Fern Britton Meets...

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Fern Britton Meets...
Genre Religion and ethics
Presented by Fern Britton
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 8
No. of episodes 33
Production
Producer(s) Anna Cox
Running time 60 minutes
Release
Original network BBC One
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release 29 November 2009 (2009-11-29) – present
External links
Website

Fern Britton Meets... is a British television talk show presented by Fern Britton which was first aired on BBC One during the four Sundays of Advent from 29 November to 20 December 2009. Each episode featured Britton interviewing a high-profile person about their life, career and religious beliefs. The programme attracted particular attention following an interview with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in which he discussed his thoughts about the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Summary[edit]

Each episode features Britton interviewing a different personality, with the discussion focussed on how the individual's beliefs have shaped their lives. The programme was the first to be presented by Britton since leaving the ITV daytime show This Morning earlier in the year and was seen as a chance for her to demonstrate her skills as a serious journalist.[1]

The series was announced in November 2009, and Britton said:

All the interviewees come from very different backgrounds but what binds them together is the fact that, although their faith has been challenged, they've emerged with strong spiritual beliefs.[2]

Episodes[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired
Series premiere Series finale
1 4 29 November 2009 20 December 2009
2 28 November 2010 19 December 2010
3 27 November 2011 18 December 2011
4 5 25 November 2012 23 December 2012
5 4 1 December 2013 22 December 2013
6 30 November 2014 21 December 2014
7 29 November 2015 20 December 2015
Special Goodbye 1 25 December 2015
8 4 27 November 2016 18 December 2016

Series 1[edit]

# Index Guest Date
1 1 Dolly Parton 29 November 2009 (2009-11-29)
1 2 Desmond Tutu 6 December 2009 (2009-12-06)
1 3 Tony Blair 13 December 2009 (2009-12-13)
1 4 Sheila Hancock 20 December 2009 (2009-12-20)

Series 2[edit]

# Index Guest Date
2 1 June Brown 28 November 2010 (2010-11-28)
2 2 Clarissa Dickson Wright 5 December 2010 (2010-12-05)
2 3 Jesse Jackson 12 December 2010 (2010-12-12)
2 4 Cliff Richard 19 December 2010 (2010-12-19)

Series 3[edit]

Guest Episode Date Interviewees
Ann Widdecombe 1 27 November 2011 Nicholas Kochan (Biographer)
Rev Roger Widdecombe (Nephew)
Helen Williams (School Friend)
Gyles Brandreth
Lord David Alton of Liverpool
Anton Du Beke (Dancer)
Katherine Jenkins 2 4 December 2011 Susan Jenkins(Mother)
Niki Sanderson (Publicist)
Polly Noble (Friend)
Eamonn Holmes (TV Presenter)
Beatrice Unsworth (Singing Teacher)
Colin Jackson (Athlete and Friend)
Tom Chambers (Actor and Friend)
Neil Fisher (The Times)
Mark Cann (British Forces Foundation)
Russell Watson 3 11 December 2011 Tim Watson (Dad)
Steve Gleave (Friend)
Rob Gleave (Friend)
Pete Reeves (DJ Piccadilly Radio)
Gordon Burns(Journalist)
Paul Hince (Sports Journalist)
James Leggate (Consultant Neurosurgeon)
Brian Blessed 4 18 December 2011 Stephen Fry (Friend)
Susan Engel (Actor and Friend)
John Paul Davidson (Friend)
Virginia McKenna (Actor and Friend)
Ros Blessed (Daughter)
Mark Lawson (Critic and Broadcaster)
Sir Trevor Nunn (Director Cats)

Series 4[edit]

