Amol Rajan interviews the era-defining pioneers, leaders and maverick thinkers who are shaping our rapidly changing 21st-century world. More
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Billionaire Bill Gates talks to Amol Rajan about wealth, conspiracy theories and recent controversies. They visit a remote region outside Nairobi in Kenya, where Gates supports local farms and hospitals through his charitable foundation for a rare, in-depth interview with the tech entrepreneur.
Gates has spent much of his life being the richest man on earth, excelling at school, founding Microsoft and helping to realise his vision of having a computer on every desk in every home. His public image has changed over the years, from geek to business titan and philanthropist. In recent years he’s become the subject of endless conspiracy theories and has attracted unfavourable headlines on the subject of his divorce and his association with Jeffrey Epstein. In this challenging and personal interview, Rajan tackles these issues head on, talking to Gates about his early success, his wealth, how he uses it now and the controversies that have arisen over the years. In this unusually candid interview Gates is often revealing in his responses.
Producer Director - Suniti Somaiya
Series Producer - Elizabeth Needham-Bennett
Executive Producer - Tanya Hudson
Amol Rajan talks to 19-year-old Greta Thunberg, the climate activist who has become the unlikely voice of global youth.
Thunberg isn’t a politician or a scientist, nor is she the first to campaign against climate change. However, since overcoming severe childhood depression to focus the world’s attention on the plight of the planet, the Swedish student has become a symbol for a generation which – as she puts it – is not being listened to by older people who won’t suffer the consequences of not listening. In a challenging and wide-ranging conversation, Rajan discusses with Thunberg her latest book and interrogates some of the solutions it posits, to arrest climate change. They explore green policy, climate justice, greenwashing and the role of both politics and protest in effecting change. Thunberg also shares the personal cost she has paid in being a global game-changer and offers a rare insight into the real Greta Thunberg.
Billie Jean King
Amol Rajan talks to a true gamechanger: Billie Jean King. A record-breaking tennis player on the court, and a boundary-busting social activist off
the court, King dominated tennis whilst campaigning to get the women’s sport recognised and female athletes treated as equal to the men.
At her spiritual home of Wimbledon – where she holds the record for most career wins – King talks to Rajan about her lifelong battle for equality and inclusion, and how she has balanced her activism with both a record-breaking sports career and a tumultuous personal life. In a tennis career spanning nearly 30 years, Billie Jean King became the first female sports superstar, winning 39 Grand Slam titles and holding the world number one position for six years. As the first female athlete-activist, King transformed the women’s game. She and eight other renegades created professional women’s tennis
when they started the first ever women’s tennis tour in 1971. King then co-founded the Women’s Tennis Association and forced the US Open to
become the first Grand Slam tournament to offer equal prize money to its male and female players. During the 1970s, while at the very top of her game and height of her activism, King was contending with intense turmoil in her private life. News of an abortion she had was made public against her will, at a time before the Roe v Wade ruling made legal abortion a constitutional right in the US. Meanwhile, she struggled to come to terms with her homosexuality while married to a man, before being publicly outed. In 1981, King became the first prominent professional female athlete to speak publicly about her homosexuality and, as a result, lost all her endorsements overnight. In discussing her extraordinary life, Billie Jean King and Amol Rajan also touch on topical issues such as the sport world’s response to the war in Ukraine, trans athletes and mental health matters. This programme was recorded in June 2022.
Dame Sharon White
As part of a new series of interviews with gamechangers from the worlds of culture, business, sports and politics, Amol Rajan speaks to Dame Sharon
White, Chair of the John Lewis Partnership.
Overseeing a team of 80,000 partners working at branches and offices of supermarket Waitrose and department store John Lewis around the country, White took over the retailer in February 2020, just weeks before the coronavirus lockdown forced her to shut shops all over the UK. During her two years in the role, she has had to close 16 branches of John Lewis and make many staff redundant, in response to the unprecedented economic circumstances of the time. White tells Rajan about her upbringing in Leyton as the daughter of a Windrush generation family, her time at Cambridge University, her fast rise to the top of the Civil Service and then latterly her position as Chief Executive of media regulator Ofcom. After discussing topics like code-switching, class and social mobility, White and Rajan visit her childhood home, branches of John Lewis and Waitrose, before she shows him around the partnership’s main distribution centre, Magna Park in Milton Keynes, to show him a vision of the future of online retail.
In the latest of a series of interviews with gamechangers from the worlds of culture, business, sports and politics, Amol Rajan speaks to musician
As a songwriter and producer, Rodgers has worked on worldwide hits including David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Madonna’s Like a Virgin, Sister Sledge’s We Are Family and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. Rodgers tells Rajan about his childhood in 1960s New York City, with his mother only 14 years older than him, falling prey to drug addiction as she brought up her young son. Rajan finds out about the circumstances around Rodgers setting up the band Chic with his musical partner Bernard Edwards and the story behind their sensational record, Le Freak. As one of the most successful black men in the music industry, Rodgers reflects on the racism which still troubles America and the structural inequalities that come with music streaming, and he tells Rajan about the death of his mother in 2020.