Mo Ali started out as an award winning music video director, working with some of the most innovative artists in the UK’s urban music scene, including Skepta, Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk and Lethal B. and has since gone on to direct award wining feature films including Shank (2010) and Montana (2014) and the documentary Somaliland (2018). He regularly gives inspirational talks as part of our BFI Film Academy.
Denys Baptiste was born in Hounslow, West London of St Lucian parents and is a gifted tenor saxophonist, award-winning jazz artist, composer, educator and radio presenter. He was prompted towards jazz after hearing his father's record collection and although his roots are steeped in the jazz tradition, he incorporates ideas from other musical forms and popular culture.
Sir Quentin Blake
Sir Quentin Blake was born in 1932 and has drawn ever since he can remember. His first drawings were published in Punch while he was 16 and still at school and has since gone on to illustrate nearly 300 books as well as teach at the Royal College of Art. As well as winning multiple awards for his work, he was also the first ever Children’s Laureate and in 2013 was knighted for his services to illustration.
Samantha Bond was born in London to an actor father and producer mother and destined to be an actress herself, trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She is perhaps best known for her role as Miss Moneypenny to Pierce Brosnan's Bond and Dame Judi Dench's 'M' in four of the Bond movies but has multiple TV, film and theatre credits in national and international productions.
Patricia Ngozi Ebigwei was born in 1954 in a taxicab between two villages in the Bendel Igbo region of rural Nigeria in the middle of the horrific Biafran civil war. Aged sixteen, she left Nigeria and moved to London, she changed her name to Patti Boulaye after a chance meeting with Evelyn Laye, known affectionately as “Boo” to her friends. She made her name as a West End actress and recording star and her illustrious international career includes starring roles on stage and screen as well as working as a writer, producer and teacher. She is now a Governor of BADA the famous drama academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) as well as an artist and charity fundraiser.
Katie Derham was an arts correspondent for ITN before becoming the youngest-ever newsreader on British national television at just 27 and has since gone on to co-present the ITV Lunchtime News and London Tonight and work as a consumer affairs correspondent and film reporter for the BBC. As well as her TV journalism she has also hosted the classical Brits and worked extensively as a radio presenter.
Jenny Eclair was born Jenny Clare Hargreaves on 16 March 1960 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is regarded as one of the country's funniest women. Her trademark high-octane performances and earthy, eyebrow raising routines, helped her to become the first woman to win the coveted Perrier Award. Jenny started out writing punk poetry and after a career change to stand up comedy Jenny adopted the name 'Eclair' after pretending to be French whilst in Blackpool. She has since gone on to write and star in multiple one-woman shows as well as being a regular guest on radio and TV comedy shows, most famously Grumpy Old Women, and gain a reputation as a writer of novels, plays and newspaper columns.
Frederick Forsyth CBE, born in 1938 in the small Kentish market town of Ashford. Attended school locally and in Tonbridge. Left in a cloud of mutual relief at seventeen. After a spell in the RAF he entered journalism including four years as a foreign correspondent for Reuters and two and a half with the BBC. There was a basic disagreement over how to cover the Biafra war, so he was asked to leave. He worked freelance covering the conflict until Biafra collapsed. Returned to London and wrote a book in a fit of money-lust. Called it The Day of the Jackal. Took it to several discerning publishers who asked him to leave. Finally accepted by Hutchinson and has been scribbling ever since.
Henry Goodman was born in Whitechapel and grew up in London's East End. He began his professional career at age ten when he was cast as one of a group of Jewish children smuggled out of a concentration camp in the WWII drama Conspiracy of Hearts (1960). Six years later, he directed the stage musical Love from Judy which featured his sister and twin brother in the cast. He has since acted in numerous plays for the National Theatre, RSC and in the West End, winning two Olivier awards and garnering critical praise as well as featuring in a huge variety of films and TV series.
David Harewood, MBE, was born in Birmingham and got his start in acting by winning a place on a six-week course at the prestigious National Youth Theatre and then went on to earn a coveted place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where he shed his distinctive "Brummie" accent. His theatre career has spanned the UK, Broadway and international tours workgn with Sam Mendes and Vanessa Redgrave amongst others. As well as numerous films and British TV shows he is probably best know for his role in the hit US TV series Homeland.