Guest Episode Date Interviewees
Alfie Boe 1 25 November 2012 Neil Ferris (Manager)
John Owen Edward (D'Oyly Carte Opera)
Annie Benson (Alfie's Sister)
Ruth Carter (Preston Musical Comedy Society)
Matt Lucas (Actor and Friend)
John Barrowman 2 2 December 2012 Eve Myles (Actress)
Jodie Prenger (West End Actress)
Carole E Barrowman (Sister)
Myleene Klass (Friend)
Bernard Cribbins (Actor)
Phil Collinson (Producer)
Scott Gill (Partner)
Frank Bruno 3 9 December 2012 Dave Davies (Frank's Agent)
Sue Baker (Time to Change Campaign)
Lynette Bruno (Frank's Mother)
Colin Hart (Boxing Columnist, The Sun)
Mike Jackson (Sporting Club Charity)
Cass Pennant (Frank's Friend)
Daniel O’Donnell 4 16 December 2012 Gloria Hunniford (Friend)
Eddie Rowland (Biographer)
Margo O'Donnell (Daniel's Sister)
PJ Sweeny (Friend)
Majella O'Donnell (Daniel's Wife)
Pat Gallagher (Daniel O'Donnell Visitor Centre)
Dionne Warwick 5 23 December 2012 David Elliott (Dionne's Son)
Bette Midler (Singer and Actress)
Mary Wilson (The Supremes)
Burt Bacharach (Composer and Producer)
Steve Tyrell (Promoter and Producer)
Jools Holland (Musician and Presenter)
Gail Mitchell (Billboard Magazine)
Randy Lewis (LA Times)
Barry Manilow (Singer)

Series 5[edit]

Guest Episode Date Interviewees
Susan Boyle 1 1 December 2013 Paul O’Grady(Presenter and Friend)
Frank Quinn (University Lecturer and Friend)
Lorraine Campbell (School Friend)
Fred O’Neil (Singing Teacher)
Elaine C Smith (actress)
Yvie Burnett (Vocal Coach)
John Simpson 2 8 December 2013 John Humphries (Journalist and Presenter)
Nicholas Snowman (Friend)
Brian Brooks (Family Friend)
Julia Richards (Daughter)
John Sergeant (News Correspondent and Presenter)
Dee Kruger (TV Producer and John’s second wife)
Rev Dr Peter Elvy
Tom Giles (Editor, Panorama)
Ken Dodd 3 15 December 2013 Bishop James Jones(Friend)
Lord Michael Grade (Broadcaster)
Professor Ian Tracey (Friend and Liverpool Cathedral Organist)
Elizabeth Threadgold (Friend and Cathedral Volunteer)
Stephen Shakeshaft (Photographer)
Laurie Mansfield (President The Royal Variety Performance)
Roy Hudd (Comedian)
Peter Grant (Journalist)
Christine Ohuruogu 4 22 December 2013 Obi Ohuruogu (Christine’s brother)
Perri Shakes-Drayton (400m European Indoor Champion)
Rev Stennett Kirby (Vicar of All Saints Church, West Ham)
Gabrielle Bramwell (Christine’s Former Netball Coach)
Lloyd Cowan (Christine’s Coach)
Brendan Foster CBE (Broadcaster and Olympic Bronze Medallist)
Michael Beloff QC (Sports arbitration lawyer)
Katharine Merry (Broadcaster and 400m Olympic Bronze Medallist)

Series 6[edit]

Guest Episode Date Interviewees
Donny Osmond 1 30 November 2014 Marie Osmond (Sister)
Tony Prince (DJ Radio Luxembourg)
Maureen O’Halloran (Fan Club Manager)
David Hughes (Osmonds Press Officer)
Nina Myskow (Editor, Jackie Magazine 1974 – 1978)
Roger Holt (Promoter)
Tina McKenzie (Fan)
Nicholas Parsons 2 7 December 2014 Admiral Sir John Treacher (Friend)
Paul Merton (Comedian)
Suzy Buchanan (Daughter)
Justin Parsons (Son)
Barry Cryer (Comedian)
Carole Ashby (Sale of the Century Girl)
Giles Brandreth (Broadcaster)
Jenny Eclaire (Comedian)
Pam Ayres (Poet)
Annie Parsons (Wife)
Tanni Grey Thompson 3 14 December 2014 Sian Harrison (Sister)
Rt Hon Lord Neil Kinnock
Roy Anthony (First Coach)
Nicola Jarvis (Friend and Former Paralympian)
Martin Corck (Manager)
David Moorcroft (Former Head of UK Athletics)
Carys Grey-Thompson (Daughter)
Baroness Hollins
Richard Coles 4 21 December 2014 Will Coles (Brother)
Lorna Gradden (Manager, The Communards)
Helen Fielding (Author, Bridget Jones’s Diary)
June Miles-Kingston (Drummer, The Communards)
Annajoy David (Friend)
Ian Hislop (Private Eye)
Revd Kate Bottley (Gogglebox Vicar and Friend)
Sarah Jane Morris (Singer, The Communards)
Rev Giles Fraser (Friend)
Sara Maitland (Religious Author and Friend)
Chris Evans (Broadcaster)

