For the last two decades, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme has entrusted the editorial control to prominent public figures during the week spanning Christmas to New Year. This year, seven Guest Editors, including musician Ellie Goulding and presenter James May, will take the reins of the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs programme throughout the festive season.

The lineup for this year consists of:

  • Andrew Malkinson – exonerated this year after wrongly serving 17 years in prison
  • Ellie Goulding – musician, activist, and philanthropist
  • Dame Emma Walmsley – CEO of the global biopharma company GSK
  • Hanif Kureishi – Author and screenwriter
  • James May – Presenter of Grand Tour and former Top Gear
  • Professor Jason Arday – sociologist, writer, and fundraiser
  • Dr Nicky Fox – Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

Each of them will act as a guest editor for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme from Saturday, 23rd December, to Monday, 1st January. Every program will feature an interview with the respective Guest Editor.

The Guest Editor series commences on 23rd December with NASA’s Head of Science, Dr Nicky Fox, exploring science education and the impact of outer space on music.

A year ago, Hanif Kureishi suffered life-changing injuries in a fall in Rome. On Boxing Day, exactly one year since the incident, he will delve into the effects of his injuries on his family and how they have influenced his writing.

On 27th December, James May will take charge, discussing the future of autonomous cars and whether hobbies contribute to improved health and well-being.

Musician and activist Ellie Goulding will use her programme on 28th December to examine climate and nature stories and initiatives making the music industry more sustainable.

Andrew Malkinson, wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 17 years, will share his experience on 29th December, focusing on the psychological impacts of wrongful detention, barriers to education in prison, and the role of science and astronomy in his resilience.

On 30th December, Professor Jason Arday will address the stigma and shame linked to low literacy in adults, drawing from his own experiences and exploring 90s culture.

Dame Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK, will conclude the Guest Editor series on New Year’s Day, taking an optimistic look ahead at how people, businesses, and society can become healthier in the UK.

Each editor will receive support from Today producers and reporters to bring their ideas to the air, ensuring compliance with BBC editorial guidelines.

In the lead-up to Christmas, Today will feature items from the guest edit archive, showcasing some of the most surprising contributions from guest editors over the last two decades.

Owenna Griffiths, Editor of the Today programme, says: “Over the past twenty years, the guest editors on Today have become a highlight of the Christmas period. This year is no exception. I’m enormously grateful to all these guest editors who will give up their time to bring new stories, different perspectives and a little festive cheer to the Today audience.”

Over the years, the Today programme has hosted various Guest Editors, including Prince Harry, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Lord Botham, Greta Thunberg, Angelina Jolie, Raheem Stirling, Prue Leith, Benjamin Zephaniah, Melinda Gates, George the Poet, Jarvis Cocker, Lewis Hamilton, and Professor Stephen Hawking.

Transmission details:

Saturday 23 December – Monday 1 January (no programme on Christmas Day and Sundays)
Monday to Friday 6-9 am; Saturday 7-9 am