Sue Woodford-Hollick, Lady Hollick

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Susan Mary Woodford-Hollick, Lady Hollick OBE (born 16 May 1945)[1] is a British businesswoman and consultant with a wide-ranging involvement in broadcasting and the arts. A former investigative journalist, she worked for many years in television (as Sue Woodford), where her roles included producer/director of World in Action[2] for Granada TV and founding commissioning editor of Multicultural Programmes for Channel Four.[3] As a campaigner for human rights, world health, literacy, and the arts, she serves as trustee or patron of a range of charities and foundations. She is founder and co-director of Bringing up Baby Ltd,[4] a childcare company. Other causes and organisations with which she is associated include the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF),[5] the Leader's Quest Foundation,[6] Complicite theatre company, Reprieve,[7] the Free Word Centre.[8] the Runnymede Trust[9] and the SI Leeds Literary Prize.[10] Of English and Trinidadian heritage, she is the wife of Clive Hollick, Baron Hollick, with whom she has three daughters.[11]


Early years[edit]

Sue Woodford-Hollick was educated at the University of Sussex[12] and is the daughter of Ulric Cross, a former High Court judge in Trinidad, Trinidadian High Commissioner to London (1990–93) and much-decorated RAF squadron leader in World War II.[13][14][15] On BBC Woman's Hour on 8 August 2012, in the feature "Family Secrets" for which she was interviewed by her daughter Abigail,[16] Woodford-Hollick spoke about growing up believing that she had been adopted by the white parents she knew as "Auntie May and Uncle Dick", only to discover in her twenties that her natural father was a Caribbean war hero and that her much older "sister" was in fact her mother, who had been forced to marry someone else: "Illegitimacy was not accepted in those days, and prejudice against black people was rife everywhere."[1]


In 1969, she joined Granada Television in Manchester as a newsreader and presenter/reporter on the regional news magazine programme, and she went on to become one of the few women to produce/direct the flagship current affairs programme World in Action.[17][18]

In 1981, she joined Channel 4 Television as the first Commissioning Editor for multi-cultural programming, one of the priorities of the new channel, where she commissioned a range of programmes to reflect the diversity of Britain's minority ethnic communities.[17][19][8] Her work at Channel 4 has been described by Farrukh Dhondy as "revolutionary": "She ditched the mission to complain and ran on the channel, among a diversity of offerings, one West Indian and one Asian magazine show, a black arts showcase programme and then a situation comedy called No Problem, co-written by veteran Trinidadian playwright Mustafa Matura and myself. The brief to the writers was clear – a situation comedy makes people laugh.... Under Sue Woodford the mission to complain was subverted. There were two clear strategic objectives which emerged from Channel 4. More people from the ethnic communities should be making programmes, serving an apprenticeship if necessary. There were, inevitably headcounts of the number of ethnic faces appeared on-screen as newsreaders, reporters, presenters or actors. A fair volume of programming of diverse sorts would ensure or at least begin the assimilation of the new communities into the nation's primary instrument or mirror of self-awareness."[20]

Consultancy and voluntary work[edit]

She has been involved throughout her life with many campaigns for human rights and diversity.[12] Between 1993 and 2000 she chaired of Index on Censorship, the international magazine for free speech,[21] of which she remains a patron.[17]

In September 2000, she succeeded Trevor Phillips as Chair of the London Arts Board, and on the creation of a single funding body for the arts in England, Woodford-Hollick was appointed in 2002 to the national council of the new organisation, Arts Council England (ACE),[22] and to chair its London regional council,[23] which she did for seven years.[17]

She has been an adviser on Caribbean affairs to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO),[17] and in 1998 she served on the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, an independent inquiry set up by the Runnymede Trust and chaired by Lord Parekh.[24] She has also served on the boards of a wide range of organisations, including Talawa Theatre Company, the Theatre Museum,[7] Tate Members, the Royal Commonwealth Society Contemporary Dance Trust, the English National Opera and the University of Westminster.

