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The Hardtalk programme titles
|Created by||BBC News|
|Theme music composer||David Lowe|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Location(s)||Studio A / C, Broadcasting House, London|
|Running time||25 Minutes|
|Original channel||BBC News
BBC World News
BBC World Service
BBC Two (2013-)
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)
|Original run||1997 – present|
Hardtalk (styled as HARDtalk) is a flagship BBC television and radio programme, consisting of in-depth half-hour one-on-one interviews.
It is broadcast four days a week (Monday to Thursday) on BBC World News and the BBC News channel. Launched in 1997, much of its worldwide fame is due to its global reach via BBC World. Until early 2005, the host was Tim Sebastian, whose famous, and sometimes controversial, style of tough questioning brought a huge world audience to the show. It is normally broadcast late at night on the BBC News Channel. Until the mid-2000s, it was broadcast at around 11:30 pm, but in more recent times it has been broadcast an hour later at 12:30 am.
Since 2006, the show has been presented by Stephen Sackur, who was previously the BBC's correspondent in Washington and Brussels and who is an experienced interviewer who has grilled U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He is occasionally replaced by several other well-known BBC presenters such as Zeinab Badawi, Carrie Gracie and Sarah Montague. Other occasional presenters have included Jon Sopel, David Jessel, Lyse Doucet, Nisha Pillai, Noel Thompson, Mishal Husain and Katya Adler.
Guests have included the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, South African President Thabo Mbeki, popular musician Boy George and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Heads of state interviewed in 2012 included Burmese President Thein Sein, who long led Burma's military junta ("the interview made headlines around the world"); and President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, who "rarely gives interviews" and whom Sackur subsequently described as having a "bunker mentality" and as "living in a parallel universe, a place where embarrassment does not exist". In 2010 Sackur interviewed President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who "rarely grant[ed] extended interviews to the western media". Many key principle players, members, ministers, confidantes and aides in Tony Blair's government have also appeared on the show including John Prescott, Peter Mandelson, Jonathan Powell and Sir Michael Barber and in December 2013 former Blair administration minister and current Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander was interviewed on the show".
Hardtalk Extra, a variant of Hardtalk, first aired in 2004 and was devoted to the world of arts and culture, with a particular focus on authors. The programme was usually presented by Gavin Esler or Mishal Husain. Guests included writers Paulo Coelho, Anita Desai, V. S. Naipaul, and Salman Rushdie, actress Angelina Jolie, and the actor Christopher Reeve.
Extra Time is another programme from the Hardtalk team, presented by Rob Bonnet and broadcast on both BBC World News and the BBC News channel, featuring people from the world of sport; it was revived for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Hardtalk began airing from Broadcasting House in October 2012.
- "HARDtalk's tough questions of 2012", Stephen Sackur, BBC
- "Hugo Chávez grants rare interview to western media", Stephen Sackur, The Guardian, 13 June 2010