Interview with Sir Bruce Forsyth CBE

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He has entertained American troops during WWII, prime time television audiences in the 1980s and students at Glastonbury. During a career that has spanned more than 70 years, successive generations have grown up with Sir Bruce at the heart of British television. The length of Sir Bruce’s career is well documented, less well-known is the story behind his rise to prominence in the 1940s and 50s.

Sir Bruce had no contacts and very little in the way of funding when he started performing dance routines in theatres around the country. To practice his acts he would have to tear up his parent’s carpets so he could use their floorboards and the pay from his first professional act didn’t even cover his transport home. He played second fiddle to major stage acts for 16 years before he hit the “big time” at the London Palladium in 1958. By the mid-Sixties Sir Bruce was the best paid entertainer on British television.

Sir Bruce Forsyth. Photo Courtesy: Getty/Huffington Post
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Interview with Chrissie Rucker, Founder of The White Company

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During a refurbishment of her boyfriend’s home Chrissie found it was impossible to find white home-wares in national retailers that were both affordable and good quality. After extensive market research she found that white bed linen, table covers, towels and china, were generally either poor quality and cheap or luxury items that were too expensive for the majority of consumers.

Chrissie launched The White Company as a mail order business in 1993 with the aim of providing excellent quality white products at an affordable price. She left her job as a beauty journalist on Harpers & Queen and started to build the business from scratch.

“We want it go be a great experience the minute you walk through the door. To be inspiring and exciting, inviting and welcoming, yet calm and serene. Some of our customers actually tell us they love it so much they often pop in just to calm down if they are having a bad day! We want it to be somewhere you love to spend time in, a bit like home really and somewhere you know you can trust the quality, advice and service.”

White Company Shop Front. Photo Courtesy: Ruck

Interview with Martha Lane Fox

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“I think this notion that it’s the individual and the cult of the entrepreneur troubles me somewhat. I don’t know many entrepreneurs that don’t have an amazing team around them and I was incredibly lucky that I have always had a great team around me. Brent is a really remarkable person, my family is really remarkable, my boyfriend has been extraordinary. I really mean that very profoundly, it’s made life a lot more fulfilling and I have been a lot more successful than if I had been alone. Obviously it is hard to praise yourself but I hope I have a not-totally-self-aware optimism so what I like to think is I believe in the possible”.

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Interview with Nigel Haywood, Governor of the Falkland Islands

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It’s one of the most important roles in British diplomacy, overseeing the administration of a group of islands 8000 miles away in the South Atlantic. It’s a role steeped in history, the first Governor took office in 1843, beginning of a period of continuous British oversight that was only interrupted in 1982 during the 74 days of Argentine occupation. Today the Governor has a very modern remit, set out in a series of continually updated acts of Parliament relating to the British Overseas Territories, but it is the tension with Argentina that still generates the greatest amount of attention in the islands.

Nigel’s career in the Foreign Office began after three years in the Army. He has since served in Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Austria and Hungary. Between 2003 and 2008 he was UK Ambassador to Estonia and later Consul-General, Basra. He became Governor in 2010 as well as Commissioner for the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, a group of  uninhabited islands in the South Atlantic with a total area of roughly 1,500 square miles. During his time on the Falkland Islands, provocations from Argentina’s government, led by Christina Fernandez, have often made headline news.

Photo Courtesy: The Sun/Scott Hornby

Interview with David Abraham, CEO of Channel 4

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The son of two immigrants, his mother was from Belgium and his father was from Calcutta, David Abraham grew up in rural Lincolnshire and Essex and went on to study History at Magdalen College, Oxford. Amazingly, David’s application to study television at postgraduate level was turned down by Middlesex Polytechnic and he started a career in advertising after a friend suggested the industry might also provide him with the opportunity to be involved in creative work.

David co-founded the groundbreaking advertising agency, St. Luke’s, which continues to work with major clients today. He moved out of advertising in 2001, becoming General Manager for Discovery in Europe and later joined UKTV as its Chief Executive. He is well known for having initiated the successful rebranding of the UKTV channels that saw the creation of the Dave, Alibi and Yesterday TV brands. David describes his career as having taken place in a series of roughly five to seven year periods, giving him time to learn and make a positive impact in each role. His advice is to stay in a role for long enough to have made a measurable achievement before moving onto the next challenge. More…

Photo Courtesy: Kirkby Monahan Publicity