She is currently a trustee of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF),[5] Africa's largest health NGO, based in Nairobi, Kenya. She chairs the Leader's Quest Foundation[25] and is a trustee of Complicite theatre company and of Reprieve.[7] She is also a patron of the Runnymede Trust[9] and a trustee of the Free Word Centre.[8] In addition, she is a patron of the SI Leeds Literary Prize, an award for unpublished fiction for Black and Asian women in the UK.[17]

In April 2012, in Port of Spain, Trinidad, she announced the inauguration of the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, sponsored by the Hollick Family Charitable Trust and the Arvon Foundation, in association with the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, an award to allow a Caribbean writer living in the Anglophone region and writing in English, and who has not yet published a full-length book, to devote time to advancing a work in progress.[26]

She was named as one of the supporters of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2013.[27][28][29]

She is a trustee of the foundation announced in December 2014 in memory of cultural theorist Stuart Hall.[30][31][32][33]


She is married to the businessman Clive Hollick, Baron Hollick, with whom she has three daughters: Caroline, Georgina and Abigail.[12]

Honours and awards[edit]

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to the arts.[34][35] She is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Westminster and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.[17]

She is regularly included on the Power List of "Britain's 100 Most Influential Black People".[17][36]

In January 2018 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sussex.[12][37]


  1. ^ a b "Family Secrets", Woman's Hour, BBC Radio 4, 8 August 2012.
  2. ^ Sue Woodford page at IMDb.
  3. ^ Dorothy Hobson, Channel 4: The Early Years and the Jeremy Isaacs Legacy, I.B. Tauris & Co, 2006, pp. 68–70.
  4. ^ Management team, Bringing Up Baby.
  5. ^ a b "Lady Sue Woodford-Hollick", Who We Are, AMREF. Archived 31 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ LQ Foundation Trustees Archived 29 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Leader's Quest.
  7. ^ a b c "About us: Sue Woodford-Hollick", Reprieve.
  8. ^ a b c About Us – Trustees, Free Word.
  9. ^ a b Patrons, Runnymede.
  10. ^ "Sue Woodford-Hollick" Archived 12 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine., SI Leeds Literary Prize.
  11. ^ "UK: Masterclass – Hollick's Nights at the Movies", Management Today, 1 January 1997.
  12. ^ a b c d Jacqui Bealing, "Broadcast: News items – Be persistent, be focused, but start with your own community, says Lady Hollick", University of Sussex, 17 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Susan Mary Woodford-Hollick, Lady Hollick (1945–), Arts administrator", National Portrait Gallery.
  14. ^ "Ulric Cross (1917–), Judge", National Portrait Gallery.
  15. ^ Carla Bridglal, "Ulric Cross dies at 96", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 4 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Interviews", Abigail Hollick website.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h "Sue Woodford-Hollick" Archived 12 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine., SI Leeds Literary Prize.
  18. ^ Steve Bryant, "World in Action (1963–98)", BFI Screenonline.
  19. ^ Clive James Nwonka, "Channel Four and the Emergence of Independent Black British Filmmaking" Archived 19 April 2013 at Brunel University, 2012.
  20. ^ Farrukh Dhondy, "Is the BBC still 'hideously white'?", New Statesman, 18 March 2014.
  21. ^ Bhikhu C. Parekh, "Sue Woodford-Hollick Chair of Index on Censorship, 1993–2000, and founding commissioning editor of multicultural programmes, Channel 4", The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain: Report of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, London: Profile Books, 2000, p. 317.
  22. ^ "ACE Announced the New Council" Archived 23 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine., The British Theatre Guide, 2 June 2002.
  23. ^ "News – Nine old faces on new Council", ArtsProfessional, 3 June 2002.
  24. ^ "Embracing the need to build an inclusive society", The Guardian, 11 October 2000.
  25. ^ LQ Foundation Trustees Archived 29 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Leader's Quest.
  26. ^ "Announcing the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize" Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Caribseek News, 1 May 2012.
  27. ^ "The Women's Prize for Fiction 2013 launches with new partners, sponsors and judges", Book Trust, 9 October 2012.
  28. ^ Benedicte Page, "Women's Prize for Fiction to be 'privately funded' for 2013", The Bookseller, 8 October 2012.
  29. ^ "About BWPFF", BAILEYS Women's Prize for Fiction.
  30. ^ Stuart Hall Foundation.
  31. ^ "Goldsmiths Honour Stuart Hall By Naming Building After Him", The Voice, 4 December 2014.
  32. ^ "Goldsmiths renames academic building after Professor Stuart Hall", Goldsmiths, University of London, 11 December 2014.
  33. ^ Stuart Hall Foundation.
  34. ^ "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. p. 10. 
  35. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours 2011: list in full", The telegraph, 11 June 2011.
  36. ^ "Power List 2010: Britain’s 100 most influential black people", Breaking Perceptions, 2 March 2010.
  37. ^ "Broadcast: News items – University of Sussex graduates encouraged to make positive change", University of Sussex, 19 January 2018.

External links[edit]