Series 7[edit]

Guest Episode Date Interviewees
Shane Lynch 1 29 November 2015 Edele Lynch (Sister)
Tara Lynch (Sister)
Ronan Keating (Boyzone)
Keith Duffy (Boyzone)
Ben Ofoedu (Musician and Friend)
Sheena Lynch (Wife)
Linford Christie 2 6 December 2015 Philip Henry (Friend)
Briannah Christie (Daughter)
Sally Gunnell(Runner)
Brendan Foster (Commentator)
Mihir Bose (Sports Journalist)
Katharine Merry (Former Athlete)
Margaret Adeoye (Athlete)
Lord Paddy Ashdown 3 13 December 2015 Tim Courtenay (Friend)
Jane Ashdown (Wife)
Keith Aston (Former colleague from Special Boat Section)
Nick Clegg MP (Former Deputy Leader)
Cathy Bakewell (Former Constituency Office Manager)
Ian Patrick (Former Private Secretary)
Martin Bell (Former War Reporter)
Ian Patrick (Former Private Secretary)
Baroness Karren Brady 4 20 December 2015 Terry Brady (Dad)
Rita Brady (Mum)
Paul Peschisolido (Former Birmingham City Player)
David Gold (Former Birmingham City Co-Chairman)
Lord Alan Sugar
Suzanne Angelides (Friend)
Tara Warren (West Ham United)

Series 8[edit]

Guest Episode Date Interviewees
Alexander Armstrong 1 27 November 2016
Nigel Benn 2 4 December 2016
Michael Gove 3 11 December 2016
Rebecca Ferguson 4 18 December 2016

Tony Blair interview[edit]

Tony Blair at the World Economic Forum, 2009. Blair spoke to Britton about the decision to join the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The series attracted particular attention for an interview Britton recorded with Tony Blair which was aired on Sunday 13 December 2009, in which the former Prime Minister said that it would have been right to remove Iraqi president Saddam Hussein even without evidence he had weapons of mass destruction.[3] Asked whether he would still have joined the 2003 invasion of Iraq had he known that there were no weapons, he said: "I would still have thought it right to remove him. I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments, about the nature of the threat." [...] "I can't really think we'd be better with him and his two sons still in charge, but it's incredibly difficult.." [...] "That's why I sympathise with the people who were against [the war] for perfectly good reasons and are against it now, but for me, you know, in the end I had to take the decision."[3][4]

Responding to the statement, former United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix said that he believed Blair's statement had a "strong impression of a lack of sincerity",[3] while former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said that Blair would not have obtained the support for an invasion if he had been so open about his view on regime change at the time.[5] Conservative MP Richard Ottaway, a member of the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee dismissed the comments as a "cynical ploy to soften up public opinion" before his appearance at the Iraq Inquiry.[3]

Giving evidence to the inquiry on 29 January 2010 Blair addressed the interview, saying that it had been recorded in July 2009, some months before the inquiry convened,[6] and he admitted that it had been a mistake to say he would have got rid of Saddam Hussein regardless of whether or not he had WMD.[7] He told the inquiry he "did not use the words regime change in that interview", and that what he had meant was that he "couldn't describe the nature of the threat in the same way if you knew then what you know now".[6] Blair's performance was later condemned by families of military personnel killed in Iraq as disrespectful.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas, Liz (5 November 2009). "BBC puts faith in Fern Britton for key religious chat show". Mail Online. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "New Advent series for BBC One heralds a season of Christmas tradition and worship on the BBC". BBC Press Office. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Removing Saddam was right, even without WMD – Blair". BBC News Online. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Singh, Anita (12 December 2009). "Tony Blair: Iraq War was right even if there were no WMDs". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Iraq invasion was right, says Blair". The Guardian. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Tony Blair defends Fern Britton interview". BBC News Online. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Mulholland, Hélène; Sparrow, Andrew (29 January 2010). "Tony Blair at Iraq inquiry – the key points". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Lewis, Paul; Dodd, Vikram (29 January 2010). "Families of Iraq war dead voice anger at 'smirking' Blair". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 

External links[edit]