The Guardian

Raheem Sterling to be among guest editors on BBC’s Today programme

- Harriet Sherwood

The England and Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling is to take over BBC Radio 4’s Today programme as a guest editor between Christmas and New Year.

Sterling is one of seven high-profile figures who will edit the flagship morning programme over the holiday period, a tradition stretching back more than 20 years.

They would “help illuminate and make sense of the world we live in”, said Owenna Griffiths, Today’s editor. Guest editors brought “novel ideas, surprising perspectiv­es and, on occasion, a little sparkle to the programme”.

The naturalist Jane Goodall, who has studied the behaviour of chimpanzee­s since the 1960s, will explore the links between poverty and climate change, and the interactio­n of science and hope.

Mina Smallman, a former Church of England archdeacon whose daughters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were murdered in a London park last year, will examine support for victims of crime, the role of chaplaincy in times of need, and the Reclaim These Streets movement.

On her programme, Smallman, who has said she has forgiven the 19-year-old killer of her daughters, will describe how she found strength, support and comfort over the past 18 months

Michael Dobbs, a Conservati­ve peer and author of the political drama House of Cards, will focus his programme on the dangers of prostate cancer. He was diagnosed with the disease, which killed his father and his brother, earlier this year.

The other guest editors are General Sir Nick Carter, the outgoing Chief of Defence Staff, whose programme will include reports from Afghanista­n and ways of treating post traumatic stress disorder; James Rebanks, the Cumbrian sheep farmer and best-selling author, who will examine how urban farms can create healthier communitie­s; and Jacky Wright, chief digital officer and corporate vice-president at Microsoft US, who will ask if young people are being trained in the skills needed for the jobs of the future.

This month Sterling launched a charitable foundation to “educate, empower and inspire” young people in London, Manchester and Kingston, Jamaica. The Raheem Sterling Foundation says it will focus on improving social mobility, education and empowermen­t.

He has described the sacrifices his mother and older sister made during his childhood and when he was training, and how his Christian faith is of “massive” importance. His father was shot dead in Jamaica after being caught in a gang turf war when Sterling was two years old. “My family, we were really tight. We had to be. All we had was us, you know?” he wrote in 2018.

Sterling and other black players in the England squad were subject to racist abuse on social media after the team’s defeat to Italy on penalties in the European Championsh­ip final earlier this year.

Harry Kane, the squad’s captain, wrote on Twitter: “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high. They deserve support and backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night.”

Among other BBC radio highlights over the festive season are music stars including Ed Sheeran and Duran Duran thanking key workers such as nurses, teachers and bin collectors in a special week of programmes.

The Olympic gold medallist Tom Daley will present a radio show for the first time on Radio 2 on 27 December.

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 ?? ?? ▼ Sterling at the launch of his new foundation. He will be one of the hosts with, left, Mina Smallman, and below, Jane Goodall
▼ Sterling at the launch of his new foundation. He will be one of the hosts with, left, Mina Smallman, and below, Jane Goodall

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