TV, on both sides of the footlights/ camera. After university she trained in film production, and was Bill Bryden’s assistant on the TV version of the National Theatre’s Mysteries; followed by five years with Opera Factory/London Sinfonietta, working on TV versions of several operas. Since 1985 she has worked on over 250 productions, as a researcher/writer, film editor, assistant director, producer and director. Her extensive experience encompasses live events, dance and opera film, and documentaries. She has worked all over the world with top international artists and companies. In 2000, she directed the acclaimed TV-film version of an 18-hour classical Chinese opera, The Peony Pavilion.

A trained dancer, she has made several experimental dance films and is the co-creator of numerous multi-media installations for public spaces including the Los Angeles Tolerance Museum and Hampton Court Palace in London. Her writing credits include scripted documentaries, an award-winning short film and three feature-length screenplays, as well as much educational writing. She wrote the script for the award-winning Holocaust Memorial Center in Detroit, which opened last year. Her first book, A Wonderful Little Girl: the True Story of Sarah Jacob, the Welsh Fasting Girl (2003) received widespread critical acclaim. Her second, The Cruel Mother, won the Mind Book of the Year award in 2005. A children’s book about Boudicca is due for publication early next year. She is currently working on a novel.

Edwina Currie was born in Liverpool, won a scholarship to Oxford University and took her Master’s degree in economic history at the London School of Economics. After a decade of public office in the city of Birmingham, she stood for Parliament in 1983 representing a Midlands seat for 14 years and serving in Margaret Thatcher’s government 1986-88, in the Department of Health. She resigned over food safety (salmonella) in December 1988, and turned down John Major’s request to return to government in 1992.

By then she was involved with career number two – writing. In all she has published ten books. She started with non-fiction, then turned to novels which have been translated into German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese and Polish. Her most recent work, This Honourable House, was published in July 2003. Edwina was a Whitbread Prize judge in 1998 and an Orange Prize reviewer in 2001. She has authored many articles, short stories and reviews of books in national press and magazines.

Career number three started after the General Election which brought Mr Blair to power. Edwina lost her seat, and was promptly offered a job by the BBC. For five years she made the successful weekend radio programme Late Night Currie and during the winter of 2002/3 Edwina presented two series of "Currie Night", a lively politics programme for HTV. Made in a nightclub with an under-25s audience it covered topics including immigration and asylum, drugs and crime in Bristol, and what it means to be British. A new series will be aired in 2004.

She also does TV presenting, and has appeared on most prime time TV shows in the UK and Ireland. For more information access Edwina Currie’s web site

David Docherty (Chair) is a businessman, novelist, academic and columnist for Broadcast and the Guardian. As the Deputy Managing Director of Television, he was responsible for all the UKTV channels, BBC America, BBC Prime and for establishing BBC Three. As the BBC’s first Director of New Media, he ran the team setting up, Europe’s most successful content web site. He also served as a Member of the Board of Management.

He left the BBC in 2000 to lead Telewest’s push into broadband media, and he was creatively responsbile for BlueYonder, Telewest’s award-winning broadband portal. He then moved on to became chief executive of YooMedia, the UK’s biggest independent interactive media group He left YooMedia in 2005 to develop a new convergence media company. He is Chairman of the University of Luton’s Board of Governors, and has served on several government committees on the future of media. He also served as a committee member of the Royal Television Society. His novels include: The Fifth Season, The Killing Jar and The Spirit Death. Non-fiction consists of The Last Picture Show, Running the Show: 21 years of London Weekend Television and Violence in Television Fiction.

Michael Dobbs – biography to follow

Joe Dunlop – biography to follow

Sarah Lefanu was born in Aberdeen in 1953, was educated in a number of schools in Scotland, East Africa and England, and at Newnham College, Cambridge. She worked for ten years at The Women’s Press, and was responsible for their science fiction list. In the 1990s she edited a series of fiction anthologies: Despatches from the Frontiers of the Female Mind; Colours of A New Day: Writing for South Africa; How Maxine Learned to Love Her Legs and Other Tales of Growing Up; Letters from Home; God; Obsession; Sex, Drugs, Rock’n’Roll: Stories to End the Century. She is the author of In the Chinks of the World Machine: Feminism and Science Fiction (winner of the MLA Emily Toth Award) and, more recently, the biography Rose Macaulay. Her radio play about Rose Macaulay, Thin Woman in a Morris Minor, was broadcast on Radio 4.

She has been the presenter of Radio 4’s A Good Read and Radio 3’s Cabinet of Curiosities, and has contributed to Afternoon Story and Radio 3’s Twenty Minutes. She has done numerous abridgements for Book of the Week and Book at Bedtime (including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Life on Air, Mary Reilly, Purple Hibiscus). Since 2003 Sarah has been Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival. She has three children and has lived in North Somerset since 1991.

Nell Leyshon – biography to follow

Anne Sebba’s first job was in the Arabic Services of the BBC. She left this for Reuters in London and Rome where she made regular news broadcasts for LBC for six years. Since then she has pursued a freelance career as a writer and broadcaster.

She has contributed to a variety of radio and television programmes including Start the Week, Woman’s Hour and the Richard and Judy show. She has just completed her first radio play about the trial of William Bankes. In 2003 Anne proposed and was Associate Producer for the Channel 4 award-winning documentary, The Saint Making Business.

Anne has written nine non-fiction books. Jennie Churchill, Winston’s American Mother will be published by John Murray in UK and WW Norton in US. Her other books include The Rise of the Woman Reporter and The Exiled Collector, Enid Bagnold: A Life; Laura Ashley: A Life by Design; Mother Teresa, Beyond the Image; Battling For News, William Bankes and the Making of an English Country House. Her books have been translated into Czech, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Japanese and Zulu. Anne has an interest in the future of biographies in the digital age and recently addressed a British Library Multidisciplinary Colloquium on Memory where scientists and doctors examined the issue with writers and broadcasters.

She is on the Executive of English PEN and is a member of the Richmond Arts Council Books Advisory Committee. She is a trustee of YAD, a charity that aims to bring Palestinians and Israelis together through culture. In 2007 she is a judge on the Wingate prize for fiction and non fiction as well as the Biographer’s Club prize for an unpublished biography by a first time author.

Michelene Wandor is a playwright, poet, fiction writer and musician. She is the first woman playwright to have had a drama on one of the National Theatre’s main stages – The Wandering Jew, in 1987, the same year her adaptation of The Belle of Amherst won an International Emmy for Thames TV.

Her radio plays include Orlando and Friends and Corridors of Light and Shadow (Radio 3) and her dramatisations for Radio 4 include novels by Dostoyevsky, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Kipling, H.G. Wells, Sara Paretsky and Margaret Drabble. She has written two influential books on gender and contemporary theatre, Carry on, Understudies, and Postwar British drama: Looking Back in Gender, and she also reviews and broadacsts regularly on Radios 3 and 4.

In 2002 she received a Millennium Lottery Fund Award, to make a CD of the music of Salamone Rossi, the 17th century Jewish Mantuan composer. Her poetry, Gardens of Eden Revisited and her most recent collection of short stories, False Relations are published by Five Leaves. She has been teaching Creative Writing in all three genres for over two decades, and is currently writing a book about the subject for Palgrave Macmillan.

Nick Warburton – biography to follow


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