Anish Kapoor, CBE, is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. He was born in Bombay in 1954 and has lived in London since the early 70’s when he studied at Hornsey College of Art (1973-77) and Chelsea School of Art Design (1977-78). He frequently makes trips back to India, and has acknowledged that his work is inspired by both Western and Eastern culture. He has created works for multiple solo and groups shows and has represented Britain at the Venice Bienale, as well as having solo shows at the Royal Academy and winning the Turner Prize. His large outdoor sculptures are to be found in cities and installations across the world.
Martha began her career at LBC/IRN Radio, where she worked as a phone operator and a news information researcher, a reporter, a presenter and a lobby correspondent before spending a year on A Week in Politics for Channel 4. She has since gone on to be a reporter or presenter on Woman’s Hour, The World at One, The Today programme and PM on Radio Four and Newsnight Review and Newsnight (where she became political editor) on BBC2. Martha was nominated for a BAFTA award for her coverage of the Northern Ireland Peace Process in 1998. She was (with Jenni Murray) 2004 TRIC Radio Presenter of the Year and won a Sony Bronze Award for a special on child poverty.
Soweto Kinch is a British jazz alto saxophonist, composer, music arranger, lyricist MC, rapper, artist educator and an actor. He is one of the most exciting and versatile young musicians to hit the British Jazz and Hip Hop scenes in recent years. He first became interested in music at the tender age of eight quickly developing a fondness for the alto saxophone. Soweto's musical influences are as broad as they are diverse, having been inspire by Jazz, West Indian music and recently baroque and early classical music due to an interest he has in the 17th and 18th century black population of Britain. He has been nominated for the Mercury Prize and he won the MOBO Award for Best Jazz Act 2003. He runs his own youth arts/music project in Birmingham, The Live Box and has a passion for youth engagement.
Adrian Lester OBE trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and soon became one of the UK's most celebrated and versatile actors. After receiving critical acclaim for his work on stage and on the big screen, he became a household name playing Mickey ‘Bricks’ Stone in the hit con drama Hustle (BBC1) alongside Robert Vaughan and Robert Glenister. He has a long, varied and highly celebrated list of film, TV and theatre credits, including winning the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Bobby in Sam Mendes’s Donmar Warehouse production of Company, plus multiple Time Out Awards for Best Actor in other productions. He received an OBE in the New Year's Honours list 2013, for services to drama and recently hosted the Student Share of our Disney Musical in Schools programme.
Michael Rosen is one of the best-known figures in the children's book world, he is renowned for his work as a poet, performer, broadcaster and scriptwriter and is the author of 140 books. Michael was appointed as the fifth Children's Laureate in 2007, an honour he held until 2009. He visits schools around the world to enthuse children with his passion for books and poetry. He also lectures and teaches in universities on children's literature, reading and writing.
Gary Wilmot is an English singer, actor, and comedian whose innumerable guest appearances on television culminated in several of his own TV series, and gained him a national star profile. As a singer, Gary’s solo albums include Love Situation, The Album recorded at the historic Abbey Road Studio with the London Symphony Orchestra and Double Standards, described as an album of jazz classics past, present and future.
Richard Wilson has had a long career both as an actor and a director with many great roles to his name, today he is one of television's most familiar faces. Richard has won many awards including the British Comedy Awards Top Television Comedy Actor Award and two BAFTAs. In 1994 he was awarded an OBE for his services to drama, as a director and actor.
Samuel West is an English actor, theatre director and voice actor. On stage he has played the title roles in Richard II and Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company, winning the Critics’ Circle award for Hamlet. He has directed on stage and radio, and worked as an actor across theatre, film, television and radio. He often appears as reciter with orchestras and performed at the Last Night of the Proms in 2002.
Zoë Wanamaker CBE is one of the world's most respected and admired actresses on stage, film, television and radio. She has been nominated for a staggering ten Olivier Awards and won twice: for Once in a Lifetime and Electra, for which she also won the Variety Club Award. In the US she has been nominated for four Tonys: for Electrain Electra, Toine in Piaf, Fay in Loot and Bessie Berger in Awake and Sing!, which received the Tony for Best Ensemble.
Sharman MacDonald is a former actress and is now a successful playwright, screenwriter and novelist. Sharman gave up acting to write, her plays include the award-winning When I Was A Girl I Used to Scream and Shout, The Brave, When We Were Women, All Things Nice, Shades, The Winter Guest, Sea Urchins, After Juliet, The Girl With Red Hair and Broken Hallelujah. Her two novels are The Beast and Night Night. Her screenplays include Wild Flowers, The Winter Guest and The Edge of Love.